Category Archives: potty training

Take Two

I took the boys to the Naples Zoo today.  It was our second attempt because we were originally supposed to go on Monday, but, if you recall, I woke up with the plague that day.  The reason we went (besides why not?) is because I promised Riley I would take him and Dylan once he was fully potty trained.

Note to parents who are at the beginning of their potty training journey:  Don’t be reckless with your potty training promises.  These kids might not remember where they left their shoes, but they sure as hell won’t forget if you promise them a trip to Disney World for pooping in the toilet.  I, for one, am a Proud Mama for my totally manageable (and affordable!) promise.

For us, the Naples Zoo is just across Alligator Alley, about an hour and a half from home.  The ride out was fine except for one nasty storm, but the rainbow that came with it was exquisite and worth the hassle.  I only wish I could’ve taken a picture, but I was busy driving…and opening up bags of pretzels, passing Sippy cups back and forth, and peeling bananas. You think texting and driving is dangerous?  Try parenting and driving.  Anyway, we made it across the Sunshine State with one pee stop, and we were inside the gates of the zoo by 10:30am. 


No one was happier than Dylan that the Naples Zoo encourages people to bring their own food, including orange crackers.   (I was happy, too.  When we go to the Miami Zoo,I have to smuggle food inside.  Shh.)


“If there’s a place you got to go, I’m the one you need to know, I’m the map…”

This was the Primate Expedition Cruise, a boat ride that sails around small islands where apes, spider monkeys and King Julien (i.e. lemurs) live.  

These apes were monkeying around like two other primates I know…

When the cruise was over and we were getting off the boat, I turned to the captain and said, “Thank you.”  Dylan turned to him and said, “I love you.”

This is what I packed for lunch.  Ha!  Early April Fools Day!  The lettuce was for feeding the giraffes.  The zoo has five “baby” giraffes that are huge and beautiful, and I will never, ever get tired of watching giraffes.


We went on a camel ride!  While we were on the very-short-for-the-amount-of-money-it-costs-but-at-least-the-money-goes-to-helping-the-zoo-and-the-animals ride, I told the boys the story of when I rode a camel in Israel when I was a teenager.  I left out the part where the camel threw me off his back and I landed face down on a rock.  Thankfully, today’s ride had a happy ending. 


“Mommy, are you sure there are no hippos at this zoo?”  There aren’t.  We’ve been home from the zoo for several hours now and Dylan still won’t let it go that we didn’t see the hippos – hippos that do not live at the Naples Zoo.  This irrational dispute between a mother and son could last a lifetime.  


This was Riley’s “Mommy won’t let me have M&Ms before lunch” face.


Just so you know, buttery, salty, greasy zoo popcorn puts Dylan in the mood to strike a pose.

This was Riley’s not-so-subtle hint that the zoo trip was over.  (Sorry about the finger on the lense…I was tired, too).  Riley rolled up into a ball like a roly-poly pill bug and I had to carry him (Strong Mama!) until we reached the gift shop where he had a miraculous surge of energy, so much so that he was able to pick out a bag of plastic frogs as a souvenir from our special day.  Tired little Dylan mustered up the energy to pick out something, too.

I had such a good and easy time taking these two boys to the zoo today (across the state and on my own) that I think I might finally be ready to get on an airplane with them.  Or maybe that’s the post zoo Pinot Grigio talking.

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Dear Universe

Riley has been an extraordinary potty trainee.  In six days of training, he’s only had a handful of accidents, and most of them happened on the first day.  He pooped in the potty on Day One – with a smile on his face – and did it again every day after that.   By Day Four, he was going to the bathroom, undressing and getting on the toilet by himself, and peeing (and pooping!) without being asked.  In a restaurant that evening, he used the bathroom twice.  No problem.  On Day Five, I took him to Publix and the park where he had zero accidents, and in the afternoon, he actually asked me to give him privacy while he was on the potty.  He earned so many poop surprises and stickers that I had to go to Toys R Us over the weekend to restock, and his sticker chart is busting at the seams.

I was so amazed with his progress that I updated my Facebook status a few times over the weekend with phrases like “It’s noon and we’re still on the first pair of underwear!” or “Accident free so far!”  Yesterday, I joked on Facebook that since Riley asked for privacy in the bathroom, our training was done.  Funny, though, within a few minutes of publishing each of these proud declarations, he had an accident. 

