Thursday, January 17, 2013

How to potty train your (almost) two year old:

Materials required

1. A big brother. Preferably one that's only 17 months older, a little more laid back and slower to react.
2. As many potties in as many key locations as possible throughout the house, preferably all facing the TV.
3. Gates to cordon off all carpeted areas.
4. Absorbent towels and paper towels, and card (for sCRAPing)
5. Bissell carpet steamer (a kid will get through a gate and shit on your carpet eventually, it's inevitable)
6. White vinegar 


1. Start by rolling up your rugs, and gating off your carpeted areas. 

2. Strip your candidate down to his bare buff. AWOL poops are easier to intercept when trying to escape without warning. Also pants may provide your candidate with a false sense of security that he's wearing a diaper. 

3. Contrive a competitive environment, where your candidate will gleefully race to use the potty to get one over on big bro. Then use this to your advantage however you see fit. Remember that big bro is more able to hold his poop. 

4. Every time your candidate gets his jobby in the pot, High Five him, cheer and whoop.

5. Encourage him to get up and have a good look-see. Make out like you thoroughly enjoy looking also. Stare wide-eyed in awe and say things like 'WOWWWW!' and 'biiig poo pooooo!' or in our case 'big brown poo pooooo!' in an overly affected way that your toddlers will love.     

6. Call over big bro to have a good look too, and don't forget Daddy when he's home. Big bro is likely to think the poo is pretty frigging awesome without any prompting but Daddy might need a bit of a heads up.

7. Wipe their tush QUICKLY! And on the occasions that they shit everywhere, take your sweet ass time cleaning them up. They soon realize sit, shit and wipe beats the hell out of shit, sit, smear, wipe, wipe, another wipe, wipe again....abandon wipes....carry to bath, wash legs, dry legs etc.

8. Take a family field trip to the bathroom to flush the poop. Say '*bom bom' to the poop and everyone wave at the swirling shit. Make sure to nod solemnly and repeat after your candidate 'brown poo poo gone!'

Problematic areas.

1. If you're not quick on the draw with your paper towels what usually follows the potty 'accident' on a wooden floor, is a more harmful run and slip accident. While daddy might be tempted to point this out as 'instant Karma', sadly big bro is the more likely one to put his foot in it.

2. Always remember, it's just poo. And even though you don't realize it, your house already smells like poo anyway, so it's no biggie. Don't panic, or show any negative reaction to an accidental poop. Your clever candidate will likely delight in winding you up and will poo on the floor just to get this reaction.

(a long laborious clean up is the only consequence required to deter further *shit terrorism, see point 7 of Methodology)

3. Be there to intercept big bro if he gets to the potty first. Naughty little bro will likely wait for big bro to push his pants down then shove him over to pip him at the pot. This is rather undignified and can be a little humiliating for big bro.

4. To resist diapering your candidate on those days you wake up feeling lazy and too tired to parent, make it Hobson's choice and stop buying diapers. This takes away the temptation for Mommy to regress. 

5. After a few days your vigilance in keeping up with point 8 of Methodology (the family flush field trip) might dwindle, or your candidate may use one of the various potty locations without your knowledge (n.b. this is a good problem to have).

If your candidate's pee is left to stew for a few hours/days you may find yourself with a urine stained potty (see figure 1). This smells as nasty as it looks.

Fig 1. Urine stained potty.

Lysol and Clorox are unequipped to deal with this situation. After much toilet brush scrubbing and scratching, you may be tempted to mix in a bit of every cleaning product stored underneath your kitchen sink, including hydrogen peroxide. This is not a clever idea.

Do not despair. You do not need to fork out 20 bucks for a new clean white potty. Soak that baby in plain old white vinegar overnight and your minging mommy status can be revoked.

(n.b. white vinegar is also a super cheap and effective alternative to the Bissell steam cleaning product. however your house may start smelling like a Fish and Chip shop. Although not desirable, most people think that is more preferable than smelling like wee.)

6. Finally put the money you save on diapers in a kitty and at the end of the month reward your good efforts by taking yourself out for a manicure. You'll need one to get all the shit out from under your nails.  

[*bom bom is our way of saying 'bye bye' to stuff. We copied it from the local Music Together teacher, who uses it to get all her shiny toys back from the babies without incurring any meltdowns.]

[*shit terrorism: Oh, this is a real thing. I dated an ex-shit terrorist. He and his buddies would leave turds on doorsteps, and driveways and basically anywhere it could offend the 'target'. No, I didn't know about this before we started dating. Yes, I did look past it.] 


  1. Oh, God, that forced "potty enthusiasm" is brutal! My 15 month old is nowhere near ready to start this crap (literally!) but we do wave goodbye to her poop now when we dump it into the toilet. Today she said "poop" for the first time and we were way too excited about it. I love when you say, "Don't despair." Do you think a day will come when we stop talking about poop so much? I'm not convinced.

    1. Haha! I must say poop like 50 times a day, at LEAST! I bet this week I've said it more than 'THE'.

  2. LOLOLOL! Oh my gosh! You're husband is right, this is hilarious!! All the way to the last line of you looking past it. LOL! So funny! My method of potty training is just to put Pull-ups on them until they figure it out themselves. They don't go to pre-school, so this hasn't been an issue yet. But I am getting tired of changing poppy diapers. Thankfully, the "give them candy when they poop" method seems to be working on most days.

  3. One of my favourite posts...ever! Superb. LOL x

  4. This is perfect! It's all of the things I would have never thought of! Thanks for sending me the link :)

  5. I do believe this should be a pamphlet in every pediatricians office. Excellent, Josie!