Adult to Adult: What Potty Training Is Really Like

I am a 36-year-old man with a wife, two kids, a dog, more cats than I care to mention, and a mortgage. I have a full-time job. I have a 401K.

I say this to establish the fact that I am a somewhat functioning adult. At the very least, I am able to give people that impression, so I write this with a little bit of authority. In all honesty, potty training is not that bad.

The Changing Challenges of Parenting

When my wife and I had our first child, my mom made an interesting point. Parenting never really gets easier, but the challenges change as the child changes. When they are a newborn, the struggle is to keep them fed and asleep while anticipating their needs. When they become a toddler, it is keeping them safe as they learn to navigate the world. The challenges continue as they grow.

The same is true for potty training. Compared to those first days when the child sleeps at odd hours and demands food at the weirdest of times, potty training is a breeze. Parents will deal with things that are much more complicated.

With that said, potty training is not without its nuances. The key for me was to always keep the experience positive even when my daughter had an accident. Yes, her going to the bathroom on the floor three times in less than an hour made my blood boil, but I had to remember to ignore the failures and celebrate the successes.

Teaching potty training is, in my mind at least, similar to the experience of walking. The child does not just wake up one day with the ability to walk on their own. They first learn to sit up, and then to be on all fours, then to crawl, before they stand up, get their balance, and then take those first steps.

Potty training follows a similar progression. There will be many accidents over time. Slowly but surely, though, the child will begin to put it together. As parents, our job is to watch over them like every other milestone, pointing them in the right direction when we can, encouraging them and serving as a guide.

Difficult and Easy

I am not trying to downplay the occasional frustration that will surely come. Potty training has its challenges. The occasional mess can be especially difficult to keep a positive attitude through, especially after a long day at work or an especially hard day watching the kids. There will be hard moments.

Like everything else, though, it is nothing a parent can’t handle. There will be these hard times, but by simply getting the child to the stage they are ready for potty training means that as a parent, you’ve survived a few battles. This is simply another one that seems scary at first, but once you get the hang of it may be easier than you imagined. You are an adult. You do adult things, even if you don’t want to. You got this.


Additional Potty Training Resources:

  1. 20 Tips for Potty Training Toddlers
  2. Potty Training Tips



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David Stegon

David Stegon is a writer, editor, and father of two based in Virginia. He has written for traditional and digital publications for the past 13 years. David holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from Temple University and a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University.

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