Mildly Amusing, Parenting Gone Awry, Reruns and Leftovers

The Poo Poo Driven Life Redux

This post was originally published in May of 2006.

The Poo Poo Driven Life

After years of extensive research, okay really just a few days, I have developed a thoughtfully considered potty training system. By “thoughtfully considered” I mean it came to me the other night while I was sipping Sangria. Actually it’s not really a sytem, but a plan. Well, actually it’s not even a plan. It’s more like a whim. A whim that I’m marketing as the “The Poo Poo Driven Life”.

Since Sean began showing an increased interest in using the toilet, I decided that maybe I should just talk about it more so that eventually he might think that eliminating, wiping and flushing in the potty is his own invention. So about a hundred times a day I will ask Sean if he has to a) pee pee or b) poo poo. And then for a follow-up question I ask, if so, is there any chance that he’d like to do either, a and/or b, on the potty like a big boy?

“The Poo Poo Driven Life” potty training system is largely based on the concept that if you want to get a guy to do something, you’ve got to get him to think that it’s his idea. I learned this about my dad when I was a little girl and about men in general when I was a big girl. Batting your eyelashes doesn’t hurt either.

Sean assumes a certain pose and glazed over expression that lets me know that poo is pending. So in keeping with my plan to eventually rule the world and live a diaper free existence, I ask him if he has any ideas about where one could go potty, perhaps, oh I don’t know, the potty? Just thinkin’ out loud. And then I batt my eyelashes.

Perhaps I need to improve my technique. Perhaps I ask a little too anxiously, perhaps I smile a little too broadly and perhaps when I gesture like a crossing guard towards the bathroom a little too vigorously he gets the idea that this whole potty thing is really my idea, something that I would like. So then he says, “No (grunt) I need to (grunt) go poo POO in my DIIIIiiiyiii (grunt) PURH (grunt). And so then I say as evenly and off-handedly as I can, because why would I care, it’s not MY idea, “Whatever you need to do dude.” And I drop it. I do not want to make this an issue.

However, when he does use the potty, I cheer and clap my hands and give him a lot of praise for a “job” well done so that he might think this is a good idea, an idea that he himself might even think of one of these days. This is what the child-rearing-potty-training-experts tell you to do. And this is the part of the system that is flawed because the other day after going poo poo in his diapers he started clapping his hands and giving himself a rousing round of applause. If you’re crappy and you know it clap your hands?

“The Poo Poo Driven Life” potty training system needs more research, more thought and more Sangria before the book tour.

18 thoughts on “The Poo Poo Driven Life Redux

  1. If you’re crappy and you know it clap your hands? … LOL … Okay AM, now I’m going to be singing this all day. At least I’ll be giggling while I’m singing! HA!

  2. This is what worked for my son. When I was researching potty training a common theme seemed to be praise and positive reinforcement. I came across a website called We hung it in the kitchen and named the little boy on the front of the package, Bobby. My son could not wait to go to the potty so he could push the button, hear the praising message, and get his chocolate reward from, Bobby. It really got my son excited about using the potty himself and it was fun for him. Because he became so involved, potty training was easy. So give it a try. Good Luck!

  3. AHAHAHAH! You’re so funny. You should write a book, really. And then you should come on tour to my town – there’s only a thousand people but I promise to supply the sangria.

  4. Keep us updated on the progress. As my son is currently 19 months old, and I have five more months before it even crosses my mind to start training him, I will be watching with intense interest.

  5. Oh. I can’t wait to potty train a boy. Potty training three girls was fun, but now I have a little boy and the extra parts are sure to mean extra time and challenges. I’m hoping in two years or so I will still remember your words: whatever you need to do, Dude! (A little concerned though – at forty-one my lashes are getting a bit thin!)

  6. My dear Antique Mommy – please read my post (#64!) to your 3M entry…I am chortling over the “raw nerve” you have struck in our excrement obsessed society. “This too shall pass!”

  7. I’m trying a new route in the potty training roud. I TOLD dd3 that she IS potty trained today. So far she is dry, and its noon! I also have a stash of toys for her if she makes it all day. And her favorite motivator, popsicles, hidden in the deep freeze, because if the popsicles are in the freezer upstairs, she will eat the whole box behind my back. Even if I velcro the freezer shut, hehe.

  8. Funny how a little thing like pooping and peeing can get so many comments from us mommies (and daddies?)!

    I was the potty training expert…until I had 2 boys (who were going to be trained by age 2). However, they had no idea I had such grandiose notions for their bladder and bowel education and decided 3 was a much better number. My older one was 3+ and the younger one was a few months from 3 (and he decided himself). I will never forget my pediatrician’s great advice: “Don’t worry, I PROMISE YOU, they WON’T go to kindergarten packing Pampers!” She was right. I spent way too many angst-filled “will he” or “won’t he” moments that were not worth it.

