February 20, 2009

Potty Training ...

Moms are proud of their toddlers for many reasons: learning their ABCs, recognizing family members in photos, not eating things found under the couch (of course, Moms never take into consideration how fresh the Cheeto may look). Dads are proud of these accomplishments too (more Cheetos for us), but we really get excited when our kids start performing useful talents.

Specifically, tinkling in the toilet.

Two months ago, my daughter decided to try this out. It came as a quite a shock to me, as I thought potty training was still years away. But she started asking. So we'd hold her up over the toilet and, what'da ya know—she'd pee! No prompting. No asking. She'd just sit her tooshie down and do her business. It was unbelievably easy.

Now I'm not one to overly dramatize such situations, but a euphoric sense of freedom overcame me. Happy thoughts dashed through my head, like a pack of Olympic sprinters on Red Bull. Goodbye Huggies and take care. So long Pampers, your services are no longer needed here. See you later diaper bag, don't let the door hit your handle on the way out.

And that is how we potty trained Ella.

"AS IF!" yelled Wayne and Garth (that's right, I just hit you with a Wayne's World reference—you're welcome).

All of that really did happen, and I earnestly thought we were close to a diaper-free daughter. But two short months later, our peeing process has changed, and it's not as neat and compact as it once was. Let me walk you through a typical trip to the bathroom with my darling Ella:

I ask, "Do you need to go potty?"
Ella responds, "Hokey Pokey?"
I say, "No, the potty."

Then she puts her right arm in. Then her right arm out. Then her right arm in. (You get the picture.)

I smoothly transition her from the Hokey Pokey to our potty dance, which may or may not look something like this: Potty Dance Video. When our Congo line reaches the bathroom, I quickly take off her diaper and put her Dora the Explorer potty seat on the toilet. She promptly turns the seat sideways, but gives me a condescending look as if to say, Why does this bozo always put my seat on wrong?

She finally sits on the toilet but makes me sit down on the floor right next to her—which is not nearly as appealing as you may believe. In the next four seconds, she manages to (in no particular order) unravel the roll of toilet paper, grab the plunger, flush the toilet, knock over the candle sitting on the toilet, pull down the hand towels, unravel the toilet paper more and fart.

After regrouping, calming her down and hiding everything within a six-mile radius, I start the negotiation process. I don't mean to brag, but I've always been a good negotiator. I bought my car below market value. I persuaded my wife—who's way out of my league, mind you—to marry me. I even convinced myself to like broccoli … BROCCOLI! Compared to those, this negotiation should be a piece of pie:

"If you pee, you wipe with grownup toilet paper."
"Wipe?"
"And you'll get some M&Ms."
"Ms?"
"Yes, Ms."

A big grin comes over her face. So I turn my ear toward her and give her the I'm-Listening-Closely-For-The-Sweet-Sound-Of-Pee face. At this point, one of two scenarios play out:

1. She pees, I clap and cheer, we wipe, wash hands, then I shower her with "Ms"; or
2. She sticks her finger deep in my ear and effectively punctures my brain.

So I guess potty training isn't nearly as easy as I'd hoped it would be. Sometimes there are flashes of brilliance and this process takes less than a minute, while other times I'm just hoping that my little angel doesn't stick her hand down her crack and sniff it. I know eventually she'll get it down; after all, she's amazingly smart and incredibly young to be potty training in the first place. But until then, I'm going to have to make amends with a few key players.

Well Pampers, Huggies and diaper bag—I know we all said some things we regret, and we'd take them back if we could but we can't. For Ella's sake, let's act like adults. We're going to be friends for a bit longer. I'm willing to offer an olive branch to show my sincerest apologies. Want a Cheeto?

I'd love to hear about your potty training experiences. What worked? What didn't? Did you survive? Drop a note in the comments section below or e-mail me at fozzie007atYahoo.com.

The Life of Dad is updated every other Friday (barring the call of family duties). Thanks for stopping by and following my attempts to be a good dad, husband and co-ed softball player. I hope you visit again. -- Brian

11 comments:

KellyJ said...

