I am deep in the throes of potty training. Every morning when Adi wakes up we’ll go to her potty, sing the potty song, and cheer like deranged sports fans when she finally pees. The same thing happens right before she goes to bed. During the day she still goes in her diaper, but still, twice a day is better than no times a day… right? RIGHT?
Well, I hate it. Hate it hate it hate it.
Why was I anxious to potty train? Because I was sick of lugging diapers and wipes around everywhere I went. I was sick of wiping poop. I was sick of diaper leaks. I was sick of having to change diapers in awkward places with no bathrooms. I was sick of Adi yelling “I need a new diapy” at completely inappropriate times — like in line at the bank, or graveside at a military cemetery while I’m holding a box full of my grandmother’s ashes. Pardon me grandma, I need to put you down for a minute to sneak behind this Spanish-American War tombstone and change a diaper? No. Not happening.
Here’s the thing about potty training though… You still have to wipe butts. After Adi pees in the potty I have to wash the whole damn thing. Washing a potty is harder and takes longer than changing a diaper. Diaper changes used to take 30 seconds. Now we’re spending forever on potties and potty related activities. There have been days where we haven’t left the apartment.
And public toilets are disgusting. When Adi wants to use a potty at a restaurant I’ll tell her to just go in her diaper. But no. She’ll insist on a potty. Now I have to hold her up over the toilet so her butt doesn’t touch the seat (which I covered in toilet paper anyway). A 35-pound two and a half year old being held up for long periods of time (because it takes forever for toddlers to actually pee). And then she’ll pee a tiny bit. Then 5 minutes later she’ll pee everything else into her diaper.
I’m spending literally hours every day kneeling on my bathroom floor next to Adi on her potty watching the same creepy potty training video over and over again on her iPad. I can’t leave her in the bathroom alone, not because of any safety thing, but because Adi always says “mommy stay with me, watch me potty” and I’m stuck.
Potty training is a lie. A horrible filthy lie.
It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside a pink pretty princess potty.
Potty training isn’t the promised land — it’s wandering around the desert for 40 years. The day Adi walks over to the bathroom, uses (and flushes) the adult toilet, wipes herself without help, and washes her hands without videos or my presence — THAT’S when she’ll be potty trained. Then I will rejoice for I have reached salvation and will no longer have to suffer knee pain from kneeling on a hard tile floor. Amen.
Rachel Figueroa-Levin is a soapmaker, cofounder and educator at Urban Babywearing, a hyperlocal Inwood blogger and organizer, a political/life/religion/parenting satirist, and all around trouble maker. She is also the creator of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Spanish-speaking alter ego @elbloombito. You can reach her via twitter @Jewyorican.