A self-admitted Type A control freak, I'm pretty much on top of most things in life, but when it comes to potty-training, my apathy has always been at its highest point. I'm just not certain that life actually is easier without diapers, especially for the first six months after your kid is "officially" potty-trained, which in my kids' cases has always been more of a sliding scale than an absolute.
Unmotivated to take the bull by the horns on the toilet front, I was thrilled when my 3-year-old son seemed to be potty-training himself, with exactly zero effort and minimal encouragement from me. Sure, I gave him a high five every time he peed on the toilet, but I was also quite certain that he still needed to be wearing a diaper — all day, every day — because . . . number two? Well, that still seemed to be a diaper-only event. About a month or so into his self-training, when he was peeing on the potty about 90 percent of the time, my husband called me out on my lazy-man effort.
"Babe, don't you think it's about time to get rid of the diapers? It's getting a little ridiculous," he sighed, and as much as it pained me to admit, I knew he was right. We sat our 40-pound baby down and told him it was underpants time, showed him some cool Batman briefs his grandma had bought him in a not-so-subtle attempt to get the toilet-training ball rolling, and reminded him that pooping needed to be a potty-only activity.
Two months later, my sweet, loving, adorable son has probably pooped in the potty fewer than 10 times, our underwear stash is getting smaller by the day (I have my limits on what I will clean vs. toss), and I'm starting to daydream about the good old days of diapers.
Here's how his one, two, or — on my luckiest days — three poos a day usually go:
I'll notice he's walking a little funny, grimacing, or reaching around to hold his clenched little cheeks, and it's go time. "Buddy, I can tell you need to go poo-poo; let's go sit on the potty." Usually, he'll acquiesce, but if nothing happens within the first 15 seconds, he's off the potty and back to playing with his superhero toys, watching Disney Junior, or harassing his sister, the grand trifecta of his favorite things.
This process usually repeats itself 10 to 30 times before the grand finale, which involves him half-pooping his pants and me picking him up by the armpits and racing him to the bathroom, usually making it in time for him to finish in the toilet . . . and then immediately request a totally unearned candy reward while I'm still in the process of deciding whether his underwear is salvageable or not.
I've tried to bribe him to sit on the potty longer with treats, tiny toys, and iPad time, but nothing seems to work. Sh*t hit the fan yesterday around 5 p.m. An hour before, I'd thrown away his underwear after his latest accident and decided to let him go commando under his shorts until bath time, instead of walking upstairs to get him a new pair of underwear (I told you I was lazy). Suddenly, he ran into the kitchen, where I was making dinner, with that look on his face.
"Not again buddy! Hold it in!" He said he would; I picked him up by the pits and started running, but he didn't make it to the bathroom. Without underwear to hold it in, the poo hit the floor, and much, much worse, I didn't notice until it was too late. Let's just say I was barefoot and you can put together the rest of the story. I'm still traumatized.
I've been parenting long enough to know every hard stage ends, eventually turning into vague memories and funny stories. But this stage? It's just plain sh*tty.