“Who said toilet training boys is hard?”
Famous last words. I uttered these a year ago, when my then 1-year-old son surprised us by using the potty a couple of times. Remembering the tantrums and tears we had endured when training our daughter, I thought we were out of the woods. I wondered why everyone said boys were difficult to potty train. Either our son was a prodigy (a distinct possibility), or the rumors of boys and toilet training had been greatly exaggerated.
Sadly, my son’s initial interest in the potty quickly waned. Fast forward six months, and our little guy is still happily doing his business in a diaper. And so, we’ve started that oh-so-fun ritual of leading him to the bathroom, plopping him down on the potty, and encouraging him to “make pee-pee like a big boy.” And he enjoys sitting on the potty… for about 30 seconds, before moving on to more important matters. Here are 10 things my toddler’s doing in the bathroom, besides using the toilet.
1. Cleaning his potty. Clearly he can’t use his miniature toilet until it’s spic and span, which requires about 6 feet of toilet paper and all of Mommy’s patience. Once he’s “scrubbed” his potty clean, he of course needs to dump all that paper in the big potty. Which leads to the next important task…
2. Flushing things down the toilet. Left to his own devices, my toddler would gladly flush everything from his rubber duckies to his sister’s toothbrush down the toilet. Since Mommy and Daddy aren’t going for that, however, he’s forced to satisfy himself with toilet paper and the occasional cup of water. All of which is, nonetheless, completely and utterly fascinating.
3. Organizing a peace summit. Sitting on the potty is okay, but not nearly as interesting as gathering every member of the household into the bathroom with him. Not until we’re all seated, on whatever available surface we can find, is my toddler ready to sit on his throne.
4. Brushing his teeth. Once the allure of sitting on the potty has faded, he’s up and following his other favorite pursuit — brushing his teeth, ideally with anyone’s toothbrush but his own. I’m not sure what his fascination with oral hygiene is all about, but at least he has sparkling fresh breath while not using the toilet.
5. Closing the door. While I appreciate a man’s need for privacy, I’m not sure I understand the point of shutting the door after he’s dragged everyone in the bathroom with him. But we get the idea: It’s potty time. No one’s going anywhere.
6. Moving his potty around the bathroom. Hey, a man can’t be expected to use the toilet without the proper feng shui, right?
7. Throwing toys in the bathtub. Bath time may be 8 hours away, but it’s never too early to prepare. Besides, if he doesn’t put his favorite Sesame Street characters in the tub now, they might make other plans. Better safe than sorry.
8. Serenading his audience. Like any great performer, my son appreciates the value of a captive audience. Because who doesn’t want to hear “twinkle, twinkle, little star” or “itsy bitsy spider” while sitting on the bathroom floor?
9. Driving Mommy insane. Nothing is funnier to my toddler than watching Mommy pull out her hair, shouting “Potty time is pee-pee time!” like a toilet-obsessed madwoman. Really, what’s funnier than pushing Mommy to that fine line between tears and hysteria?
10. Sitting back on the potty. The second I announce that potty time is over, he’s back on it, with ardent promises of “I make pee-pee! I make pee-pee!” Which of course just leads to his repeating steps 1-9 above. Here’s the sad truth, little man: Mommy’s on to your game. She’s just desperate.
Obviously, my son is not quite ready for this developmental milestone. We’re going to wait a couple more months, and then try again, hopefully when he’s interested in doing something in the bathroom besides tormenting his parents. In the meantime, I’m done with bathroom summits and potty-side performances. The bathroom is going back to what it should be — a quiet haven where Mommy hides out from the kids.
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