Because It’s Better Than Crying

The wife and I were talking last night about potty training, verbal outbursts and how things could always be worse.

(No, don’t worry, it’s not that kind of toileting entry for once.)

The Monster’s doing relatively well now that we have a pattern down – most mornings, he’s still dry when we get him out of bed and onto the toilet, we end up having a success straight away, and he’s making it through most of the day without accidents.  This is between us spotting him when he’s doing non-verbal signaling and some pre-set times to go sit.  There are still the occasional accidents – he did soil himself yesterday afternoon after getting home, but still managed to pee in the toilet afterwards regardless – but it’s going better than it had been.

So we’re sitting on the couch last night talking about it, and comparing with other people we know whose kids are going through the same thing (though their kids are, by and large, NT), and mostly about how the Monster still needs to be ‘caught’ when it comes to #2.

“It could be worse,” I pointed out.

“How?” asked she.

“[Monster], no touching,” said I, in that serious Daddy voice, followed by the more frantic, higher Monster-like tone, “TOUCH IT!“.  And back and forth it goes for three or four passes.  NO touching!  TOUCH IT!  At least until we were in stitches about it for a few minutes.

(This is, by the by, a pattern we’ve noticed with him.  We don’t know why, sometimes, he has this need to be contrary, but usually it’s about something minor – picking his nose, touching himself while he’s soiled, things like that, where it’s a simple command and he’s just going the opposite way seemingly out of spite.  The pattern’s funny, if you take a step back from the cause of the situation.)

On some level, it’s really awful to contemplate that we’re still working on toilet-training our four-year-old son, when so many of our friends are doing so with kids half his age, and given what’s ‘normal’, it makes me often feel like a failure as a parent.  Take it a step further, and realize that our son still has to wear pull-ups on any significant car ride because he doesn’t signal a need to go to the bathroom in a way that we can detect from the front seat of the car, and it’s… depressing.  He’s just finally starting to get comfortable with using some public restrooms, so we might see more occurrences of dry pants during longer drives when we make regular stops, but we haven’t gotten to that point yet and we’re still going to have to take precautions until we’re sure he is up to telling us when he needs to go.

And on the other hand, if you don’t laugh about it… you’re going to spend all your time crying…

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