Shh, listen! Do you hear dry carpets?
I am finally ready to say these words, after a year and a half (possibly more) of working on it: My son is potty trained! Hallelujah!
Good old fashioned “potty training” has evolved into the politically correct “potty learning” in the preschool set, but let me tell you there is still a lot of “training.” My husband and I were trained first: we recognized the subtle signs and became adept at hurrying the child to the bathroom throughout the day… or cleaned up the resulting failure. Days were evaluated on how many accidents we had – or by how big the pile of laundry was, which is another way of saying the same thing.
There’s lots of “learning” involved in the training process, too. Here’s a sampling of what we learned:
*Some boys learn by being au natural, and others just get addicted to being naked.
* It’s hard to shop at the grocery store with a kid who wants to be naked.
* Size four Madagascar-themed undies flush just fine. Size six, not so much.
* The gleeful cry of “NO underwear!” followed by a flushing sound is not a happy sound for a Mommy.
* An entire roll of toilet paper, even unrolled, does not fit down the toilet in one go.
*When the upstairs bathroom floods to an inch deep across the entire floor and seeps out into the hall, it takes eleven towels to sop it up.
* Boys are all about the acoustics. There is a definite sound difference the higher up the bowl you go. Also, the higher up you aim, the higher and louder Mommy’s voice gets: “In the potty! In the potty! GAHHH!!! IN THE POTTY!”
* There are pop-up disinfecting and cleaning wipes available in multi-packs at CostCo.
* Boys need a good, stand-up role model for pottying – pun fully intended.
Not every potty training tip works for every child. Some parents swear by throwing a piece of cereal in the potty for the little man to aim at, but let’s just say we know our son too well to ever dunk an edible item in there. He’s not above fishing it out, and we’re actively discouraging foreign items in the potty, thank you! Maybe the cereal-aiming theory is instinctive to their little testosterone-driven DNA, though, because our son managed to put his own spin on the idea.
Throughout June my little man was fond of stripping down to just his little undies, and hanging out at home. We kind of thought that might save on laundry, and we were beaten down into staring zombies at this point, anyway, so we were mostly okay with this latest development. Then came the “O’s Incident.”
Thomas eats a round oat cereal dry, in a bowl, like other people eat popcorn. One hot afternoon he requested his cereal, and I poured a good-sized amount into a bowl and had him sit at the table with it. Then I left the room for perhaps thirty seconds, which, as it turns out, is twenty five seconds too long.
From the other room I heard the usual crunch, crunch, crunch, followed by a strange new sound: psssshhhhhkkkkk. What the –?
My son was standing on his chair, straddling the table, Shrek undies around his ankles, peeing merrily into the O’s.
For one brief second my mind refused to compute the visual, and then I was beyond horrified: “ACK!! NO!! We don’t go potty in the O’s!!”
My best friend’s mom heard this story and asked, “What did he do next?” A grandmother and former kindergarten teacher, she had that “aren’t kids the most amazing creatures?” tone, but please note that she did not raise any boys. The only acceptable answer to that question was, “THERE WAS NO NEXT!”
Oh, and for the record, the tip to give the child plenty to drink works great. They definitely pee more. Not in the potty, necessarily, but if you make sure you get plenty to drink, yourself – match your kid margarita for apple juice, say – you kind of stop caring after awhile.