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Ten Years and Eleven Months

I’ve been changing diapers for ten years and eleven months, without a break. Our youngest turned three last summer, and one of my goals for 2010 was to end my diaper-changing days forever. (…or until grandchildren — pretty sure I will rise to the occasion then.)

Last May I planned my potty-training strategy. It was fool-proof and involved Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and a Caribbean cruise for every poop accident. I was at the start of a three-month leave of absence, certain that would be more than enough time to potty-train my boy. I even figured out an ingenious back-up absorber for accidents in his car seat.

That was, say it with  me, NINE MONTHS ago. In that nine months, we had some banner catastrophes, including nearly getting banned from our public library. The boy peed once in a while, but never consistently. And he utterly refused to poop in the potty.

Every couple of weeks for nine months I’ve been bitterly trudging to the baby aisle in the store and throwing diapers and pull-ups into my cart. The peeing and pooping sticker chart has fluttered vainly on the fridge door, hoping someday the boy would get some jollies from putting stickers on it again.

Then, it happened. Last Saturday, the boy declared it a naked day.

I crouched down to his eye level.

“OK. But first, you know where pee and poop go, right?” I asked.

“Yes mom,” he replied, with a nervous grin.

“Where does pee go?”

“In the potty.”

“Where does poop go?”

“In the potty.”

“Right. Do you put it on the floor?”

“No,” he looked down and squirmed.

“Do you put it on the couch?”


“Ok, you may keep your clothes off today. But if you pee or poop anywhere but the potty, there will be consequences.” I stared straight into his eyes and used my stern, I’m-calling-your-bluff voice.


I took off to do some birthday shopping for my honey, confident that I’d find a soap-soaked puddle drying somewhere, and a little boy back in a pull-up, when I returned.

In the fitting room, I had just pulled on a pair of jeans that actually flattered me when my phone began to ring.

“Hello?” I answered.

A little voice spoke. “I pooped.”

Holy crap. I stifled a whoop. “You DID? In the POTTY?” I asked.

“I did. Did you hear me?”

Um. Safe answer, find a safe answer.

“I hear you now, buddy. That’s incredible! Let’s go to McDonalds and celebrate! I’ll come right home and get you, ok?”

potty chart

And today, one week later, it gives me great pleasure to report he hasn’t had one single poop accident since. He has stayed completely clean and dry almost every day, and he’s filling up his sticker chart again.

Cancel my cruise and take the diapers/wipes line-item off our budget. The boy is finally doing it!

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