Cheers to one more milestone I won’t be celebrating!

by Janelle Hanchett

One of the most baffling aspects of motherhood is the way it seems to obligate me to get excited about things I’m really just not that excited about. Like I’m supposed to get all into it because I’m a mother or something, but really I just watch other women get excited about it and wonder if I’m missing something.

You know like “When did that ship sail, cause seriously, I barely give a shit.”

For example, parent-teacher conferences. I hear women talk about them like they’re the biggest deal all year. You know what I think when I get that notice home? “Damn, how the hell am I going to wrangle the toddler while I sit through this thing?” Or, “Shit. One more thing to do.”

I mean I can write the whole thing for you right now anyway. Here it goes: “Your daughter is way above grade level in all subjects but has a hard time working with others and waiting her turn to talk. Your son is performing below grade level in all subjects but is a natural leader and a master at P.E. and everybody loves him.”

And all these “milestones” that I’m supposed to start jumping up and down shouting “yippee!” – first crawls, first words, first whatever – obviously these are kind of fun, and I’m excited in a “I’m glad my child is progressing” kind of way, but I’m not like tearing down the house with glee. Ya feel me? [Seriously, Janelle, rhyming?]

Because all these “milestones,” while glorious in their indication that all is well with the offspring’s progress, also mark whole new insane levels of work and chaos.

Crawling? Yipee! Now I have a MOBILE maniac.

Walking? Now I have a fast, mobile maniac.

Talking? Start of the slippery slope to the day when she NEVER EVER FUCKING STOPS TALKING. EVER.

But one of the things I felt comfortable in my disdain of, one of the “milestones” I thought I was safe to not get excited about, at all, in fact pretty much loathe, was potty training. I mean, who likes that? Nobody. It’s not fun. It’s not amusing. It’s not even cute. It involves crap and work and pee, and cajoling, and angry blog posts by judgmental women who hate the fact that I bribe my kid with chocolate chips.


So you can imagine my surprise when my homies emailed me an actual invitation to a “potty training party.”

A what what?

Oh yeah, you heard me. A party. Celebrating potty training.

Like, one you’re supposed to attend. Fiesta. Shindig.

You get it.

Here’s a quote, in case you don’t believe me: “Let’s get potty training started with a party! Come and join us for a day celebrating this inevitable milestone! We’ll have snacks and drinks for all, and a lot of fun!”

What the WHAT?

Beyond the excessive use of exclamation points, which already makes me want to die a slow death in a cold basement, the idea of celebrating POTTY TRAINING is about the most obscure concept I’ve ever heard of. It’s like oxymoronic. Or Ironic. It can’t be real. BUT IT IS.

It’s like having a party to celebrate menopause. Or hemorrhoids. Or how about a little shindig honoring a recent hysterectomy? (although wait. That one may have potential.)

You know what potty training looks like in our house? A naked toddler pissing on the floor then running up to us gleefully exclaiming “I peed in the potty!” Or Rocket laughing his ass off from the other room, barely squeaking out between squeals of laughter “Georgia’s pooping in the dollhouse!” Or it’s seeing the toddler begin to urinate on the couch, yelling “NOOOOOO!!!!” (like in one of those Hallmark movies where the dude protagonist watches the main chick die), and (in similar slow motion) bolting across the floor to stick her on the potty, which is, incidentally, IN THE MIDDLE OF THE FREAKING LIVING ROOM (because potty training seems to turn you into white trash, TOO) meaning we all get peed on and the floor is covered but the actual potty contains approximately 5 drops of urine, the sad remains of the cross-room journey.

For obvious reasons, I delay this shit (ha.ha.) as long as I possibly can (because OMG the work involved), but eventually it becomes so obvious that it’s “potty training time!” that I start looking bad at playgroups (um, because I totally go to those), so I start sloughing the work onto my husband, telling him he better get on it and pronto, as payback for the fact that I carried the urinater in question in my womb for 10 months and now pee on myself when I sneeze. Also he still doesn’t know where we keep the strainer.

Only fair, says I.

Dude, I’m not kidding, we’re so bad at potty training the toddler HERSELF asks us to remove her diaper so she can poop.

Judge not. Or judge. Whatever.

