I wake up on my own to a quiet house and decide to steal a few minutes. As if they can HEAR me about to sip the steaming cup of coffee clutched deservedly in my tired hands, the family begins to stir upstairs. I approach the bathroom, but I can’t tell if Jake is crying out of joy or misery. Lindsay is holding wet underpants, but Jake is holding a brand new car and chewing on a mouthful of M&Ms. During my debriefing, I find out that he’s wet the bed….but also peed in the potty. It’s a push in Vegas, but a win in our house so we decide that we should double down.
Brazenly, we underpant the boy and drop him off at preschool. I would compare our actions to Iccarus flying too close to the sun, but the sun in our case, our wings were already mostly melted and it’s not like the 12 inch fall back to Earth would make us any worse for the wear. I graciously accepted Lindsay’s offer to take him inside and explain the situation to his teachers. I imagine the conversation went something like this:
Lindsay – We potty trained Jake over the weekend. He’s doing great!
Teacher – (In broken English) So Mr. Jake is big boy now? Wearing big boy pants? That great, Jakey!
Lindsay – Yup! We nailed it! He’s a pro now. We threw a couple of diapers in his bag and 5 changes of clothes just in case…I mean…you won’t need them…but just in case. Okay, PEACE OUT!
Jake (to his teacher) – I hope you have a shit load of M&Ms, Lady.
We foolishly call to check in with the school instead of living in ignorant bliss for the rest of the day. They inform us that Jake has had a series of accidents and is now back in diapers. The school administrator suggests that we keep trying and that perhaps the school environment was simply too stimulating for Jake. She says she sees it a lot. Yeah…probably the school environment thing, we agree and withhold his current 9% potty success rate at home.
I poke my head in the door to pick up Jake from school and he’s playing happily with the other kids. He sees me, stands up, and attempts to run to me but trips. He stands up and attempts to run, but trips again. Then he stands back up and awkwardly shuffles over to me and I notice that he’s wearing bright yellow Crocs with the initials of the school emblazoned across the toes. I immediately identify them as The Crocs of Shame and can only imagine what carnage took place in this classroom today that ruined a kid’s shoes.
Because we’re masochists, we decide to put Jake back in underpants, and resume asking him to tell us if he has to go potty every 30 seconds. To our surprise, in the first half hour, he tells us he has to go potty, runs to the bathroom, I sit him on the pot, and he ACTUALLY goes pee…right in front of me. He looks at me and almost seems embarrassed that I’m so happy about it. Lindsay runs in and screams and laughs and hoots and Jake asks her to stop laughing because he’s unable to process this sudden change of attitude based on the last 2 days of sobbing and muttering under our breath to God. We reward him with a new car. He actually did it! Then, he does it again an hour later. Did The Crocs of Shame somehow trigger a breakthrough in him? Here’s another car, kid! Keep it up! Far be it from us to question the divinely inspired Croc.
Post bath time, he tells us he has to pee again, and, by God, he pees right in the damn toilet again. Another car is rewarded along with a fist full of M&Ms. Then things get a little tricky. He is more standoffish about bedtime than usual. I concede to 3 extra books, but he keeps telling me that he has to pee…but I’m sure it’s just a stall tactic. I relent because that’s what the books says I’m supposed to do and we’re back in the bathroom staring at each other. He sits there long enough to muscle out a few drops, and now he’s demanding cars and M&Ms every single time like he’s a high roller at Caesars Palace. By Round 3, I’m out of cars and start giving him old ones that he’s already opened…but he’s on to me and disregards them.
We sit there in a stalemate until he spots a bottle of bubbles across the room, then suggests that I blow bubbles for his amusement since he’s doing such important, hard work. I decide it can’t hurt, so we spend the next 10 minutes sitting on the toilet swatting bubbles out of the air as I try to explain which hole he’s supposed to be pushing out of.
After another 5 minutes, I pick him up to check the damage, and, floating carelessly, right in the middle of the bowl, is the tiniest, most well-deserved turd you’ve ever seen! Nobody knows what to do. Was it there before? Was it somehow planted by Mommy? Did God just stick it in there to give us a win? Nobody knows. Jake wants to try and make more, but seems unable to remember how he just did it. I want to take a picture of it, but apparently that’s where Lindsay draws the line. We find one last car still in its original packaging, make a tremendously big deal about it, and it’s off to bed.
The luster quickly wears off after 3 more trips to the potty which result in 2-3 drops of pee each time. He continues to demand new cars and each time I return with an old car that I hope he’s forgotten about (some even have his name already written on them), he loses his mind…eventually settling for a few M&Ms and some bubbles. Eventually he realizes the jig is up and retires for the evening.
Find out how it all started – Click to read Dad Sucks at Potty Training – Day 1