When he screams he is NOT going on this potty, I can envision what I'm hearing as you're desperately trying to wrangle a half undressed, angry child in a dirty metal box the size of a sardine can.
When the automatic flush goes off before he's finished, I feel the tension and frustration as you try to calm him and tell him he will in fact not get flushed down.
When he peeks his head under the stall at me and you try to pull him back without him throwing himself onto the floor, I hear the embarrassment and desperation in your voice as you profusely apologize.
As you go to wash your hands and he insists he can do it himself, then gets soap on his sleeve and cries that he wants a new shirt, I see you forcing yourself to keep it together.
When you pull his hands back into the water because he hasn't gotten all the soap off himself and he gets angry, I feel the daggers as shouts "I don't like you anymore!" Even though we both know he doesn't mean it, I see you avoiding eye contact because you're struggling and on the verge of tears and don't want me to see it.
I know you think I'm judging you.
But what I see is a mom, who challenges her child to learn new things, and is teaching him to be independent and care for himself.
I see a three year old being a three year old. Not a naughty, or defiant, or awful three year old, just being a three year old! A three year old who is learning to navigate a confusing world of norms, emotions, rules, and strange exceptions to the rules that don't make sense to his three year old mind.
And you taught me something today.
You taught me that even though it felt like a million years struggling in that bathroom, that patience and calm got you through much faster than anger and frustration.
You reminded me that this too shall pass.
To the mom with the potty training toddler in the public bathroom: since I know you don't feel it, I wanted to tell you that you are doing a great job.
Authored by: Trish Morfitt