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Potty Break


The Ups, Downs and Sideways of Working Motherhood

Potty Break

Alex Steinman

Hello? Are you there mamas? It's been a while. Here's what I've been up to:

  • I spent the first three months of 2017 obsessively tracking 45's every move and researching doomsday prepper-style bunkers.
  • I joined a Minneapolis City Council campaign as the Communications Director (don't forget to caucus April 4!).
  • We started potty training, stopped potty training, and started potty training again.
  • We all barfed.
  • #Gingerdad's business took off. Missing Pieces Escape Games if you're in the area.
  • #Queenz blew out four outfits in one day.
  • I went to Tucson for a bougie spa retreat that was so heavenly I don't feel one bit of guilt about it...not one all.
  • We're in the final weeks of planning a trip to Iceland for our first international trip without kids.

Per the usual, it's been crazy. I've missed you mama, hopeful mama, or childless bystander on the other side of the computer screen. We're all going through the same shit under a different roof. I'll be honest, it's taken me a while to get my groove back after the election. Everything I wrote was so dark. There's enough of that out there. It took me a bit to realize that the world is still spinning despite tweets, fake news and click bait. I just had to look up from my phone.

You know who doesn't give AF about Russia, press conferences, and 45's golf schedule? My kids. So let's take a break and talk about potty training:

Just when you think they've got it all figured out, they're spraying pee all over the living room as you hold them like a nuclear bomb and sprint them to the bathroom. OR they're coming home barefoot and in someone else's pants because -SURPRISE- I'm the parent who forgets extra clothes, spirit Fridays, and show and tell. Go figure.

Anyways, we started by spending an entire weekend with a naked toddler with the potty in the living room and reading every facial expression as a possible shit-on-the-floor scenario. I didn't have a plan, so we decided Friday night we were going to go for it. #Gingerbaby had showed interest in the potty and had gone both prompted and unprompted, we just needed some consistency and commitment...easier said than done.

We watched Zootopia 5,000 times, pausing it anytime he got off the potty. It wasn't a punishment, so much as it was hemorrhoid prevention. We held hands while he pooped, which is the strangest experience. If you've never had someone split your soul into a million pieces as they stare into your eyes taking a massive dump, I wouldn't recommend it.

Like I said, we were kinda winging this, so it didn't occur to me to have an incentive until we were three accidents in. My attempt at a sticker chart failed when I realized we didn't have stickers...what kind of mom am I? Survival mom. There's no way this kid was going to poop on the potty for a goddamn high five. A quick trip to Target and 10,000 stickers later, and we were back in business. 

After the first weekend, he at least knew WHEN he had to go potty. It took a good three weeks to get in a rhythm and probably 2-3 months before we had a consistent string of days with no accidents. I can only attribute his success to skipping Pull-Ups and going straight to undies. We also have not mastered the automatic toilets at malls, restaurants, and stores. They scare the shit out of my hovering naked child, and the last thing I want to do is catch a flying kid as he lunges off the potty mid-stream. He still wears Pull-Ups to bed because we're not magicians, and I hate laundry.

Even though #Gingerbaby is pretty trained, I still have to throw away the occasional Paw Patrol briefs because there's a big turd in them. Again, I don't have a secret, but consistency helped. I'm going to go Oprah on you. I was reading her book What I Know For Sure, and she quoted Dr. Stanley Turecki: "Nothing happens until you decide." I don't know the first thing about potty training, and maybe #Gingerbaby will need therapy or hemorrhoid cream someday, but when we made the decision and commitment to ditch the diapers, he started going. It's a total head first dive into a giant pee puddle. Bring bleach.