Tag Archives: potty training

At A Terminological Loss

Eventually, if you’ve got kids, a discussion of their private parts is going to come up. Whether it’s what to call their own when potty training happens, or how to refer to a sibling’s personal bits, or what Janey says about her vagina at preschool, the talk is inevitable.

Personally, and I’m just gonna put this out there, I’m all for unabashed use of anatomical terms. My son has a pee-nus, and he’ll tell anyone. I realize this approach is not for everyone. That’s not my point.

My trouble arises at work. I have two potty trainers right now, and for the first time in my child-rearing career, the people for whom I work are on a very different page, terminology-wise.

Now, my son is mostly concerned with his own business, and has expressed zero curiosity about Betty’s lack of visible equipment. Betty, on the other hand, is envious that Felix can pee standing up. She was also somewhat surprised that this could be accomplished at all, which leads me to believe that she’s never seen her Dad pee.

Perhaps I’ve been followed into the bathroom by so many toddlers, of both genders, over the years, that I assume every parent/caregiver is so trailed by their offspring or those in their care.

I dodged the question for the moment, falling back on, “That’s just something boys can do.”

Because, you see, I know they wouldn’t appreciate me introducing the word “penis” into her vocabulary, mostly because they refer to her girl parts as her hoo-hah. Yikes.

I am at a loss.

Beautiful Poop

Ah, the poop.

And its journey to the potty.

Full of trials, tribulations, and sometimes successes.

After which? My small boy hops off the toilet, accepts my effusive praise at his elimination efforts, and gestures grandly at the evidence in the bowl.

His face is earnest, his voice sweet as he says, “And you can flush away my byoo-a-ful poop.”

For Glory and Hershey’s Kisses

In the house where I work, there are two pottying locations for the preschoolers in the house, both of whom, as of last week, were digging in their heels at the idea of leaping into that brave new world of character branded undies.

The one on the second floor is a potty seat on the toilet in the kid’s bathroom. It’s from Baby Bjorn, and is trés cushy for their tiny tushie.  I know, ergonomically designed potty seats? Yes.

The one on the first floor is more the toddler chamber pot model, also from Baby Bjorn. Because I am basically a selfish creature, and am glad I live in a culture that flushes its waste, I am loathe to encourage its use.

Both kids have tried (and by tried? I mean sat their naked bottoms down for a glorified story hour) a couple of times, but at work? No one is having any success.

Felix has had a few moments of potty glory at home, but I refuse to turn this blog into a potty training diary, so I’ll gloss over that. Those successes, however, combined with the fact that at work the reward for producing on the potty is a Hershey’s Kiss, brings us to Friday’s sad tale.

It’s nearly time for naps, and Betty has secluded herself in a corner of the room, playing quietly with some of Felix’s cars. On her face, an expression best understood as Pooping Face. Felix is expending the last of his energy reserves running the fifty foot track around the oversized sectional. He is a ping-ponging particle of exhaustion in the pre-nap time super collider, and we are nowhere near miles under Geneva.

I am wise to all of this. I am about to suggest we go upstairs, change some Pull-Ups, and get these kids down for naps.

Mrs. C. catches on to the Pooping Face. “Betty, honey, are you pooping? Do you want to sit on the potty?”

A brief raise of Betty’s impressive brow, and then a casual, “Okay.”

Since she’s generally downright mulish about using the potty, Mrs. C. jumps at the opportunity.

Felix thinks ahead several moves, calculates the probability of chocolate, and announces he would like to pee on the potty as well. Of course, we are already moving, a parade of pottying, into the laundry-room-slash-bath on the first floor so that Betty can poop in the potty instead of in her Dora the Explorer Easy-Ups.

I attempt an intervention, as his nap is coming up now, whereas (at the request of Mrs. C.) Betty’s nap is at least a half hour away. I figure if Felix can just hop on, try, succeed or fail, be rewarded if necessary, and then head off to bed, there will be ample time for Betty’s pooping shenanigans. Because with Betty? There are always shenanigans.

