Tag Archives: potty humor

Tonight I’m Gonna Potty Like It’s 1999

What is it about public restrooms? Whenever I take my girls into one they immediately lose all concerns about hygiene, the ability to control their volume, and any sense of balance. Do any of you other parents out there ever sound like this?

“Now, we’re in a public restroom and it’s very icky, so don’t touch anything. Just keep your hands on your belly. No, you don’t need to lock the door, I just locked the door. Don’t lean against the wall. Stop touching the potty! Hands on your belly! HANDS ON YOUR BELLY!”

As I’ve mentioned before, the division of labor the Wife and I have worked out means that handling waste removal is primarily my responsibility. This was well and good when we were dealing with infants. The Wife nursed them and I took them potty. It made sense. (And, yes, I took them potty as infants; we practice Elimination Communication.)

Unfortunately, that policy may have been a little short-sighted because now that I’m taking them potty it means we’re going into the men’s room. Surely anyone who has ever glimpsed a men’s restroom would know they are not places you want your children to be unless they are sealed inside a space suit. Even in the nicest, cleanest, classiest men’s room of all, you can bet that every square inch of the floor has been peed on at one time or another.

If you, Dear Reader, are not a man and are not familiar with the male members of our species, I don’t want to give you the impression that we all revert to some gross, animalistic state as soon as we get out of the immediate presence of the fairer sex. But there are some pretty disgusting dudes out there and the rest of us have to share the bathrooms with them. Let me tell you, sometimes being able to pee without physically touching the toilet is a real boon because the nastier it is, the further away you can be. And, yes, that just leads to a whole disgusting feedback loop until you might as well just urinate on the outside of the building but there’s no sanitary alternative.

Child: “I gotta go potty go potty go potty!”

The Dad: “Yes, but first let me wipe the toilet off. Just stand over there and keep your hands on your belly.”

Child: “Why did someone write on the walls?”

The Dad: “I don’t know. Stop walking around, just be still.”

Child: “Why?”

The Dad: “Look down at the floor. Is it wet right there?”

Child: “Why is it wet there?”

The Dad: “I don’t know but if you step in it we’ll have to throw away your shoes. Let me lift you onto the potty, okay? Don’t put your hands on it!

Child: “Daddy, what does it say?”

The Dad: “Now when you’re done, let me help you off so you don’t touch any of this over here. What does what say?”

Child: “What does it say that someone wrote on the walls?”

The Dad: “Uh… I don’t know. Here, let me wipe you.”

Child: “You dropped a piece of toilet paper…”

The Dad: “Nononononononono! Don’t pick it up off the floor. For the love of God, don’t touch the floor.”

Child: “But you dropped the —“

The Dad: “It’s dead now, just leave it.”

Frequently, I have to take both my girls at the same time.

The Dad: “MeToo, do you need to go potty?”

MeToo: “No.”

RU: “I need to go potty.”

MeToo: “Me too! I need to go potty right now!”

This can sometimes lead to more rambunctiousness than I think is appropriate for a public restroom. Giggling, cheering, and loud chants of “Pee-pee! Pee-pee!” might be the norm in the women’s bathroom, but they’re pretty out of place in the men’s.

I’ve never been in a women’s room (naturally), but I once walked by one while the door was open and saw a couch — a small one, but an actual couch — inside the bathroom. That blew my mind. Such a thing is not to be found in the gentlemen’s WC. Just as well, because my girls would want to sit on it or bounce up and down or build a fort with the pillows.

Based on what I’ve seen in movies and on TV, and have had described to me by female friends, here are some things that can be found in a women’s restroom:

* Furniture
* Plants
* Tasteful decorations
* Dry Floors
* Paper Towels

Based on my own experience, here is a list of things that one can find in a men’s restroom:

* Puddles
* Unflushed, perhaps now unflushable, toilets
* A urinal cake with a dozen cigarettes in it
* A urinal with an ashtray in it
* Urinals
* Limericks, racist rants, or the specific date, time, and location where one can have a good time

Of the two lists, I know which one I’d prefer my kids to be exposed to — or, at least, accidentally bump into. I’ve only just gotten MeToo convinced that the things on the walls with water in them are for going potty in, not for washing hands (“No, MeToo, you can’t go potty in them”).

