The Potty Predicament

Worried that he was poisoning his insides, I started putting a Pull-up on him every evening at the same time. As soon as it was on, he'd slip quietly into his room and close the door. Once or twice, I peeked through the door to see what he was doing. He'd place his hands on the foot of the bed, feet a-straddle as if he were water skiing. Next I'd hear a series of grunts. In a few minutes, he'd emerge, shame-faced. "Mommy," he'd say, with a telltale aroma trailing him, "I pooed." I'd let out a heavy, pained sigh and shake my head as if he'd just confessed to crimes against humanity.

As the three-year mark approached, and I saw my son upstaged by other, younger children who pranced proudly to the potty, I became truly depressed about this maternal failure. Despondently, I deployed my final weapon. I put away the potty and bought a large supply of Pull-ups. When my son informed me that he needed to be changed, I acted deliriously happy, never once even mentioning the toilet and its uses.

After all those agonizing months, this strategy succeeded in exactly two days. The demon seed I'd previously considered my son started using the toilet as if he'd been doing it all his life. Now, more than a year later, I can't get him out of the bathroom. He has in-depth conversations with himself or an imaginary friend. (I haven't quite figured out which) while he's defecating, ranging from a soliloquy on the makeup of the solar system to what sounds like a verbal tour of his more interesting body parts. Walking by the bathroom one day, I heard him say, "Would you like to see what a penis looks like?" Dazed, I continued down the hall, wondering what I'd created.

My daughter recently turned two and has never even seen the potty. When I get out of therapy in another year or so, I will probably try to train her. Or maybe I'll just invest in some Huggies -- size extra extra large.

Jackie Papandrew is a freelance writer, wife, mother and coffee addict living in Florida. She writes a monthly humor column using material generously supplied by her family. She's published a variety of articles for newspapers and magazines. She can be reached at

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