Fast forward twenty minutes. Mrs. C is reading stories, Betty’s still on the chamber pot, wee Elmer’s starting to fuss for a nap, and Felix is very quietly approaching critical mass.  He has a genuine desire, fueled by milk chocolate wrapped in silver foil, to pee on the potty. He has a fierce sense of justice. It. Is. His. Turn.

I suggest that we have only a few minutes before nap time, and his expression goes from imp to gargoyle faster than you can say “Hershey’s kiss.” He wants a turn, he wants a treat. He is really freaking tired.

I explain this to Mrs. C., whose myopia under certain circumstances is staggering.

Mrs. C, once the situation is clarified, decides she will take Betty upstairs to finish her poop session, leaving the downstairs chamber pot for Felix. I happily tell him to drop trou and take his turn for glory and Hershey’s Kisses.

And then? The proverbial poop hits the fan.

Felix begins to cry in earnest. Great, heaving, messy, snotty sobs, and hot tears. Like his mother, he is an ugly crier.

“But she says I can…”

“She said …. upstairs.”

“But she said… she said… I… I… upstairs!”

He’s screaming now, shaking with anger, and I’m frustrated with him, with Mrs. C., with the whole damn situation.

After several more attempts, I finally translate that he thinks he will have his turn upstairs, too.  I gently explain what Mrs. C. actually meant. Why, at this point, I tried to reason with him is beyond me. He’s beyond reason. And his screaming? Has set Elmer screaming, too.

So, I do what any end-of-her-tether parenting rockstar would do.

“That’s it! We’re all done. You need to go to bed!”

And I scooped Felix up, left the howling five month old in his bouncy seat, and hauled my son upstairs to the room where he sleeps when he’s at Betty & Elmer’s house. I deposited him on his bed with his Beek, and walked out. I left him there, sobbing and miserable, and ran downstairs to rescue sobbing and miserable little Elmer.

Who quite literally passed out cold on my shoulder. Poor guy just wanted to be held while he fell asleep.

I took sleeping Elmer upstairs, swaddled him and tucked him into his crib, then went to check in with Betty and Mrs C., who were still pooping. Or not pooping.  But sitting there. Attempting to poop. For nearly 40 minutes. While her mother gazed at her, doe eyed and proud. Of a few toddler farts and a whole lot of farting around.

Dismissed, I went in to check on Felix, who had, like wee Elmer, passed out cold.

Forgoing his chance for glory and Hershey’s kisses for some much needed sleep.

Some Flaws I’m Working On

I don’t even like the goddamn lobsters.

Okay, that’s overstating it. I like lobster, but I generally find crustaceans to be more work than they’re worth.

But Mark does. So when he suggests he go up to the market and get a couple of chicken lobsters to steam for dinner, I agree. If he goes to the market, he will come home with ice cream. Ice cream is always worth the work.

Of course, I am the one scrubbing the beery sludge off the bottom of the lobster pot the next morning. I am choosing to be passive-aggressive about this. It’s a flaw. I’m working on it.

We’re potty training here this fine weekend, which is taxing business. I’m not going to turn this place into a dumping ground for my preschooler poop, but suffice it to say? I am tired of locking horns with The Most Willful Two and Three Quarters Year Old In the History of Ever. Happy Labor Day.

The laundry is endless. Pairs and pairs of tiny Buzz Lightyear briefs.

Two mornings in a row it has been my job to deal with our little bundle of joy, who, for all his clever songs about goats and lovely sweet hugs and kisses, is not always a morning person. This morning, it was just a little chilly in our room, and the down comforter was perfect the way it sometimes is. Lightly molded to my skin, warm without being stifling. The chilly side of the pillow under my sleepy cheek. One foot peeking out from the hem of the covers to test the morning air. Getting out of bed, finding pajamas, reprimanding a cranky little boy for trashing his train set in a fit of pique? Not on my agenda.

