Hands down, the hardest part of parenting for me (so far—I haven’t raised teenagers yet) has been potty training. It broke me, utterly and completely. I had no idea the knock-down-drag-out battles I’d have with my kids. I started with my first child before he was ready because my friends were starting. I fought my last child and tried to have control even though he was far too strong-willed. I internalized every accident each of them had as my own failure—because why weren’t we further along?
Basically, I did everything wrong from the Potty Training 101 Handbook.
I cried, slammed doors, drank wine, and just as I was finishing up with one child, another one was old enough to start, trapping me in damn near a decade of potty training hell.
So if this is you—if you are realizing you started too early and now you don’t know if you should quit or keep going, or if you are feeling like a failure because your kid is four and still having accidents, or if you think your head might actually spin off if you have to wipe one more butt—I get it. I’ve been there. And when they say “Haha! Don’t worry, they won’t go to college in diapers!” and you want to punch them because you honestly really don’t know if that’s true, know this. They really won’t go to college in diapers. (You can punch me.) And also, you’re doing great. You’re a good mom. Your kid is a fantastic kid, whenever they finally get to the potty in time and learn to wipe their own butts.
Confessional #25806076“f potty training arghhh!”
Confessional #25731198“Hearing about potty training success when my daughter is medically struggling with this makes me stabby.”
Confessional #25544482“Currently dwelling in the hell that is potty training. Don’t know if I’m gonna make it, I have 2 little humans peeing all over my house, pray for me”
“Frustration” is not even a strong enough word for how hellacious potty training can be.
Confessional #25796340“Potty training a toddler while wfh during a pandemic is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I fucking quit. Can I please just fucking quit. Or can I go back to my office with childcare, please for the love of god”
Confessional #25749633“I just gave up on potty training and it rules”
Confessional #21860236“Potty training sucks. After 4 pairs of wet undies and a floor puddle and couch puddle I give up for now. Can't handle this shit.”
If you quit for now, it’s okay. If you don’t quit but really want to and just mutter “fuck this shit” all day long, that’s okay too.
Confessional #25788960“We (mostly me) decided to get a puppy. Well, we couldn't decide so we took 2. Now I'm sweating my ass off in the yard, potty training and all the kids are in the AC playing video games! FML!!”
Confessional #22028570“Adopted the cutest puppy. She is 4 lbs. of terror. I hope this puppy stage doesn't last long! The potty training and biting ( due to teething ) is crazy!”
Confessional #21861720“Finally got the puppy me and dc begged for. I've never been more tired. Potty training a puppy sucks ass! She's had no accidents in my house because I'm in the back yard almost all day! Kids still in house on iPads!”
And here’s a fun tidbit—sometimes you get your kids a puppy because Mommy’s fun! And who doesn’t love puppies?! But guess what? You gotta potty train that little fucker too. Neat.
Confessional #25757827“My kid is still potty training at 4 years old. One day, while running errands, he shit in his little potty I carry in my car. I didn’t know what to do with it so I chucked it into a bush in the middle of the shopping center and hauled ass outta there.”
Confessional #25751729“I can't even understand my 2 year olds sometimes. Today, I thought he was telling he wanted a cookie when he actually was telling me he had an accident in his undies(potty training here). I moved on and he went in soaked undies for 3 more hours! Oops.”
Undoubtedly once you’re through with potty training, you’ll have some epic stories to share with other moms in the trenches. Like that time you threw your kid’s shit in the bushes at Target.
Confessional #25315152“I'm finally happy now that DD started school. But I didn't enjoy single bit of the baby and toddler stages unless she was snuggling with me or asleep. One and done for the pure fact I'm not going though those 1st 4 years again. Also, fuck potty training.”
Confessional #23913360“DH wants another baby, I'm one and done. I LOVE our DS, but hated every sec of pregnancy, labor, delivery, and the baby stage. And now that he's potty training I honestly don't know how ANYONE has more than one. This is hell. It's also a one-time deal.”
Confessional #21861338“Potty training is what made me stop at one kid. Actually, just the whole toddler stage. Yeah, I'm never doing that shit again.”
Potty training breaks a lot of us, reducing us to a shell of who we once were. For some, it’s challenging enough to make them say “Nope!” to more kids. And that’s perfectly okay.
Confessional #22146967“Poop is the worst thing of potty training. I thought everyone was just exaggerating. My God! Now my day revolve around getting a poop out”
Confessional #21989159“Potty training is hard yes but why didn’t anyone warn me about the poop fear. Holding it in, me constantly worried if they will go or what they eat, scared it’ll be blocked and never go away. Bribes don’t even work. Can anything just go right”
Also, lots of parents are shocked and sorely unprepared for toddler poops. Potty training is not all pee puddles, friends! Dealing with an epic three-year-old man-poop in a public bathroom at a birthday party is where shit *literally* gets real.
Confessional #25107278“I’d rather change DS’s diapers for another year than go back into the mess and misery of potty training.”
Confessional #25092924“Potty training plus dropping the nap is going to make me lose my f*ing mind.”
Confessional #22150237“Im so bad about keeping a routine for myself that potty training my toddler isnt working because I'm not consistent enough.My own bad habits are causing me to fail as a mother just two years in and it's breaking me”
Potty training can be exhausting beyond belief and make you feel like you’re failing as a parent, like you’re going bonkers, or both. There are those magical unicorn kids who master the whole thing in three days. None of them live at my house. My kids prefer the three-year method, which equates to loooooots of Mommy day-drinking and crying in the pantry.
But, we made it through, and so will you. Even if they regress a hundred times and you have to still bring back up underwear everywhere you go for a while. Hang in there, parents. Remember, in a few years they’ll be teenagers asking for the car keys and we’ll wish more than anything to go back to the days of our biggest stress being a pee stain on the rug.