6 Reasons Not To Potty Train Your Last Child. Yet.

by Meredith Ethington
Originally Published: 

It’s so true what they say. Every kid is different. Now that I have three, and they are slowly (picture sloth-like slow) starting to grow up, I realize that more and more every day. It should also be noted that I’m about to turn 38. And, my youngest is 3. And, I’m tired. Everything is slowly getting a tiny bit easier, but at the same time, I’m no longer in a rush for things to hurry up. And, did I mention I am tired?

I’m finding it harder to wake up in the morning because my kids are actually tiptoeing downstairs to watch television until we wake. I’m finding it easier to navigate a trip to the store since we no longer have a napper, and I am finding it fun to go places again and just sit back and relax since my kids no longer run the risk of mutilating or injuring themselves on the playground. I’ve sold most of the baby gear. I’m happily passing on clothes that my youngest outgrows, and I see a tiny glimpse of freedom from the deep, dark, lonely abyss of the baby years. So, yes, things are getting easier.

But, there’s this little thing hanging over my head. My youngest is still not potty trained, and he’s 3 1/2 years old.

And, instead of giving him a pep talk, I find myself giving myself a pep talk.

OK. We’re going to get serious this week.

No. For real, let’s do this thing.

What are you WAITING FOR?? Potty train the kid already.

But, I’m tired, remember? And, I just don’t want to. It’s seriously one of the hardest things I’ve had to do as a parent, and I’m just in no hurry to do it again. So, I wrote a potty training serenity prayer to help me cope.

The problem is that all the prayers in the world aren’t helping me get excited. Here are six reasons potty training your last can wait a while:

1. You remember how disgusting it is. You’ve done this a few times before, and there are certain things that are etched into your brain forever. Like the scraping of poop out of big kid underwear, the pee everywhere, and heaven forbid that diarrhea that might hit in the middle of it all. No, thank you, I think I’ll wait a while.

2. You’re busier now. You have two other kids and you have swim lessons, and soccer, and PTA projects, and whatever else fills up your ridiculously packed day. Gone are the simpler days of potty training that first one, with nowhere to go and nothing else in the world to do except focus on one child and let them watch Elmo all day while on the potty so you can just get it done.

3. The baby likes being the baby. And, maybe you still like having one just a teeny tiny bit. Let’s be real here. I want to not have to ever change a poopy diaper again. But, saying goodbye to my last baby is hard. And, frankly, my speed at changing a diaper these days is probably something worthy of an Olympic medal. Shut up, he’s not a big kid.

4. It’s harder to be excited about something that’s so not exciting. Poor last kid. I mean, I really would love it if he peed in the potty, but I’m old, and sitting in the bathroom for hours waiting for a tiny human to decide to trickle out a minuscule amount of pee is not nearly as fun as getting them all in bed early and watching old Friends reruns. So, I think I’ll wait a while.

5. Public restrooms with three kids are a nightmare. One of my greatest accomplishments in life is teaching my kids how to flush the potty with their foot. My husband teaches them math skills, and I teach them public restroom skills. But, taking three kids into a public restroom makes me crazy. Don’t touch anything. Don’t look at anything, and PLEASE for the LOVE don’t inspect anything that looks questionable. Just get in and get out is my motto. But, a 3-year-old’s pooping schedule is not exactly predictable, and when your back is turned, another kid might be peeking under the stall next to him.

6. Let’s face it: You’re still wiping bums anyway. While potty training seems like a great milestone, it’s really a lie. Because kids have almost T. rex-like tiny arms that can’t quite reach when they’re done with their business. The truth is, the milestone only moves from wiping a bum in one position to wiping a bum in a different one. So you might as well wait until his arms grow a little longer, and save yourself from hearing, “MOOOOM! I’m DOOONE!” right as you sit down to eat.

While I’m almost giddy at the thought of being a diaper-free household, I’m equally giddy about not potty training. It’s a true, midlife struggle. So, I think I’ll avoid eye contact with the first-time mom who is potty training her 18-month-old, and continue on my merry way of changing a few more diapers for the sake of my own sanity.

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