    I say hit the Sangria and don’t stress.

  9. Good grief, from the title of this post to the “rule the world” comment, this entire post cracks me up! I can see what I have to look forward to in a year or two….


  10. Here’s a method for ya!

    Forget About Readiness Signs: Toilet Train Before 30 Months” by John Rosemond, a family psychologist. Here’s an excerpt from his article:

    “My recommended method – which I term “Naked and $75” – has been the subject of extensive media coverage. Here’s how it works: Let the child walk around the house naked from the waist down, put the potty where it is easily accessible and correct mistakes matter-of-factly. The $75 is for carpet and furniture cleaning. The overwhelming majority of parents who have employed “Naked and $75” have reported success. The failures have almost always concerned kids older than 30 months. This is consistent with the opinions of other researchers, including Dr. Bruce Taubman, a pediatrician with Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia, who has said he has a “hunch” that the critical period for this training lies between 24 and 30 months. The New York Times reported on January 12, 2000 that 92% of children in 1957 were toilet trained by age 18 months.”

  11. One of the last lines reminded me of a funny…when my son (oldest)was about 4 and had a hard time saying his “L’s”, we were singing “If you’re happy and you know it…” and I realized he was singing “If yer happy an’ ya’ know it crap your hands…CRAP, CRAP!”
    Thanks for the smiles, today. 😀

  12. I had one stubborn kid (out of 7 potty-trained so far.) At 36 months he was perfectly pee-trained, but refused to go poop in the toilet. Pure stubbornness.

    At that point I told him he was old enough to poop in the toilet and if he decided not to go there, HE was in charge of cleaning it up. After that point, whenever he had an “on purpose” (definitely not an accident in his case), I’d bring him in the bathroom with a heap of baby wipes and a trash can, and tell him to go to it. Then I’d leave, taking the rug with me.

    Ten minutes or so later (after much complaining and fussing on his part) I’d go in and direct the finishing touches, including a bath, and help him get dressed. I was perfectly pleasant about it, telling him I was so proud he was old enough to clean up his own messes now.

    Well, he didn’t like that plan a bit. Seems he thought it was fine for me to clean up his poop, but he didn’t want to mess his hands. Wanna guess how many times we had to do this before he was perfectly poop-trained? TWICE. he never pooped his pants again after that.

    Making a kid deal with his own *%$#? Powerful stuff, I tell ya.

    Note: I’d only do this with an older toddler who was really ready but just being stubborn. But I have heard from more than one mom that this worked for their kid too.

    Mary, mom to many (and not really a mean mom, despite this post)

  13. To make up for my kind of downer comment before, I’ll say some of our funniest moments have been because of potty training cheer leading. Our kids give us color commentary on what they did, how many/much, what it looked like. This is completely our fault, since we are the ones who jumped up and down, cheered, clapped and called the grandparents every time something moved through their digestive tracts.

    Amira, our daughter, the other day told us that she did two peeps and two poops, as my husband was walking away he muttered to himself “But what color were they?” and I frantically hushed him, only for us to hear “Brown!” yelled from the bathroom.

    This is the same child who informed us there was a pinecone in the potty seat the first time she pooped in there. Sure enough, it didlook like a pinecone.

  14. Just so you know, telling my dd she IS potty trained worked great! Until I wouldn’t let her stand on her 3month old baby brothers belly. Then she got mad and has peed and pooped in her panties the rest of the day. But we made it to 1pm!

  15. I’m thinking I’d go the “whole hog” and get a roll of 3″ fat package tape! lol..I love your writing…and am turning into obsessive about reading your blog! (p.s. It took me almost 3 full days to get through and read each and EVERY one of your posts and coments from the begining!)

  16. I love the title!

    It sounds to me like your little boy is a guy of strong character, who knows what he wants. He may be the kind (like one of mine was) who takes control by NOT EVER giving in to rewards or praise. Actually, I was similar myself. If someone clapped hands and told me I was ‘good’, that was a guarantee I would never again repeat the action.

    Hence my potty training method was: buy a potty. Buy some ‘big-boy’pants and inform the child ONCE that when he’s big enough to go without nappies, he can wear them. Then ignore the topic completely. And, when he does decide to do something in the potty, make no fuss whatsoever. No rewards – after all, it’s just part of growing up, and htey shouldn’t be doing this to please their parents. No big praise or fuss. Definitely no telling anyone else. Just ‘oh, well done’ or something low-key but friendly.

    One of mine decided at about two-and-three-quarters that he would go without nappies – his suggestion – and within a week was entirely dry. The other at a younger age insisted on running around naked from the waist down, and doing it in the right place. He too was dry within about a week. I never did any ‘training’. I figured they’d work out when they were ready, and just get on with it, like they did with talking and walking and everything else.

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