It’s Okay if Your Kid Isn’t Potty Trained Yet

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The year was 2017. I had a newborn and an almost two-year-old who I was potty training. No one told me to try to potty train a 22-month-old immediately after giving birth, but there I was.

I was sure – SURE – that I could get my daughter potty trained before she turned 2. And then life would be so much easier! I am MOTHER, hear me roar! Right?

…RIGHT?!

Oh, honey. Wrong, just so wrong. On absolutely every possible level.

The Expectation of Potty Training

As you’ve probably already guessed, I’m the last person who has any authority to discuss actual potty training techniques. So I’m not sure where it came from, but there’s a general expectation that kids should be potty trained by 3.

If they’re 3 and they’re still working on it, that’s acceptable too.

But if they’re 4 or older, clearly something is wrong! “Have you read ______ book?”

Honestly, it’s as if people think that we enjoy wiping butts. I can’t speak for every mom, but…no, actually, I CAN speak for every mom. WE DON’T ENJOY WIPING BUTTS.

The Realities of Potty Training

What I didn’t know on that fateful day in 2017 is that I’d basically be in the potty training stage for the next four years. Thank God I didn’t know that.

I also didn’t know how many times I’d have to have a conversation that went something along the lines of, “Yes, he’s 4, but he’s still wearing pull-ups.” *insert shame*

In reality, potty training is almost nothing like people make it sound. Here are the actual realities of potty training that I have EARNED over the last four years:

  • Just because they’re smart doesn’t mean that they’ll be potty trained (Also, just because they’re not potty trained doesn’t mean they’re not smart)
  • The process of potty training every kid is different (I’m still not sure when society is just going to understand this)
  • The process of potty training is actually straight from the devil
  • The process of potty training is really hard for some parents (Not every parent has the emotional and mental stability to read a full potty training book just because it worked for someone else)
  • Having a potty-trained toddler is not that great (Have you ever had to drop everything in the middle of Target to sprint to the bathroom? Or tried to fit yourself in a port-a-potty with a preschooler? It pretty much goes like this: DON’T TOUCH THAT! OR THAT!)
  • You don’t get a gold star for potty training your kid early. (Is it something to celebrate? YES! Does having a potty-trained 3-year old make you a better parent? Not even a little bit.)

It’s Okay if Potty Training Sucks

Let me tell you a potty training story that’s probably not in a lot of books (but who knows, I didn’t read any):

After doing allll the “right” things with both of my toddlers, I spent well over a year with each of my children just pooping and peeing all over the place, EXCEPT for in a toilet.

Then, one day, each of them suddenly pooped in the potty. UNPROMPTED.

One day I looked up and realized that I had two potty-trained kids, and that they actually WILL NOT be going to college in pull-ups, like I thought might happen.

In the end, it really didn’t matter if they were potty trained at 2 or 4 or whatever number–as long as I was loving them and being the best parent I could be.

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