So HOW THE HELL am I supposed to comprehend a PARTY celebrating the “inevitable milestone?”

It ain’t easy, I tell you.

After we commiserated for a bit on the bleak state of humanity (what has the world come to when we’re having parties celebrating potty training?), my friend did some sleuthing and discovered that the event in question is this thing created and “sponsored” by Pull-Ups (oh yeah, you thought it couldn’t worse, didn’t ya?), and if you want to have one of these little shindigs, you “apply” for it and Pull-Ups chooses you based on SOMETHING (I can’t even imagine) and they send you a bunch of Pull-ups for your kid and guests, party hats and all kinds of other nonsense. There’s even a “potty training DANCE” everybody can do together! I just vomited a little in my mouth.

So basically, in having one of these parties, you become not only a threat to all that’s holy, but also a tool for the marketing antics of corporate America! Gooooo Huggies!



Only I’m making my own damn invitations. Otherwise, my people won’t be interested. Here they are.

You coming?





  • Suzanne

    Love this! I hated potty training. As far as I am concerned, the three worst things of parenting (young children) because there is a fresh new hell awaiting you in the tween and teen years is:

    CHICKEN POX – of course this dates me as NOW they have a vaccine for that.

    I of course had to deal with that shit on my own.

  • Danielle

    Love it. Totally relate to to the five drops in the potty. Amazingly my bub sleeps dry through naps AND overnight, but god help me if he doesn’t run off and poop somewhere after he has a sit on the potty.

  • Corin Jones

    Seriously….this is AWESOME!! You rock.

  • Molly

    This post couldn’t have come at a better time! I’ve just given up on potty training and decided it’s totally not working and useless. And the stupid chocolate chips didn’t work, so screw it. But I would totally come to your party. Please have it.

    • Vee

      Have you tried mini marshmallows? Or M&Ms? Both of those “incentives” (and the book “Everyone Poops” by Taro Gomi) are the major reason that my son is finally 4/5ths potty trained at 32 months old, after we’ve been trying on-and-off the last 6 months.

      2 (mini) Marshmallows for pee in the potty. 1 for a fart while on the toilet. 3 M&Ms for pooping in the toilet INSTEAD OF YOUR GODDAMN PANTS AGAIN.

  • Corinne

    I was potty trained by a frog puppet named Morton. After having successfully trained me to use the pot he was retired to the top of our Christmas tree a place usually reserved for angelic figures. To this day, my Mother revels in telling every guest that visits our home between Black Friday and Valentines Day how it came to be that a frog puppet achieved the honor of topping our tree. As a young teen I remember the ensnarement that came with every visitor. It wasn’t until reading your post today that I realized that this was my Mother’s way of plotting annual revenge for the horrors that I must have put her through.

  • Stephanie

    A slow death in a cold basement really doesn’t sound too bad. I’m not like that, either (because, hey, you probably wouldn’t have been able to figure that out on your own). I groaned when the twins started walking, groaned even more when Maggie started climbing. I groan mostly. I think I’d find a polite way out of a potty party. That’s nearing Sprinkle stupidity.

  • Jamey

    I’d high five ya right now if I could. All of it. Hysterical and right.

  • Penny

    Well hell yes I’m coming! But only if you show up to my hemorrhoid party. Bring cream and pillows, I need a soft place to sit (except when visiting, remind me not to sit on your couch!)

    Speaking to bribery, I have a picture of Dylan on the potty with a big smile and a huge bowl of individually wrapped snickers bars. Evidence of my bad parenting and polished bribery skills. For more bad parenting, I figure I’ll bust the picture out for his first girlfriend. 🙂

  • Katie Vyktoriah

    A potty training party should involve large quantities of cake and mood stabilizers and be for adults only. It should be something along the lines of a bachelorette party, where we all say goodbye to our sanity instead of singlehood. And there should be a stripper. He can dress as a baby if it makes people feel better.

  • Shannah Quinn

    My best pal just had a hysterectomy at 29… She totally wants a “no baby, baby shower” where the guests bring her lube (for the vaginal dryness) and gift cards to Walgreens to pay for her HRT. She also wants a shirt that reads, “Barren, single, and ready to mingle”. She deserves her party- these crazy potty training but bitches do not.

