Friday, November 15, 2013

How Not to Toilet Train a Toddler

We’ve kind of hit the proverbial bathroom wall recently in the realm of potty training. We got off to kind of a shaky start, then it finally caught on (and by caught on, I mean Bub stopped shitting his pants), and now we’ve kind of plateaued. And by plateaued, I mean:

“Daddy, you wanna check my pull-up? It’s DRY, Daddy.”
“Okay, great…yeah, no. This is wet, Bub.”
“Ohhhhhhhhh.” Like he just mis-spoke. Like dry and wet are like marinade/marinate.
“I’m afraid that’s not going to net you a gold star, my friend. You wanna tell me why you peed in your pull-up?”
“Because I LIKE to!”

You can see what I’m working with here. Like a classic Shakesperean actor playing Dirty Harry:

“What thou must posit of thyself is dost thou feel fortuitous? Well, dost thou, punk?”

And that’s pretty much it, the pith. Don’t have to be a child psychologist to see the root of the problem here. The kid likes to sit in the warm afterglow of his own urinal pleasures.

We’ve tried various methods, varying greatly in severity and orthodoxy. I put him back in diapers once, I was so frustrated. Yes, I did tell him once that he smelled like a urinal trough at Soldier Field at halftime. 

Yes, it was also I who compared him to the only other boy in his class:

“Does Charlie wear pull-ups?”
“Wow, I bet he really loves wearing his big boy underwear.”
“Probably he does,” he shrugged. Like there’s something wrong with THAT creep.

I’ve played the age card:

“You’re three now, Bub. You’re WAAYYYY too old to be peeing your pants.”
“Yeah, I just like to, though.” Again with the shrug. Like I keep offering him broccoli when he’s sitting on a big, fat oatmeal cream pie.

He has a crush on a girl at school. Yeah, I went there, too.

“You know, Bub, the smell of a clean pull-up is a known aphrodisiac.”
“I don’t know what that means, Daddy.”
“It means Caroline seems like the kind of girl who would go for a man in some dry pants.”
“Ohhhhh.” Like Caroline would just have to get off her hygienic high horse and embrace the sog if she wanted to get with this. F-in snob.

I’ve tried pestering him. Do you have to pee now? Bub, you need to go potty? How about now? C’mon, I have to pee, too; let’s simul-pee. And so on.

I’ve tried letting him come to me. Guess how that went.

We’ve questioned his motives, his physical capabilities and his commitment to Team Underpants. We’ve tried the Jelly Belly machine, intimidation, reason, apathy, bribery and full-on begging.

Why just today, this happened:

“Okay, Bub, no school today. It’s raining. So let’s really focus on keeping a dry pull-up, okay? I think you can do it, what do you say? You’re one gold star from some Wii time…”
“Yeah, I want to. I just can’t do it, Daddy.” He sounded so sincere. That’s what makes him so dangerous.

This has been going on so long now that we initially bought him some rad new Elmo underwear to try and lure him to The Dry Side. Made a big to-do about it, went to Target, he picked em out, I actually used the word “awesome” to describe a pair of tighty whities with Elmo’s face adorning the ass side.

And there they sit, lowly as the leftover s’mores marshmallows. We’ve tried letting him sport them around the house as a privilege on two occasions. They lasted approximately 18 minutes. Combined. It was an extreme privilege to hose down hapless Elmo. I’m so over you, Elmo; I can speak in the first person now.

And that leaves us here. Still. Continually. Perpetually. Waiting, hoping, experimenting. Any theories? He’s all proud of himself because he stands when he pees now. It would be a lot more impressive if his pants weren’t still on.


  1. Great last line!! I guess Bub just got tired of the gum ball reward. Maybe try chocolate? It's probably a power play with you. Maybe I will have a better idea tomorrow.... Just google it for some brilliant ideas. No clues from me. It will happen when it will happen.

  2. Have you tried giving him a target to aim at? My boy's only 1, but I'm thinking ahead, and I've heard that can help.