And Then There Was That Time I Wrote About Poop

It’s Day 1 of potty training, 8:30 a.m.: “Ci,” I say. (It sounds like “Key,” but I never know how to write it: Key? Kee? “Hey kid?”) “Do you want to go pee on the potty?”


“I know, but we’re going.” 

(Cian sits on the potty. I sit on the floor. Precious minutes of our lives tick by.)

“It’s naht woe-king.” 

Day 1, 9:30 a.m. “Hey, Ci,” I say. “Do you need to go pee on the potty?” 


“I know, but we’re going.”

(Cian sits on the potty. I sit on the floor. I wonder what the rest of the world is doing right now.)

“Mom. It’s naht woe-king.”

Day 1, 10:30 a.m.: “Cian,” I say. “Do you need to go pee on the potty?”


“I know, but we’re going.”

(Cian sits on the potty. I sit on the floor after throwing out the soaked-through pull-up he’d been wearing, and wonder if anyone coming into the house will notice the faint scent of city alleyway that now hangs over our first floor like a toxic fog.)

“Mah penis,” Cian says. “It’s naht woe-king.”

Day 1, 11:30 a.m.:  “Ci,” I say. “Let’s go to the potty. Do you have to go?”



“Heh. Ha. Mommy, I tooted.”

“Do you want to go poop?”


(Cian sits on the potty. I sit on the floor. Three seconds later, I’m questioning the purpose of my life when I hear a grunt and a plop, and:)

“Ew. Dat SMELLS.”

1.15.16. Potty Training. Cian

Potty training. You guys, it’s my most dreaded milestone of early childhood parenting. I don’t even have jokes. I have disinfectant, and toilet paper, and admonitions to make sure “it’s pointed down.” I clap my hands over urine (“It’s GEEEEN!”), and bite my tongue when I feel a wet pull-up, and wonder how long it will be before we get to the underwear stage (hallelujah!). Potty training is like having the flu–when it’s over you kind of climb out of your quarantined hole and wonder what wonderful things happened in other people’s lives while you were huddled around the toilet. 

But, like my son’s own training, you’ve gotta get the s— out of the way first before the going gets easier (how’s that for the grossest analogy you’ve ever heard?). So, shovel on we shall. 

I’ll see you when we come up for air. 




  1. Barbara Conrey | 15th Jan 16

    You do make me laugh!

    When my first daughter was potty trained she was nine-months old and I thought “that was easy enough”. She is forty-five.

    When my second daughter came along ten-years later (and yes, I was surprised) I started the potty-training at age two and she was having none of it. It got so bad that by the time she was two-years and nine months I called my pediatrician and basically said, “what the h_ _ _”. Actually I said something else but I probably don’t know you well enough to tell you exactly what I said. He told me I had no one to blame but myself because my two-year and nine-month old daughter was smarter than me. He told me I needed to prove to her that I didn’t care.

    But I did care. I cared a lot, but, after firing this doctor, I trained myself not to care. It was not easy; I think I brainwashed myself. And, amazingly, my daughter figured this out! Yes, the doctor was right, she was smarter than me. She would come and stand next to me and very quietly say “Mommy, I’m tinkling.” And I would look at her and calmly, very calmly, ask her to go upstairs and bring me a clean diaper. I was calm, I did not care. I truly did not care.

    This went on for another two-months and then, one month before her third birthday she came down the stairs in the morning and announced that she no longer needed diapers because she was prepared to use the potty AND because she no longer needed diapers she no longer needed to take naps.

    And I (again) very calmly looked at her and said, “Okay!”

    The point to my story is that this occurred thirty-five years ago and I can still remember exactly how much I cared ….

    • Leah Ferguson | 28th Jan 16

      I love this so much. I think about this sometimes when I get frustrated (and remembering how I’d get impatient going through this with C’s sisters)–he’s going to get the hang of it. It’s GOING to happen. And the time period of ruined underwear and lots of laundry is just temporary. Thanks for sharing your story, Barbara! Your daughter sounds like a (wonderful!) spitfire (this is a compliment!). And your first kiddo–I think she’s just made of magic!

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