My Wife is a very smart person, so I’m sure that she is aware at least of the general disparity between the state of a typical women’s public restroom vs that of the men’s. Yet, for reasons I cannot fathom, she not only allows our children to be taken into a men’s room but actually seems to prefer that I take them potty. I just don’t get it.

If we have another baby, maybe I’ll use the opportunity to try convincing her to switch our deal around. She can take the children potty in the sanitary and tasteful women’s rooms and I’ll get up several times in the night to breast-feed the baby.

The Many Trials of MeToo, Part 3: The Naked Carseat

Thanks to our practice of using Elimination Communication MeToo has been essentially potty trained for, lo, these many months. Sort of. She’s only two years old — and newly two — so there are accidents. In fact, sometimes it seems as though we go through phases where she has lots of accidents, and we’ve had quite a few recently.

It’s normal for there to be some regression in a toddler when there’s a new baby in the household, so that may be some of it. Our chiropractor has put an end to more than one series of pants-wettings, informing us that they can sometimes be caused by MeToo’s frequent spills and tumbles knocking her out of alignment. She still wears a diaper overnight, so if she doses off (in the car, let’s say) then she might go in her sleep. She can also just get out of the habit if you let her. There’s an hourly play-care place that we will probably stop taking the girls to because after MeToo wet herself there several times, they seem to have just started putting her in pull-ups as soon as she gets dropped off.

Even now, it’s important to stay consistent with taking her potty, regardless of any cues from her or lack thereof. MeToo doesn’t make it easy on us because isn’t consistent with giving us warning and she’s taken to saying she needs to go potty when she just wants to get out of her carseat or down from her highchair for a minute. Just to complicate things even further, sometimes she will say she has to potty, then just play around (or immediately say she’s done) even though she really does need to pee. It’s like she’s just setting you up for when she says she has to go again not five minutes later — if you don’t take her she might wet herself but if you do take her and she’s just messing with you, then you’ve reinforced the idea that the “phony pee-pee” gambit works.

Whatever the case, MeToo created a nightmare of urination on our previous vacation, when we drove down to Disney. [Cue flashback.] Unlike some long car trips we’d taken in the past, we decided that we wouldn’t put a diaper on her while she was in her carseat, lest she get lazy and just start going whenever she felt like it. All too soon, however, she had begun to wet herself and her carseat. It seemed as though she couldn’t sense when she needed to pee ahead of time; she would only say “Gotta go potty!” right when it was happening. With a wet MeToo and, worse, a wet carseat the van soon smelled like a rolling latrine.

The urine really hit the van, though, once we’d made it to where we were staying in Florida and MeToo continued to have “accidents.” It was as if she’d forgotten how to go in a toilet. I’d put her on and she’d giggle and wriggle and say she was all done even though nothing had happened, then be wet not ten minutes later. Finally, on a day when the girls were being particularly wild in the room, running around and yelling like crazy, MeToo ran into the shower and peed herself with her pajamas on. Now that was deliberate. And once MeToo had lost her pee, the Wife lost her shit.

The Wife hauled MeToo out of the shower and explained to her — in the way that Gunnery Sergeant Hartman would explain to a slovenly new recruit exactly what’s wrong with every facet of his existence — that only babies go potty in their clothes. Big girls like MeToo potty in the potty. Not on the floor. Not in the carseat. Not in the stroller. If MeToo was going to wet herself like a baby, then she would be treated like a baby. Babies don’t get chocolate milk. Babies wear diapers all the time. Did MeToo want to be a baby? Or was she going to stop having accidents and go in the potty like a big girl? [End flashback.]

It worked. MeToo shaped up.

Until this trip.

