When it comes to potty training, I start with the “do nothing” approach. It’s a great method because it involves no effort from me. The only small downside is that it rarely works.
I’ve been trying the “do nothing” potty training approach with my 2 1/2 year old son Cash and so far he’s really enjoying still going to the bathroom in his diaper.
I think I overheard him say to another toddler… “A bit bulky, sure. But you just can’t beat the convenience of this thing.”
I was pretty much getting ready to double down on doing absolutely nothing until fate intervened. One night, Cash was standing in the tub when suddenly his brother says, “Cash is peeing in the bathtub!”
I screamed (in a volume usually reserved for an ax murderer or a mosquito entering my house), “STOP PEEING!!!!!”
I grabbed him out of the tub and threw him on the potty. And a few more droplets of pee came out. Into the toilet.
This obviously called for a gigantic celebration. “Cash peed in the potty!!” I yelled as I danced around the house and gave all my children a chocolate rolo. (Why did everyone get one? Because I just couldn’t deal with the – Why does Cash get a rolo for peeing in the toilet when we do it multiple times a day and get nothing?!).
And then something even bigger happened. I know – what could be bigger than all of this?
Well, while Cash was still sitting on the toilet, he pooped.
More rolos for everyone!!
I’m not sure Cash understood why he was sitting on the toilet or why his mother was throwing candy at him or why everyone was dancing around and applauding.
But he liked it!
Apparently as much as he likes going in his diaper which is what he’s done every moment since the big rolo celebration of February 2016.
But no worries, I’ve been snapped out of my do nothing mentality and gave him a pep talk.
For those ways too lazy to watch a video, here’s the recap…
I give a spirited and passionate speech on the virtues of potty training.
He says “yeah” a bunch of times like he agrees.
He’s clearly on board!
Or you know, maybe totally not.
<25 minutes past bedtime>
Me: Goodnight. Love you. Sleep tight.
Tween: Do you know who Jason Derulo is?
Me: No, is he in your class?
Tween: No. You don’t know who Jason Derulo is?
Me: Wait, is he an actor in that show you like – Ricky, Hickey, Mickey and Hickory Dock?
Tween: Nicky, Ricky, Dicky and Dawn. And no. YOU REALLY DON’T KNOW WHO JASON DERULO IS?!!
Me: I guess… no.
Tween: How can you know who Drake is and not Jason Derulo?
Me: Because Drake is upset that I no longer call him on his cell phone.
Tween: You know Jason Derulo. We hear him on the radio. Get ugly. Yeah, get ugly, baby. Diddly, diddly, diddly, diddly.
Me: I really have no idea what you are saying right now.
Tween: Yeah, get ugly, baby. Diddly, diddly, diddly, diddly.
Me: The only thing I ever hear on the radio is that Sorry song from Justin Beiber. We get it Beibs. You’re sorry. We forgive you for throwing eggs at your neighbor and racing cars and all those tattoos so please stop singing that song. And I also hear that Adele song constantly. And that woman does have a gorgeous voice but she needs to stop calling a thousand times because no one wants to talk on the phone. Just text him Adele. Just text him from the other side.
Tween: Yeah, get ugly, baby. Diddly, diddly, diddly, diddly.
Me: We are going to start listening to more NPR on the drive home from school.
Tween: Diddly, diddly, diddly, diddly.
Me: Good night.
Tween: Diddly, diddly, diddly, diddly.
Upon further YouTube research (while my tween was finally sleeping), I learned that I’m quite familiar with many of Jason Derulo’s songs… like Talk Dirty to Me, Want to Want Me, and Whatcha Say. Apparently I do know this guy! And I can confirm that he’s definitely not in my kid’s class or on Nickelodeon.
When I became pregnant with our 5th child, I was told many many times, “Oh this one will have no choice but to go with the flow!”
And they were right. My 2 1/2 year old son Cash has an incredibly pleasant disposition. The kid barely ever cries and will exuberantly say hello to you a hundred times – especially if you are doing something super important like working on your computer to make a deadline and would prefer if a toddler didn’t help you with your powerpoint presentation.
But here’s what my son can’t seem to remember. I am old and I am tired.
But he is not.
Today I’m sharing a small list of things my son has done over the past couple weeks. Keep in mind, because of Cash’s determined effort to run free and hitchhike across America, our house is a fortress and we keep very close tabs on him. Like if we owed a parrot, the only thing it would know how to say is, “Where’s Cash? Oh there he is. Where’s Cash? Oh there he is.”
But despite our efforts, he still seems to squeeze in some very destructive activities or as he calls them, hobbies. Often when we are cleaning up one mess, he takes the opportunity to create a new one in another location. The kid really know how to maximize his time.
Things my 2 1/2 year old had done over the past couple weeks:
Cleaned our toilet with our kitchen cleaning brushes. Yeah, the ones we use to clean the dishes we put food on.
Threw his shoes (and socks) out the car window which I did not realize until we arrived home. I said to him, “Where are your shoes?” And he said, “window.” So I give him credit for fessing up. I retraced our route and found them because Paw Patrol sneakers aren’t going missing on my watch.
He threw a bunch of throw pillows into a bathtub filled with water.
Somehow opened a bag of grout he found and scattered it throughout the first floor of our house.
Dragged a heavy box over to the alarm system so he could reach the buttons. Pressed as many buttons as he could until the security person came over the intercom and asked if everything was okay at the home. Cash is thrilled at this new discovery that a voice came out of that box. He is planning future conversations!
Poured a half a gallon of milk onto the table. I mean, he initially started pouring it into a glass but then just kept going. It’s not his fault glasses are too small to hold a whole carton of milk.
Washed his hair at the bubble station at the Discovery and Science museum.
