Didn’t think I could draw a parallel between sports and potty training? Well here it comes…
In the 2004 AFC divisional playoffs, the Patriots played the Colts and no one thought there was any way the Pats defense could stop the high-octane passing attack of Peyton Manning. All week long leading up to the game people wondered how coach Bill Belichick would manage to slow down that offense. They talked of highly complicated defensive formations, bend but don’t break and countless other schemes Belichick might employ.
But in the end, he and the Patriots did it the old fashioned way.
My favorite player of all time in any sport is Tedy Bruschi. And in that game, Bruschi made a play I’ll never forget. Running back Dominic Rhodes caught a short screen pass and tried to run with it. Instead of simply tackling Rhodes, Bruschi charged up to him and ripped the ball out of his hands. Fast forward to the 2:30 mark of this video to see the clip.
I’m not talking punched the ball out or anything like that. Tedy Bruschi took the ball from Rhodes. He walked up to him, grabbed it with both hands and took it with brute force and sheer strength. Nothing fancy, nothing cerebral, nothing touchy-feeling about it. He knew what he wanted, he wanted it more than the other guy, so he made it happen.
That’s the point I’m at with Will when it comes to potty training right now.
I’ve read the books and I’ve perused the Internet and parenting message boards. There are 1,001 ways parents can potty train their kids. And it seems the prevailing notion is not to rush them, make it as fun as possible and stay positive at all times.
I tried that bullshit. Never again.
So starting on Monday I chose a new method: drill instructor. This is problematic because I’ve never served in the armed forces and I’m a huge pansy. But compared to a 2.5-year-old, I’m only a slight pansy so I can get away with it. But basically I’m done with catering to my son and blowing sunshine up his ass even when he’s failing miserably and refusing to cooperate.
So now, when he wakes up in the morning, he goes to the potty. Or should I say, I lock him and myself in the bathroom and battle with him until he relents. He screams and cries and spits but I don’t care. He’s not leaving that bathroom until he’s pissed in the potty. And yes, I physically hold him down on the seat. I’d never hurt my child so there’s no physical harm involved, but he is not allowed to get up until he completes the mission at hand.
The first morning it took 25 minutes. Twenty-five minutes of screaming and wrestling the likes of which you can’t imagine. MJ was on the other side of the door in tears, but I forbade her from entering. It was a battle to be sure, but you know what? He did it. On Tuesday it took about 15 minutes. This morning he was done in less than five minutes.
And it’s not like I’m a total dictator about it. Each time he successfully goes in the potty, he has his choice of a treat. He can choose to have a blackberry (I love that he thinks of blackberries in the same category as candy!) or he can exercise his privilege to lay on mom and dad’s bed and watch TV. There’s your positive reinforcement.
I know some of you will disagree. You think we should tippy-toe around our offspring and wait until they have a spiritual movement to defecate in a plastic container. Well fuck that. Will has displayed all of the signs that he’s ready for potty training. He knows when he has to go. He can hold in pee and poop for hours at a time. He dislikes being in a soiled diaper. He’s ready. He’s been ready for months. The problem is (largely because of our negligent daycare provider I’m sure) he got lazy.
But that’s over with now.
Just as the Patriots needed the ball back, I need my money back and not buying diapers anymore will certainly help with that. Bruschi wanted to move on to the Super Bowl, I need my kid to poop in a bowl. Like Tedy Bruschi in 2004, I’m taking this one by sheer force. And I too will be victorious.