And so it begins.
To be honest, it probably should’ve started already, but Dad and Buried has been a little pee-shy, as in: I don’t want to help my son pee. I’ve been dreading this whole stage in my son’s development. Not because it signifies him getting older, but because I’m clueless. And it signifies him getting more inconvenient.
Now, with summer approaching, and a new preschool looming in the fall, it’s time: my son needs to be potty trained.
As the stay-at-home parent, it trickles down to me to fulfill this duty.
Potty training. Ugh. I haven’t the faintest idea of how to begin. I barely even know how I manage it; it just kind of happens.
How do you teach something so instinctual? Obviously, someone must have taught me, but I don’t remember the experience – which is likely because I blacked the whole mortifying experience out. Let’s face it, the process is humiliating for everyone involved, and it’s better that we remember as little of it as possible. That’s why I drink so much.
No one enjoys it. So let’s pull up our pants and step back for a second to consider a broader question: why does this even need to be done? It seems to me we’re just adding more hassle to our lives. Diapers are convenient for all of us! They seem gross at first, but it’s not long before any parent gets inured to the sight and smell of their child’s expulsions. Besides, apart from the occasional mishap, those expulsions are neatly collected inside a handy, disposable little pouch and deposited straight into a Diaper Genie (which, with its ominous resemblance to 2001‘s (black) monolith, may or may not be responsible for instilling the capacity for violence in my toddler).
With my son out of diapers, he becomes a lot less portable. Without the benefit of a diaper, I’ll have to scramble to find a public bathroom every time he has to tinkle, elbowing my way past non-parents and into the big stall, doing my damnedest to prevent my ever-curious toddler from touching every disgusting thing he sees, and probably failing. And if his bladder is anything like mine, that’s going to happen a lot.
So yeah, I love diapers. I wish I were wearing a diaper right now! I’d never have to leave a movie in the middle just to piss, I’d never be forced to humiliate myself by using the bathroom at Harris Teeter, etc. What a joy! But no; stupid society frowns upon grown men in diapers, and thus I – and now my son along with me – am forced to fall in line like everyone else.
Now, back to the issue at hand, which is actually accomplishing this dreadful task. I have no doubt that my son will figure the whole “using the potty” thing out eventually, and probably well in advance of his first day at his new school in September. The problem is getting started.
It’s not easy to explain the concept to a two-year-old with a limited vocabulary and non-existent awareness of biology. I tried to turn to Elmo for help but this stupid song didn’t elucidate anything for my toddler. It just made him dance, like everything else. Just as ineffective were my attempts to explain the process by telling him to “use the force.”
Poo or poo not, there is no try. Unfortunately, there is also no pee.
The trick, it seems, is to get your kid used to sitting on the toilet – which may be where such ridiculous products as the iPotty come in, as accessories to help a child fill his time and feel more comfortable on the seat. The hope, I guess, is that by doing that a few times during the day, at one point, via serendipity or luck or coincidence, you’ll hit the portapot and the kid will let loose with some pee or poo while he’s perched on the throne. Once that happens, you’ll have an example to point to, and, if you’re an obnoxious pervert, an example you can point all your friends to as well.
We’re still in the early stages here. We’ve purchased the pull-ups, we have the Elmo-themed Potty seat, I’m practicing my cheers and doing my best not to scold him – lest he grow up associating using the toilet with punishment, which, sorry, future daughter(or son)-in-law! – and we’re holding tight and pushing forward. I’ll probably keep you posted on Twitter (no pics, I promise!), and expect a save the date for his Bar Shitz-vah celebration.
Hopefully he’ll get the hang of it soon so I can wash my hands of this whole shitty situation.