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Since when are other parents the potty training police?

There are few Superiority Game topics moms love more than potty training. When I had kids, I had no idea that people I barely knew would be so interested in my kids’ excrement. No matter when and how you potty train your kids, you’re not doing it right. 

I started potty training one of my daughters at 15 months. When other moms saw a potty in my house, they looked at me like I was pouring Grey Goose into her baby bottle.

“You’re potty training her already,” they gawked. “Don’t you think that’s a lot of pressure?”

“Hmm. So do you think the test on binary covalent compounds that she has to pass before she can watch Caillou today is too much pressure, too?” I asked.

Not that it was any of their business, but we had a potty for a reason. The reason being that my daughter had taken to crapping all over the house. When she had to go, she would strip and go. On my cream carpet. In her toy kitchen. On my shoes. I wonder how well those moms would have responded to finding a load in their Tory Burch slingbacks.

So, I bought a small potty and told my daughter to use it if she felt like it. It took months and months for my daughter to become fully potty trained, but at least she stopped taking stealth dumps around the house.

Another daughter I didn’t start to potty train until she was almost three. And—you guessed it—mothers criticized me for that, too. “You haven’t started her potty training yet? Harold was potty trained as a baby. We started elimination communication with him in utero. We don’t believe in diapers.”

I made a mental note to never sit on any of the furniture in Harold’s house. I also Googled “elimination communication.” (It’s when a caregiver uses cues and intuition to toilet train an infant. Sort of like a cross between a Magic 8-Ball and baseball pitcher signals). That afternoon, I tried to Jedi mind-trick my daughter and predict when she’d go. I waved my hand over her face chanting, “You like your potty seat, don’t you?” It achieved nothing except for giving me an urgent need to use the bathroom.

Experience and countless conversations with moms about potty training have taught me these important lessons:

  1. Everyone knows how to potty train your child better than you do.
  2. Yes, you are potty training your child too early.
  3. Yes, you are potty training your child too late.
  4. If you bribe your kid with candy, stickers, etc., they will never understand the satisfaction of a job well done.
  5. If you don’t bribe your kid with candy, stickers, etc., they will never understand the satisfaction of a job well done.
  6. If you use cloth diapers, you are ruining the environment by using gallons of water to wash them.
  7. If you use disposable diapers, you are ruining the environment by creating more landfills.
  8. Don’t worry, no kid ever went to college in diapers!
  9. I once knew a kid whose mom didn’t potty train him properly, and he went to college in diapers.

So disregard the haters. It comes down to what’s best for you, your child, and your shoes.

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About Erica June Ford, Bundoo Blogger

Erica Ford is a writer, editor, and host of the Boston radio show South Shore Live.  Her humorous essays about parenthood have been featured in The Huffington Post, the New York Times, and her popular blog Mommy Klatch. She is the author of Scotch Tape is Cheaper Than Botox.

Erica completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Michigan, received her law degree from Boston College, and practiced law in Boston for several years. Aside from her three daughters, the highlight of Erica’s life was when Oprah Winfrey asked her to read her writing onstage at the Life You Want conference in 2014.

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