Posted by: Jamie Stamm | July 9, 2008

Potty Training Chronicles: Episode 1

I don’t know if it’s accurate to say that we’ve started potty training Anthony. He got six pairs of big boy underpants for his second birthday back in December, and we’ve been buying pull-ups for quite a few months, but we still keep a healthy supply of diapers on hand, too, and we’ve been letting Anthony choose which he would rather wear (usually, it’s a diaper).

It’s not as if we haven’t been through this before, but Cera’s potty training was a bit unconventional. She was nearly 3 and still was not using the potty on a consistent basis (for reference, Anthony currently is 2 1/2), and we didn’t want to push her. But she couldn’t move up to the next level class at day care until she was fully trained. One of the teachers, whom I greatly respect, recommended that we just start sending her to school in panties.

“She’ll be fine,” the teacher said. “Trust me.”

As first-time parents, we didn’t know what to do. Should we continue on the path we were on and let Cera figure out this whole potty thing in her own way and on her own time? Or should we listen to a day care teacher, who had years – if not decades – more experience with kids than us?

I just had this picture in my head of my precious baby standing in front of her classmates in a puddle of pee – absolutely mortified. I didn’t want to traumatize her.

In the end, after talking with family and friends, we followed the expert’s advice. I packed a bag for day care with plenty of panties and lots of extra changes of clothing. And when I picked Cera up at school … she was in the same clothes she had been wearing when I’d dropped her off in the morning. She had made it to the potty on time all day long, and I can count on one hand the number of times she’s had an accident at school (plus, she’s never wet the bed).

Initially with Anthony, I thought potty training was going to be easy. Before he was 2, he took a keen interest in his sister’s bathroom habits, and I rushed right out and bought him a special Elmo potty (see above) that would congratulate him (in English or Spanish, no less) when he managed to do his business. He was so excited at first, sitting on that potty for several minutes at a time, although nothing ever came out.

In fact, the Elmo potty still hasn’t been successfully used. And now it’s just sitting in the kids’ bathroom collecting dust as Anthony has decided he would rather try to use the adult-sized toilet. The big problem there is that he doesn’t want to use a step stool, so if he would manage to successfully pee, it would trickle down the front of the potty instead of landing in the bowl.

So, where are we now? Well, Anthony still isn’t particularly interested in using the bathroom at home or at day care. But, without fail, he asks for the potty when we’re in a public place – for example, a grocery store or restaurant – although he never actually goes.

That leads me to this past weekend …

During our holiday travels, I at one point found myself in the bathroom of a Mexican restaurant in Chapel Hill, holding Anthony high enough above the toilet that he might hit the bowl if he actually decided to go, as he yelled loudly at his penis, “Come out, pee pee! Come out!”

I was trying so hard not to laugh at the whole scenario that I was shaking … and giving thanks that no one else was in the bathroom to witness this spectacle.

Maybe I should just put him in a pair of underpants …



  1. That is hilarious. We have had three lazy boys when it comes to potty training with Caden topping it off now at 2 and almost 8 months. He is stubborn. But they will start using the potty when they are ready (read: when they get tired of messing their diapers). Good luck with yours!

  2. I loved this!

    And a bilingual toilet? That’s absolute madness. I’ve officially heard it ALL.

  3. That bathroom scene is hilarious!!!

    I have heard from friends with boys that letting them pee outside usually does the trick. (Although, I can’t imagine how that is supposed to work when you’re at the mall or a restaurant!)

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