In Her Words
I Have Potty Training Envy
The Milestone every Mom Dreads
“Do you have to go potty?”
With a nonchalance and self-reliance that could rival some kindergartners, my friend’s adorable 2-year-old girl – let’s just call her “Elyse” – dropped her doll, got off the floor and went into the bathroom that adjoined the family room. Ponytails swinging, she pushed down her tights and her pull-up and nestled herself on her tiny pink plastic toilet.
A few minutes later, Elyse washed up, got a new pair of pull-up pants and, with a little help from her mom, pulled her tights back on and went back to crashing cars with my son, Alex.
Alex was born the same week as Elyse and is nearing his third birthday in a few months. When I asked him, “would you like to go potty, too?” it was like I was talking to a stone wall. Instead, he reached over to Elyse’s pink Barbie mobile and started rolling it against the floor.
I guess to a little boy, anything with four wheels is more interesting than a plastic object you’re supposed to pee in.
As I drove home, I gave myself a pep talk. Girls learn faster than boys do. He’s not even 3 yet. He’ll go when he’s ready. Don’t push him too hard, you’ll get the opposite result. The advice kept swimming around my head like a big ol’ roll of wadded up toilet paper.
Our home has literally become Toilet Training Central. Each bathroom is equipped with its own pint-sized potty seat. We have books that make toilet flushing noises and videos where Elmo and Grover sing the virtues of using the toilet and being a “big kid.”
Every day, Alex sits on his potty before taking a bath. Usually, nothing comes out. In fact, I’ve seen him sit on the potty for 15 minutes, get off, then pee in the tub, with a big grin on his face.
Whenever that happens, my heart sinks a little faster. Whenever someone tells me: don’t worry, he’ll figure it out, I want to block out their advice. Whenever I get an e-mail from another mom, telling everyone her child does numbers one and two in the toilet, the potty envy flares up again.
Because I’ve been trying so hard.
And maybe that’s the problem. I should know my son better.
I should know that when it comes to milestones, there’s no gradual slope for Alex. He doesn’t put his toe in the water. Once he grabs a hold of a milestone, he takes off and jumps into the pool with a big resounding splash.
A year ago, I was beginning to wonder if he’d ever start talking. Other kids his age were much more verbal than he was. Teachers from daycare were expressing their concern – which made me worry even more.
And then one fateful spring day, Alex started reciting his ABCs – and hasn’t stopped talking since.
I’m guessing, hoping the same thing will happen with potty training. In the meantime, I’m going to try to rejoice in the little milestones he has crossed: brushing his teeth, putting his toys away, getting into his pajamas.
Someday, when he’s long potty trained and packing his suitcase for college I’m going to miss those times when we sang songs and read stories in the bathroom.
I should savor the moment – and flush that envy right down the toilet.
Jennifer Lubell is mom to two-year-old Alex. We’re still waiting for him to diss the diaper and embrace the potty.