We sat cramped in one corner of the bathroom. Her breathing was labored. I watched her whole stomach tighten up as she clenched her teeth and bared down. “You’re doing great!” I yelled. “Keep pushing! You’re almost there!” I held her hand on the next push and she looked up at me, expectantly. “You’re so close!” I said.
This went on for another five minutes or so. The pushing and stopping. The words of encouragement and the anxious and hopeful look in her big blue eyes.
Then, as quickly as it started, it was over. We sat there, grinning at each other with pride. She had done it. She had pooped on the potty.
I never realized how much potty training was like coaching a woman through childbirth until that night in the bathroom with my little Bean. Having been present for both of my labor and deliveries (obvi) and for the birth of my niece, I couldn’t help laughing from my child-sized chair. The similarities are kind of hilarious.
5 Ways Potty Training a Toddler is Like Being a Birthing Coach
1. The suspense
The buildup to the big moment is intense. You go weeks (sometimes months!) on the edge of your seat in anticipation. Will today be the day our whole world is going to change? You watch carefully for any signs that something is about to happen. Does that look on her face mean we’re close? Or was it just a little gas? Does the way she’s sitting/walking/eating mean something?
2. The preparation
There are books to be read and videos to be watched. There are bags to be packed (and checked and rechecked to make sure nothing is forgotten. A change of clothes is essential). Until the Big Day, it’s the only thing you can think of and it’s totally reflected in the fact that everything in your life revolves around It.
3. The false starts
Sometimes you’re both sure that today is the day. You can just feel it in the air. She’ll suddenly look over at you, her eyes as big as saucers, and race towards the bathroom. “I think this is it,” she’ll say. And then its not.
4. The cheerleading
Once you’re in the thick of it, the words of praise and encouragement flow through you naturally. All you need is pom poms, a smaller outfit and the slightest hint of coordination and you could totally be rubbing elbows with NFL superstars. Your enthusiasm just can’t be matched. “Push!” you cheer. “You’re doing it! Almost there! Just a little farther!”
5. The overwhelming feeling of pride and accomplishment
When it’s all over, everyone lets out a huge sigh of relief. You hug, you high five, you beam at each other with pride. She did it. It was a long, hard road, but she did it.
If you’re in the potty training trenches like me, take a deep breath. Your toddler won’t still be in diapers when he’s 16, even if it really seems like it right now. Also, check out these posts by other blogging mommas that made me feel way less stressed:
The always hilarious Mommy Shorts tells us 12 Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me About Potty Training.
A Cup of Jo shares her potty training diary.