We went through the "She's two and she's going in the potty already! We're done with diapers for good!" phase as well, and of course, went to pull-ups and nite time pants. But the saving grace for us was daycare! Suddenly other people were offering to potty-train our daughter for us, while we were at work! We got notes saying, "If you send Katie to school with extra undies and pants, we'll be happy to potty-train her for you." You bet!! And it worked! Our little one is fully trained and sleeping in big-girl undies at the ripe age of 3 1/2!! Life is good. Even the poop times.

sarah said...

OMG, do you really do the Potty Dance? Thanks for the Ella fix!

Brian A. Klems said...

Yeah, though our potty dance involves a leg kick. :-)

aunt mel said...

i dont know what your problem is... every time i take her to the potty, not only does she pee, but she POOPS! i guess my special talent of pooping is rubbing off on her (the talent, no the actual poop. ha)

Topher said...

Raising a potty prodigy! Great Work!
My goal is to be the potty master!

Eros Alegra said...

we went through that recently with Zaviera. I was convinced, once again, that somehow that my DNA had learned from its mistakes, regrouped with my husbands, gathered the best remaining strands from the grandparents and joined together to create geniuses. Which, of course, they are, proven by the fact that they are oh, so creative when it comes to the toilet business and both have refused to do it in one swift transition. Both of them had false starts, and I am pretty sure Zaviera will decide to sit on the toilet backwards or try to pee standing up like her big brother.
Stay tuned...

Katie said...

I haven't even tried to potty train Casey and he will be 2 in April. With the new baby recently showing up, we have decided that he has had enough change. But, he sleeps in a toddler bed and NEVER gets up without us coming to get him :) That's what I brag about!

Lisa said...

Your post made me laugh, Brian. Great description of the potty-sitting process.

My first two kids were a blur when it comes to toilet training. Both told me when they were ready, I followed all the right steps from the parenting books, and they managed to shed the diapers a few weeks later.

So imagine my surprise when my youngest - born almost a decade after my first - informed me that he was going to be a "no-toilet" kid. I finally sought out my pediatrician's advice when all of the advice books failed to help and my child turned three without going potty in the big boy toilet.

"Leave him naked from the waist down. It may take a day at the most, but once he doesn't feel the pull-up next to his skin, he'll go in the toilet."

Yeah. Right.

Three days later, I had a kid who liked being naked and peed in the plant in the living room when I wasn't looking - and was going to be in dire need of suppositories if he held it much longer. He got his pull-up back, and I threw out the plant.

A few weeks later, I found him on the computer playing one of his older brother's computer games. This was the kid who figured out how to click a mouse when he was barely one and who would spend hours listening to his Living Books cd's in Japanese and Spanish until he had the memorized, including the sound effects.

It was then that inspiration hit.

"Oh, no," I said, pulling him down from the chair in front of the computer. "Only big boys who go potty in the toilet can play Star Wars games. You aren't a big boy yet, so off you go."

"I can too potty in the toilet," he countered.

"Show me."

He did. And never wet the bed, peed in a plant (at least that I know about), or had a single accident.

So I have to thank Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker for helping to potty train my kid.

Nicole said...

Love reading your blog.

I found with my kids who are now teenagers that the best way to potty train is to back off and try not to get stressed.

I felt pressured by others whose "little angels potty trined themselves at 9 months!" and pushed my kids too early.

Play the big girl card as much as you can, buy big girl panties together, her size not yours, and let her do it when she is good and ready.

I was worried but it turns out there are no unpotty trained kids in college!

Good luck and keep some of those M&M's for yourself :)

Jillian Livingston said...

Hello Brian, I found you through Writer's Digest. That potty dance video is a riot. Toddlers truly do launch us onto another planet, I'm sure you could never have envisioned yourself watching this video not to mention enthusiastically doing the dance, when you were a bachelor.

Thanks for the image! Best, Jillian
http://isdisnormal.com

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