I’ve done some crazy things in my life. Bizarre things. But none of them compare to the nutty shit I find myself saying and doing now that I’m a parent.
For one reason or another, I think the wackiest behavior parents display emerges during the potty training process. Probably because parents are so sick of buying and changing diapers around their child’s third birthday they’ll do anything—and I mean ANYTHING—to rid themselves of their dependence on disposable diapers.
Such is the case with Will.
He’s great about peeing. When he has to pee he runs in the bathroom, grabs his little stool, lifts up the seat (that one was all MJ), pulls down his pants and lets loose. He is 100% accident free when it comes to #1. But pooping has been a different story. He will only poop in his pull-up. Now some “experts” say not to rush kids and to wait for their cues. But I know Will is ready for toilet poopage.
He tells us before he has to poop by saying “Dada, it’s OK to poop now?” At first I tried to put him on the toilet but he’d have a first-class freakout. So for the last month or so I’ve been putting a pull-up on him when he tells me he has to take a dump. But recently I came up with an idea and yesterday I tried it out.
I told him we’re going to buy Batman stickers and a calendar. Each time he poops in the toilet he gets a sticker. If he accumulates 10 stickers, he gets a toy of his choosing. When I asked him what toy he wants as his prize, he said “The biggest Woody or Buzz toy at Target.” Awesome. Now we had a plan and Will gave himself a goal. But would it work?
Last night he told us he had to poop and that he wanted a pull-up. I reminded him about our sticker system and his face lit up. And then—for the first time ever—he willingly went to the bathroom and sat on the toilet.
Unfortunately, that’s where our success ended.
He was a little scared and hesitant to “feed the toilet” with his poop. So we did what any good parents would do in that situation. We tried to bribe him. We offered him cookies, viewings of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, snuggles in mom and dad’s bed and the playing of Sugarland’s “Stuck Like Glue” song complete with animated dancing from me and MJ.
None of it worked.
I racked my brain for ways to get this kid to defecate in the toilet. All the expert books say to make a really big deal out of even the smallest achievements. I tried to think of more ways I could do just that, when all of a sudden I got an idea. The spectacular Corey Haim 80s movie “Lucas” was on recently. And at the end, after Lucas had almost been killed during the varsity football game, he comes back to school and finds a letterman jacket in his locker. And then—as is the case with all transcendent 80s movies—someone starts the “slow clap.”
Here’s what happens when you try to apply a love of crappy movies with potty training your kids.
He’s not even 3 yet and already he’s reduced to just covering his eyes while his wackjob parents try to slow clap a poop, as he utters “This is too weird.”
Get used to it kid. Your parental humiliation has not even begun!
(And no, he didn’t poop. But we’re working on it.)