What Is Your Major Malfunction?

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.

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14 thoughts on “What Is Your Major Malfunction?

  1. I’m almost at that point with my son. For some freakin’ reason he is terrified just to sit on the damn toilet. That’s all I want from him right now, just to sit on the damn thing! I’ve tried rewards, made a chart to put “special” stickers on, ect. At least your son is getting there, sometimes you just have to put your foot down.

  2. Well good for you….Chicken my boy got it right away and then after two weeks regressed and just started pooping in his underwear because he felt like it. We had to start all over. I had to TELL him we were going to start all over I didn’t let him coast and be back in diapers. And he finally got it. With Boo our second she was not interested AT ALL. She was old enough and I was just tired of her being in diapers so we did it we pushed through she peed on the floor tons of times but we kept at it and she finally got it too.

    I am sure you have gotten all the tips you need but here is one just in case. I used it with Chicken when he peed on the floor I made him clean it up. He made the mess so he got to clean it up. May sound mean but it got the point across. Good luck!

  3. I do think some of this is just personality… My 3 year old (a girl) STILL, to this day, after months of being potty trained, will often refuse to go on the potty first thing in the morning. I KNOW she has to go and when she does, the floodgates will open if she doesn’t go now. So I too, force her to stay in the bathroom until she’s gone. Sometimes we will go a week or two with her diligently going potty on her own….then we’ll have a few days of me physically holding her on the toilet until she goes. I’m pretty sure on those days she’s extra tired and then you add her stubbornness on top and you’ve got yourself a real PITA.

    Sorry your little man shoots his poo out of his Pullups. Pullups never worked for us as a ‘training mechanism’ because they felt too much like a diaper and therefore our daughter felt too comfortable in them and would go without even realizing it. Luckily though, when we go through these random potty training regressions, she wears one and now realizes the errors of her ways. She’s having accidents whether we put one on her or not, so for us it’s definitely a sanity helper and hasn’t derailed anything we’ve done with her so far.

    In the end, potty training just sucks. No matter how it’s done…it bites the big one.

  4. I LOVE this post. Go Daddy!

    Yeah, the tears and fighting is tough to go through and it’ll break you down. Look at you for fighting back! Take the ball man… TAKE I!

  5. I potty trained 2 sons. Both of them weren’t ready until around 3 1/2. But the good thing about late training is that once they got it, that was it. No problems, no accidents. I understand your frustration. I honestly thought son #2 would go to college in diapers. I did resort to tough love and took away his trains until he used the toilet. He kicked and screamed too. One day it just clicked and we were done with diapers. And he got his trains back :-)

  6. Ahhh…Potty training indeed bites the big one. We had our last a little later than the others (8 years between 2nd and this one) and I sincerely think that she is harder to potty train than the other 2 were. My mother says it is just because it has been so long. We tried the cajoling. In the end each kid is different. Prizes are working for our girl. But she doesn’t always poop in the potty and she is still wearing pull ups at night. I am thinking of just saying screw it and put her in panties ALL the time. Good for you! Sometimes it just takes a little tough love to get the job done.

  7. I agree with the ‘no nonsense’ method. My husband wasn’t quite as agreeable to it, so our daughter wound up back in diapers more often than she stayed out of them, anytime she even had one accident. UGH! The whole battle could have been won when she was 18 months old. I had her where she was only having one accident or so each day…then he had her for the day, by himself, and by the end of the day she was back in pull-ups and diapers. I FINALLY ‘won’ the battle when she was about 2.5 years old…after we got her a potty chair that she just loved – a pink frog – she’s never went back since – 4 months now, only about 6 total accidents this whole time, mostly while playing with friends, in a place she wasn’t accustomed to going potty at. Now just to get her to be agreeable to putting clothes back on after she goes potty, at home, and we’ll be all set. LOL

    My son was an ‘all-star’ potty trainer. I introduced him to going on the toilet at around 15 months old and he didn’t look back – outside of a brief few months period, when my ex-mother-in-law took off with him when he was close to 2 – but within a month of him being back home he was back out of diapers/pull-ups. I’d refer to him as the exception, as opposed to the rule. LOL

  8. Ugh, I HATE toilet training. My kid started a new daycare when she was 2, and they requested i bring underwear for her, so she could begin “toilet familiarisation”. You know they had her peeing on the toilet in TWO FREAKING DAYS! It toook her another SEVEN MONTHS to do it at home. She’d sit on the toilet for anywhere from 5 – 25 minutes at a time. Get off and pee on the floor.. Thank christ i’m looking at another two years before we go back there again!

  9. The only potty training wisdom I can pass along is that DCF frowns upon catheters. Aside from that, I think the method is totally up to the parent.

  10. You were scared of the toilet into your teens. He’s not even 2-1/2 yet. He’ll be ready when he’s ready. In the meantime, hid eyour pillow.

  11. You guys waited too long and coddled me, negatively impacting my life for years. He’s ready now. And he’ll be potty trained now.

  12. TitforTat: Yeah, but only on this particular issue. I’m still letting him host toddler drinking parties under my supervision. But it’s OK because I don’t let anyone under the age of 4 drive home.

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