This afternoon, an eighteen-month old said "Potty" and I put her on the toilet and she took a shit. It was one of the most satisfying things that I have done in a long time.
I have strong feelings about potty training. It seems absurd to me that all over the world, babies are getting by without diapers and by the time they are a year old they are able to walk around and shit and poop, for the most part in appropriate places at the appropriate times. Apparently, during the first few months of life, infants naturally make a noise that alerts their mothers when they have to go. If no one responds to this noise, they’ll stop making it and spend the next year or so of their lives filling their diapers full of piss and shit and sitting in it until someone notices and cleans them up.
In North America, when children are around two years old, we decide that maybe they might enjoy the dignity and cleanliness of eliminating their excretions somewhere other than in their own pants. The problem with this is that now they are two years old. I have only been working with two-year-olds for a couple of months, but I have noticed that most of the time when I ask them if they would like to please do something, one of two things happens.
Either they burst into tears, or they say, “no,” at varying decibel levels. Two-year-olds are difficult people going through a traumatic stage of life. Suddenly they are more aware of what they want, but due to language barriers or more often unrealistic expectations, they frequently won’t get it. On top of this, they remain burdened by blocks they don’t want to put away, crayons they don’t want to share and now, piles of shit and piss that after a two-year urinary and scatological free-for-all, they are no longer allowed to keep sheltered in diapers snug next to their ass cheeks. Modern potty training tactics include waiting for the child to show “interest” and “readiness” in the potty before suggesting a regular elimination routine or heaven forbid, removing diapers. With the limited attention span and boundless angst that I’ve seen in most two-year-olds, I really don’t think that this is a very timely, logical or promising way of going about things.
Also paradoxical to me is that some children are able to create full-fledged sentences involving subjects, actions and complements before they are introduced to the purpose of the toilet and the implications of their colons and bladders. Children wearing diapers today know the difference between an octopus and a shark, a panda bear and a koala bear. Sometimes they make elaborate statements such as, “the pineapple is too sour.”
I say, “Go take a shit on the toilet, and then we can talk about pineapples. And octopi. With joy.”
I realize that keeping track of when an infant has to go and sticking it in a feces-and-urine- friendly receptacle seems strenuous and time-consuming, but isn’t that kind of what you sign up for when you have a kid? I mean, the kid has already barreled through your love one’s or your own vagina. Compared to this, I feel like the inconvenience and occasional mess that occurs when your baby needs to go are pretty minor. Plus you’ll be done with diapers and most accidents a year and a half earlier than the average parent which will be a sure savings in both time and money.
Obviously nobody will listen to me since I’ve never given birth, or raised a child, and I’ve worked with toddlers for all of two months. But I’m ready to devote my life to this. I talk about it to everyone I meet.
“How was your day?” the nice lady at the grocery says.
“Oh you know, not bad. The children are wearing me out.”
“Oh, you work at a school?”
“Yes. With toddlers. Did you know…” I ask total strangers when they toilet trained their children. I even brought it up with the guy who sold me my first mutual fund. These conversations delight me.
“Why do you think you love it so much?” asked the Boatman. He was standing above our toilet taking a piss. I didn’t hesitate with my answer.
“I’ve never been so certain about anything in my whole life.”
“You’re gonna change the world, babe,” said the Boatman. “One poop at a time.”
He said it and I’m ready. Let’s make a new generation of babies who are toilet trained before they’re one and a half. It makes so much sense for everyone involved. And I haven’t even mentioned the mountains of diapers that won’t end up in landfills. Or the gallons of bleachy water that the well-meaning eco-concious cloth-diaper parents won’t be using for laundry. Or the little baby chakras. I’m gonna leave the chakras out of this one. No one wants to hear about little baby chakras.
But the point is, Pampers and Huggies can kiss my ass.
We need a change, folks.
Let’s make it.
And when it’s all over, we can have Potty Party.
The Potty Party Song:
This is the Potty Party Song, by splashnboots, who I happen to be related to. The Boatman and I have designated it as "Our Song." We recently sang it at a Karaoeke Party. Likely because both of us were toilet trained after the age of two, we were a bit weak on the verses which, as you will hear, are somewhat complex. That said, we rocked the chorus. I look forward to our next karaoeke opportunity.
This post is all over, but here's some valuable information on elimination communication, the common term describing the process of putting your baby on the potty:
Some people, like Ingrid Bauer, a mother and blogger from B.C. call it Natural Infant Hygiene: Check out her site at gentleparents.com.
And of course we have our friends at diaperfreebaby.org
Hope you have a blast.
Tell me all about it
on Twitter: @mypelvicfloor
Or we can chat right here on the bottom of this blog. Ha.