Category Archives: Potty Talk

Conversation with a Four-Year Old

My adorable four-year old likes to talk about three things: trains and trucks, Jell-o and poop.

This post is about the latter of the three.

I was in my bathroom getting ready for church on Sunday morning.  In came the four-year old, happy as always when he wakes up.

“Hi, Mommy.  I’m awake!”  he said with a huge smile.  I gave him a big hug and told him good morning.  He watched me continue putting on makeup for a minute or two before he said, “I pooped on my bathroom floor.”

“You pooped on your floor?”  I repeated.  He nodded, not ashamed, just as non-nonchalantly as he had said it.  “Is the poop still on your floor?”

“No, I cleaned it up,” he replied proudly.  I was quiet for a minute.  So he broke the silence again.  He lifted his pointer finger to his nose and said, “this finger smells like poop.”

“Gross!!”  He had hugged me, after all.  “Wash your hands right now.”

“I already did.”

“Let me smell.”  Even more gross, I know…

I didn’t smell poop, but I didn’t smell a deep, fresh soap scent enough to satisfy me, so I told him he needed to wash them again.  Then we went upstairs to the scene of the crime.  Sure enough, there was not a spot of poop on the floor.  Instead, there was a roll of toilet paper sitting on the floor (which I assume he had used to clean the mess), and all evidence flushed away.

Hey, at least he cleans up after himself!

P.S.  I scrubbed the bathroom tile with 409.

The Girl Scout and the…

It was noon on Saturday when the doorbell rang.   The house was silent for a brief moment before a bunch of little faces ran to all the front-facing windows.  My kids know Mommy has problems and doesn’t open the door unless we are expecting someone.  So they do the most embarrassing thing and just stare at the poor person while I tell them in the loudest whisper to get away from the door.  It’s awful.  The person always knows we are home.  Sometimes they knock or ring twice, probably assuming I have to wade through children before I can answer.

Anyway, back to today.  Door rang.   I looked out the peephole and saw a little girl about 7 or 8.  How much could she want?  So I answered – to the shock of my kids.

“Do you want to buy some Girl Scout cookies?”  she asked politely.

“Sure!”  I mean, who doesn’t?  I took her sheet from her and began looking over all the cookies, even though I used to sell them myself as a kid and therefore already know what I want.

“Have you tried these Dulce de Leche kind?” I asked.  She shook her head.  She said she liked the Samoas.  I looked some more, contemplating over Thin Mints, peanut butter patties and some new kind…

My daughter, who had been originally spying on the girl from the window before I answered the door, came forward and began talking to her.  She is the chattiest person alive.

“We have a cat named Tiger,” she said.  I didn’t hear the girl respond.  “Tiger is a boy and he likes to meow like this.”  She got on all fours and began meowing.  The girl began to giggle.  I assumed she was giggling at my daughter.  I think my daughter assumed the same, as she continued telling more stories and imitating our cat.  The girl giggled a bit more as I continued to stare at the paper.

Then I became aware of my newly potty-trained  3-year old standing behind us.  I turned and looked and saw that he was standing there, sans underwear.  I forgot that he had been upstairs using his potty!

“Oh my gosh!” I exclaimed.  “I am so sorry!  He is just learning how to use the potty…” I grabbed the 3-year old and told him to go upstairs.  He wouldn’t.  Instead, he jumped up and down and giggled.  So I closed the door with only my body wedged between it and quickly filled out the rest of the form.  He opened the door and smiled at the girl.  “I’m so sorry!”  I said again.  I handed her back the form.

“Thank you,” she said sweetly.

As I was closing the door, I heard a woman’s voice thank me also.  I wonder where she had been hiding!



The Best First-Pee-in-the-Potty Reward Ever

My 3 year old, or rather, my 3.5 year old, was still in diapers this morning when I got him out of bed.  And like most mornings and naps lately, I pulled him out soaking wet, took him to the bath, and washed all this bedding and clothes.

I decided I was done with that!

