“The rules are pretty simple… Tell me when you have to go potty and we will go potty. Got it?”
I say this at 8am feeling confident I’m gonna crank out potty training today. Boot camp style. Let’s do this.
I ask him again if he understands the rules.
“Yeah.” He says.
He says “yeah” to pretty much everything these days.
“Are you hungry?”
“Do you wanna go to the moon?”
“Have any crazy dreams about cars, trucks, trains or airplanes?”
“You’re gonna tell me when you have to go potty?”
And we’re off! And we’re diaper-less. He wouldn’t just going to go to bathroom on the floor would he? Isn’t it innate like not eating things that look poisonous?
Let’s back up. I came to the battle prepared. I revised Rumsfield’s strategy. I go to war with the army I have, the army I want, the army I’m glad I had at a later time.
My battlefield is set. Fresh batteries in the CARS™ toilet seat so the racing sounds it plays are clear and present. I’ve stockpiled my ammo. I’ve got lots of fresh water and fruit and even M&M’s for rewards. I’ve purchased a box of Cheerios™ for target practice and cue’d up Patton’s speech for when I need to be reminded of the objective. Most importantly, I’ve got all the time in the world and an abundance of patience.
“You’ll let me know when you have to potty?” I ask.
“Yeah.” He says again.
After an hour we hit the latrine just in case.
We will do this on the hour, every hour, all day. During that time, never once does he tell me he has to potty.
Halfway through the day I revise tactics. I bring out the big guns.
“If you go potty I will give you some candy. Do you understand?”
“If you go potty I will give you some candy.” I remind him.
“Candy! Candy! Off! I want off!” He’s referring to the CARS™ toilet seat. He pushes the button on the seat sounding the horn.
He tries to flush the toilet.
Each of these he thinks is the candy dispenser. It’s becoming Pavlovian but I think I’m the dog in this experiment.
“When you go potty.”
“I want off!” He demands.
“When you go potty.” I demand back.
We huddle on the seat and regroup for what feels like hours. He’s been on the seat so long I doubt he’ll be able to stand. I quote Lethal Weapon but he doesn’t get it.
“Guys like you don’t die on toilets.”
By the end of the day we’ve had a few successes and a few failures but the end game is clear. We’re not landing on an aircraft carrier declaring Mission Accomplished yet but we’re on the right track.
“Our basic plan of operation is to advance and to keep on advancing regardless of whether we have to go over, under, or through the enemy. We are going to go through him like crap through a goose; like shit through a tin horn!”
Maybe Patton used Reese’s Pieces? Tomorrow the bugle calls at Oh Six Hundred.