I know it’s been all over the internet on Mommy blogs and parenting sites and Pinterest: people are potty training their kids in a matter of seconds, and they are celebrating with awesome displays of balloons and parties and domino rallies. Every time I see one of those jubilant faces, I want to yell, “Bullshit!” with the same gusto I used in high school when I learned how to play the card game.
I can’t take any credit for potty training our first son. It was a battle of the wills, and I lost. Two stubborn people are not usually good together under any circumstances, and when you add puddles of urine and stickers that aren’t being put onto the cute homemade chart that took one of the two parties HOURS to put together, a disaster ensues. We had potty chairs that he chose at the store, proudly holding them in the cart on the way to the checkout aisle. We had stickers with his favorite characters to put on that damn chart. We had candy dispensers when I finally resorted to sugary bribes. We had those special potty-training pants with his favorite characters on them. We had underwear with his favorite cartoon guys on them, waiting in the drawer for when he was a big boy. And, I had a headache and he had a warm stream of pee running down his leg.
I don’t know what my mom did to finally get him to use the potty on a regular basis, but she worked her grandmother magic somehow. I think it involved lots of peeing on trees and into metal buckets, but whatever worked for her eventually worked at our house, and I didn’t complain about her spoiling him during the potty-training process. I worked the chart into our daily routine, and enough stickers earned him those coveted trucks from the store, until he was peeing and pooping on the potty like a champ.
Somehow in the years between child one and child two, I forgot how awful it is to try to force a small person with different equipment down there to pee on a potty. I forgot how cold the bathroom floor can be when you sit on it for endless stretches of time, just praying for one little tinkle into that potty so you can high five and dance and sing and give chocolate to a kid who has no real concept of why what he did is as awesome as you’re making it seem. I forgot what it’s like to watch a clock and put a tiny body on a potty every fifteen minutes and pray that you’re not somehow scarring him for life; I don’t even want to know just how much will those therapy bills cost later on in life.
This time around, it’s worse than the first time. This child wants even less to do with that stupid potty chair. This child will not even look at the potty chairs at the store because he’s too busy screaming, “POTTY, NO!” at the top of his little lungs. This child knows that every single person in his life uses the potty but him, and he’s just fine with that, thank you very much. This child, who will normally do anything for chocolate, will not even look at the Hershey bar being dangled under his nose when he gets near the potty. This child is going to be the death of me.
I know you’re not supposed to push potty training with kids who just aren’t ready, especially with boys who just aren’t ready. I’ve discussed this with fellow parents and my parents and our pediatrician. They all say to give him some time. And, trust me, I’d be more than happy to give him time because I know I’m looking forward to the whole process less than he is. But, the diapers are no longer containing his rivers. We are changing his clothes top to bottom – yes, even the socks – at least once a day. I’ve tried all kinds of diapers. Different brands, different styles, different sizes, different everything. I’m convinced they don’t make a diaper for my child because his body IS READY for the potty. It’s his little mind that isn’t.
I don’t know how I’m going to get him to do this. I don’t think my mom wants to put another child through her potty-training boot camp: especially this child, because for all of his adorableness, his nickname isn’t TROUBLE for nothing. I can’t keep washing his clothes and our carpets and his crib as often as I am, or everything will just disintegrate some day soon. Of all of the times I’ve wished for a magic wand or just one wish to be granted by the big blue genie from “Aladdin” during my lifetime, this is the time when I want someone to pay up. One of us isn’t going to survive this potty battle. What the Hell?