You Say Potty Training, I Say 'Aaaahhh!'

Courtney Rubin

This article, entitled You Say Potty Training, I say Dear God! comes from Courtney Rubin at partner site Embracing the Insanity.

Once again I have reached one of the worst milestones of parenting: POTTY TRAINING. I hate it, I hate it, I hate it. I have done this twice before, each with different techniques and results; and yet, even though I have written about my previous attempts with my 3rd, months later here I am, still at a loss as how to proceed with this one as he is quite different from my other two.

My older son was convinced that he must rebel against his evil mother who was trying to deprive him of the joys of sitting in his own excrement for the rest of his given life and would only consent to go once I had thrown up my hands in defeat and told him that he would just have to wear Depends (this was approx. 1 1/2 years after we began the process – not exaggerating).

My daughter, who is extremely prissy in most instances, was a potty training enigma because she was one of the only kids I knew who didn’t mind a bit o’ nasty in the big girl panties as long as she could keep playing. So gross and totally disproving the theory that girls are easier than boys to potty train (although she was done a few months sooner than my son).

I had heard that subsequent children become interested in the potty earlier because they see their older brothers/sisters using it and want to be big like them. Much like the falsehood that is “girls are easier to potty train than boys,” this rumor has also proven to be unfounded. My little guy turned two in October and could care less. He just can’t be bothered to take time out of his busy schedule to pop a squat and deposit his goodies in the proper receptacle. He doesn’t want to stand and aim at anything either, even though I have provided big brother as an example of the proper way to dispose of bodily functions. He would rather try to reach into the toilet to grab the Cheerios or throw a boat in there to play with. He is just a non-stop whirlwind, and a large one at that. Quite the dilemma.

Trying to learn from my older son who took longer to train because he was resisting me telling him what to do, I have been actively attempting to incorporate the idea of the big boy potty without forcing it on the little one. For example:

  • I bought him an amazing Cars potty which makes an awesome VROOOM sound. This was a mistake as the button that makes the noise is the only part of the toilet he is interested in (unless he feels the need to disassemble it and attempt to put it back together improperly). Glad I could accidentally find a way to distract him even more from the task at hand. Smack to the forehead for my stupidity and punches to the faces of the makers of the stupid Cars toilet. Clearly the designers are old men who have never dealt with the attention spans of 2-year-old boys.

  • I re-purchased Elmo’s potty time. My older two had this and we passed it on to my nephew when they were done so we were due for a new copy as I can actually deal with hearing the funny songs over and over (unlike nearly every other children’s DVD we own). I had hoped that seeing Elmo on the commode and hearing about the joys of using the toilet, and even the ups and downs of having accidents, would make him want to at least try out his potty or the big potty. No such luck. All he has taken from it are the many different ways you can say “Pee” and “Poo”. If you have seen this DVD, you know what I am talking about. He has even murmured “I call it pee-pee and poo- poo” in his sleep. Lovely. People are going to start thinking he has Tourette’s if he keeps yelling out all of these terms. His new favorite song is “You’ll do it, you’ll use the potty” from this DVD. How ironic as I have my doubts as to whether he ever will actually do it, although he does tell me that I am a big boy each time I successfully make it through the bathroom process so I know he gets the concept more than he is letting on.

  • I have tried letting him wear a pair of big boy underwear. He is not a fan of the “constriction” and immediately strips down to his birthday suit and takes off streaking through the house. This act of going commando is not a bright sign for the future.

  • I was going to bring the potty out into the living room so that he could just sit on it and get a feel for it while watching Super Why or reading a book, but then I had a dream that he was 30, sitting on his Cars potty all day watching Sports Center and asking for a beer and now I just can’t bring myself to follow through.

Now, it’s not just the stubbornness of my kids or the lackadaisical attitude that drives me nuts, but it’s also the fact that now I have to revert to the newborn phase and keep a “just in case an accident happens” bag ready each time I dare leave the house. And, accidents will most definitely happen – Elmo told me that, usually during the one time I manage to forget the “just in case” bag (I will not go into detail but let’s just say that a rather large and messy accident occurred while out to dinner with my oldest one night and our “just in case” bag was nowhere to be found -- we haven’t been back to that restaurant in 4 years and we shudder with horror each time we drive by at the very memory of this accident). Also, if you have a boy, it may not be an accident at all when they randomly decide to whip out their boy parts because they had been told it was fun to pee on a tree. A TREE, BUT NOT THE TOILET!

You find out quickly that if you are brave enough to venture beyond your own front yard on a regular basis, you will be forced to visit each and every public restroom in the city, mostly for no reason other than to allow your child to check out the sinks. God help you if you have more than one young child and the handicapped stall is taken. My older two are less than 18 months apart and, on numerous occasions, I found myself squeezed inside of a regular stall, propping my butt against the stall door hoisting one kid over the toilet while trying to prevent the other from crawling out, using only my knees and big toes. Also did this once in an airplane bathroom. It was exhilarating.

Once you finally manage to make it out of the bathroom 15 minutes later (usually after a “false alarm”), you will inevitably find yourself in aisle 7 with a cart full of groceries hearing the magic words, “uh oh!” This causes you to quickly debate whether or not to just get the heck out of dodge or do the right thing and let some poor, unsuspecting employee know that your kid isn’t housebroken yet so they will need to take of the business that you so kindly left for them.

I’m not even going to mention all of the people who are silently (and sometimes not so silently) judging you to be a poor parent because your kid isn’t out of diapers by age two like their child was. (Sidenote: it is not helpful to the potty training cause to point out these facts and once the kid gets older, who really gives a crap? I mean this both literally and metaphorically. Just be sympathetic because I’m about to lose it over here!!!)

I tremble in fear at what is headed my way in the very near future and I remember feeling this desperate with the other two so I know eventually it will pass, but it is still such a daunting process right now, especially as I glance over into the corner as I am typing this very post to notice a little head peeking out of his “poo spot” (yes, he has a spot that he goes to and it is not the toilet) and smiling a mischievous smile at me, taunting me with the knowledge that my fear of eternally changing diapers will not be ending any time soon….



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