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Toilet training trials

"Daddy, I’m going to pee on the chair.”

Before I could register exactly what my 3-year-old was saying, a gushing Niagara-style stream poured from his pants, onto the brand-new, white dining room chair, and trickling down to the floor. All I could do was grab my child and run to the bathroom… now creating a lovely trail of aromatic urine from the kitchen to the bathroom.

Oh, the joys of toilet training!

If you’ve had an easy time training your child, please refrain from ever speaking to me again. And if you have golden training advice for me, you can flush it down your toilet. There is absolutely nothing enjoyable about this stage of parenting and I’m not looking for you to make it better. This dad just needs to rant.

My son was almost completely toilet trained a few months ago. With the hustle and bustle of our move to a new home, an extended stay at grandma’s, and starting a new daycare, I fully expected some regression. In fact, we were so caught up in all the changes that we heaved the old pull-ups back on for a while. Once life was a bit more settled, we’ll give it another go. And that was our big mistake!

At this point, my son already knew how to hold his pee but realized it was much easier to just let it rip and have someone else take care of the mess. His sadistic little smirk speaks volumes as I’m changing his pants and Paw-Patrol undies for the 9th time today. “Daddy, can I get my pull-ups back?” This is now becoming a game of control and endurance… how long was this tired and battered father going to go on before caving and relishing in another pee-free evening with a pull-up? Ooooh no, not this time fella – daddy is sticking to this!

We pulled all the stops: bribes, candy, stickers, “fun-derwear”, consequences for when it was obviously not an accident, consistency between daycare and home, we even made him clean up his own messes!

And then, one magical day, he asked me to take him to the bathroom… then he asked again the same day… and then AGAIN. By that evening my husband and I were waiting in watchful anticipation for this strong-willed child to rain down on our pee-parade… but he didn’t. Several days – and a few minor accidents later – and I’m beginning to let my guard down. We might be through the worst part of it. Is that the smell of victory that is so close?

No, wait… that’s something else I smell!

As appeared Frankly Fatherhood column of the December 2018 issue of Mom & Caregiver Magazine

Frank Emanuele DCL Director

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