She went in her carseat on the airplane. We were able to wash it the next evening at the hotel, but after the second day of our trip we moved to another hotel for the rest of the stay in Tucson that didn’t have laundry facilities. Obviously, MeToo made a mess in her carseat a few more times. We washed her seat cover and yuck clothes while visiting at a friend’s house. The Wife did some washing at two — count ‘em, two — different laundromats in the Tucson area. For those keeping score at home, this is the number of times we washed MeToo’s carseat, not the number of accidents she had. Not even the number of accidents she had in the seat. This was all in the space of a week.

In case you’ve never had to wash a carseat cover before, allow me to explain the process. First, you have to remove the thing from the carseat frame. This is a difficult procedure for every model of seat I’ve encountered. For the one we had her in on this trip, it involves unhooking the straps from the back, then unthreading them through the seat and cover, twice. You can’t just pull the cover up off the buckle; instead, you must reach underneath and fiddle around until you can slip the buckle off the seat entirely (don’t lose that). None of these operations are actually possible with the seat fully installed — at least, not by me in the space we had in that van, not without some bodily injury.

Having removed the seat cover, washing it is nothing special. It’s got to air-dry, though, which takes about a day. As if a day without a useable carseat is no biggie (actually, the dry air where we were helped quite a bit here). Then you’ve got to put the seat back on, which not only involves reversing all of the above steps but also probably requires you to turn the seat upside down to fish out the thingee the shoulder straps have to reattach to.

Of course, the whole ensemble isn’t really clean until you’ve rinsed and squeezed out the foam rubber pad under the seat cover. It’s been soaking up all that toddler urine like an unhappy sponge. That’s a piece you absolutely have to wash by hand — careful, it’s easy to tear if you twist it — and takes forever to dry.

Now, imagine trying to do that every other day while on a vacation that requires daily road trips.

Having done said imagining, you probably won’t be surprised when I tell you that by the time we flew to San Antonio, the cover wasn’t even on the seat. In fact, MeToo’s carseat probably spent more time in Texas uncovered than not. We had a changing pad for baby Z that we put over the foam rubber piece — never had time to even attempt washing that. MeToo never complained about it being uncomfortable. Come to think of it, I don’t think she ever had an accident in the seat while it was like that, either.

We did end up washing the cover a couple of times in Texas, but after the last time I still didn’t put it back on until we were headed to the airport for the flight home.

The seat was wet again within five minutes.

"Nobody knows the trouble I've seen..."
“Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen…”

Elimination Communication

I started 2015 off right this morning by getting a stream of baby pee right in my face while changing my son’s diaper. Happy New Year! Well, to be honest, he didn’t really get me right in my face, he just zapped my shoulder until I could get my hand in the way. But he’ll only be a month old tomorrow; I’m sure his aim will improve.

Little Z is our first boy. I’ve done this before with two girls, and I gotta tell you: boys are different. You’re shocked, I know. In our house, Mom handles the feeding of babies while my responsibility happens at the other end; she’s input, I’m output. In his thirty days on this earth, I’m pretty sure Z has peed on me more times than either of his sisters managed to do. And, yes, I am aware of the trick where you undo the diaper but keep it in front of him as a shield until he unleashes his high-pressure terror weapon, then change his diaper normally. That’s not a trick I can employ because we use Elimination Communication.

Elimination Communication (or EC) is, basically, a potty training method that you can use with babies. We started using it with our girls, RU and Me-Too, as soon as they were born and they’ve both been potty trained since they were 18 months old. Our method is to hold the baby over the potty and make a “running water” noise — a consistent cue is essential — until he either goes or it becomes clear he’s not going to. You do this whenever you’re changing a diaper and, if you’re really on the ball (meaning this is your first child), you try to also take the baby potty any time they would naturally need to go, like after eating or just waking up. Babies don’t like to poop themselves any more than the rest of us (Me-Too hated having a wet diaper), so it’s more like you’re just giving them an alternative than trying to teach them a trick.

It’s worked really well for us. Me-Too still has accidents — she only has the bladder size and attention span of a 22-month-old, after all — and still sleeps in a diaper, but the only things keeping her from taking herself to the bathroom totally independently is that she has to climb the toilet in order to sit on it (not easy with your pants around your ankles) and can’t be trusted around toilet paper. Wiping one’s self does take longer to master, but, when you think about it, that’s a lot less instinctive than simply not crapping or urinating on yourself. That’s really what’s going on when your infant pees when you start to change them — do you prefer to start peeing before or after you pull your pants down?

