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Oh, how I wish I could go back in time and tell myself during the hellish early baby days of sleepless nights and self doubt that those, were in fact, easy compared to what we’re going through now. My son is going through potty training right now, and it’s not easy.

I know, that if I google this subject, I will be mocked by the search results on how to potty train in a weekend, it’s so easy a blind monkey with one arm can do it, and they fling their poo for fun. The reality is, it’s not so easy, okay? And anyone who’s had an easy job of doing this can kindly shove all their helpful advice into the mountain of pull ups that we simply can’t get away from using.

The trouble is not the potty training process itself, but the undying persistence through which my son insists on doing everything himself. Pairing this with the unfortunate lack of understanding he has on routes of infection (like putting filthy fingers into one’s mouth or accidental smearing of said filth into unsuspecting parts of the house), we have a recipe for disaster.

I feel like my entire house needs a hazmat crew to give it a top to bottom disinfection, but it would only last until the next round of stinkbutt. His first step is to deny he’s gone at all, but he doesn’t realize we’re fully capable of detecting who dealt it. Then the coaxing and cajoling into the illusion of “do you need to sit on the potty?” when clearly, he’s already taken care of it in his pants. Following this step, he discreetly tries to reach into the danger zone and inspect for himself, intermittently placing his fingers near or in his mouth, which results in further freakouts on our part.

When we finally come to an accord, that yes indeed we do need to go to the bathroom to get cleaned up, he insists on removing the soiled clothing himself, which can be done effectively, but usually just ends up flinging the poo everywhere as the velcro strap releases itself. Finally, we get him to sit on the potty with great praise, only to be told to “go away” (his new favorite thing to say). After the time that he deems appropriate for us to be banished has passed, we can begin the clean up process, which he now insists on being part of, to little effectiveness.

We get him cleaned up and dressed again, washing our hands as thoroughly as humanly possible, sending him on his way. Then we wipe down the entire bathroom searching like a crime unit for any smears that would escape the cursory review. While this is happening, he’s gone again, and we have to begin the process over. I smell it everywhere, it’s merging with my DNA, I am forever unclean, and I’m so beyond grossed out I can barely think about it.