06/30/2014 03:00 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Potty Training in 17 Easy Steps

1. Potty training realization: C is several months older than T was when he was potty trained. C has shown no interest in anything toilet-related, although his classmates are rapidly joining the ranks of underwear-wearers. As C seeks neither peer or authority figure approval, this doesn't bother him at all.

2. Potty training internal pep talk: C and T are very different children. At a little more than 2-and-a-half, T informed me he no longer wanted to pee in his diaper. A week later he was pretty much potty trained. Two months later he no longer wore a pull-up overnight. C is not going to quickly potty train, because he is one of the most stubborn humans I have ever come across. "I know this!" I think. "Knowledge is power! Everything is going to be fine!"

3. Potty training prep: Star Wars Angry Bird and Star Wars LEGO underwear purchased. C is a walking billboard who will only wear Star Wars shirts/socks/shoes. Initially we thought this was adorable. Now it is just stressful. I cannot find Star Wars anything in 2T. So 4T it is.

4. First victory: C is in love with the underwear. He carries it with him wherever he goes. In his hands. Not on his body. Which is kind of a good thing because it hangs off of his tiny hips. My smart friend suggests putting a few stitches on each side to tighten them up. It is a brilliant idea and I tell her I'll do it. I do not do it.

5. Potty training prep continues: Pull-ups purchased in smallest size available.

6. Day 1 of potty training: C sits on the toilet a lot. Nothing happens a lot. He grabs several squares of toilet paper and carefully wipes his scrotum, studiously avoiding his penis. A lot. I question him about this odd practice but receive no definitive answers about motivation. The toilet is flushed. A thousand times. He loves flushing. Our water bill is going to be larger than our mortgage. Greenpeace is going to picket our house.

7. Day 2 of potty training: C loves wearing pull-ups. He keeps peeing out of the pull-ups. What the heck is going on? He comes home from school with three wet outfits. Is he suddenly drinking a ton of water? Why is this happening?

8. Day 3 of potty training: While C is wearing just pull-ups in the living room, I watch as pee rockets out of the leg with the intensity of a water cannon. Oh dear. My sweet boy's stork legs are so skinny that the pull-ups gape around his thighs.

9. Day 4 of potty training: C begs to wear pull-ups. I try to explain why he can't. I tell him if he pees in the potty he can wear his Star Wars underwear around the house. He begs to wear his Star Wars underwear. The activities of Day 1 repeat themselves. No peeing in the potty.

10. Days 5 through 35: The activities of Day 1 repeat themselves. OK, he does pee in the potty. Like twice. And he seems to run to the bathroom as soon as he is finished peeing or pooping. Progress. He just has the order wrong.

11. Day 36: Did I mention he doesn't want us in the bathroom with him? And how uneasy this makes me? And how incredibly disgusting and messy it is when he runs to the bathroom moments after he has pooped (before I know it has happened) and manages to spread said poop all over the place? Did I mention he is fiercely independent?

12. Day 37: Dude totally poops in the potty. Without telling us. My husband finds him sitting there smiling. We give him tons of positive reinforcement. He looks at us like we are nuts. I watch him and know he is thinking, "Positive reinforcement is for mere mortals who actually care what others think!"

13. Day I-have-lost-count: We have started to do the naked on the bottom thing. C goes to our bedroom and poops on my pillow. I laugh maniacally while weeping as I clean it up. I think I am going insane.

14. Day I-have-lost-count-plus-one: He is the only child in the world not motivated by a bribe of M&Ms. Even though he loves M&Ms. He pees in the toilet once; I only know because I run into the bathroom after him and discover him mid-act. I wonder how many times he has peed in the toilet without me knowing. That line of thought does not help my sanity level. I put it out of my mind.

15. Day I-have-lost-count-plus-two: I take him to the bathroom frequently. He pees in the potty. He pees twice on the floor. My friend catches him behind my car, leaning against it with one hand peeing with a big turd dangling between his legs. "Squat! SQUAT!" my friend yells. I stay seated, eating my dessert. Because I will lose it if I have to clean up poop again. My husband senses this and takes care of C and the driveway. I love my husband.

16. Day I-have-lost-count-plus-three: After he has been holding it for four hours while wearing Star Wars underwear, I finally cajole C into peeing on the potty. It is hard to believe that the bladder in his tiny body could hold so much liquid. Several hours later I tell him he can wear underwear to the pizza joint around the corner for lunch if he pees again. He begs for a diaper. I give up. I. Give. Up. I GIVE UP! Diaper it is. The damn diaper is dry when he gets home. He is toying with me.

17. Day 85 million: The entire house reeks of urine. I believe I will have to send this child to college wearing pull-ups. His thighs should be big enough by then. He will wear them with pride and convince legions of college students that they should do the same. "The use of toilets is a social construct!" he will shout from the shoulders of a statue he will scale in the center of the quad. "Why not replace them with the ease of a time-saving pull-up? Bathroom breaks will become a thing of the past, upping productivity of all contributing members of society!" Maybe he's onto something. Perhaps he will prove that you don't have to be potty trained to be on scholarship.


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