According to the millions of how-to potty training books, my twins demonstrated all the signs of being ready to begin the exciting adventure of using a toilet. In fact, my children have done everything short of pulling off their diapers and getting on the toilet to use it.
What all that potty training advice fails to mention is how to recognize “mommy readiness”. Here, I will attempt to fill the void.
Many moms spend the majority of their waking hours cleaning some sort of mess, whether it's the food smeared on the furniture or the diaper cream used as finger paint or the toys strewn across every inch of the house. Just the thought of encouraging another mess can send some moms right over the edge.
There comes a time, however, when the diaper messes become so revolting that the thought of cleaning up after potty training actually sounds appealing. This is what I mean by mommy readiness. If you're wondering what I'm talking about, just wait. You're much better off remaining in a state of blissful ignorance until then.
On the topic of messes: the endless amount of laundry moms face on a daily basis. Obviously when potty training a child, accidents will occur, leading to more laundry. Mommy readiness becomes apparent when you find yourself cleaning sheets, blankets, and clothes every morning thanks to stripped off diapers. Suddenly, cleaning a few extra outfits seems minimal.
It's difficult to imagine having to add another activity to an already busy schedule, much less one that involves running to the bathroom at a moment's notice because your potty trainee needs to go. But when you add up all those dollars spent on diapers and wipes, you realize that spending some extra time in the bathroom might not be so bad after all.
Going to public places with toddlers is extremely challenging. They are interested in all the new and fascinating items in front of them, which sends them in every direction except the one you want. Their attention span is also limited, so you find yourself moving at warp speed trying to accomplish whatever task you set out to do. “Accidents” in public create yet more obstacles in your outing. That said, discovering your child bathing in toilet water speedily enhances your readiness to deal with any accident in public.
Many people avoid using public restrooms. Toilet training your child means using public restrooms on a regular basis. Finding your child throwing their dirty diaper across a room that is not a bathroom helps you overcome this hang up real fast.
This is by far the most difficult step for any parent to make. On some level, they will always be our babies. After learning to use the potty, the next step is going to college – or that's how it feels sometimes. Statistically, most college students end up moving back home anyway, so you need not worry about them leaving you anytime soon.
Hopefully, these signs of mommy readiness will help you know when it's time to potty train your toddler. If you've got a friend clearly exhibiting these signs who's also in denial, feel free to leave a copy of this article discreetly on her desk. I might leave a copy on my own desk as well.