I never said “poop” in my life before I became a parent. It still feels totally off in my mouth and my brain. But any other term I could think of was inappropriate for use by children–or too ambiguous i.e. “go to the bathroom” or required way too much explanation i.e. “bowel movement”–what is a bowel, how does it move, etc.
Cavanaugh took to peeing in the potty with relatively little problem, excepting of course the mess mentioned in yesterday’s post “Potty Eye.” Let’s just say he was both willing and able to do so. Pooping, not so much. He has never taken issue with having a messy diaper. He doesn’t insist on having it changed right away. Even a rash caused by poop staying against his skin doesn’t bother him a bit.
Sometime around the nighttime diaper’s obsolescence, we started discussing the end of diapers. The problem was that Cavanaugh would have to poop in a potty, which he had been totally unwilling to do. So I did something I imagined would totally fail, or that would work out stunningly. I announced that once Cavanaugh turned four, there would be no more diapers.
I encouraged him to practice pooping in the potty while he still had the option of having a diaper. He refused. For four months now, we have periodically or randomly said, “No more diapers at four” –usually when my totally-capable-of-peeing-in-the-potty boy would come up to say, “Mama I have to poop. I need a diaper.”
So Cavanaugh turned four last Sunday. On more than one occasion in the last few weeks, he said “I don’t want to turn four. I’m going to miss my diapers.”
Man, I thought, am I going to totally screw this kid up? Ruin his birthday? Engage in some power struggle over his bodily functions? What will I do if he turns four and just refuses to poop in the potty?
In the early evening on his birthday, Cavanaugh said, “Mama I have to poop.” Panic struck, I manged to act calm as I went out to the garage and got the five plastic potties we have bought or been given. Man, I did not want this to be a fight. Or for him to be sad. But if I just went and got a diaper, the whole no more diapers at four business would be over. I lined the potties up in the living room and asked Cavanaugh which he wanted to use. “The pink one.”
I moved the Legos we were building into a seaplane from the coffee table (too high) to the hearth (just right) and positioned Cavanaugh on the potty in front of the blocks. We built the seaplane while he pooped and I thought, is it really going to be this easy? Is he just going to start pooping in the potty because he’s four?
When Cavanaugh was done, I immediately texted Cavanaugh’s dad. Cavanaugh and I gave each other high fives and then he followed me into the bathroom to watch me dump the poop into the toilet then use the wipes that would have cleaned his bottom scrub out the plastic. More mess. Ugh, did I really want this after all?
The next morning Cavanaugh pooped in the potty while he was with Mike. I received a text. This was worth celebrating.
On Tuesday, we were at a bouncy castle place and Cavanaugh was taking a long time to meet me at the window. I finally walked to the front of the castle. Cavanaugh was standing there, knees pushed together. “Mama I’m pooping.” Aaah!
I picked him up, ran to the bathroom, put him on the big toilet seat, all while Cavanaugh cried because he wanted to keep wearing his jeans with the firefighter badge on it. I left Cavanaugh in the bathroom drawing with Doodlebuddy on my iPhone while I ran out to the car for wipes. Luckily, because it is so totally rare, I had brought an extra pair of pants. We went back out the bouncy castles. I skinned my knee sliding down the pirate ship slide on my belly (at Cavanaugh’s request). Poop in a public restroom, check.
By last night, I was feeling bold. Though Cavanaugh would have been happy to poop in the pink potty again, I really would like to cut off the necessity of wiping poop out of a plastic potty. I don’t just want to swap the diaper mess for the plastic inside of a pot. So, he sat on the potty seat that goes on top of the toilet seat. The hole is smaller so he won’t fall in the water.
The trouble was that as he pooped, he began to pee. And this time when it shot forward, I was right there, sitting in front of the toilet as moral support. Pee in my hair, on my pajamas, on my glasses. Hence yesterday’s quote: “Mama, there’s pee on your glasses.”
Yes, I know. So we’ve got a few kinks to work out. What if you have to poop and pee at the same time? How does he push his penis down to aim into the toilet? Really, all that feels like child’s play compared to the fact that for the first time in his life, my son sat on a toilet and poop fell into toilet water–not a diaper, not a plastic potty to be scrubbed afterward.
What’s a little pee on my glasses when there’s a turd–”Mama, it looks like a stick”–in my toilet that I can get rid of through the simple act of flushing? Yes!!! We have arrived.