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The Perils Of Potty Training
by Cc Brackman
CC Brackman is a former staff reporter for The Brazil Times. Now working as a freelance writer/reporter, she has written for WiseGEEK, Demand Studios and The Poor Chef, a health and wellness magazine.

Forget all the sleepless nights, the midnight feedings, the endless crying; nothing is as tough on a parent as potty training a child.

I have trained two boys. I don't know anything about training girls. My friends who have both say it's easier to train girls, simply because the mom usually does the training and she has the same equipment to show the little girl how to do the job. Mothers of boys, however, are not so well equipped. We don't have what it takes to stand and aim. At least, not without creating a lasting scar on our child's psyche.

Yet I managed to train my first son. I had a lot of help from family and friends. It seems there are as many ways to potty train a child as there are children.

One well meaning ex-friend advised me to sprinkle a few Cheerio's in the toilet so he had something to aim for. Great advice and so the "sink the Cheerio's" game was born. This worked well until my son needed to go and got the box of cereal from the kitchen himself. He then proceeded to dump the entire box into the toilet. At one time. One big bowl of cereal. He hasn't seen a mommy-meltdown like that since. I have become immune.

I walked into the bathroom, all prepared to clap and praise, only to see the toilet overflowing. When I say overflowing, I don't mean in a gentle, lazy river sort of way. I mean it overflowed as if a mighty tidal wave was coming from the depths of the toilet bowl. It coughed and heaved as if to free itself from the clog of Cheerio's that were stuck in its throat. Cheerio's were everywhere, in addition to the toilet paper that he used "just because", and one very soggy towel that was used when he tried to block the mess from leaving the toilet.

It took twenty minutes of plunging to get that mess to flush. I had to wait until the Cheerio's got soggy enough to squish down. They stay pretty crunchy for a while, just like the commercial says.

New lesson. Never listen to Debbie, ever again. She set me up, I know she did.

We moved on to the reward system. They get something every time they go. Yippee. He went fifty times a day. I went broke.

We tried the "star on the chart system". My walls began to resemble the Milky Way, not to mention the stars that were stuck all over the poor cat.

Finally, he got the hang of it. It was really quite simple. You pee or pooh, you get to flush the toilet. Our water bill is always high during potty training. One word of caution if you use this method, make sure they know they get to flush only if there is pee and/or pooh in the toilet. They don't get to flush if there are toys, shoes, or toothbrushes in the potty.

I celebrated the training of my son by boycotting Cheerio's and letting my son drink only when his tongue began to swell. Just kidding, I allowed him drink after meals, also.

I was free and clear for five years. My second son was easier to train. I let his big brother do it. It worked well, and I think my oldest son learned a lot. Mainly, don't put Cheerio's in the toilet, ever.

Published: Aug 26,2008 22:34
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