Potty training is exhausting—but it will happen eventually, mama

Motherhood is all about conquering whatever mountains or obstacles are in the way of you—even if it happens to be a mountain of diapers. 😉

Potty training is exhausting—but it will happen eventually, mama

Tired. This is how parenting will make you feel. Proud. This is also how parenting will make you feel. Guilt. Another word for a feeling you will experience as a parent. Love. The word that will trump them all.

And then there's... poop. Another word nobody really wants to talk about that you will come to know more intimately than you want to.

About six months ago I had my second child, which meant I was the mother of two wild and wonderful boys. Two boys I love so much my heart could burst. Two boys in diapers. And I now have no words to describe the round-the-clock diaper changing I have endured for nearly half a year.

Wake up, change diaper. Eat breakfast. Change diaper. Try to use the bathroom myself, change another dirty diaper. Get ready to go somewhere—five seconds out the door—change two dirty diapers. Again. For a while, they were creating mountains in our room faster than I could throw them away because of how frequently I had to change them.

Obviously I felt tired. But I also felt guilty. I had a very difficult second pregnancy. One filled with nausea, sickness, and vomiting all the way up until the delivery. I tried to potty train my then 2-year-old with no success.

Then, my son turned three and we added another baby to the family. And so many dirty diapers followed. Preschool was approaching and even though I was growing weary of constant diaper changes, I was also becoming more and more determined to figure out potty training.

My son is smart. He talks like an adult, counts to 10, picks up on story plots, and remembers things better than any toddler I know. He knew when his diaper was dirty and often told us when it needed to be changed.

So I decided to embark upon a potty training boot camp experience (I think more for me, not him). I had researched and polled friends for different potty training methods and heard it was most successful when you didn't leave the house for at least three days. (Sometimes even up to a week, which sounds extreme.)

There's the take them to the potty every 15 minutes method. (Not realistic with a baby nursing on demand.) The naked method. (Basically put them in a large shirt with nothing underneath so they can tell when they need to "go".) And the three-day method. (Aka potty training boot camp.)

Honestly, none of these methods sounded that great to me. Mostly because I was also told that when a child is ready they will figure it out. (Otherwise, there are a lot of accidents and a very frustrated parent.) But we eventually ended up figuring out something that worked for all of us.

I ended up letting my son wear his own clothes with nothing underneath and rushing him to the potty when he felt he had to go. Yes—this was exhausting. And yes—it was messy. But after about 3-4 days he totally got the hang of it.

I'm not going to lie—it was rough. The constant trips to the potty. The accidents. The poop. But, the joy on my toddler's face when he realized he could do it on his own? Priceless. And the pride I felt knowing that we figured out this potty training business together? That made it all worth it.

So mama, if you too feel tired or guilty about all this potty training business, know that the determination you need is inside of you. Soon enough, the feelings of exhaustion and guilt will turn to pride. Motherhood is all about conquering whatever mountains or obstacles are in the way of you—even if it happens to be a mountain of diapers. 😉

A mother's love will empower her to do great things. Great things and small things. At least that's what my week of potty training taught me.

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After 4 kids, this is still the best baby gear item I’ve ever purchased

I wouldn't be swooning over the BABYBJÖRN bouncer after eight years and four kids if it didn't work.

I have four kids 8 and under, so you might expect that my house is teeming with baby gear and kid toys.

But it turns out that for me, the more kids I have, the more I simplify our stuff. At this point, I'm down to the absolute essentials, the gear that I can't live without and the toys my kids actually play with. And so when a mama-to-be asks me what things are worth registering for, there are only a few must-haves on my list.

The BABYBJÖRN bouncer seat is on the top of my list—totally worth it and an absolute must-have for any new mama.

In fact, since I first splurged on my first BABYBJÖRN bouncer eight years ago (it definitely felt like a splurge at the time, but the five star reviews were really compelling), the bouncer seat has become the most-used product in our house for baby's first year.

We've actually invested in a second one so that we didn't have to keep moving ours from the bedroom to the living room when we change locations.

BABYBJÖRN bouncer bliss

baby bjorn bouncer

The utility of the seat might seem counterintuitive—it has no mechanical parts, so your baby is instead gently bounced by her own movements. In a world where many baby products are touted for their ability to mechanically rock baby to sleep, I get that many moms might not find the "no-motion" bouncer that compelling. But it turns out that the seat is quite reactive to baby's little kicks, and it has helped my kids to learn how to self-soothe.


Lightweight + compact:

The BABYBJÖRN bouncer is super lightweight, and it also folds flat in a second. Because of those features, we've frequently stored it under the couch, in a suitcase or in the back of the car. It folds completely flat, which I love.

Entertainment zone:

Is the toy bar worth it? The toy bar is totally worth it. Not only is the toy bar adorable, but it's one of the first toys that my babies actually play with once they discover the world beyond my boobs. The toys spin and are close to eye level so they have frequently kept my baby entertained while I cook or take a quick shower.

Great style:

This is not a small detail to me–the BABYBJÖRN bouncer is seriously stylish. I am done with baby gear and toys that make my house look like a theme park. The elegant European design honestly just looks good in my living room and I appreciate that parents can enjoy it as much as baby.

It's adjustable:

With three height settings that let you prop baby up to be entertained, or lay back to rest, we get years of use. And the bouncer can actually be adjusted for bigger kids and used from newborn to toddler age. It's that good.

It just works:

I wouldn't be swooning over the BABYBJÖRN bouncer after eight years and four kids if it didn't work. But I have used the seat as a safe space to put baby while I've worked (I once rocked my baby in it with my foot while I reported on a breaking news story for the Washington Post), and as a cozy spot for my second child to lay while his big brother played nearby. It's held up for almost a decade with almost-constant use.

So for me, looking back on what I thought was a splurge eight years ago, was actually one of the best investments in baby gear I ever made.

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.


Sorry, you can’t meet our baby yet

Thank you for understanding. ❤️

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Being a stay-at-home-mom can be incredibly lonely. I like to think that by drawing life's simple moments, I can connect with other mothers and help them feel less alone. By doing this, I feel less alone, too. It's a win-win situation and I have been able to connect with many lovely parents and fellow parent-illustrators through my Instagram account.

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