Potty training is one of the parts of parenting that I think everyone begrudgingly accepts has to happen, but no one looks forward to doing. It isn't one of those milestones that is immediately gratifying, like your child's first steps or adorable initial attempts at speaking.
Sometimes, potty training happens right away, and your child takes to the toilet like a duck to water. Sometimes it takes a long time. Sometimes it is hellacious and never-ending, and other times it is easy and fairly straightforward.
And then there are the times that your child's butt hole falls out, which is exactly what happened to my child.
It's technically called a rectal prolapse, which you can go ahead and Google if you have an iron stomach. Basically what happened is this:
It was a dark and stormy night. We had been potty training for some time, and all of us were frustrated, my daughter included. Part of our potty training routine involved sitting on the toilet before bed, waiting for magic to happen. It almost never did, and she would go in her diaper about ten minutes after falling asleep. On this particular night, she had decided she'd had enough, ripped off her diaper, and insisted on sitting on the pot until she did the doo.
Honestly, we thought it was cute. We would come in to check on her, and she would sort of grunt at us and wave us out of the bathroom. She was clearly not going to call it a night until she produced something, which is why, after about 20 minutes of toilet time, my husband and I were relieved to hear: "Made poop! Made poop!"
We rushed in, ready to make complete assholes of ourselves with a triumphant potty celebration when she pointed between her legs, smiling. We peered in, and sure enough, there was something there.
"Poop?" she asked, eager to please. At first we thought so too, albeit poop that had not completed its journey. My husband, brave soul that he is, leaned in for a closer look.
"That's not poop," he said, matter-of-factly. "That's her insides."
He will insist that he didn't say something so terror inducing, but I'm the one with the flashbacks, and let me tell you that that is what he said verbatim. Thoroughly freaked out, we whisked our child off of the toilet, to her bemusement and surprise, and laid her out on the floor in the bathroom.
"Oh my god!" I shouted, close to puking, "ohmygodohmygodohmygod."
It was her anus. Her butt hole was now completely on the outside of her body, along with some other pink stuff that I assume was whatever is directly attached to your pooper.
At this point my husband was frustrated with me because I was gagging and also insisting that we call an ambulance and Googling "my kid's butt hole fell out" which is the absolute wrong thing to do, when suddenly, with a giggle, the entire thing reversed its journey and sucked itself back up inside of her.
That part was a relief, but in many ways, even more disgusting.
After everyone calmed down, our daughter went to bed and my husband and I stayed up late Googling furiously and learned that partial and even complete rectal prolapse isn't uncommon in potty training kids or even little infants during the course of a regular deuce, given the development of their muscles. It usually corrects itself immediately and independently, which is what happened with our kid.
We learned that it isn't recommended to keep your kid on the toilet for too long (which made us feel guilty, because that's exactly what we did--but we didn't want to discourage her either) and that you should make sure they aren't straining.
I took her to the pediatrician anyway as soon as I could the next day, still extremely freaked. The doctor checked her out and there was no evidence that the entire nightmare had even happened, but the she told us very nonchalantly that it could happen again.
Apparently, I was the sole person in this entire situation to be horrified and repulsed by a piece of your body that is supposed to be inside suddenly appearing outside. To my daughter it was nothing. My husband is always fascinated by weird shit like this. My pediatrician had the faraway stare of someone who has seen enough prolapsed rectums to have it not even phase them. I alone was left to think that my kid was now going to have horrible toilet trauma and bathroom complexes.
She doesn't, of course. She made it out of the potty training experience okay. She doesn't even remember it, but it still haunts my dreams and sometimes even my waking hours. I will see a donut or hear "o-ring" and go back to that very dark place in my mind.
So if you're frustrated with potty training remember this: it could be worse. Your child's asshole could fall out of your their body.