A Potty-Training Lament

A Potty-Training Lament

Aug 12

If you like this article, please share it with your friends!


kid underwear

I have often wondered why I’ve put off potty training Mia this long. When I re-read this post from my potty-training days with Salem, I suddenly remembered why:

I have to admit, when my mother sent me the book, Toilet Training in Less Than A Day, by Nathan H. Azrin and Richard M. Foxx, I promptly put it in the “things-to-be-sure-to-pull-out-and-leave-lying-around-when-mom-comes-to-visit” bin.

Until last Sunday.

For nearly four days, Salem {and Mia} and I had our mail forwarded to the bathroom where we sat waiting…. waiting….. waiting for that magic moment that would never come unless I promised to buy them each a pony. I was desperate…. desperate enough to humor my mother and read the bathroom heresy book cover to cover in…. ironically enough…. less than a day. Three-quarters of the way through, I started to believe that this might actually work. That’s the funny thing about books like Toilet Training in Less than a Day, Three Minute Abs, and The One Minute Millionaire… One moment you’re a critic and the next you’re a disciple… sort of like what happens after a good Amway presentation. So, bathroom heresy turned potty gospel claims that one of the most effective ways to encourage your child to do his business within the proper purlieu is to create a “Friends Who Care” list. Now, this list includes anyone {real or fictional} that the child looks up to and respects that not only puts their pee pee and poo poo in the potty, but who would also be proud of his or her bathroom accomplishments. Our “Friends Who Care” list included but was not limited to:

Harry Potter
David Gray
Eric Clapton
Dave Matthews
Jeff Beck

By day two, our list had grown to include Phil Collins, Jesus Christ, Buddy the Elf, and the arctic penguins of Disney’s Earth. I figured we could sort out the different bathroom habits of animals, humans, and elves later, but for now, I was happy to expand our fan club to include anything or anyone that inhaled oxygen if it meant that my son would be inspired to toilet himself.

I wouldn’t dare spoil the book as it is soon bound to become a nail biting mini-series, but the one-day training method also restricts the commode-courting duo {in this case, Salem and I} to one room in the house for the duration of the training. The book strongly recommends conducting Bowel Boot Camp in the kitchen to better contain any accidents and spills. I’ll admit this is particularly disgusting, however, if the two of us were held prisoner for two days in our hobbit-sized bathroom, I am quite certain one of us wouldn’t have made it out before severe psychosis had turned our brains to pâté. Oh, and did I mention, this method involves no television or entertaining distraction such as books, siblings, or anything that has buttons and lights up which for a pre-schooler is an unusual form of medieval torture. For a mom, it is confirmation that Dr. Foxx and Dr. Azrin are, in fact, Al Qaida terrorists. So, by the end of day one we had learned the the oven door opens with a creak in B flat, there are approximately 32 linoleum tiles between the fridge and the kitchen sink, the faucet drips every 2.4 minutes and most importantly…

The book lied.

Now I have great kids. Exceptional, in my mothering opinion. But even my little angel was so over the whole accident routine which involves not one, but TEN practice runs to the potty seat from various points in the house lifting and lowering Thomas the Tank Engine underpants reciting “pee pee in the potty”. During one of our rehearsals, wet Thomas underpants went hurling across the kitchen at Mommy which under normal circumstances would have resulted in immediate disciplinary action, but these were far from ordinary circumstances. This was hell.

At one point, I glanced at my university degree hanging in the hallway next to a framed picture of Clark and I with President Bush. That was the moment I became painfully aware that raising children, while it is one of life’s great joys, is in fact one of Life’s Great Equalizers. No amount of education, world travel, or rubbing shoulders with the most powerful man on planet Earth was ever going to get my son to keep his pants dry. And so, there I am, a college grad, on day TWO/hour six of doing the “dry pants dance” {which sort of looks like wacky jacks only you spin in circles and say “dry pants dance” over and over until you lose all dignity and self-respect}. Upon completing this life lesson, I promptly put the kids to bed and proceeded to drink more margaritas than what is legally allowed in six states. Before you start to worry, I was amongst friends and Spouse. Friends don’t let friends drink post-potty training margaritas alone.

And so, I am reporting to you live from the fish mat.

The fish mat: one obnoxiously bright vinyl sheet covered in neon angler fish that harkens back to the days of Spring Break in Panama City Beach. It no doubt originated from the same highbrow establishment that specializes in air-brushed T-shirts and bedazzled navel rings, but it is waterproof. So far it has served nicely as a duvet, a futon cover, a floor rug, and most importantly, a barrier between Salem’s training accidents and every fabric surface in the Beasley household. I am considering having it matted and framed when this ordeal is all over.

The good news is that diapers are history. That’s one down and one to go. It didn’t take a day like the book claimed, but my little champ is well on his way to becoming a potty pro sans a few oops… {three and counting since the inception of this blog post.}

Now Mommy, stop blogging and do the “Dry Pants Dance”!!!!

{Image via Goat Milk}

If you like this article, please share it with your friends!

Salina Beasley