I’ve had two fears about potty training since the very beginning: toileting a toddler in a porta potty, and poop getting smeared everywhere. I faced both my fears over the last week and here’s what I learned.

Sometimes life is shitty.

Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, shit gets everywhere. And it’s disgusting. And you survive.

Some kids toilet train easily. Others, like mine, are an absolute nightmare and have absolutely no qualms about sitting in their own feces. If I could assign one word to my daughter’s potty training it would be

Uninterested
Meh
Frequency
Happily sits in poop

Ok, that’s more than one word but you get the picture.

I’ve spent the majority of restaurant dinners in the bathroom, taking her when she asks 5 minutes after we return to the table. I’ve cleaned up booster seat accidents in the restaurant. I’ve faced the nightmare that is a downtown public park washroom. And finally, this last week a porta potty (which involved me yelling DON’T TOUCH ANYTHING! I MEAN IT- HANDS UP!) and poopy footprints all over my bathroom floor.

And after facing it all, here’s what I learned: There is absolutely nothing I can do about it. Nothing. Zero. Notta single thing.

I’ve tried being patient, offering encouragement, yelling, punishing, shaming (not my finest moments), making her clean up her mess, saying nothing, putting her back in diapers, rewards, taking her on a set time schedule, giving her complete control.

And you know what? Each and every one of those has worked. Temporarily. But nothing has lasted.

So here’s the hardest conclusion that I have learned and continue to re-learn after every trying moment. I need to be ok with it. I need to take it in stride. It’s out of my control so I need to let it go.

I can’t let my happiness be dictated by something I can’t control. I can’t continue to lose my shit (emotionally) every time it happens because there’s nothing I can do about it. And to give my daughter that control over me – where she can control my emotions just by pooping her pants – is not something I want.

So she can poop her pants. And I can still be happy.