I’m a failure. I gave it the ol’ college try, I did. And I barely wanted to admit to the world that I am now a failure at one of the biggest accomplishments of parenting. I will not be adding a new patch to my badge. I will not be saying good riddance to diapers. And while it pains me to share this in the event that the sanctimommies are circling for blood in the water to shame me, I thought, “maybe I’m not the only one.”

I am a potty school dropout. My potty train has jumped the tracks. I have become everything I never thought I’d become. 

Before you start giving me all of your advice, I will lead with this: I potty trained my first child in three days. With no mistakes after. And I pretty much thought I was the cock of the walk. I mean, how can people think this is hard? You just get rid of the diapers and set the timers and voila, underpants city. It’s easy peasy to use the potty.

With my second child, the universe sent me a little humble pie: It took us about 3 months to legitimately call him potty trained. But the major accidents were few and far between. And I was hanging on, tooth and nail, to the rock that was my hill to die on. Real parents don’t give up. Real parents get s**t done. I even read a book, “How to Potty Train Boys” and one great takeaway was to let the boys pee in the bathtub. Don’t ask me why but it was a game changer. Even if they were bathing in urine, it was worth it. Golden baths for all in the name of potty training. Eventually it all shook out, but it definitely changed my perception on the ease with which potty training was executed.

Enter the third child. I got a potty around age 2.5. I casually set it in the bathroom. It casually gathered dust. And then, one day, just after age 3 came around, the Littlest sat on it, was excited, and said, “I wear undies.” He has established readiness. YAS. This should be a cake walk. 

We had a fun trip to that store with the bullseye and giggled as we picked out Minion and Mickey undies. I imagined myself skipping down the sidewalk, as my undie-wearing trio skipped along side, the sunshine eternal, the amount of extra time and freedom we would have without any diaper changes to weigh us down. The cute, slim bag I would need to buy because no room for diapers or wipes would be needed. This kid was as good as outta diapers in my daydreams. And I was in mommy heaven.

We did it all right directly out of the gate. We set a thirty minute timer for three days straight. We ate candy. We clapped for any tiny bit of tinkle in the potty. We read, “Everybody poops,” “Bear in Underwear,” and “Potty.” The bigs got in on the excitement, high fiving the little bro and sitting alongside him as he did his time on the throne. 

And we threw out no less than 3 pair of underwear a day. S**t. All day long. No need to stress, mama. Don’t make a big deal. Take off the undies, redirect. 

And on. And on. 

The weeks went on. And eventually, I did what I’d never done before. What I’d never understood. I regressed. To s**t pants. AKA Pull-ups, s**t pants are the only thing I could cling to. I couldn’t keep throwing out skid-town underpants. Those poor Minions didn’t deserve to be crapped on every waking hour. So, we continued with the potty reminders. The candy. The excitement. But the child. kept. pooping. 

Sure. We had a few tiny victories. And by tiny I mean like raisinette sized drops. 

And one day. One day, I thought we’d gotten over the hump. I sat, in front of the child as he sat on his potty topper. I had him get up on his haunches and push. I gave him the iPad and watched like a doula in the delivery room as the turtle head poked in and out. I asked him to grunt and yell and push that little pokey puppy out of his pooper and BOOM! A large turd took over the toilet! And I think I had a tear in my eye. 

We’ve done it! 

And the universe laughed. The kid walked around “tooting” in his s**t pants immediately after sitting 20 minutes on the pot. And then, he just decided peeing was just as easy in the s**t pants. 

And so. Four and a half weeks after buying a ticket for the potty train, we hopped off. Back to diapers. 

I know. I can’t believe it either. But you know what, it’s just better. 

I’m just over stressing crap like this. Literal crap. This kid will not go to college in a diaper. Probs not even pre-school next year. And hopefully, we didn’t do any permanent damage with our little attempt at the world free of undies. 

I plan that once school is out, I will just let the little Mr. run around nakie nakie all day and then move into undies when we have some better success. But for now, we are back in diapers for this little dude. And I am officially a potty school dropout. And as much fun as it was to imagine my household diaper-free and to skip down the sidewalk in my dreams, I honestly feel very little stress over the whole situation. I gave pees a chance but it just s**t all over me. And it’s just further proof to me that in motherhood and life, you gotta do what works for you. 

So for now, we’re stickin’ with the diapers. We still promote the potty and have the candy jar out and all that jazz. But there is no shame in this dame. Because s**t happens. And for now, I’d rather it happened in a diaper. 

Ashli Brehm

Ashli Brehm = Thirtysomething. Nebraska gal. Life blogger. Husker fan. Creative writer. Phi Mu sister. Breast cancer survivor. Boymom. Premie carrier. Happy wife. Gilmore Girls fanatic. Amos Lee listener. Coffee & La Croix drinker. Sarcasm user. Jesus follower. Slipper wearer. Funlover. Candle smeller. Yoga doer. Pinterest failer. Anne Lamott reader. Tribe member. Goodness believer. Life enthusiast. Follow me at http://babyonthebrehm.com/