A few months ago you stopped wearing diapers, except during naps and at night when you sleep. When we first started down this path, we often left a pair of wet footprints in our wake. You knew when you had to go, you just didn’t want to stop what you were doing to sit on the toilet. That is, until we introduced chocolate chips as a reward.
The first night I explained the rules to you—one chocolate chip for going pee, two for going poop—you responded very enthusiastically with, “I’m going to PEE and PEE and PEE!”
We let you pick out the chocolate chips, at first, but soon you started to call out, “I sneakeded two!” And you’d make a grab for as many as you could and shove them into your mouth.
When you realized you go No.1 far more often than you go No.2, so you set out to renegotiate. You proposed three for pee, one for poop. We agreed, and then you instantly changed your demands to five for pee and two for poop. Tough bargain, but we agreed.
After you started trying to grab the entire stash of chocolate chips, we started picking them out for you. We’d hand you three, claiming it was five; until you realized you could count to 20 (minus 16, for some reason you always leave out 16). At that point we’d have to line them up on the counter and count them out together, like a shady back alley deal where neither party trusts one another.
Pretty quickly you stopped having accidents, except for your lack of aim. Often you’d sit down on the toilet, your penis pointed straight ahead, and proceed to pee just past the rim of the toilet, all over the bathroom floor.
One time we were going swimming and I took you to the bathroom before we got into the pool. I picked you up, set you on the toilet, and quickly realized your penis was directly pointed at me and the bag of towels I had around my shoulder. Just before you let loose, I pushed your penis down towards the toilet bowl.
“Don’t touch it,” you snapped.
“I’m sorry, I had to, you were about to pee all over…”
“Shhh, don’t talk,” you muttered, in a tone that clearly told me you’d started going.
Telling when you’re going, about to go, or just went, can be confusing. When you have to go No.2, we’ve learned to watch for when you suddenly go quiet, which like your Dad, isn’t very often. With No.1, you’ll often look up and say, “I’m peeing.” Which we realized, means, “I have to pee.” Lately you’ll stop and ask, “Am I wearing a diaper?” This is my cue to pick you up and run for the toilet.
In the early stages of potty training you liked a little moral support, and would insist whoever was closest to you come in and sit down on the toilet with you.
Some days you simply don’t want to go to the bathroom, even though you know you have to go. One Saturday I realized you had to go the bathroom and asked you take a quick break from playing to go sit on the potty.
You replied to my request with, “I’m a skid steer loader, Daddy.”
“Skid steers go to the potty,” I responded.
“Skid steers DO NOT go potty,” you said. “They DO NOT have a penis.”
Today you stood and peed for the first time. It was pretty hilarious and only required a handful of minutes to clean up the portion of your bladder which missed its mark. Your mom laughed the other day as she saw you pointing your stream of pee all over the toilet bowl.
“That will never cease to be entertaining for him,” I replied. “I know from personal experience.”
It took you awhile to get consistent about going No.2 in the toilet, and even now you’re not 100 percent, but I’ll never forget the first time you remembered to take off your pants and go.
I was at work, and had just recently learned that my computer’s new operating system allowed me to receive text messages on my computer screen, in real time. I was on the phone with a client, doing a screen share, when a message popped onto my screen for both of us to see. It was from your mom, and it said, “Arlo pooped in the potty for two chocolate chips.” My client burst in laughter and then cheered, “YEAH, Arlo!”
Soon enough you’ll be a potty trained professional, and you’ll be going to the bathroom on your own. I’m looking forward to that day, but will always remember the hilarious stages it took to get there.
You’ll always be No.1 in my book.
Love you buddy,