I had the saddest realization the other day… I was thinking about the last time I sat down and created my own personal goals and I realized it was right before we started potty training. I promise, I’m not upset about it, not really… Just feeling reflective about it all.
So anyways, I thought about the last time I had made any significant improvement in my health goals. It was also right before we started potty training.
The last time I didn’t have a room full of laundry? Right before potty training.
The last time I did any kind of DEEP WORK? You guessed it… right before potty training.
At first, I found myself stunned. I mean, we have made SO MUCH progress with our son in such a short period of time! We haven’t had a poop accident in months, he has been accident-free AT NIGHT for every night except one of this past week (!!!!), AND he even pulls his own pants down and rushes to the potty now about 50% of the time when he has to go! HUGE PROGRESS!!!
Even my husband has made huge progress in this same time. He has continued to lose weight, he has been crafting this amazing schedule for himself where he somehow seems to find time for everything, even to watch tv! And here I am… My house hasn’t been clean in MONTHS… I haven’t lost a single pound since we started (I’m fairly certain I have actually gained weight…), and I can’t seem to wrap my mind around any of it changing any time soon.
So the big question is WHY has my entire life been sucked down that little mickey mouse insert-adorned potty seat??? I decided to write it all down…
1. Night Time
Everyone is amazed that he has been doing so well with Night Training. Want to know the secret? It’s me! Seriously… It’s you, Mama, Daddy, or Caregiver! As soon as I put my little 19 month old down to bed, I set a series of alarms to go off. The alarm schedule generally looks like this:
7:30 pm – Bed
9:30 pm – Potty
11:30 pm – One final pee before I go to sleep
2:30 am – Potty
5 am – Potty
7 am – Potty
At each alarm, I rush into his room, ask him to get out of bed, pull down his pants, and to sit on the potty. I still have to help him or he will definitely get pee on his pants on accident, or at other times when he wakes to pee on his own, he won’t be able to figure out how to get them down in the midst of his barely awake potty session, and it will look like he’s had an accident even if he made it to the potty. Oh, and then he will be devastated!
Also, even though nights have been REALLY GOOD lately, that just recently started. So before then, I was washing one set of sheets + one set of pjs per night on average. Seriously… (Laundry Pile-Up starting here…)
I suppose my lack of sleep MAYBE just maybe has something to do with my complete exhaustion and my lack of desire to get much of anything done, except whatever is necessary to keep this little one on track!
2. Day Time
Read: Can’t go anywhere or do anything for more than 30 minutes before he usually has to potty! Especially if he’s in a highchair, stroller, or carseat (THE WORST!!!!)
Right before we began potty training, I was participating in this amazing workout group for moms, one night a week. They even had a babysitter they had hired specifically for our kidlets and it was just amazing! EXCEPT… Once we started potty training, his schedule was so all over the place, and his signals were incredibly difficult to read. Like “MOMEEEE” actually meant “I HAVE TO PEE” or, more likely, “I AM PEEING RIGHT NOW!!!” So I didn’t feel comfortable leaving him with a babysitter. Even once he improved with his potty training, he needed someone to actually help him get his own pants down and sit with him to make sure he actually peed. Many mamas have a great support system at home which is awesome! I have an amazing support system! They are just all over the country instead of here… And my husband would help except that he works kind of weird hours and is rarely home in the evenings.
So, this is kind of what outings normally would look like for us (especially in the first month). Remember that he generally needs to pee every half hour or even more frequently! I will use going to the grocery store as an example:
TARGET ARRIVAL TIME: 11 AM
10:30 am Pack bag with extra pants (two pair), extra socks (two), and wipes just in
*Make sure the travel potty is in the car with travel bags in case he HAS TO
GO during the drive.
10:35 am DM pees on the potty.
“Great work! Did you get everything out? One last push to make sure!”
10:40 am Strap DM into car seat, reminding him NOT to pee in the car seat
“Big boys do not pee in the car seat!”
10:45 am DRIVE to the store
10:55 am Arrive at store and immediately begin to Question myself… do I have him
pee in the travel potty in the car? Or can he hold it until he gets into the
store. Pretty much always, I have him pee in the travel potty in the car.
Because here are all of my what ifs…
§ What if there is a line to use the restroom and he pees his pants there in the store?
§ What if he doesn’t even make it into the store before he pees his pants?
§ What if we make it to the store, but the restroom is all the way in the back?
And so… he pees in the travel potty in the car. Then I have to find a trash can for the bag of baby pee (hoping nobody sees me and judges me for carrying around this gross bag full of toddler liquid!
11 am Get into the store and go as fast as we possibly can to get our groceries
11:20 am I have a cart full of groceries, I am getting ready to check out and I have
another decision to make… Do I have him go in the store or in the car?
Who am I kidding… It’s never worth it… He can wait until he gets to the car (I HOPE!)
11:30 am Back to the car, put a bag on the travel potty, sit DM on the potty chair and
encourage him to go again.
11:35 am Place him back in car seat and drive home.
Driving home after one errand because seriously, this is so exhausting, I can’t even fathom adding another stop to this drive!
11:45 am Home. Have him pee almost immediately when we arrive home because for
whatever reason, the car seat makes him have to pee even more!
When we first started potty training, I had no idea it would overtake my life the way it has. At first, I thought, “This is amazing! We will save SO MUCH TIME by avoiding diaper changes!” And actually, my son has been sleeping much better ever since we started potty training. Unfortunately, in spite of all of the sleep he has gained, I seem to have lost the majority of mine!
Because when he is asleep, I find myself either doing the loads and loads of pee-soaked laundry that pile up every single night. (Sheets, you guys… Sheets take up so much space in that washing machine! Because it’s not just the sheets, it’s also the sheet protector and any stuffed animals that may have been peed on, and pillows (seriously…), and pajamas). Then, there are the clean clothes waiting for me to fold and sort and actually put away. But who am I kidding, they just sit there! Kind of forever!
Then, I have to send work emails and any absolutely essential items. I have to purchase gifts for families and friends, vacuum, mop, feed pets, play with pets, clean up after DM, wipe down counters. I don’t have to do dishes lately because my husband has taken that over!!!!! But all of the rest of it really does pile up fast!
And so, by the time I have finished any of the other tasks listed above, I have to go make that sweet child of mine sit on his potty and GO. My deep work just has to wait…
I promise, I am really not complaining, but I don’t think I fully realized all of the things I wouldn’t be able to get done while he was potty training. I don’t think I fully understood the immense toll it has taken on me and all the things I would love to get done.
So… whenever you are ready to take the plunge, try to give yourself a few good months of open time. Because it will probably CONSUME you… for a little bit at least.
I still think it will all be worth it. Once he is fully, 100% potty trained, I will be the HAPPIEST MOM IN THE WORLD!