For the first year or so of a child’s life, we parents obsess about all their milestones and if they’re hitting them on time. Has he rolled over yet? How about putting his foot in his mouth – apparently that’s a thing to be proud of.
These milestones create the perfect storm of kids being unique individuals who do things on their own schedule and parents’ insane need to compete and judge each other. “Suzy isn’t pulling herself up yet?! Oh my.”
I never worried too much about these early milestones because, for the most part, there was nothing for me to do. No amount of peek-a-boo was really going to move along their sense of object permanence.
But now that my kids are 2 and 3 a lot of the milestones are shifting from them to me and things I’m supposed to do. Like potty training. Apparently that doesn’t just happen. TB is now 3 ½ and we finally made a stand, if only because it is very disconcerting to watch a completely sentient human being walk into the laundry room, brace himself against a wall, make this face
and then walk up to you and say, “Excuse me, I pooped” and assume the position on the floor for his ass wiping. He was ready.
So we set aside a weekend where we were just going to go for it; not let him wear a diaper, make a big deal about “big boy underwear,“ give him whatever he wanted to drink and give him candy every time something came out of his body and landed in the toilet. One candy for pee, two for poop. Three for both. The candy bribe really worked, but I was worried he was going to crap out a hernia or something trying to go for the extra jelly bean. I’m not sure if that is medically accurate or not, but I feel it paints the proper picture of what he was doing.
Some people call this going for broke weekend style of potty-training a “potty party.” But I try and make it a point not to talk to those kind of people.
The first day went really well. Unfortunately, the next day we ended up in a situation where I had to make him pee in a porta-potty. Which I just felt horrible about. I think ideally there’s a good year between when you introduce your kid to using a toilet and when you break the news to them about the existence of porta-potties. But he had to pee and it was the only option. This was the brave new world we were living in. I opened the door, we both peered into the bowl and I was just like, “I’m sorry, son. I’m sorry I brought you into a world where people do things like this.”
Amazingly, TB peed without even shedding a tear. But I do think his faith in humanity died that day.