Potty training is one of those shitty parts of being a parent. (Potty training, shitty…get it? OK, I guess I’m just easily amused. Let’s move on….) When potty training doesn’t go so well and frustration sets in, well-meaning people like to chime in with these words of wisdom: no kid goes off to college wearing diapers. I used to believe that, but now I’m seriously beginning to wonder.
R is almost 7 1/2 years old. When he was a toddler, he had no real interest in potty training. I didn’t push it; I figured when he was ready, he would sit on the potty. If he was potty trained by 4, I’d be a happy camper. So when he was potty trained at 3 1/2, I was an even happier camper because…
(1) He was potty trained.
(2) With the upcoming birth of son #2 I wouldn’t have 2 kids in diapers.
(3) Did I mention HE WAS POTTY TRAINED! WOO-HOO!
Since he trained “late”, when he was finally potty trained, that was it. Done. Finished. No accidents. Mission accomplished (truly mission accomplished, not the George W. Bush definition of mission accomplished).
J will be 4 in April. I had assumed he would be easier to potty train because he could watch R use the toilet and that would spark an interest. Wrong! J showed even less interest in using the potty than R had:
Me: When are you going to sit on the potty?
The next day
Me: When are you going to sit on the potty?
The next day….yeah, you get the idea. My little smartass kid was never going to sit on the potty. I thought maybe he’d use the potty if I gave him some kind of incentive….a bribe. But bribery, usually very effective in potty training, did not work at all. And believe me, I tried bribing J with some good stuff – candy, cookies, stickers, cars, trains, airplanes, a shopping spree at Target, a blank check. I offered to buy him a TV to which he replied, “A big one like yours?” (FYI – our bedroom TV isn’t that big). I was so desperate I said yes, I would buy him a big TV. Despite promises of a big TV, he still refused to use the potty. I was so mad I threw a shoe at my TV. But I missed because my TV isn’t that big.
Bribery failed (I guess we don’t have a future politician in our midst) so I moved on to tough love. I told J that if he did not poop in the potty like he was supposed to, I’d take away his favorite toys – his trains. His beloved trains. Oh, how he adores those trains! I thought for sure this plan would result in poop in the potty for my son and a Nobel Prize in Potty Training for me.
He pooped. But not in the potty. So bye-bye went the trains. J shed some tears as I took the trains away but I told him that when he pooped in the potty, I would bring the trains back. A few days later, J and I were in the family room. He had no trains to play with so he was driving his cars on the train tracks. Suddenly I smelled something.
Me: Are you pooping?
ME: YOU STOP POOPING RIGHT NOW!
Faster than a speeding bullet (well, maybe not that fast…Mythbusters would totally bust me for using that expression) I picked him up, ran to the bathroom, took off his diaper, and plopped him down on the potty. The diaper only had two tiny turds in it, so there was still more poop to come. He sat there for 10 minutes, absolutely refusing to poop even though I knew he wasn’t finished. Finally he did it….he pooped. In the potty! Hallelujah! I was so happy that I would’ve done a cartwheel if it wasn’t for the fact that I was absent from school the day they taught cartwheels, so I never actually learned how do to a cartwheel correctly. As a reward for pooping on the potty, I gave him one engine back. He was excited to get the train back and I was excited that pooping on the potty may become a regular occurrence. But my excitement would be short-lived.
The following day J was at home with our nanny. They were playing in the family room when he grabbed that one engine that was his reward for sitting on the potty. He handed the engine to the nanny and said, “Here you go.” Then pooped in the fricking diaper right in front of her! What a little shithead stubborn little boy! This kid would rather lose all of his possessions than simply sit on the potty.
Do you hear something? Oh yeah, that’s just the sound of my head banging against the wall in frustration.
Yes, well-meaning people often say no kid goes off to college in diapers. Wanna bet?