In Conclusion (Potty Training Finale).

Like the previous two children, when The Wife and I had our third, and final child, we didn’t know what to expect. It was great news and perfect timing (there’s only three years difference between each child). We were happy.

How can you know what to expect, really? Not to get all hippy dippy and weird, but everyone kind of is like a snow flake. Doubly so, for babies. They may seem like one-trick ponies, what with all of the neediness and crying and noise. But even with something as simple as teaching the kid to shit in the toilet and not their hand, your kid’s personality will shine through, every time.

Parents don’t consciously realize this (at least I didn’t…) until hindsight kicks in. No one is to blame if this is the case. Parenting is fucking hard. All of the time. Even when you think things have plateaued out and are hunky dory, parenting is still hard.

So when Little Bear was born, The Wife and I were blown away. Why? Because everything was easy with this fucking kid. Feeding, playing, exercising, listening… Everything.

And what’s more, she was happy. All. Of the fucking. Time. There was a good streak there when she would wake up with a smile on her face. We weren’t doing anything funny or exciting to get the kid out of bed, we were just waking her up. And she’d wake up like that for anyone.

Then one day the kid started reading. Out loud on her own. We didn’t prompt her. No one (to my knowledge) explained what the alphabet was and how it made words and how the words were also seen as well as heard.

Little Bear just figured that shit out all on her own. 

It didn’t take long for The Wife and I to realize that we had a bit of a genius  in our midst.

 

Eventually, Little Bear needed to stop shitting in the woods, as it were.

To recap her siblings similar journey:

  • Thing One liked to wait until the last minute before she Jackson- Pollocked her Underoo’s.
  • Thing Two was the Ninja Gaiden or Shinobi, if you will, of poo-hiding.

Much like her sister Thing One, Little Bear was incredibly hands-off when it came to peeing in her potty chair. At her young age, with her voracious intellect she knew that if she needed to ‘make water’ her little pink potty chair that was by the side door (going outside) was more than happy to catch for her.

Getting her to empty the damn thing was always hard. There were more than a few times when she’d use it without our knowing and then a day or two later things would be kind of foul smelling. Hence, my placement by the side door.

You’re goddamn right I dumped it outside. As long as there weren’t any Poop Snakes hiding in the Pink Throne, what the hell did it matter?

Also like her older sister, Pooping was always a hassle. The difference between the two was that Little Bear held on to her stinky-ness until she had the mid section of a malnourished Somalian child. (As I write this, I still don’t fully understand it. Everyone poops. Just because you’re a female doesn’t mean that your street cred diminishes every time someone learns that you don’t actually poot talcum powder).

To date, Little Bear’s inability to be reasonable and poop daily was only remedied within the past year and a half. ‘How did you fix that?’, you’re undoubtedly wondering.

When I would notice the tell-tale Somalian belly sign, I’d ask her in a calm and passive voice, ‘When’s the last time you pooped?’. If she started to hem and/or haw, I’d tackle her, yell out ‘POOP MASSAGE!!!’ and I would start rubbing her distended belly like a wad of dough.

Cruel and unusual? Hell no: The kid would be overcome with the giggles every time. Result? A svelte looking Little Bear the next day.

In Sum

In short, you can consult any source that you want. The bottom line is that if you want your kid to use the john you need to do three things:

  1. Learn how to read them. Kids aren’t any different than grown adults: they telegraph the fuck out of most emotions.
  2. Lead by example. That’s right, they need to watch you go. Creepy at first but it’s no different than using a public restroom. Trade Secret? If it’s just you and the kid at home, leave the bathroom door open when you go. They’ll wander in if they want. Just be sure to give the Significant Other a ‘head’s up’.
  3. Set a routine. The success rate of any child doing anything at all is dependent on the routine that the parent(s) set up for the child. Reading, learning to walk, learning to do anything for that matter.. Want your kid to use the potty sooner, rather than later? SET UP A MOTHERFUCKIN’ ROUTINE. 
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The Horrors of Potty Training part 2.

Today we pick up where I left off the other day when I was regaling you about the time my Eldest Child was being potty trained, and building upon the fact that whatever you may read from a parenting book, your child will prove your wrong.

My son was no less difficult when it came to sitting down on the toilet. 

Boys, in general, need a different approach when it comes to toilet training. Again, I’m sure you’re thinking “another one for the No Shit, Sherlock file”. Stick with me.

From what I remember, Middle Child didn’t trust the process at first. That is not to say that we didn’t educate him. I can unequivocally state that it was impressed upon him that the diapers would eventually have to go (and that they would be replaced with big boy pants) and that white thing next to the bathtub that his mother, father, and sister sat on from time to time would handle all of the pee pee and poo poo he could put into it when he was ready to break from his potty chair.

Additionally, Middle Child had relatively the same support group that Eldest Child did. What he had going in his favor was that his mother and father were a bit older and a bit wiser about the entire process of getting a child house-broken.

What kept Middle Child from taking and using the throne sooner rather than later was his complete and utter aversion to change. Yes, that’s right: At the ripe, old age of TWO he was a little old man. Seriously, he’s still like that to some extent (he’s nine years old, now).

When it came to him pissing himself, everything’s a bit foggy for me. I think I managed to get him to think about not doing that by way of letting him pee in the kitchen sink. Relax prudes: it’s not like it was a sink full of dishes. It was an empty sink.

As I remember it, one day after work, I had finished the dishes and Middle Child was next to me. Why and what he was doing is completely lost to me. In all likelihood, he probably was doing to pee pee dance.

