Potty Training, Dad Style. Naps Included.
~By Trey Burley, Daddy Mojo
Any stay-at-home parent will tell you that a nap is always welcome. The other day I took a quality 35-minute nap. Unfortunately, I was on the toilet with my pants around my ankles at the time, with my almost 3-year-old son playing games on the iPad while sitting on his training potty in front of me. Needless to say, it was one intimate father-son moment I was glad nobody was around to photograph.
Jake, our toddler, has been trying to learn how to use the potty for a couple of weeks now. To help him along, my wife and I have been using the reward system. Once he’s seated on the potty, either my wife or I read Winnie the Pooh to him. When he goes potty, even a little bit, we reward him with an M & M or small piece of candy.
The downside to this system is that the small piece of candy is tasty and edible and that I often get hungry. I was doing great for a couple of days, giving the sweets only to the toddler. One day was particularly rough, though, and I just had to have one M & M, which begat another, which then led to me eating most of the bag.
“I don’t think the reward system is working,” my wife said to me in the kitchen. “He keeps eating the candy, but he’s not getting any better.”
I raised my guilty chocolate-stained hand. The only thing missing was a series of tiny M & M prints similar to those of the Nazi in Raiders of the Lost Ark who subsequently burned his palm when he tried to grab the medallion. We decided that the reward system needed to be tweaked. And by “we” I mean “she,” and by “tweaked” she meant “something that is not an edible reward so I can be certain my child and not my husband will receive it.”
Since my son loves spending time on the iPad, it was declared that “Mickey ’puter time” would be his new potty training reward. His favorite app is a Mickey Mouse game, so for all intents and purposes time spent on the iPad is “Mickey ’puter time.” If it helps him become potty trained faster, we’ll gladly call it anything his almost 3-year-old vocabulary can think of.
One morning, his younger brother was taking a morning nap when it was time for potty training to begin. I’m down with the method acting, so I played the part of someone going to the bathroom while Jake sat in front of me.
Jake started playing an app with some stereotypically mind-numbing kids’ music. I hypnotically placed my right arm on the toilet paper holder and woke up 35 minutes later. The music then gently pulled me out of my slumber, and I was quite comfortable, all things considered.
When I woke up, Jake said “Daddy napping.” Yes, daddy was napping. With his head between his knees. Unsurprisingly, that morning’s potty training did not yield any long-term results, for me or for Jake, thank goodness.
Trey is the hilarious sleep-deprived dad behind Daddy Mojo.