Toddlers are the most stubborn creatures on the planet. This is obvious by the fact that they are advanced enough to count, ride a tricycle, manipulate electronic devices and sing the theme song to “Max and Ruby,” but refuse to stop pooping in their pants.
Below is a typical toddler conversation.
My wife: Do you have to go potty?
Toddler (hiding under a kitchen chair): No potty.
Me: I think she wants milk.
Toddler (grunting): No milk.
My wife: She’s pooping. You can smell that, can’t you?
Me (handing the toddler a cup): People who want milk smell funny. Scientific fact.
Toddler (throwing cup on the floor): No, milk, NOOOO. Obladooby.
My wife: What did she say?
Me: I think she’s complaining about a lack of positive role models in today’s television.
My wife: You’re kidding, right?
Toddler (picking up cup and sipping milk): TV please, me.
My wife (waving hand in front of her face): Whew. She’s been saving that for a while.
Why is potty training so hard? It’s not like dressing these cuddly little monsters in diapers for two years has conditioned them to poop in their pants. That’s ridiculous.
The question is how can we, as emotionally defeated parents, transform our stubborn “how the hell did that happen?” pregnancy test surprises from barnyard animals into bathroom buddies?
Parenting experts (people who have no idea how children work) suggest potty-training methods that are, in a word, stupid.
Wait-and-Pee: This requires parents to pay attention to their children’s “I have to potty” signs, instead of what we want to do, which is hide in the kitchen and eat Cool Whip from the container. Who wants to stare into their toddler’s eyes until she makes a poop face?
Training Pants or Bust: Simply stop putting diapers on your child. Uh, no thanks. Going cold turkey during potty training is like being clean-up crew at the Chimichanga Diarrhea Festival. Five points for chutzpah, negative 500 because your house smells like that time you drove through rural Iowa.
The Chocolate Potty: Some parents give their child M&M’s as a reward for using the potty. “Jimmy, if you go poop, I’ll slip you this envelope of M&M’s. You give me back the envelope and the M&M’s have mysteriously disappeared.” This works. However, bribing a child to do something they should want to do will become an issue if you expect them to take care of you when you’re older.
This is why my wife and I have scrapped traditional potty training trickery for a more Offutt way of doing things.
Free Range Baby: We have a toddler and we have a backyard that’s free of poisonous snakes, bears and exploding chocolate (the Germans tried this during World War II). What a recipe for success. Just strip the kid naked and leave the back door open. Potty problem solved.
The Bacon Method: Similar to The Chocolate Potty, however, there is no room for error with bacon. There have been many times I’ve walked by our open bathroom door to see the Toddler sitting on her plastic potty eating bacon. She still poops her pants, but at least she likes bacon.
Diaper Fairies: My wife used this with one of our older children. She got rid of all the diapers and replaced them with underwear. Then she claimed the Diaper Fairies did it. I still don’t sleep well.
I Don’t Care: This is the most Offuttesque technique. Just leave the kid in diapers until other children make fun of her. She will eventually potty train herself. Of course, expect lots of visits to the psychologist later on, but insurance should cover that.
Find Jason’s newest book of short horror, “Road Closed,” at jasonoffutt.com.