In January, right after my son Holden turned 3, we decided to potty train him. He was showing every sign of being ready. He's incredibly verbal. He knows how to tell us when he has to go. Hell, he'll pee on demand for a piece of candy corn. (Don't judge me!) So we ditched the diapers and went for it.
On Day Two, I walked into the living room and discovered (through nose power) that Holden had pooped and went foraging for treasure in his underwear. I controlled my gag reflex, cleaned the kid up, and we discussed an important Rule of Poo: Don't put your hands in your tushie. We'll call this the Second Rule of Poo.
On Day Three, I walked into the boys' bedroom and discovered an even bigger mess. Not only had Holden ignored the Second Rule of Poo, he had smeared it all over his bed, his stuffed animals, and down the track of his plastic Thomas the Train set. Apparently he thought a nice poo slalom would be exciting for Thomas and Percy and anyone else unfortunate enough to visit the Island of Sodor that evening. After a lot of scrubbing, some bleach, a shower and a lot of gagging, we discussed the Third Rule of Poo: Keep it in the Pull Up, and it's corollary, "Don't gross out Sir Topham Hat."
Upon further investigation of the boys' toys we had to discuss the Fourth Rule of Poo: Don't put it in a tiny metal and ceramic pot and attempt to microwave it in your toy kitchen. (We'll worry about the whole metal-objects-in-the-microwave thing later. I have to have my priorities, you know.) Holden thought he was making "brownies." You may think I'm making this up, but if you ask him about it he'll tell you about it with great pride even now. Needless to say, I'll never look at a box of Duncan Hines quite the same way again.
On Day Four, I successfully placed Holden on the potty before he pooed. Holden is a "hider" and doesn't like an audience, so I retreated to the kitchen to let him do his thing. When I returned to the bathroom, I discovered that Holden had smeared poo all over the toilet and himself. We had a shower and discussed the Fifth Rule of Poo: Keep it in the toilet, a close cousin to "Keep it in the Pull Up".
On Day Five, I hid behind the bathroom door while Holden did his thing, determined not to permit him time to violate the Fifth Rule of Poo. Man, the CIA needs to hire that boy because in 30 seconds he managed to poo, smear it everywhere, and begin to investigate the nearby basket of clean laundry. He did this all silently. We had another shower, ran some laundry, discussed Rules Two through Five again and I threw in the Sixth Rule of Poo: Keep it away from Daddy's clean laundry.
At this point I decided that Holden was not actually ready to be potty trained. If he was, his deep and abiding fondness for poo play seems to be enough of an excuse to keep him in diapers until he turns 18 or goes off to college, whichever comes first.
I've recently begun to wonder if we should try the whole potty training thing again with Holden. It seems that some of the rules have begun to sink in. Yesterday when I was in the bathroom, Holden barged in, put his hands on my knees, looked right into my eyes and oh-so-seriously imparted the First Rule of Poo: "Mommy, don't poo on your hands."
This post originally appeared on the DC Metro Moms Blog on May 3, 2009. Now that the site is inactive, I'm slowly moving my posts over to my blog, starting with this, one of my favorite posts!