Friday, August 5, 2011

Operation Potty Train

I might turn out to be that nutjob of a mother who wakes up her seventeen year old to do SAT drills because the neighbor’s kid is at Yale. Right now, I am the kind of mother who takes her son to his pre-preschool visit and tears up watching him participate in classroom activities, but then an hour later is having an anxiety attack because the changing table in his room is being used for storage. Apparently, most children in his incoming class have been potty trained, and I completely freaked at the thought that my two-year-and-eight-month-old son might be the only one still wearing diapers.

We had planned to visit Target, a.k.a., the hundred dollar store, after we left school.  What does that place not sell?!  I found a package of adorable Paul Frank monkey underpants, which I all but willed to save my son from the scourge of diapers and deliver him to the toilet.  And before Labor Day, please.

So, Thursday morning, when Riley woke up and requested to wear his new underwear, I was elated. Our somewhat shameful “Big boys use the potty” and “Don’t you want to use the potty like so-and-so?” spiels and that blessed monkey had had some effect.  It did give me pause that I had not done major research on the subject.  I had neither prepped Riley with a story book, nor had I purchased some $20 tome on how to potty train your child before dinnertime.  But then I realized that children all over the world somehow learned how not to wet and soil themselves at or (way) before the age of three using only tradition and common sense.  So armed with what I remembered from friends and the little bit I’d read – something about a reward system, a timer and lots of liquids- I forged ahead.

I set the timer for ten minutes.  We went to the bathroom, washed our hands and then Riley requested, no, make that demanded, his treat.  I had a few somewhat hardened marshmallows left over from our last abandoned attempts at training. What kind of incentive was that?  Not far from, "Sweetie, if you keep up the good work, I'll give you some dessicated meatloaf!"

“What would you like for your treat, Riley?” I asked.


Panic once again.  John had to leave for work in 30 minutes.  Yes, CVS was open. No, I wasn’t dressed.  No, John could not get ready for work and take care of a potty-training two year old and an all-over-the- place 14 month old.  So, I threw clothes on myself and Aria, got her in the stroller and ran to CVS, where two bags of M&Ms were $6.  $#@% them for charging full price for one bag, thereby FORCING me to buy two. 

Back at home, Riley was thrilled at the prospect of his reward, which I doled out in threes.  Sure, I was motivating him with refined sugar crap, but wasn’t I redeeming myself with an educational component - making him identify the color of each piece of candy?   Then I began worrying that he might be potty trained, but he'd either have teeth like the mountain people in Deliverance, or he’d be a child diabetic.  Was giving him potty experience before starting Class #2 at his preschool worth these risks?


I am proud to say that today’s potty training was a success.  Riley only wore a diaper during his nap.  He wore Pull-Ups to our lunch outing and even tried unsuccessfully to use the pee-pee corner at the playground. He had two accidents, both number two related, which is a whole other ball of wax, no pun intended.  After dinner he stayed dry for a half hour.  Victory! On we would soldier to tomorrow.

I hope Operation Potty Train doesn't leave me with an ass that needs its own congressperson - I'm powerless to resist all those M&Ms in my freezer.  Also, I have to remember that, even though I am literally giddy at the thought of having only one child in diapers, Riley will be potty trained when he’s good and ready. Now please, dear reader, DO NOT go back to my post A Mother’s Promise and look at how many compacts I’ve confessed to breaking in this little tale.  It might make you wonder about me. 

I’m wondering about myself as I stick my hand in that bag.  

P.S.  Today, Friday, Riley has REFUSED to use the potty.  


  1. god i remember those days. i hadn't read any books about potty training when our now 11 year old was at that age. but we did it in 4 days. it was a long weekend and i had just gotten tired of dealing with dirty diapers and was done! i stocked up on pull-ups and we didn't leave the house for 4 days. every 20 minutes i asked if he needed to go to the potty and it was over relatively quickly. i have a photo that i'm saving because of its exponentially growing embarrassment potential of him on the toilet shouting, "i did it!! i pooped on the potty!!" god i can't wait to haul it out when he brings his first date home to meet the dads. payback is a bitch! good luck with riley. it's stressful, but when it's over your whole life will change.

  2. Hi! Following you from a blog hop!:0)
    Hope you visit me and return the follow!

  3. Amazing! Cannot stop laughing. This is all too familiar. Crap we have to go through this again!


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