I used to think potty training was immensely interesting, and that was to say I found it interesting that one had to “train” a child to use a toilet when he needed to relieve himself. After the last few days, I have completely changed my tune, but it’s not what you think. More on that in a minute.
Since our daughter is only one year old, I have not even begun thinking about this peculiar (for both parents and kids) right of passage.
To us grown ups, it’s pretty simple:
You get the urge…you go.
And while it’s not required to alert those around you to the impending bowel movement, some of us (mostly men) feel the need to share this information with such time honored sayings as:
- I’m going to drop a deuce
- I’ll be dropping the kids off at the pool
- Hey, I’m going to drain the main vein
- Ok, I’m off to export a brown cigar to Cuba
- Excuse me for a moment while I greet Mr. Hankey
- or for you Star Trek fans…Taking a few moments to update the Captain’s Log!
3 Reasons a Child Should Want to Use the Potty
As a parent, grown up, and one experienced in the ways of bathroom etiquette – there are 3 primary reasons I believe every child should WANT to use the potty.
Diaper Rash - Everyone knows that when #1 mixes with #2 in a diaper it causes diaper rash, which neither the child nor parent enjoys. No more diaper rash = happy bottoms! This is the first reason I thought kids would transition quickly from the dirty mess to the tidy bowl.
Monkey See, Monkey Do - Babies love anything the big kids do. If he sees you drinking from a glass, he wants to drink from a glass. If he sees you eating a cookie, he wants to eat a cookie. If he sees you kicking the dog…well you get the point. If I had a nickel for every time my daughter pushed the door open when I was popping a squat – I’d be fairly wealthy. If I had a nickel for every time she tried to stick her hand in the bowl and get a closer look – I’d be be a rich, rich man. This is the second reason I thought potty training would be fairly simple.
Getting Weighed Down - Ever seen a kid with a load in his pants? It’s hilarious. His diaper gets weighed down and it sags to just below knee level, making him walk with a slight bowl legged swagger, kind of like a pants-less cowboy. Most kids will find a way to let you know it’s time for a change; some by making funny faces, some by sitting down, and some who decide to check the oil with a finger or two. Nobody likes to be weighed down – another reason I thought potty training would be automatic.
But, as I’ve been told by frustrated parents everywhere, potty training is not automatic, and kids are not quick to grasp the concept. I was told the same thing recently, when some friends invited us to their house for a barbecue.
Meanwhile, at the barbecue…
We just arrived at the house and were greeted in the driveway by the parents and the 3 year old trainee in question, Jason, who had run out of the house with no pants on. Well, to be clear, he was wearing potty training shorts – which for the uninitiated, look sort of like tighty whitey briefs, but with colorful Sesame Street characters imprinted on them.
His parents were quick to explain they had begun potty training just a few days earlier, and were, just before we arrived, trying to get him to share his gifts with the porcelain god. Further, they had decided the best way to potty train was to lose the diaper altogether, figuring that sooner or later Jason would get used to the idea that the new shorts didn’t hold his business quite the same way, and that he would, by default, start using the potty.
My wife and I offered an awkward laugh, and we all went inside the house. The parents sat Jason down on the bowl again, encouraged him to finish his business, and invited us in to watch the thrilling event. That’s right… we were invited to enter the bathroom and watch as Jason tried to use the potty.
I have never been one to fold under pressure, and I don’t get gun shy using the toilet in public places. I’ve gone at football stadiums, restaurants, construction sites, and even in bars with no door for privacy. (Sidebar: the Wynn Casino in Las Vegas is the nicest bathroom I’ve ever experienced. Each toilet is contained within its own cabana style room which is larger than most peoples’ houses.) But all that aside, I felt bad for this poor kid, being forced to do his business with so many people waiting anxiously on him.
I make a conscious effort not to judge other peoples’ parenting methods, but in this case, I thought surely this is the wrong way to potty train. I also thought that if I did attend the viewing I would someday be included in the lengthy discussions Jason was sure to have with his therapist. I do not want to be that guy, so I declined the offer and quickly made my way to the back deck where copious amounts of beer was awaiting.
