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Dear First Time Moms: There Is No Prize for Potty Training

November 23, 2015

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Dear stressed out, over-extended, frazzled and weary first-time moms.

I want you to lean in close and listen to me very, very carefully. This is important. I know you’re tired. I know you want to do your very best at this momming thing. I know you look around at all the other moms and you secretly think you are screwing this up. I know that you look at your downy-headed, cherub-cheeked toddler and you think to yourself: I can do this. I can do this better, and faster, and my child is a genius.

I hate to break this to you.

There is no prize for potty training your child first. There is no medal, no reward. No one is going to give you a shout-out on Facebook. Your child will not even thank you.

There is no prize for potty training your child first, there is only endless mad dashes to find public restrooms in crowded Costcos and shopping malls. There is only frantic searching for gas stations. And when you finally do find these elusive public restrooms, you must endure the fact that your pint-sized prodigy will now put their hands….everywhere. On the seat. On the walls. And when you’re not looking…well, you don’t want to know.

At home, your only reward will be drippy toilet seats and stained walls.

Your child will not be wearing diapers in high school. I promise.

Those of us, over here on the other side of First Time Motherhood, we once stood where you were and confidently announced “We’re going to potty train little Marcus this weekend!” We, too, swore that our child would be out of diapers before they hit 2 1/2 . We just knew our lives were going to be so much better, and more fulfilling, and that everyone around us would then finally KNOW just what a rock star mom we really were…

But we were wrong. And we suffered mightily for our mistake. We learned that the timeline was not ours to set. We learned what “strong-willed” really means. We learned that, while we hope to one day exert some influence over our children, the one area that they remain wholly and utterly in charge of is their ability to pee…or not pee…on command. They don’t care about us. They don’t care if we want them to go. They will go when they are good and ready to go and when and where they want to go and the bottom line (pun intended) is that they will put that stuff in the potty when they are good and ready and not a minute sooner.

And so, I offer you this secret truth. This salvation for your sanity. Spare yourself. Spare your child.

When they are ready, you will know. And if, when they are ready, you’re not ready? Totally cool. You have 12 more years until they start high school.

You’ve got time.

I know you’ve got stories, people. I know you’ve got some epic potty-training tales to tell. Let’s hear ’em. 

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One Comment leave one →
  1. November 24, 2015 5:20 am

    I am just hoping my fourth child is potty trained by kindergarten. I may be a little too patient 🙂

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