It was a random Wednesday morning, and my 2.5-year-old daughter and I had just returned home from mom-and-me gymnastics. I stood in the kitchen making breakfast and watched as she toddler-marched into the kitchen, arms swinging with determination — clearly on a mission. She made her way to the bathroom and I could hear her getting frustrated as she tried to shimmy herself out of her leotard. “Mom, I need help!” she screamed. “I wanna go potty like a big girl!”
I’ve lived through the potty-training process three times already, and I know well that it requires some well-planned pants-less days, prizes, charts, and accident awareness. And I already had a plan in place to wait until summer, when our sports schedule calmed down and we were home a bit more. The sun would be shining and accidents would happen mostly in our backyard, with an easy hose-down cleanup solution. It was perfect! But of course, she had other plans.
Throughout the course of the next two weeks, she managed to potty train herself, with virtually no help (and maybe even some resistance) from me. And to be clear — this isn’t a brag. It was a bit of a sh*tshow.
She started by undressing herself and removing her diaper randomly — sometimes in the middle of public places like the supermarket or my son’s lacrosse game — screaming that she wanted “no diapy!” like her big sister. Thankfully, I mostly caught her before total mayhem, but a couple times I wasn’t clued in until she was totally bottomless, yards away from her abandoned diaper, looking like a feral, confused animal with no adult supervision.
She also decided to skip the traditional small plastic potty chair that my other kids used. Once I realized she was not backing down in her mission, I took it out of storage and showed her how to use it. She took to it quickly and easily, acting proud and excited her first time using it. But less than 24 hours later, she decided to promote herself to our extra tall adult toilets, hurling herself on and off, often gripping the seat and inside of the bowl with her little fingers, and twice falling in.
And then there was the toilet paper situation. I attempted to show her how to use it during our plastic potty tutorial, thinking it was pretty self-explanatory. But I quickly realized after a few pre-bedtime checks as I put her pull-up on that she was having a little issue. I was finding small wads of toilet paper left behind. I assumed this was a result of quick wiping and gave her a brief tutorial once again. That is until the following day, when I muscled my way into the stall with her at gymnastics (despite her resistance) and found her rolling little balls of toilet paper with her little toddler fingers and shoving them into her vagina for safe keeping. Thankfully a few stern conversations about bathroom hygiene and germs and we have seemed to solve the issue.
So here we are, one month later and fully potty trained. And I am sad! I didn't even have time to mourn my last diaper run, take cute photos of a homemade potty training planning chart. But maybe this is exactly the way it needed to be. My fourth and final baby, charging through this milestone and allowing me no time to get in my head about it. Instead, offering me a break from the process, and simply meeting me on the other side with a cute pair of Minnie Mouse undies.
Samm is passionate about sharing her honest, raw, unfiltered truth about motherhood. She loves newborns, statement sunglasses, Justin Bieber, and a well-placed F bomb. She is a complicated introvert, giving most of her energy to her chaotic household but she is a foxhole chick. (She will die for you — but will likely not meet you for coffee.) She is currently working her way into the next stage of life beyond the years of babies — and while she is a little sad and nervous, she is hopeful for what is next. Could be worse.