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.