The Potty Fairy
The Potty Fairy visited our house!
Are you familiar with the Potty Fairy? She’s similar to the Tooth Fairy, but instead of taking teeth, she takes bodily fluids. And instead of putting the item under your pillow, you deposit it into a toilet. And instead of replacing it with money, she replaces it with a clean toilet bowl… and an empty diaper drawer… and no more wiping of asses.
Okay, there is still asswiping. But it’s with toilet paper! And it’s in the asscrack! It’s no longer seventy-five babywipes removing the artistic spackle-smear of shit spreading its territory from knee to ribcage.
The excitement and anticipation my daughter will someday have about the approach of the Tooth Fairy is nothing compared to the excitement and anticipation my wife and I had over the arrival of the Potty Fairy.
My wife always hates when people post about the potty training process on social media. Nothing can quite derail the beautiful, picturesque stroll through election postings and hipster food photos than a description of a potty fail. It’s like “Trump, Hillary, pot pie, Trump, shit dribbling down the leg, Hillary.” Come to think of it, can we have more descriptions of bodily functions? Seems less offensive.
Because of this, I have politely refrained from any discussion of the trials and tribulations of this process on the Facebook and the Twitter. But this is an anonymous blog, so nobody will be any the wiser.
Oh wait, did I mention that I’ve recently been published? And finishing the sequel was what kept me away from blogging for the last few months? So if I start shilling my book on this blog in the future, it won’t be anonymous anymore. Shit.
I mean, oops. I shouldn’t be using “shit” as an exclamation in this post. Henceforth, shit shall only refer to the scatological product of a bodily function. Can’t run the risk of causing confusion. That would be a pisser.
The potty training started as quite a surprise. My wife and I had discussed it, dreamed about the day, but more in the vein of some future trip to Tahiti. We weren’t really sure when or how to begin.
Then one day my daughter’s talking things over with her mom.
About shit, not Tahiti.
“Pee pee, potty?”
“Yeah, baby. Mommy and daddy pee pee in the potty. Someday you’ll pee pee in the potty.”
“Pee pee… potty?”
“Wait, do you want to pee pee in the potty right now?”
“Pee pee… potty… right now.”
I mean… Whoa!
We were caught completely unprepared, but we took her to the toilet, anyway. We didn’t even have the child’s seat, so instead, daddy had to hold baby up hovering in the middle of the toilet seat.
For a half an hour. Because baby was going to be milking this one.
Guess I won’t need to be doing sit-ups this month.
And the result? Nothing. Baby was convinced she had accomplished something, but I can neither confirm nor deny whether anything exited my daughter into its proper watery receptacle. Too bad her vocabulary is not full enough to teach her the “Here I sit, broken-hearted” poem.
Next came the true adventure of baby’s first toilet experience: the wiping. She was all jazzed to wipe. Of course, she didn’t really wipe, just emulated what she had seen us do. Grab a few squares, place them between your legs, then drop them into the toilet.
And by a few squares, I mean three or four or, I don’t know, twenty?
Then she’d need to “wipe” a little more.
“One more, daddy. One more.”
She held up one finger to indicate what she meant by one more, a phrase I was previously unaware she knew. From a linguistic standpoint, she definitely understood the “more” concept. The “one?” That needed a little more work.
By the time she was done, about half a roll of toilet paper had been dumped into the toilet. Wife read that this was normal and that we should let her explore it on her own. You know, in order to increase her comfort in the bathroom.
This child-rearing literature, however, must not allow for low-flush toilets. Because when we finally flushed the alleged half-ounce of urine with the half-gallon of toilet paper, wouldn’t you know it, the toilet clogged. And this wasn’t one of those, “plunge it and flush it again” types of clogs. I assume that too much of the paper hadn’t touched water, and plungers seem predicated on breaking apart wet products. So even when we went in with the snake claw, it only tore away the first layer of wet paper, barely exposing the next line of wad.
This particular clog required going in from the outlet valve on the outside of the house. Good times.
But with that crisis averted, we were revitalized. We had that enemy, the diaper, which had entrenched itself in our household for close to two years, on the run. We hit the Babies’R’Us for the weapons necessary to finally vanquish our foe. We bought the baby toilet-seat extensions. We purchased Pull-ups and underwear with cute critters on them. We ensured there was never more than a half of a roll of toilet paper on the spool at any given time.
And then… nothing.
The One Weekend Method says this would be a good time to go cold turkey. There’s one problem this plan, though, and that’s Day Care. In California, the mandated teacher-to-child ratio changes at age two. So two-year-olds tend to be in a different room than the babies and toddlers. If our daughter, being 21-months old, were to go into the “Twos” room, where the bathroom is, the day care center would be in major violation of state law. And from what I gather, day care centers tend to follow state law. At least our particular one does.
So what’s the use of potty training her if they’re still requiring her to shit herself at school? Instead, for a few months, we stayed in a holding pattern where we talked extensively about the potty. Baby occasionally pretended she needed to use the potty, but more often than not it was “All full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” Shakespeare wrote that about flatulence, right?
Even when baby’s wolf-crying was legitimate, the process and result were more novelty than normalcy. She became very good at telling us WHEN she was expunging herself. Telling us BEFORE was still a mystery.
She became more aware of her bodily functions. One bathtime, she let out a fart that I could have won some fraternity championships with. “Oh shit,” I thought, both literally and figuratively, envisioning a reenactment of the Baby Ruth scene in Caddyshack.
I asked her if she needed to poo-poo or if she was just farting.
“FAR-eeeeeeeen,” she said, then laughed hysterically.
Yep, that’s my daughter.
A month or so after she turned two, we noticed she was consistently staying dry throughout the night. She would go long periods of the day without shitting or pissing herself. I can’t always make the same claims for myself, so we figured, what the hell? Let’s do this.
We didn’t quite go the “cover all the couches and floors and have her go naked all weekend” route that the cold turkey’ers suggest. Instead we took her to the potty on a regular basis. Sometimes she went, sometimes not. By the end of the first day, she was pretty adept at identifying which times she would pee and which times she would not.
By the end of the next day, she was potty trained.
I’m not going to say she’s batting 1.000. She still has some “Oopses. And by “Oops,” I mean “Shit.” A few pisses, too, but most of her oopses are shits. It seems odd that she would recognize an impending urinary incident more readily than a bowel emergency. To me, the latter seems much easier to feel coming from a mile away. But I’ve been assured that #1-awareness usually predates #2-awareness by the teacher in the two-year old room to which my daughter was recently promoted. And if you aren’t going to believe someone who spends her entire day around two-year olds, who are you going to believe?
And why does the Toddler keep saying “Poo Poo Power”? Oh, never mind. She’s saying Purple Flower. Lost my translator for a second…
A week or two after “The Transition,” this same teacher asked if I wanted to take home the diapers and wipes we had at Day Care. It hadn’t occurred to me. When I got home, I presented the returned items to my wife.
“I guess we can clean out her diaper drawer, huh?”
“I can hand them down to a co-worker.”
“You know what? We haven’t had to empty the diaper sausage in a month.”
We looked at each other and smiled. It was only then that we realized what had happened. The look we shared was the same look of hope that a child has, waking up and gingerly lifting the pillow to see what lies beneath…
“The Potty Fairy was here! The Potty Fairy was here!”