For the last several months, my wife and I have been engaged in that most arduous of battles: potty training. Two boys. Advice from our friends with kids have been less than helpful, amounting to pretty much, they’ll go when they’re ready. Now come on. With as much time and effort that you spend into developing uber-children (piping in classical music during nap time, adjusting light and color schemes in the room for maximum brain development, etc.), the best you can give me is “they’ll go when they’re ready?”

You might not have gathered this, but I’m not the most intuitive of parents.

Don’t get me wrong, the boys took to peeing pretty quickly. Granted, I was never comfortable with them crowding me in the bathroom every time I had to go. “What you doing?” “Why?” “You made the water yellow.” I felt like they were there with note pads, part scientist figuring out the technique, part judge criticizing it. After weeks of this, they happen to see their cousin “peeing standing up” as if 1) he invented it and 2) I’d been hovering upside down and blindfolded or something.

Suddenly, they couldn’t wait to pee. (There was a mild setback when my mother–and her sometimes “too country for words” self–taught them the joys of peeing outside. I busted them when I heard the tell-tale splatterings from their sandbox. “What are you doing?” “Grandma said it was okay.” I had to inform them that peeing outside had to wait until there was snow on the ground and they could spell.).

However, my kids delighted in finding new ways to outsmart (read: spite) us when it came to all matters poop related.

After months of bribery, threats, begging, and general harassment that is teaching boys how to use the bathroom, we finally had a breakthrough:

“Daddy, I have to poop,” Reese tells me today as matter-of-factly as you please.
“Then you may want to sit down,” I calmly say, having been disappointed by such proclamations before. I did mention the delight they took, right?
Reese sits then demands a book. One with big pictures because “it may take me awhile.”

Who can resist that? I get him a book, then type for a while, leaving him under the studious gaze of his younger brother. A few minutes later, the huzzahs began. If, by ‘huzzah’, I mean shrieks of “Reese pooped!”

Okay, it was only one time, but the breakthrough has been made and we’re celebrating for all it’s worth. Encouraging by positive reinforcement and all that crap.

One down. One to go.

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