We have a sporty little red Baby Bjorn potty I keep in the diaper changing area so I can minimize the transition time. Back when we were a one-baby family, and even for a few months into Baby 2, we would carry it around when traveling and set up a little changing-station-away-from-home. I even whipped it out for RU once on a car trip so she could go on the side of the road. By now, if the baby redecorates the hotel room’s carpet while I’m trying to carry him from the bed to the bathroom, we just throw a towel down and try to walk around it. The more you practice EC, the more both you and your kid will get the hang of it. You’ll notice the signs that they need to go (Z kicks his legs), and if they can help it, they’ll try to wait until you give them the signal. But babies are still just babies, and accidents happen.

Which brings us back to this morning and how boys are different than girls.

In practice, Elimination Communication goes something like this: Z has just finished nursing and is going to need to go. Odds are, he needs changing anyway, since you’ve been in the car or you’ve been sleeping or let’s be honest you’re not going to catch them all and he’s still going to have lots of dirty diapers. So you take him to the changing table (which, in our case, is a crib with one side removed, since you never cleaned off the actual changing table in the other room) which has your wipes, fresh diapers, and the little potty all arranged just so, because, like field-stripping your rifle, changing your son is something you occasionally have to be able to do in the dark, blindfolded, with one hand. Ideally, you’d whip the diaper off and get him directly on the potty, exposing yourself and the surrounding environment to potential hazard for less than two seconds. But, yes, he already had a poopy mess in there. Before you start trying to hold him, you want to clean him up. Not that you won’t get poop on your hands today at some point, but, you know, you don’t want to just embrace it. With the diaper off, the clock is ticking, and you have no idea how much time is on it. But you know what it’s ticking down to. The wipes come out in a clump of two or three stuck together. It’s up to you whether you shake them apart (you’re using your other hand to keep his feet out of the mess) or just use the whole wad and be wasteful but you’d better have thought of this eventuality ahead of time because pausing to consider it may result in disaster. Now that you’ve got him clean (or clean enough for this phase of the operation) you can get him onto the potty, where it’s okay for nature to take its course. With the girls, you just picked them up sat them on the thing, facing you, holding them under the arms. But you don’t want your boy facing you. No, you only make that mistake once. And when little Z’s legs touch the cold potty he just gets upset and can’t go with the process, so you have to hold him up by the thighs, facing away from you, anyway. Turning him around and getting a proper grip on him adds an extra second to the transition time — and once you’re holding him like that, he may not wait for the cue and decide to start right away. But if you’re not already holding a spewing fire hose, you can settle him over the potty, make sure everything is pointed away from anything valuable and/or alive and say “Psssssssssss” into his ear until he pees right over the splash guard at the front of the potty. Maybe you shouldn’t have put the changing area so close to those drapes. Then you just have to put him back down and get a new diaper on — quickly since he can fool you and go again, just ask that men’s room in the Culver’s — and you’re done.

So is it worth the effort, since there are easier, less potentially messy ways to change a baby? Honestly, if you have a baby, you’re going to get peed on, sooner or later, no matter what. If you have a baby boy, anything and anyone within three yards might get peed on. Even with the girls, when I’ve been lazy and thought they’d already done all their business in the diaper and I could just whip a new one and some wipes out of the bag and take care of them right where I was, I’ve ended up having to catch poo in my hand. When you’re a parent, you’ll do it, too. You can’t avoid mess, and with a little extra effort (and a lot of willpower to be consistent about it, even in the middle of the night), you can have a child potty trained before the age of two.

Z seems to be a fast learner and is already catching on. Even when he doesn’t go, I can feel that he’s trying to. He gets it right far more often than not. Hopefully, as he grows his talents will branch out beyond just urinating and defecating at a skill beyond his years. But for now, I can occasionally impress my friends and co-workers by declaring that my month-old baby boy can go in the toilet with almost as much accuracy as his old man.