by Christine Stewart
I remember it vividly. Waking up to the smell of a full diaper, there he stood in all his glory with a precious gift wrapped in “diaper” for me to behold. I don’t even think the chickens are up this early, and he had already produced a steaming pile of last night’s dinner. Honestly, how can a child that cute stink so badly? I’m his Mom; I should not feel this way about my own child. I give myself the 5 am pep talk “Smile, stop gagging and get on with it woman”.
Feet hit the floor; I gently take his hand and lead him into his room. The stench hits me again; I mean really, he must be sneaking out for McDonalds drive thru while I am sleeping. I know what I am feeding him; this odor is too foul to be healthy stuff. Was he drinking draft beer? This stench is eerily similar to that of my brother’s room during his fraternity party days.
As I used the millionth wipe to clean up the toxic poop, I made the decision. I am ready, I am willing and he is able. Forget waiting for the signs, I’m so tired that I would miss Moses parting the red sea at this point. I am having my pre dawn moment, out with the diapers and in with the big boy underpants. I heard the trumpets roar, I saw the light, and I too will be free of the dreaded diaper bag. So long stinky poo mornings, so long poop up the back, farewell pee up to the chin because I didn’t point his tap the right way. I feel like I am about to join Jenny Craig, sign me up. No coach required, its time for the potty. This my friends is my poo infused resolution, even before my first hit of caffeine.
We shuffle downstairs to the kitchen; I put the kettle on before heading to the basement to retrieve the potty, the potty seats, the potty books and the potty video. Then I hear a little voice, “oh oh, pee on da floor Momma”, my head bobs up from behind a box of stuff I have been meaning to deal with. That is when I had my first ah, ha moment. Boy pee rarely dribbles down the leg; Luke’s pee had propelled itself halfway across the room. Now, the compelling need for caffeine really hits me, we clean up with our first roll of paper towels and I wonder just how many rolls of this stuff we are going to burn through.
Back upstairs I quickly grab a pile of undies (not sure if that is the manly term, but really, I paint the kids toenails!). Yes, I said I grabbed a pile of undies, this is my second child, and I am a realist after all.
Clean and dry we move on to the breakfast portion of the day, and the second hit of caffeine. My daughter now happily chatting about the benefits of going poop and pee on the potty. By the time they reach the part about wiping I can’t help but notice that they are not even the slightest bit phased by eating oatmeal during this conversation. I have kept on the caffeine course. Enviably the conversation moves to….drum roll please, the dreaded diarrhea. My daughter Meg was assuring Luke that it is increasingly difficult to “make it” when this happens but not to worry that it is Mommy’s “job” to clean it up. Good Lord Child, you are giving the guy a free pass! I jump in on the conversation, almost yelling as the caffeine is now cursing through my veins. “No, no, no” I exclaim. “Your poo poo on the potty prize is even bigger for diarrhea!” Without even knowingly doing it I have now committed to a prize. Eyes wide, Meg jumps to her feet yelling, “we get poo poo prizes”. She dashes from the room to complete her post breakfast poop. She is expecting the prize even though she has been fully trained for well over a two years. Luke, still stunned pees his pants for the second time. I realize that at this pace I will have moved from the need for caffeine to the overwhelming desire for alcohol.
I soon realized how much I love tile and hardwood when the third pee is dribbled throughout the family room. I honesty didn’t realize how much the little guy pees. I was only downstairs looking for the poo poo prize for but a moment. I am not discouraged, but none the less note that it is no where near happy hour. After a quick call to my Mom to gleefully explain that we are officially potty training I am left to ponder the trap door. I seriously considering calling her back to find out if I really should teach him to poke his “Mr. Winkie” (so I am going to hell for not calling it a penis, I was not emotionally prepared for the penis discussion so I named It.) through the trap door. Thought it best to wait until my husband came home, because Mom and I lack winkies and well, my husband has one after all.