Squeezed out an entire bottle of shampoo and then when he heard me on the stairs, pulled out his sister’s Shopkins and played happily like nothing was up at all.
At the grocery store, he dug his fingers into raw pork chop before I could stop him. Raw pork. The kid is apparently not afraid of parasites.
Pumped out body lotion onto our bedspread and rug. Lavender scent if you’re wondering.
He requires us to wrap tape around the clip of his seat at dinner because he can open every clip out there. I tried just fastening the clip backwards and he looked at me like, “Woman, do you really think I’m that dumb?” I can say with confidence he’s not.
And finally, he just threw our landline phone into the tub. Which as you would expect, does not help a phone work better. But the upside, he didn’t electrocute the twins who were in the bath at the time.
So what can you do for me?
- Send me a bottle of wine (obviously I need it)
- Or share your own crazy kid story so I know I’m not the only one out there.
- Or reassure me that this is all a sign that Cash is going to be a future President some day.
- Maybe all of the above.
It’s a school day. Your kid wakes up and doesn’t feel well. But how can this be? You have things to do. You have appointments. They have school work. And important testing or maybe not important testing but they are testing something. You’re sure of it because you attended 6 minutes of the PTA meeting. So they must go to school. So you turn to your child and say….
Oh I’m sure you’re fine. You’re just sleepy. Shake it off.
Okay, what hurts exactly? Let’s sprinkle some magical fairy health dust on it.
What? You no longer believe in magical fairy health dust? I know for a fact they make it over there at the Department of Health and Human Services and that the Surgeon General himself whipped up this particular batch.
You do seem a little droopy. Let me take your temperature. Where is the thermometer?
Found it under the US Weekly from June 2014!
Okay it says your temperature is 67 degrees. That doesn’t seem right. Is this in Celsius? How old is this thermometer anyway?
I don’t need a stupid thermometer. I gave birth to you so I can tell your temperature by feeling your head. Feels like 98.6!
Look your clothes for school are right here. Let’s see how you feel once you put them on. The feel of cotton can do wonders.
Let’s get some breakfast into you. Nothing perks you up like a bowl of cereal with no milk. Why won’t you put milk in your cereal? It’s so much better that way. Okay, eat your dry cereal.
Honey, pick your head up off the table.
You’re going to miss your playdate if you stay home!
Being healthy is just about having the right attitude.
This is the first day of the rest of your life!
Wow, that’s a lot of snot.
Here’s a packet of tissues.
Hustle hustle hustle! You don’t want to miss the bus.
Why are you lying on the couch?
Let me get these shoes on for you.
Wait, are you snoring?
I’m starting to think you’re actually sick.
Are you trying to tell me something?
Fine, I guess you’re staying home.
My husband has been many places.. including Europe, the Middle East and Cuba.
You know where he hasn’t been? Colonial Williamsburg.
You know why? Because his parents knew how to shut down kids who weren’t behaving.
As the story goes – when my husband was about 10 years old, he and his siblings were supposed to take a family trip to Williamsburg, VA. But due to poor behavior (and I’m sure after many threats), the trip was canceled.
Yup. Done. You’re not going. Go unpack. It ain’t happening. For realz.
When I heard this story, I thought to myself – damn, those parents are my heroes. I admire what they did because most of us are more champions of the empty threat than letting kids suffer the consequences of their behavior.
When it comes to children, it’s often so much easier to say yes, than no.
I recently went to a museum with my children. One of my tween daughters was being super cranky. One of my 5 year olds was throwing fits. I think the others were reasonably well behaved but it was hard to know since I was drowning in the other two’s dismal behavior.
I threatened that attitudes needed to improve or there would be no TV that night. There are only three things that my kids truly care about… iPhones, TV and dessert. Who knows why TV popped out of my mouth but it did.
The behavior did not improve. So no TV for the two offenders.
Later on, they asked, “Can we earn our TV back?”
I agreed they could. My 5 year old set and cleared the table and wiped down the counters.
My tween helped me put away a lot of laundry.
Each of them got to watch a TV show that night. Was I too soft on them? I don’t think so.
They made some mistakes during the day but they were able to turn things around. And in the end, isn’t that what we want to teach our kids? It’s okay to fail. But then you get up and try again. You strive to make amends. To do better.
But sometimes there is no earning back. There is no compromise. The answer is just no.
And then as a parent, you brace yourself for the backlash.
It could be no to the bright orange puffy snacks at the grocery store which results in a tantruming child. It could be no to a social media app which means an onslaught of anger from your tween or teen. But you hold your ground.
Because kids are an unending fountain of wants. So saying yes (when you really want to say no) does not shield you from the next child request. Better to stick with your gut, ride out the emotional storm and then move on.
I remember as a kid, I wanted a monkey. To me, it seemed like a perfectly reasonable request and I could not understand why no one was getting me one. I must have asked my parents a million times and unbelievably, they did not buy me a monkey. WHY WAS NO ONE BUYING ME A MONKEY?!!
As a teenager, I had given up the monkey dream and knew I could only be happy if I had a Suzuki Samurai. They weren’t very expensive (for a car) and I was more than happy to get one secondhand. But despite my desperate pleadings, I was told no. Not safe. A tin box. Buy one yourself when you’re an adult.
I. WAS. MAD.
So of course, as soon as I graduated college, I showed my parents! I bought a Suzuki Samurai and rode around with the wind in my hair and my orangutan Clyde in the passenger seat.
Okay, I didn’t. Because who the hell wants to take care of a god damn monkey?! I did eventually buy a Jeep Wrangler but I would never have let monkey butt touch that smooth leather interior.
My point (which is surprisingly not about monkeys) is – despite the fact that kids like to torture their parents with constant begging – no is just sometimes the very best answer you can give.