After about ten minutes, everyone made it to the deck, and I was quickly informed about Jason’s failure to launch. Despite the audience, he didn’t seem phased at all – he was happy as could be, and prancing around like a normal three year old. Before long, the parents had gone back to adult conversation discussing the Cardinals unlikely world series win, and the upcoming steelers game. But then a few seconds later, one of the parents noticed that Jason had stopped playing, and was now standing perfectly still on the edge of the deck, with his head down and his hands folded in front, like as if stoically reciting the pledge of allegiance in homeroom.
That’s when the pee trickled down his legs and formed into a puddle on the wood decking. Then he closed one eye and contorted his face muscles a bit. Every parent knows what that face means, but we were surprised to see that Jason had figured out how to do the poopy dance while standing still. I’m not sure if this was an overt act of retaliation for the potty training incident earlier, or just another involuntary baby BM, but the implication was clear – “I’ll go when I damn well please, and not when you tell me!”
Dad washed the mess off the deck and mom whisked Jason away to the changing room, both with a concerted precision I had not seen from many other parents. He was back and running wild in just under 5 minutes, playing in the sandbox, running through the grass, laughing and a running, hey hey, skipping and a jumpin!
And that’s when it hit me. Maybe I’m thinking about this potty training thing all wrong.
The next day was not spent thinking about how I can better prepare to potty train my own daughter, but thinking maybe she’s got the right idea and we adults are the ones who really need the help. I wracked my brain thinking about all the time during the day we waste using the potty, and this led to the discovery of my very own flux capacitor – my new axiom and namesake of this post “If you’re happy and you know it S#!T your pants!”
How S#!tting Your Pants Increases Productivity
There are two kinds of people in this world. The ones who get their business in the bathroom done quickly, and the ones who don’t. The first group can run to the toilet, snap off some cable, and be back on the couch watching TV before the first commercial ends. People in this group tend to work on schedules and visit the “office” at the same time every day – usually more frequently than the second group, which prefers to take more time; often reading the newspaper, making toilet paper origami, or listening to an audiobook while doing the deed. It doesn’t matter to which group you belong, your total bathroom time at the end of the day comes out to about an hour. Yes, that data is accurate, I’ve conducted studies. Take my word for it.
How many times, as parents, do we say there just isn’t enough time in the day? Now ask yourself, how much more could you get done if you had an extra hour in your day? Don’t you get excited just thinking about the prospect? You could catch up on sleep, watch an extra episode of Glee, finish grocery shopping early, or extend that awkward afternoon quickie into a much longer, passionate affair.
That’s why I propose we be more like children and refuse to use the potty. That’s right, be like a baby and just S#!t your pants!
Practicing this advanced technique eliminates the need to stop what you’re doing to use the restroom, which in turn relieves anxiety felt by those afraid to use public restrooms, those who get beat up in school locker rooms, and those who go on very long road trips. It also allows you to spend more time on the rides (or on line) at amusement parks.
Another advantage – cost savings. You no longer need to buy Costco size economy toilet paper rolls. You can get by with just one or two rolls a month for guests. Offsetting the price of adult diapers, I estimate the total cost savings to be nearly $3.88 per month, which is a whopping $46.56 per year! That’s an extra appetizer once per six months at The Olive Garden.
Of course, this technique requires you to wear adult diapers instead of your normal boxer briefs or G-string thongs, and for those of you who “go commando” on a regular basis it might be a more uncomfortable learning curve. But astronauts wear adult diapers and they’re some of the smartest people in the world. And look how cool the adult diaper packaging looks. The sizes even pick up where the baby sizes left off. Brilliant.
Some parents may have questions like what to do about the odor? In response, I say you could always use a little extra cologne during the day, or stuff one of those pine tree shaped car air fresheners down your pants. You’re going to shower at the end of the day anyway, at which time the diaper is tossed aside and you can get yourself clean. And for those who already use adult diapers, whether through choice or involuntarily, I solute you!
S#!t Your Pants for a Good Cause
This month, there are millions of people celebrating Movember and raising money for charity. Instead, I ask you to end the cycle of never ending, obscurely non-official, national observations and join Daddy by Default by refusing to use the potty. For every participant who skips a trip to the bathroom, I will donate $1 to my favoriate charity – the DbDHF (The Daddy by Default Harley Fund) which seeks to raise enough funds so that I can buy a new Harley Davidson motorcycle.
Leave me a comment below and let me know that you will join this important cause.
And in the immortal words of Bartles (or was it Jaymes?): Thank you for your support!