Author’s Note: I originally wrote this in February 2007 after giving up potty training my son for the 4,000th time. I am happy to say he is now trained (only took 4,028 times). But I couldn’t resist sharing this part of my potty-success journey with you!
Two weeks from today, my beautiful son Joshua turns three years old. He’s smart, he knows all his letters, counts to 15, and navigates the PBS Kids website like a pro. But homeboy will NOT go poop in the potty! Or pee, either, but he used to go pee before I gave up on potty training because he wouldn’t go POOP! So now that he’s about to be three, I’ve started thinking about starting up Mission: PoopPossible again. While perusing the glorious world wide web for help with this particular endeavor, I stumbled across a website called pottytrainingsolutions.com. On the front page of the site, there’s a quiz to help us clueless parents determine whether or not our little poopers are ready for potty or not. And I’d be honored if you would come along with me as I put Joshua to the potty-readiness test.
1) Does your child relate to and imitate older children?
Yes, he loves his older cousins and is very monkey-see, monkey-do. He DID try to imitate his 4 -year-old-cousin Alan the other day after Alan went potty at our house, and wanted to wear big boy pants, but that lasted approximately 2 hours before Joshua remembered that it is MUCH more convenient to pee in one’s pants.
2) Can your child safely walk to and from the toilet?
Yes, that is a dumb question. He can also run, dance, and hop safely to and from the toilet.
3) Is your child starting to understand where his or her toys and other possessions belong?
Yes, I already said he was smart! Didn’t you read that part? I’m interested in him understanding where his POOP belongs!
4) Is the number of times your child says “no” or responds negatively decreasing?He only says no when he doesn’t want to do what I tell him to do. So, if I were a cooler mom, I am sure the number of times he says no would decrease. But since I am a giant Buzzkill, I would have to respond negatively to the question about him responding negatively.
5) Is your child interested in trying to do things by him or her self?
Yes, one of his favorite phrases is “NO I WANT TO DO IT!” Unfortunately this has not yet applied to going in the potty.
6) Does your child know that some of her peers are successfully using the potty?
Yes, and he is very happy for them, cause he is a nice kid. But don’t start telling me that peer pressure is a GOOD thing or I am going to totally have to re-educate him, and I think I’m too tired for that.
7) Can your child understand what you mean by “using the potty” and “no more diapers,” and can he or she talk about this with you?Me: Hey Joshua, do you wanna wear diapers or big boy pants?
Joshua: Um, I wanna wear diapers.
Me: Why do you wanna wear diapers?
Joshua: I don’t know.
Me: Do you wanna go poop in the potty or in your diaper?
Joshua: Um, I don’t wanna go poop in the potty, cause I wanna stay here with you.
Like the way he kissed up to mommy at the end there? Told ya he’s smart!
8)Is your child’s diaper staying dry longer?
I don’t know, how often are you supposed to change them again?
9) Does your child frequently wake up with a dry diaper?
Negatory my friends. He frequently wakes up reeking of pee-pee though.
10) Is your child stopping play to squat for a bowel movement?
He only poops when playing computer. That’s right, nothing relaxes the bowels like PBSKids.org or thomasandfriends.com. We refer to all of Joshua’s bowel movements as”computer poos”, cause he poops exclusively while playing games online. So, um, Yes?
Allright, score Joshua with me.
Scoring: One point for each “YES” answer
8-10 points: Your child is probably ready to begin potty training
5-7 points: Wait a month and take the quiz again
1-4 points: You have some time. Wait a few months and retake the quiz
I don’t know what you got, but I’m going to give him a 7, and wait a month and then try potty training again. Now please read with me the part at the bottom of the quiz that’s supposed to make me feel like I’m not a bad mother.
According to the Children’s Hospital Guide to Your Child’s Health and Development, 40 percent of 3 year olds still use diapers. Potty training requires calm, time, attention, and readiness, not a magic point on the calendar.
I don’t know if I’m buying it, but I DO promise to still love my kiddo no matter when he decides to take that magic jumbo dumpo in the pot. I’m putting that little disclaimer in here cause it sounds like the gold folks at pottytrainingsolutions.com might be concerned about that. However, I’m only going to give him til age 5 to start wiping himself. After that, my love becomes conditional!
Thanks for taking this journey in potty education with me. Now please excuse me, as my son’s just finished playing computer, and I have to get my HAZMAT suit on.