The big water cooler conversation for moms of toddlers in the “two’s” is potty training. Questions like, “Are you actively doing it?” “Are you planning on doing it?” and “How’s it going so far?” can be heard spoken in hushed tones during drop off and pick up.
So far, my answer to all of these questions has been an emphatic, “NO!” My ultimate long term plan was to wait until I could literally sit him down, explain how it worked, and have that be that. Nice, neat and tidy, like all parenting should be; especially parenting that involves bowel movements. I assumed this brilliant conversation would take place sometime after he turned three.
However, like all pre- planned parenting moments, this one seems to be diverting from its original course. For the last few months Man has been getting naked and claiming that he wants to relieve himself on the potty. This has been a bogus claim, a ploy so he can get and stay naked, and gain access to the bathroom sink-turned-water table.
This morning, I got a little surprise; he actually really went to the bathroom on the toilet! I was shocked, then thrilled, and finally a little bit annoyed.
Annoyed, you may be wondering? Shouldn’t I be happy that he might be ready to tackle this next milestone?
You see, I am among the small population of parents that is NOT rushing to get their kid out of diapers. It doesn’t actually seem easier to me. I mean, Man still eats the tips of his markers; does this sound like a child I should trust with underpants?
I decided to take an online quiz to see how ready he really is:
Question: “Does your child stay dry for at least two hours or more during the day?”
Translation: Are you willing to do activities that are limited to an hour and a half or less? If not, then you will have to make sure there is a bathroom within walking distance, as your child will likely be unable to hold it for longer than two hours. Accidents are likely, therefore it’s recommended that you start carrying an extra set of clothes despite the fact that you haven’t done this in about two years. Oh, and get used to going to the bathroom in places like Stop & Shop and Mobil Mart.
Question: “Is your child usually dry when he wakes up from a nap?”
Translation: Are you willing to start changing your child’s sheets regularly after they have an accident during nap time. And for that matter, all other times they have an accident, in or out of bed.
Question: “How would you describe your child’s bowel movements?”
Answer: Do I have to?
Question: “Is it obvious when your child is about to urinate or have a bowel movement?”
Translation: Is there a face, body posture, or general rallying cry that your child emits when he/she is about to go? Even if your answer is yes, are you watching your kid ALL of the time? In that moment that he/she makes “the face”, you could easily be doing the laundry and miss it entirely; which would bring us back to the previous question about your willingness to clean up accidents.
Question: “Can your child sit for a few minutes at a time?”
Translation: If your child gets bored and gets off the potty before he/she is done, trailing grossness behind them, would that annoy you? Do I already have to provide Man with reading material in order to keep potty time entertaining?
Question: “Does your child express an interest in wearing grown up underwear?”
Translation: Would you be willing to continue buying diapers (just in case), add pull ups to the list, and also underwear; because you know it’s not as simple as strapping cool Spiderman underpants to their tushies.
The quiz really should go something like this:
1) For the next few months will you be vigilant about reminding your child to go to the bathroom?
2) Will you be skeeved out if it’s an emergency and you have to go to the bathroom in random, possibly unhygienic, places?
3) Does cleaning pools of urine and feces off of the floor bother you?
4) Will you still be willing to wipe your kid’s butt even though he no longer wears diapers?
Ultimately, of course I want my child out of diapers, but somehow, pushing it too soon just seems like more trouble and germs than it’s worth.