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Potty training is for the birds
Life just got really messy: I am currently potty training my 2-year-old. - photo by Carmen Rasmusen Herbert
Life just got really messy: I am currently potty training my 2-year-old.

I know everyone says, Boys arent ready to potty train until at least 3 years of age, but I decided to get a jump-start on things for three reasons.

1. I ran out of diapers. We have been low on toddler-sized nappies for a few weeks. And so when I noticed there was only two or three left I thought, why not? (Oh, the naiveness)

2. My 2-year-old has gone on the potty lots of times before, but mostly just before baths. So naturally, that means he knows exactly what hes doing. He also tells me when he has a messy diaper. Which may or may not mean anything, but I took it as a hint that hes ready.

3. I am sick of changing big boy messes. Newborn messes are one thing (and one color and one odor), but big boy messes? I have to wear a mask and hold my breath every time I change my toddlers diaper. Its like Forrest Gumps mama always said: Changing diapers is like a box of chocolates. You never know what flavor youre gonna get.

4. (I know I said three reasons, but this one seemed important.) Ive done it twice already, so naturally, the third time is the charm, right? Right?


OK, I cant be too hard on him. Or me. Day One actually went pretty well, with only two accidents (one being a mess). I was so thrilled with how well he was doing, we went to the grocery store and I let him pick out a pack of gum, which is his most favorite thing in the world. If there is gum anywhere, he will find it. It doesnt matter if its used or not.

But I quickly realized my great idea backfired after he chewed and by chewed I mean ingested half the pack while I was nursing the baby. (Side note: Why do all the most terrible messes happen when youre nursing, on the phone, frying something very hot, or in the bathroom? I just answered my own question.)

I was super upset and legitimately worried that he would now become terribly constipated, so I told him, in a very serious tone, that if he swallowed another piece I would have to take him to the doctor.

I normally dont resort to scare tactics, especially with my 2-year-old. But I was at my wits end, and had just read an article that talked about the dangers of gum (in very large amounts) backing up in childrens intestines.

My 2-year-old got very quiet. The doctor? he asked hesitantly.

Yes, I replied. He would have to do surgery.

He looked at me funny. Surgery is where they cut you open, I began. Suddenly, my 2-year-old's eyes became very wide, but dont worry, youd be asleep, I said hastily, really having no idea how they actually unclog intestines.

But, but that would hurt me! my 2-year-old said as he began to wail.

I felt awful. Why would I say such a thing? Its because I was sick and tired of being concerned with multiple peoples bowel movements.

Day Two was even rougher. It started off messy and ended messy. It seems we took one step forward and two (as in No. 2) steps back. It was on the floor, in the pants, on the hands, smeared across the potty, with very little actually making it into the potty. I was so frustrated.

I walked into the kitchen to start dinner after yet another accident, resolved to call it quits and go buy another pack of size 4 diapers. But then suddenly my little guy came up to me and said, Mommy! I go pee pee! Sure enough, he ran into the bathroom and actually made it all of it in the potty! I was beyond ecstatic. He did that a few more times before he ended the night with one more dump in the trunk.

I went upstairs after dinner and sat on the floor of my room, just staring off into the distance. I could her my little guy yelling for me downstairs. Carmen? (Hes started calling me by my first name.) Carmen! Can I have a pink cookie? (referring to the Swig sweets my blessed husband brought me after work).

I stayed still. Pretty soon, I heard a soft padding down the hall, and a chubby little body wearing nothing but a Monsters, Inc., Pull-Ups came and plopped down beside me.


Im Mommy, I said, although I must admit, the way he says my name sort of melts my heart.

Mommy, I have a cookie? A pink cookie, Mommy? Can I have one?

I stared down at my little man with the most big, sweet, innocent eyes and softened. I thought of a clip my friend posted on Facebook of her little man going through the same grueling process, carrying a pumpkin to bed, waddling down the hall with his brand-new big boy underwear.

And I thought, these sweet innocent babies still need us to praise them, help them, teach them and love them. They can barely construct complete sentences. I resolved then and there to try to not get so upset every time I found a stinky surprise in his underwear exactly five seconds after he sat on his Lightning McQueen potty for an hour, while gleefully unraveling the entire roll of toilet paper.

And to all you ladies up to your elbows in, well, you know. I salute you.