And now, because I said I would, I have to bake a batch of muffins.

And wash out the steamer basket for the lobster pot.

And shake off the crabby mood in which I’ve wrapped myself, because the weather is beautiful, I’m not at work, and there’s fresh pee in the potty.

Three Years Ago (In Loco Potty)

Still overloaded by returning to the workforce, so I give you…

In Loco Potty
June 29, 2007


I have officially decided that Mother Nature’s reasoning behind positioning a growing uterus directly atop a urinary bladder is to create future empathy between you and your potty training toddler. At first glance, it might not make sense to place an expanding organ full of future human above a balloon full of pee, and then expect the body possessing these conflicting organs to make it 5 minutes without a potty break. You’d be correct, as it’s completely irrational. It does give you a unique perspective on tiny bladders and long shopping trips, though.

I now understand, in a visceral and annoying way, how tough it is to ‘go’ when you don’t have to, and have to when you just can’t. I also, despite being an eight year veteran in the in loco parentis business, cannot remember to just “go before we leave, whether you need to or not.”

Another brilliant side effect is that I am fast becoming a walking encyclopedia of clean public toilets. I knew a bunch of locations near parks, playgrounds, and in public shopping forums, but I’ve rediscovered the large chain bookstore as potty, the bar as potty (classy, huh?), and the interstate rest area as potty, even when the interstate wasn’t the most practical way to travel from A to B.

In college, I was acquainted with several young men who experimented with adult diapers, beer, and marathon television sessions. I was horrified, disgusted, and of course, secretly impressed with their daring and foulness. I can honestly that despite being secretly impressed, I do not actually want to experiment with such things until nature has taken away my memory at the ripe old age of 99. Now, I may have to rethink my theories on that topic. When faced with a 45 minute commute compounded by a corporate road race closing off access to your car for a few extra minutes, and then a necessary detour into the South End for MassPike access, an adult diaper might be a comforting alternative to soiling the upholstery of your VW…

Does this mean I’m advocating Depends for Expecting Moms as a universal survival tool? Um… Ew. I’m just saying my mind’s a little less closed to the concept.

In Loco Potty

I have officially decided that Mother Nature’s reasoning behind positioning a growing uterus directly atop a urinary bladder is to create future empathy between you and your potty training toddler. At first glance, it might not make sense to place an expanding organ full of future human above a balloon full of pee, and then expect the body possessing these conflicting organs to make it 5 minutes without a potty break. You’d be correct, as it’s completely irrational. It does give you a unique perspective on tiny bladders and long shopping trips, though.

I now understand, in a visceral and annoying way, how tough it is to ‘go’ when you don’t have to, and have to when you just can’t. I also, despite being an eight year veteran in the in loco parentis business, cannot remember to just “go before we leave, whether you need to or not.”

Another brilliant side effect is that I am fast becoming a walking encyclopedia of clean public toilets. I knew a bunch of locations near parks, playgrounds, and in public shopping forums, but I’ve rediscovered the large chain bookstore as potty, the bar as potty (classy, huh?), and the interstate rest area as potty, even when the interstate wasn’t the most practical way to travel from A to B.

In college, I was acquainted with several young men who experimented with adult diapers, beer, and marathon television sessions. I was horrified, disgusted, and of course, secretly impressed with their daring and foulness. I can honestly that despite being secretly impressed, I do not actually want to experiment with such things until nature has taken away my memory at the ripe old age of 99. Now, I may have to rethink my theories on that topic. When faced with a 45 minute commute compounded by a corporate road race closing off access to your car for a few extra minutes, and then a necessary detour into the South End for MassPike access, an adult diaper might be a comforting alternative to soiling the upholstery of your VW…

Does this mean I’m advocating Depends for Expecting Moms as a universal survival tool? Um… Ew. I’m just saying my mind’s a little less closed to the concept.