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Potty Training Hell

“Ugh-oh! I pee-peed mommy! Change me! Change me!” This is how my day begins. Looks like I’m in potty training hell … again.

I’ve spent the last four years in and out of potty training hell. Moms with more than one little bottom to train know exactly what I mean. Around the age of two and a half, we begin the age-old potty training ritual. We pull out the big-girl panties, parade around the living room singing the potty song, and bribe our child with everything we can possibly think of to get her to sit on that glorious potty.

Recently, I began training my second daughter. She just turned three and has steadfastly refused to even acknowledge that something called underwear exists. A few months ago, when I had more energy, I tried coaxing her onto the potty. She looked at me like I was crazy and said flatly, “I like my diapers. I don’t want to go.” Fine.

But I must admit that changing two little bottoms has gotten quite tiresome. I still have a 1 year old in diapers, so the thought of changing one less poopy girl gave me endless motivation. Over the next couple of months I tried the whole “Don’t you want to be a big girl thing” and “Let me buy you some Tinkerbell panties” to no avail. I read stacks of potty books and chatted endlessly with her over the fact that Elmo and Dora use the potty. Oh save me from this potty training hell!

And then suddenly, like a beautiful ray of light shining down from the heavens, she smiled at me last week and said, “I want to go potty mommy!” I have never heard sweeter words and I was so excited that I began jumping around the house singing in a high pitched Elmo voice.

I was ready. And finally, so was she. I pulled out my stash of Pine Sol, carpet cleaner, and Lysol—I was ready for the puddles and oopsies. I whipped out a new pair of Dora the Explorer panties and slid them around her tiny waist. “Bring it on,” I thought, “let the potty training hell commence!”

I can’t tell you how many puddles of pee, pounds of poo, and loads of laundry I’ve done over the past few days. No amount of Clorox seems to clean the “accidents” and no amount of patience is ever enough. I’ve gone through more bags of M&Ms, gobs of gummy worms, and Snow White Princess Stickers than I care to admit. But I keep my eye on the prize—that glorious, magnificent day when I will only have one more daughter left in diapers.

And then it happened, as suddenly as it all started. Three days into our training extravaganza my toddler—my independent, spunky, and ever-challenging middle child- announced that she “didn’t need me anymore.” She could “do it all by herself.”  “What?” I recoiled. “Do it all by herself? Without me? Impossible!”

And suddenly, as much as I had longed for her to be potty trained I regretted my decision. I wanted her to need me. I remember feeling the same way after my first-born was trained. In all my zeal to get her trained, I had forgotten what I was really asking her to do—grow up.

So for now, my days of potty training hell are limited. I have one more little girl to train and then I’ll have to find a new occupation. Until then, I’ll savor the fond memories of Princess Stickers, yellow puddles on the floor, and M&M smiles.

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