The Boy Who Pooped: Tales from the Depth of the Latrine

Apr 28, 2013

I really like my title for this post.  The rest of the post is going to seem like a disappointment after a title like that. So don't get your hopes up.  I'm not really going to tell you loads of potty training war stories.  Because no one really wants to read about cleaning poop off of things.  Do you know how hard it is to clean poop off of walls?  I do.  I wish I didn't, but I do.

I started potty training Colin this month  He is almost 3. After I potty trained Harrison I learned that having a Just-Potty-Trained kid is SO MUCH WORSE than changing diapers, so I've really been in no hurry. But I want him to go to preschool in the fall and I've started to feel like the time is right so on April 2nd I just up and Started Potty Training. We've had a naked little bum running around the house for the a while and he figured some things out really quick.  He would dribble into the potty almost every time I asked him to. When we went camping his daddy taught him how to pee standing up and he came and told me "Me pee on a rock!  Wub it!" And then he figured out how to hold it and now he can keep his underwear dry for several hours at a time.  He still won't tell me when he has to go, but if I send him to the bathroom every couple of hours he can stay dry all day.  Except today when he went through 7 pair of underwear.

Potty Training in my experience is like one step forward, one step back, over and over and over again for the first few days or weeks or months.  You just think you are making progress, and then they come and tell you gleefully that they peed in the kitchen.

I think what makes potty training so hard is that you have to rely almost solely on your own smarts.  Actually, that is what makes everything about parenting hard.  You can read all these books, and get all this advice from your mom and your neighbor and your Aunt Beebop, but then you actually try all this stuff out and it doesn't work.  All of these clever parenting tricks don't seem to work on your Borg baby.  Even when you do find something that actually works to calm him down and get to him sleep, he adapts to it, so it won't work a second time.

In a world where anything you want to learn is available instantly, somehow, as a parent, you are still basically left to your own devices.  You know how you want your kids to turn out, but how to get there from here is a complete mystery.  It is like trying to make a cake without a recipe, after watching a couple of cooking shows.  "Well, I remember them putting in some flour, and I know I want it sweet, so let's throw in a few spoonfuls of sugar.  Hmm, what else?  Maybe milk? Oh, I know!  Eggs!  All the best cooks use eggs!"  And then you still feel like something is missing so you go online and look up advice on cake baking and you see someone has written a book about how important it is to bake the cake for the right amount of time and you read several blogs on the different techniques to test doneness.

Very interesting reading, no doubt, but ultimately useless cuz you don't know what you are doing! Actually, the whole cake analogy totally doesn't work, because all you really need to bake a cake is the recipe, and THERE IS NO RECIPE FOR PARENTHOOD!

Sorry.  I didn't mean to yell.  I got mad because my analogy is lame.

Every single step of parenting is a mystery, and even on your second kid none of the same stuff works so you are still just as clueless.   A cat will just fall alseep anywhere, but a baby will scream and scream and scream despite your rocking and your bouncing and your singing and your sanity rather than fall asleep.  What is that about?

And THEN you have to teach your kids to use the toilet.  Sometimes I can't believe we are really expected to do that.  It really is madness.

Everyone always says that girls are easier to teach to use the toilet than boys.  I always thought that was because girls are smarter or less stubborn or something.  BUT NO.  It is because when a girl sits on the toilet to pee, the pee goes in the toilet.  When a boy sits on the toilet to pee, the pee can really end up anywhere.  ANYWHERE.  And you can try having him stand up, but that can be just as much of a crap shoot - literally - and you just simply have no control over events! AAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!

Again.  Sorry.  I lost my temper.  I shouldn't yell at you like that.

But I've also learned that if I don't give up and just keep sticking them on the toilet they WILL make progress.   That is the miracle of life.  No matter how hard things are, if we keep plodding along the best we can and sitting on the toilet from time to time, things do work out.  And sure, just when everything starts to look up, you find a tiny pair of superman underwear full of poop hiding in the corner of the bathroom.  But you count your lucky stars that you found them in the bathroom, and not hidden behind the couch like last month.  And maybe next month you won't find any poopy underwear at all.  See, there is always hope for the future.

Now if I can just survive the next few months of bodily waste and washing underwear everything will be swell!