Home » You’re Doing It Wrong: Toilet Training

You’re Doing It Wrong: Toilet Training

SO. . .about 6 weeks ago Mac saw the Doctor for his three-year well child visit.  And at this particular visit, she upbraided me because he was “a bit behind” since he couldn’t draw male and female stick figures and refused to identify colors on demand. . .

And worst of all because he wasn’t toilet trained yet. . .

“He’s working you.  This is a control issue with him.  He’s perfectly healthy and he should be potty trained by now,” she said emphatically.

Right.  He’s physically ready.

I felt as if emotionally he might not be ready quite yet. . .

But as soon as we loaded the kids in the car, Chris started,  “He’s ready.  You told me he was showing signs of being ready to toilet train.  You need to take care of this.  It’s going to be a pain, but you just have to do it.”

I stared out the side window, literally biting my tongue.  This felt a little like an attack. . .

So I got a little defensive. . .

“Drive us right over to Target.  We need more underwear.  If you want to do this, it’s on.”

Except after six exhausting weeks all that’s “on” is pee and poop.  ON EVERYTHING.  ME.  MAC.  CHRIS.  THE FLOORS, THE SHEETS, THE BATHROOMS, THE HVAC VENTS. . .

And I was this close to asking Mac if he wanted to just try diapers a little longer  – especially considering in those six weeks Mac had started referring to his clothes as “onesies” and requesting that we administer his sippy cups to him “like a baby” complete with wiping the milk he intentionally allowed to drip down his chin.

AHHHHNNNDDD THEN, Chris had 10 days off work.  And Chris saw first hand what I was continually bitching about.

And do you know what Chris said?  He said it was STILL my problem.  That Mac was perfectly willing to use the toilet with him.

And then Mac pooped his pants.

And then Mac pooped his pants.

And then Mac pooped his pants.

And then Mac pooped his pants.

And I could sit here all night typing this sentence just like The effing Shining!

And it was apparently STILL my fault.

But this time Chris offered up a suggestion:  Perhaps Mac should have a “little potty”?

“Where’s that potty we used when he was younger?” Chris queried.

“I sent it to my sister.” I replied.  “Mac told me a while ago he was all done with it and it just gathered dog hair and Mac was always using it for every purpose BUT toileting. . .”

“I think it would help us,” Chris said.

“I KNOW you are wrong. . .again,” I mumbled.

And then Mac pooped.

And then he pooped again.

“Deni, we have to do something,” Chris mumbled, angrily gesturing with dwarf-sized, turd-filled boxer briefs in hand.

“Oh.  We don’t have to do anything.  In fact, that’s what I was suggesting when you and our bossy Pediatrician got us into this situation.  What Mac needs is to MAKE UP HIS OWN MIND TO USE THE TOILET.  (And maybe peer pressure.)  He’s not going to do anything for us.  In fact, he’s going to resist it.  It HAS TO BE HIS IDEA.”

Chris unwisely spoke again, “He needs a little potty.  It will help you too.  You won’t have to drag Teddy upstairs or downstairs to the bathroom.”

My blood was moments away from boiling.


“So, let’s go get a little potty,” Chris said.

“Fine,” I mumbled tersely.  “Fine.”

“Oh!  You know what we should do?” I shouted at Chris as he was scrubbing poop off the floor while trying to keep the dog away.

“We should let Mac pick the potty and then let him pick out two toys he really wants.  He obviously doesn’t give a damn about any of the incentives I’ve offered him.”

Chris will NEVER go for this.

“Ok.  I have gift cards from when Teddy was born!  It will cost us nothing!”

Oh dear lawd, Teddy, I’m so very sorry.  We used your birth gifts to buy your big brother another shitter and bribes to use said shitter.

“So. . .I was thinking one of the things that Mac might be really excited about would be a water and sand table.” I said as we loaded the kids in the car.

“Good call.” Chris said.  “I have a good feeling about this.  It’s going to work. We’ll turn the corner.”

We rolled into Babies R Us for the third time in our ENTIRE lives and headed towards the toileting section.

Mac picked a potty seat.

Then we browsed.

Mac didn’t seem to want anything.

We circled around to the water tables.  Some of them were nearly $100 and so big. . .and plasticky. . .

Me:  “Eh?”

Chris:  “Deni, I know you and you’re going to want this thing out of our yard as soon as possible.  It’s not for us.”


He’s right.  It’s over-priced junk.  But the water table is a legit bribe err incentive.

Think, Deni.  Think.  Because you’re still trying to look cooperative but you KNOW this KID isn’t motivated by stuff like this. . .

There’s only one place to go. . .CLEARANCE!

And there, miracle of miracles there was a water/sand toy which was not a complete monstrosity and was reduced to $8.98.

“Look!” I exclaimed.

“This is AWESOME, Baby!” Chris shouted.  “It was so smart of you to look over here.”

Ever cheap err practical sweet husband.

We fawned over the toy, making a huge scene.

“Mac! When you make poop in the potty, you can have this cool toy.  It’s for water and sand!  Do you want the toy?  First you need to use the potty.”

“Mac could have the toy for tinkling in the potty?”

“No.  Poop.  You have to make poops in the potty to get this toy.  Understand?”

He eyed us suspiciously and stood up in the cart to snatch up the box.

We brought our prizes home and Mac immediately asked to test out the new toilet.

But it wasn’t a prize-worthy effort so I offered up the standard choice of a small marshmallow or two MnM’s.

“Maybe we can have that?” Mac asked pointing to the water toy.

“I’m sorry, Mac.  You only get that when you poop in the potty,” Chris said.

Mac immediately threw himself on the floor and began to convulse.  “Thhhhhhhaaaattttttt!” he wailed.

And when he stood up?

I noticed there was a small turd wedged in his trailer hitch.

“Chris!  Poops!” I exclaimed.


“Poop.  He has poop.  Do you think there’s more?”

“Mac,” Chris said, “Let’s sit on the potty.  If you can make poop in the potty, you can have the water toy.”

Mac happily agreed to sit on the new potty at which time the penny sized hunk of excrement fell into it.

“Poops in potty!” Mac gestured.

“There is NO WAY he’s getting the big toy for that,” Chris whispered aggressively to me.  “No way.”

“Well, you TOLD him if poops was in the potty. . .It’s in the potty. . .He’s got you. . .”

“NO. NO. NO!” Chris hissed.  “No way.”

News Flash:  Kid’s obviously WAY smarter than us.  

Chris marched towards Mac who was jumping up and down celebrating his solitary dime-sized turd.

“Mackinley, it’s awesome there’s poop in the potty.  We are so proud of you. You can have this airplane.”

Mac didn’t call him on it. . .

Which made me question if he was actually my son.

Mac zoomed the airplane toy around the room. . .without pants.

Chris:  “From now on, make sure things are clean back there before you put him on the toilet. . .He’s NOT getting that water toy on a technicality.”

“Sure thing.”  I muttered dreaming of putting the obstinate little fellow back in diapers as soon as Chris went back to work.

But of course I didn’t.  

And this morning, after Chris left for work, on our kitchen counter sat all of the “Poop prizes” for Mac to see.

And do you know what Mac said to me about 800 times?

Mac:  (Points at big water toy box) “Those kids look happy.”

Me:  “Yes.  They probably made poops in the potty and look how happy.  Do you think you can do that too?”

Mac:  “Poops on floor!  Poops on floor!  Bah-hahahahaha!!!”

He literally doesn’t give. . .a. . .shit. . .   

Poops prizes