I have potty-trained three kids now, and my method is kind of like the throw-your-kid-in-the-pool/sink or swim method.  At about 3.5, I put the boys in underwear and let them go.  Pull-ups are a waste of money and really nothing more than diapers that come off with WAY more difficulty, spilling their contents on the floor.  Yes, they peed themselves a few times and screamed about it.  But after a day or two, they were 100% potty-trained.  No accidents.  TRAINED.  My daughter was 2 days shy of her third birthday when she announced she wanted to wear her princess panties I had bought and slipped into her drawer.  And that was it for her.  She was trained!

I must say, however, with this most recent child of mine, I was a little worried.  He has to be, hands down, the most stubborn kid I have.  It never seemed to phase him that he woke up soaked in his own smelly urine.  When I cleaned him up and put on the undies, I must have asked him every five minutes if he had to pee.  Every time, “nope!”  I put him on the toilet a few times and nothing.

Then I was in the shower and he was playing with my iPad.  I called out, “Do you have to pee?”

“I already did!”  he said, without a care in the world.


“Right here.”  And he spread his legs a little when I opened the shower door and peered into the bedroom.  He was STANDING IN IT!  Still playing like nothing.  GRRR!  So I dried off, threw him in, then made him clean up the mess on the carpet, sprayed it down with pet odor eliminator, and put new undies on him.

After an hour or so later, some toilet-sitting time, and 50 more “do you have to pee?” questions, I was in the homeschool room with the other kids and the 3 year old was playing with trucks on the stairs.

“Do you have to pee?”  I asked for the 51st time.

“Yes,” he said casually.  I was so excited!  I jumped up and told him let’s go to the bathroom.  He looked at me and replied, “I already did go.”  Sure enough, he was now SITTING IN HIS PEE like no big deal.

Again with the tub, him cleaning up his mess (which he LIKED, by the way!), and new undies.

Soon it was time for us to meet up with some other homeschoolers at the McDonald’s.  I packed the container of cleaning wipes, two pairs of pants, extra socks, two undies, baggies and Zip-locks and a few wash clothes, and got everyone loaded up.

I asked him 20 times on the way there and another 20 after we got there.  I took him in with his sister to sit on the potty.  Nothing.

After awhile, he came up to me and said, calmly, of course, “I peed.”  I had warned the other mommies this might be the scenario, so I politely excused myself, took my bag of goodies to the scene of the accident, and wiped up.  Then I took him to the bathroom and cleaned him up and changed him.

We left soon after.  He had not yet done number 2 for the day, and I don’t  think I could have handled that in a public place.

When we got home, I changed him into a diaper for nap time and he slept for a few hours, happily peeing away until he woke up SOAKED through again.  More cleaning, more undies, more questions and toilet time.  Then dinner.

Then it occurred to me that he might be afraid of the Big Bad Toilet, so I retrieved the never-been-used training potty from the garage, scoured it, and set it upstairs.

He was DELIGHTED.   He sat there and peed in the potty.  He peed several times, actually, because he sat there so long.

And even more proud of him than his mother?  His big sister, of course!

She offered him the best thing she could think of.  “I have a present for you because you peed in the potty!”  she exclaimed.  “You get to sit in the front of the bathtub tonight!”  And to both of them, that was a very big deal.

Cleaning and the Secret Plot of Children

Some people are going to gasp when I say this.  Some will shake their heads in sad disappointment.  Others may curse me through the screen.  But a few may actually know and agree with this truth:  Children have a secret plot to drive their parents crazy.

Let’s take a look at cleaning.  In my house, because I am a mean mom, cleaning is a group effort.  I would like to say we are an organized family and set aside a certain day for all the cleaning to get done, but that would be a lie.  It usually happens when I can’t stand looking at the bathrooms anymore.  Gross, I know.

Now I would just like to take a moment to say, I try to make things as easy on myself as possible.  So, awhile back I bought a little battery-operated vacuum cleaner for my 7-year old to use, and expensive packages of window cleaning wipes and disinfecting wipes for the 10-year old.  I even bought dusting wipes for the 4-year old and (now) 3-year old.  And yes, this is supposed to make things easier on me, not them.  Otherwise I would be worried about them squirting themselves and each other in the eyes with chemicals (green or non green, both would probably sting).  And they would probably trip over cords and break things with a real vacuum.