  • Kate

    bwahahaha. but i really did want a menopause party. could be way more fun than a potty party.

  • Meagan

    Bring towels, hahaha

  • Leah

    Sweet mother of pearl! I read the same cursed Thomas the Tank Engine book 23,848 times to try to get my son to get out of diapers before his twin brothers arrived. With the help of a bell jar of M&Ms coupled with my massively pregnant immobility, I successfully avoided having 3 boys in diapers. Yes – its about me. But it is most assuredly NOT about having a party. We just don’t all fit in the bathroom!

    and here are the possessed cherubs. Note the clutching of the candy with no results, that is, potty training with twins means bribes are paid out for just NOT peeing all over the house:

  • Shan

    What the hey?!? I mean, I knew about the potty dance and how Huggies/Pull Ups want to stay all up in my daughter’s biz-ness, but a whole party? Really? These must be the same people who gladly show everyone the vag and penis shots from their ultrasounds. I don’t get it.

  • Travey a.k.a.

    Sign me up! I am soooo there! And by there, I mean the green lazy ass parent party with beer and klonopin.

    Although… I do like free should it. :0/ Hehehehehe

    Waaaaaaaahhhh!!!!! I don’t wanna start potty training!

  • Travey a.k.a.

    Ummmmm. i swear i typed “shit”. *slaps auto correct*

  • Shelley

    Holy crap, no pun intended of course, thanks for the awesome fits of laughter after a horrible day 🙂

  • Kathy G

    I outsourced my potty-training. Thanks Miss Debbie! Group Daycare is not the devil.

  • Helen

    Bravo! And as far as I read, M&Ms are perfectly acceptable rewards for sitting on the potty. Also, isn’t waiting until she’s ready and willing called, “Child Guided Learning” or some hippy shit like that? It’s totally in the latest parenting books, you need to tell your friends to look that shit up before they judge.
    Good Luck!

  • Carrie Bacher

    You had me totally laughing at loud while reading this post! I have four kids, seven and under, and the worst part of motherhood so faris definetly potty training. I’ve solved the problem by not doing it. My second and third potty trained themselves. They told me when they wanted to wear underwear and they just did(don’t hate me, you can be sure there were many accidents along the way!). I’m not above bribery either, because really, how big is a chocoate chip?
    I definetly want to come to your potty training party.
    BTW, my husband doesn’t know where we keep the strainer either…

  • Julie

    Sitting at my desk by myself laughing out loud. Thank you!

  • Rachel

    So glad my party potty days are over. I do miss the humor though, so thanks for the refresher! You’re so funny. Your commenter, Corinne, above, who was potty trained by a frog puppet named Morton, ALSO hysterical. She should have her own blog if she doesn’t already! Still laughing 🙂

  • Rebecca

    You should have a party just so we can have fun coming up with a cake. Definitely chocolate frosting. Perhaps in the shape of a giant chocolate chip/turd?

  • Jen L

    You fucking crack me up. I have been converted. No more stupid Mormon mommy blogs or Soulemama crap for me. No, I am reading this blog every day. I am lying in bed with my kid who wont sleep alone, sneakily on my phone under the covers, and I can’t stop laughing. I’m going to wake her up I’m laughing so hard. I needed that, thanks.

  • Jen Hobson

    Omg!! I was laughing so hard I had tears streaming down my face! You, my new friend, have a miraculous gift of words!

    On a side note, I have been feeling the loss recently that you described in your “I died to live” post, and I had a Facebook friend who randomly shared it there. I am so happy to have seen it and taken the time to read it. I was feeling so alone and like I couldn’t say anything because then people would think I was some neglectful, regretful, inferior mom. could literally feel my soul lifting just in knowing that someone out there had the courage to acknowledge these feelings.

    Thanks for doing what you do. I am so grateful for you!

  • taryn

    Fuck potty training. My oldest made it such a tear-jerking frustration fest (on my end, make no mistake) that I avoided it with my middle child. My middle child, who just felt like doing what her sister did one day and demanded no effort on my part. Every child makes it different, but it’s still a fucked up process where all of us are mourning the loss of our clean carpets and furniture and wondering if that shit stain will ever come out of whatever the fuck odd thing said child was wearing. The only party I want in regard to that mess is a one person tequila party. Every night until it’s over.