The universe was telling me something.

I’m not an arrogant person.  I just didn’t expect potty training Riley to be so easy.  I felt like a war hero by the time I finished training Dylan to the point where I could take him back and forth to school. Getting him to poop in the toilet was – and still is – my proudest parenting achievement.  My bragging about Riley was more astonishment than conceit.  Still, the universe was communicating with me.

A few months ago, my sister told me my nephew, who is almost six months younger than Riley, was potty training.  My response was, “That’s great!”  My thought was, I hate you.  A few weeks ago, a friend told me her son, who is a few months younger than Riley, wanted to wear underwear.  I said, “That’s great!” My thought was, I hate you.  (Actually, I said “I hate you” out loud.  She understood.) Other friends and acquaintances have recently announced their potty training news.  I bet you can guess what I said and thought.

Jealousy sucks.  I really am happy for everyone, and I really don’t hate anyone, but I’m human (and a Mama).  We all know that it’s not a good idea to compare our children to others, but we do it anyway.  Think of the Mama whose 16-month-old baby is sitting (i.e. not walking) while eleven-month-olds run circles around her, or the Mama whose two-year-old still doesn’t sleep through the night, or the Mama whose four year-old still holds a pencil like an ice pick.  When I knew my family and friends where getting through the messiest bits of potty training while Riley was whispering in my ear how much he loved his diapers, I smelled the stink of envy (pun intended).

Potty training is hard.  Even when it’s easy it’s hard because there’s bound to be pee and poop in all the wrong places at some point.  This morning, on Day Six, Riley woke up with a dry Pullup and peed in the toilet right away.  A few minutes later, my little prodigy pooped in his underwear and said, “Mommy, change my diaper.”  

No, there’s no room for overconfidence here, especially when it comes to the delicate (and messy and exhausting and unpredictable) process of potty training.  When I told my friend, whose son decided on his own to wear underwear, that Riley was pooping in the toilet, she said “That’s great!  I hate you.”  (She said it out loud, too.)  Her son isn’t having much success yet in that, um, area.

Dear Universe, I’m listening.

To all the Mamas who put up withmy showing off this weekend, I apologize.  I dropped Riley off at school this morning with a bag full of spare clothing and the promise of a surprise if he was accident-free when I picked him up.  I’m not going to say anything about how he did at school today, because tomorrow is a new day full of possibilities (and the possibility of accidents).  If I brag today (and believe me, I could!), karma might bite me in the butt tomorrow.

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Day Free

I savored the sweet taste of freedom on this third day of potty training house arrest.  For the first time in two long days,  I actually left the house.  I didn’t do anything special, but going to the grocery store without a peeing and pooping time bomb felt indulgent enough.  I also made a quick stop at Toys R Us to stock up on “poop surprises.”

When I potty train, I don’t mess around with poop.  It’s the wild card of potty training.  I know kids who master peeing within a few days but refuse to poop in the toilet, or who poop in the toilet at home but not at school, or who pull down their pants, poop on the floor, and then pull their pants back up, or who hold in their poop for so long that they have to take laxatives.  The thought of any of these scenarios makes me anxious, and I’m already an Anxious Mama, thank you very much.  In my house, when a trainee lands a poop in the toilet, I go way beyond stickers. 

Riley’s doing great, by the way.  He’s not telling me yet when he has to go, which means I do a lot of this:

“Do you have to pee?”

“Do you have to poop?”

“Is there pee-pee in your belly”

“Do you want to try to pee?”

“Let’s pee now!”

“Is it time to sit on the potty?”

“Let’s get your poops out!”

It’s as annoying as it sounds, but he hasn’t had a single accident today (and only one yesterday), which means my Jedi Apprentice is learning well. My hope is that by the time he goes back to school on Tuesday morning (and becomes someone else’s problem for a few hours), he’ll be initiating the trips to the bathroom.  We’ll see.

In the meantime, as I publish this post, there’s a fierce lightsaber battle taking place in the living room and we are still accident free. And there is more freedom in my future.  We have a babysitter coming at 7:00 p.m.  Happy Saturday Night!

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