So… life made easy, right?  Give the 10-year old his wipes and send him to the bathrooms to clean.  I’ll scrub the toilets, I’ll spray down the bathtub for him to scrub later… just take the packages and go.  Give the 7-year old his vacuum cleaner and have him do the stairs and the upstairs.  But that’s where all hell breaks loose.

The 10-year old goes upstairs and yells down to me what is he supposed to do first?  I yell back up, “Same as always!!!”  He yells down that he doesn’t remember.  I yell back up that he DOES remember!  We go back and forth until my throat starts to hurt and I go up there and tell him what to do while actually doing most of it for him.  For awhile, he is quiet.

The 7-year old starts with the stairs.  He makes sure to bang the edge of the vacuum cleaner into every square inch of wall as he goes.  Then he does the upstairs.  Again, with the banging into the walls.  I go up there, annoyed, and show him how to vacuum in a nice little line, back and forth and WITHOUT hitting the walls.  I mostly do it for him.  Please note, this is probably the 50th time I have “shown” him.  As soon as I go downstairs, he turns on the vacuum for one minute before telling me the battery is dead.  How convenient… it has to charge for about 10 hours before he can do any real vacuuming now.

Meanwhile, the 4-year old and 3-year old actually are asking to help clean!  They are jumping up and down begging me to clean!!  I give them the dusting wipes and show them where to clean.  After the entire package has been used, I cannot tell any dusting has been done.  So I salvage the little piles of crumpled wipes and dust everything myself.

At this time, the 10-year old is back at it with the questions.  Does he have to do the toilets?  It’s gross.  I know… that’s why we are cleaning.  He doesn’t want to.  Do it anyway.  The 7-year old skips in and says since he is done, what can he do now?  I tell him to scrub one of the bathtubs that I have already sprayed down.  I give him a sponge and off he goes.  But one second later, I hear water running.  I run up there and ask him why is he running the water and washing away all the cleaning stuff before he scrubbed it?!?  He said he already did.  I point to the ring around the tub and say NO he has not.  Then I do it for him while he watches.

The 10-year old is screaming now and rolling on the floor about how he is tired and hates cleaning and blah blah blah.

The 7-year old is whining that he got water all over the bathroom floors and “accidentally” peed in the toilet with the blue stuff in it before it was scrubbed.

My throat hurts from screaming.  I am sweating because I just cleaned the whole house instead of the kids.

The 4 and 3-year old are running around asking for everything under the sun.

So… the older two successfully completed their mission and barely cleaned anything.  The 4 and 3-year-old are happy because I am too tired to argue and just shove at them whatever it was they are asking for.

I HATE cleaning days.  Good thing it won’t happen again for a while.

The Origins of Toilet Paper

In my house, the little three wake me up first.  They have a knack for doing this just before my alarm is going to go off.  I will admit, I’m not usually in the most talkative and delightful mood when this happens.  I wish I was, but that’s become wasted energy.

So one bright morning, I dragged myself up the stairs to where the 2 year old maniac was and got him out of bed.  He had one of those disastrous poops that required lots of cleaning, a bath, and more work then I wanted for a first-thing-in-the-morning-job.  As I finished bathing him, in came the 7 year old.

There was no good morning.  He had something on his mind and got straight to the point.

“Mommy, when there were castles, did people have toilet paper?”

WHAT?  Did he dream about this question all night?

“Um, no.  I don’t think so.”

“Well,” he continued with the next logical question, “what did they wipe with?”

“I don’t know… maybe they didn’t wipe.  People weren’t that sanitary…”

“Why didn’t they use their bath towels to wipe?”  Oh my gosh… I hope he has never done this when he ran out of toilet paper!!

“I don’t think they had bath towels just lying around.  They didn’t take baths as much as we do now.”

“Well, they had to use something!  Did they use their hands?  Yeah, that’s probably what they did.  They used their hands.  Gross.”

I’m glad he could answer his own question.  I try to teach problem solving and I’m happy to know it’s working.