“Do you want to pee in the sink?”, I asked him.

“UH HUH” he replied.

So I helped him out with a kitchen chair and he mortared himself so he would have full range of the kitchen sink and hey presto! The kid managed to have a dry evening. We didn’t make a habit of this and quickly transitioned him to peeing in the toilet by the end of the week.

Middle Child was no different from Eldest Child when it came to pooping. Again, maybe it had to do with the fact that it was a weird and potentially horrible smelling sensation for a miniature human to go through. I have no clue what their problems were. But when it came to pooping in his pants, Middle Child didn’t give a fuck. 

Unlike his older sister, Middle Child doesn’t have a catastrophic poo story attached to his legend. However, I do remember him being a bit of a magician when it came to him and his poo.

Many times, I’d poke my head in the bedroom he shared with his sister and he’d be standing there, next to his toy train table, watching Thomas the Train in his underoos (which would be sullied by the bulky, brown tail he had grown between my previous and current check ups).

Other times, he’d just hide it. Literally, he’d remove said poo from Under the train table, under the bed, didn’t matter: Why he never just put it in the toilet is beyond me.

Things got to the point between Middle Child and his mother where he was forced to use the potty one evening. There was no “laying of hands” on anyone. Wife said, “YOU’RE NOT DOING ANYTHING UNTIL YOU POOP IN THE POTTY”. Or something to that effect.

Credit must be given to Middle Child as he hung in there for better part of any hour. Eventually, he realized that his mother would not be swayed and there was nothing that Dad (me) could do about it. So, he pooped in the potty. And then had a minor freak out as he could not feel his legs.

Thus concludes another episode that supports my claim that anything you can read in a book about child-rearing will be ripped asunder when you eventually get a child of your own.

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The Horrors of Potty Training (Part 1 of 3).

Throughout the early years of my children’s stay on this Earth, I have ably concluded that there is absolutely no good way to teach a tea-cup human (read: child) to shit in a hole (read: bucket, toilet, box, hole, etc.). Read as many books as you want on the subject. Listen to your mother’s advice. Listen to the advice of your friends who have gone through it with their own kids. Get up on that internet and get your google-fu working.

I guaran-fucking-tee that whatever plan you settle on, your wiggle worm will shit all over it and make you feel stupid in the process. 

I humbly submit to you part one of my three regarding how children learned to use the toilet. Caveat Emptor: what follows is the general idea of what happened. I may get a detail or two confused given that:

  1. I was a member of the workforce during the times that the first two children were potty trained.
  2. Dealing with other people’s shit (even if you made that person) is fucking disgusting.

From what I can remember, Eldest Child had a lot of encouragement when it came to the potty training. Mom had read books on the subject and is the type of person that can be counted on when it came to due diligence on a given subject. Potty chairs and potty seats were utilized as well.

Additionally, at any given time, Eldest Child had myself and her mother (no, Eldest Child biologically isn’t my child, I’ll write about that eventually), her daycare provider (both her mother and I were working full time) she had her father’s family, my family, and my wife’s mother (Eldest Child’s grandmother) all telling her the wonders of pooping on the potty.

For the most part, Eldest Child was pretty good about it. From what I can remember, peeing was a breeze for her. Pooping, on the other hand, was a bit of a challenge. I guess it had to do with the fact that she was a girl and girls have a natural aversion to smelly things coming out of their backside. Youngest child was the same way to some extent.

Hell, maybe she thought it was concentrated evil coming out of there. Kids have tiny brains, it’s plausible. 

The last full blown accident I remember Eldest Child having occurred right before we moved out of our first apartment.

Her mother and I were retail employees. Given the volatility of that line of work, having a set schedule was near to impossible. However, I had just started a job that did have a set schedule (for the time being) so that allowed me to be the person who was home when it was time for the daycare provider to drop off Eldest Child.

The routine was: I would be the first one home. I’d then receive Eldest Child, give her about 20 minutes to get used to being at home, then I would put her down for her afternoon nap so I could unwind after a day of work.

One day, Eldest Child was a tad more persnickety than usual. I didn’t think too much of it as I was dead on my feet from training. I knew that she would be outgrowing the nap phase soon, I just didn’t want it to be that day. As such, I put on some Strawberry Shortcake in her bedroom and closed the door behind me.

20 minutes had gone by before I had started to hear movement again.

The tossing and turning of bed coverings. The thumpty-thump of little feet trying to ninja despite the fact that they didn’t really know what a ninja was. The rustle of paper. 

That’s what I heard for 10 minutes. Then she tried to open the door. 

She tried really hard to open the door for a solid three minutes. I was on the other side of that door and down the hall trying to figure out what in the fuck was going on in there.

Then she knocked. 

I might come off as a dick in my writings but I was polite enough to come down the hall and open the door for her.

Oh, what a sight spread out before me!

There was shit everywhere. 

On the bed. On most of the floor. All over her (for the most part). Remember when I said she had trouble opening the doors? Yeah, that’s because her hands were covered with shit and the doorknob kept slipping.

I don’t recall what was said between the two of us. However, Eldest Child was like a new kid. That persnickety-ness she came home with? Apparently it was concentrated evil that needed to be exorcised.

I spent the rest of my afternoon cleaning the beshatted child and bedroom. After that incident it was relatively smooth sailing of the sea of the potty trained for Eldest Child.

As you can see, no amount of training, encouragement, or book learning can prepare you for the day your child will Jackson Pollack their underoo’s on a Hiroshima level. 

Come back tomorrow for how potty training went with Middle Child (aka The Boy).