It was time to play in the back garden. Given our track record pee outside is much easier than pee inside the house. About an hour later the phone rings, I dash inside to grab the cordless phone. It’s Mom. Apparently she was compelled to share the commencement of Luke’s training with a few neighbors. The guy next door recalls his Mothers rather unethical methods of potty training one of her five boys. He suggested that I get a bottle, place my son’s thingie in the bottle and tell him to pee. Ok, now remember this is my second child, Meg loved to poop on Timbits, so really I am willing to try anything.
During this telephone conversation the smell of poop crept rather unexpectedly into my nostrils. I scowered the back garden, nothing. I sat back down in my lounge chair and that is when I saw it. Grover the dog was no longer only black and white. Grover now had his very own shade of brown around his neck. I leapt from my chair this strange voice infused with gags yelling “who pooped on the dog?” Meg triumphantly pointed towards Luke, it wasn’t me Mommy.
I was now on roll two of the paper towels and I have lost count of how many pairs of big boy pants I am on. I am in the garage, searching for a water bottle. I march back into the back garden. I exclaim to Meg and Luke about how fun it is for boys to pee in bottles and on potties. First try, pee successfully deposited into water bottle. The pee pee dance immediately commences. Luckily my neighbors all have kids and don’t even bat an eye when they catch us dancing around shouting “pee pee in the bottle” over and over again.
The walk of glory to the big potty to flush pee, wave and wash hands before giving out the pee reward of one smartie. Apparently as big sister and coach, Meg and I both deserve one, her idea not mine. Secretly I have been stuffing myself with them since breakfast, chocolate gives me courage. Now, I am back in the garage looking for any type of bottle for the pee training. I line the countertop with a variety of shapes and sizes of bottles, this is very exciting for Luke and he toddles over and immediately points to an empty wine bottle. Funny, I myself would have chosen the same one, trust me kid there will be plenty more where this one came from. I hold up the bottle, Luke positions himself and yet again its smartie time! I am elated.
We decide to have a celebratory picnic outside. We all agree that water will be the drink of choice; we were running low on bottles at this point. I go back into the house to grab some more fish crackers when I hear Meg scream…..he’s pooping on the dog again. I run outside to find Luke dawning only a t-shirt and crouched down pooping on Grover. Now, keep in mind this is no fault of Lukes. Apparently, recycled foods are a delicacy in the world of dog. I am now clutching Lucas under one arm running madly towards the potty. Almost throwing him on the seat, gagging because Grover is now rolling in the remnants. There was just enough left in Luke to produce a grape sized little poop. Even though most landed on Grover or in Grover, the potty dance reached new heights, Lucas was gleaming.
I called my husband to remind him to stop by Tim Hortons and pick up Tim Bits for the remainder of our potty training, I am a creature of habit and if it worked for Meg I was certain it would work for Luke.
By nap time Luke was successful four times since introducing the bottles. The next day offered more success and the Tim Bit trick worked with him as well.
Meg proudly told everyone that she potty trained Lucas as and that she won’t eat Tim Bits out of the potty anymore; the temptation was too great for them both sometimes.
I am not saying that the peeing in the bottle was always ideal for us. For the first few weeks I had to carry an empty water bottle with us, he managed to pee in his piggy bank at one point and even managed to relieve himself in one of my measuring cups.
Reflecting back on his training still makes me laugh. No parenting book or expert would ever find my ways of parenting conventional. Having kids throws a lot of unexpected situations at us Mommas, just be prepared to laugh along the way. Even God had a sense of humor; he gave us the gift of gas! Really, life is funny let it tickle you sometimes.
Christine Stewart is a Mom of two amazing toddlers, wife and Mompreneur. A social service worker and counsellor with the Infertility Association of Canada; she uses humor in all that she tackles. For the past five years Christine has been at home learning about parenting and making things up as she goes along. Sometimes she feels that the one that truly understands her is the dog, and most days thats up for debate.