When the Patriots won their first Super Bowl in 2002, I was ecstatic. When the Red Sox broke an 86 year drought in 2004 to take home the World Series title, I was over the moon. And the Celtics victory over the evil Lakers in 2008 truly had me dancing in the streets. Yet none of these watershed moments compare to the celebration MJ and I engaged in this weekend.
Will pooped in the potty!
Most of you are parents so you’ll understand the significance of this moment. But for the uninitiated, this signifies the end of diapers and pull-ups. Pull-ups that currently cost $30 per package. But more importantly, it also means we’re one step closer to having Will be able to go to the bathroom all by himself. No more diaper changes, wrapping the diaper in plastic bags and having it stink up the trash until we take it out. It is a truly beautiful thing.
So you’re probably wondering how we did it. I warn you, it’s probably not the most politically correct method, so prepare yourselves.
You see, Will’s been peeing in the toilet for months now but poop has been a problem. We’ve tried everything. Waiting until he’s ready, positive reinforcement, bribery…you name it we tried it. And the reason we tried is because he was ready. He knew when he had to poop, would tell us, but then refuse to go in the toilet. So after hours of pleading with him and begging him, we’d end up putting a pull-up on him at which point he’d take his dump.
But on Saturday night MJ and I both snapped. And we dug in.
We put Will on the toilet when he said he had to poop, as we have done countless times in the past. But this time, we didn’t let him out. Yup, that’s right. We physically blocked the door to the bathroom and wouldn’t let him leave until he pooped in the potty (he’s still a little afraid of sitting on the toilet, so we used a plastic potty). Don’t get me wrong, we sat with him and gave him positive reinforcement. But we also let him know, in no uncertain terms, that he wasn’t leaving that room until he dropped the Cleveland Browns off at the Super Bowl.
I won’t lie, after an hour it looked pretty bleak. We were heartbroken and doubting ourselves because Will was crying, and we were tired and beaten down. I was close to giving up. But that’s when my wife pulled out all the stops, with a move so brazen I nearly choked when she did it.
“William George,” she said, commanding attention by using his middle name. “If you don’t poop in the potty tonight, the Easter Bunny isn’t going to come.”
I was shocked. My head snapped around to look at her with a “Really?!?!?” look on my face. To be fair, she looked a little doubtful that she was doing the right thing too. But since nothing else had worked, we stuck with it. And less than 10 minutes later—fearful of losing out on Easter loot— he dropped his deuce.
I’m 31 and MJ is 33. We’re both grown adults. Which is why it felt pretty surreal to be dancing around our house, high-fiving each other following a bowel movement from our 3-year-old. I mean really, we celebrated our son depositing human feces in a plastic bucket like we had just won the lottery. We kept going back in the bathroom to look and marvel at the glorious independence that dookie represented. I tried to take a picture of it but MJ insisted that’d be crossing the line.
In fact, we celebrated so hard and so loud we scared the shit (pun intended) out of Will who was crying and standing up in the bathroom waiting for one of us to stop dancing so his ass could be wiped.
All the experts say you can’t force a kid to poop in the potty. They say wait until he’s ready and follow his cues. But as we proved this weekend, the experts are morons. If you really want to potty train your kid in a hurry, do it the old fashioned way: through fear and threats involving mythical creatures. Sure the hippie, new age parents will look down on you for it, but those judgmental bastards were gonna do that anyways.
It’s a good thing the Easter Bunny trick worked though. If not, we would’ve had to tell him Santa’s life depends on his poop. Or every time he fails to crap in the potty, a reindeer dies and the tooth fairy has one of her wings ripped off.