Pop-Up Potty Party

I bought a Robert Sabuda book in late fall of 2006. I had gone to New York City with my ex, and found an absolutely delightful Wizard of Oz pop-up book -whimsical, ornate, and beautifully created – in the Metropolitan Museum of Art gift shop.

“I am saving this book to give to my first child,” I said, hugging the book dreamily.

After two moves, a breakup, and a marriage, that book stayed intact, wrapped piously in its original cellophane, awaiting my future child’s curious touch.

And then potty training happened.

I got the bright idea one day to give the “special potty book”, both several times beyond his level of comprehension and far too fragile for preschool hands, to Matthew, upon embarking on our potty training journey.

We’ve traveled to Emerald City and back, practiced pronouncing the word ‘tornado’, and tried to rationalize why the monkeys have wings, countless times.

Best (or worst) Potty Book EVER

Unfortunately, we haven’t come quite as far in the actual pottying department. Maybe he’s got a shy bladder, maybe he’s too intrigued to focus on the task at hand, but, he’s three, and we need to get this train moving. I’ve got two two-year-olds waiting in the wings.

We explain, we describe, we model. I bring him into the bathroom with me and ask him for step-by-step instructions, which he’s able to give. We offer rewards (fine, bribes), but nothing’s stuck yet.

I had another (equally bright) idea to try training Maggie concurrently, you know, since she’s got such a surplus of physical and cognitive energy, thinking it may ignite a spark of competition in Matthew, but it hasn’t. Those attempts, thus far, have resulted in her peeing on her feet, screaming, jumping out of the way, and then peeing on her feet some more.

I’ve sat, precariously, on the half of the toilet seat not occupied by the safety lock, with literal pain in my ass, many times now. I’ve considered (and declined) sitting on the bathroom floor in solidarity. I’ve stared into the potty, willing his nethers to produce, staring at his little wee so intently that I’m surprised it hasn’t caught fire, turned the water on and off, flushed the toilet, and even peed myself (not peed myself), in hopes of producing some physiological reaction.

“I’m done!” he declares proudly, pointing at the empty bowl, attempting to exit the bathroom with his pants around his ankles.

I’ve tried sitting there with him for the entire morning, but, unfortunately, with the other two, this doesn’t work. Breakfast decomposes on the table, while Maggie launches herself over the half wall by the bathroom, rips off a piece of the book, then runs away.

Sometimes I feel there’s not enough of me to get this job done.

The binding of the book’s ripped in half, the “magical” green-tinted glasses have been chewed at the handles, and the hot air balloon basket and a tiny version of Aunt Em and Uncle Henry’s house lay, sadly, on the guest bathroom floor.

I feel like that book.

But I can’t give up, right? This is my job. Plus, all the “…only sixteen-year-old who won’t be potty trained!” jokes are starting to get to me.

Good news, though. I just checked Robert Sabuda’s website. He’s got more.

Slip on those green-colored glasses, and bring your antibacterial wipes.

We’ve got more work to do.

10 Comments Add yours

  1. muddledmom says:

    I hated potty training too. Stick him in training underpants and let him wet himself a few times. Maybe he’ll get it? Good luck!


  2. We have Sabuda’s 12 Days of Christmas, and it is far and away the most beautiful book we own. An in-law gave it to my daughter for Christmas when she was two (!!!!), and I deemed her old enough to be careful with it two years later. I’m going to have to find her The Wizard of Oz, now!

    And as for potty training? I’ve trained eleven, so far. They each figure it out their own way, in their own time. Bribes help. If he’s dry waking from nap, rush him to the potty and read to him until he pees, and repeat every hour and/or about 15 minutes after eating or drinking. Pull-ups always, always, always make potty-training take longer, to use cloth trainers if your sanity permits. But mostly, you just gotta hang in there. He’ll get it, I promise :-)


  3. Beth says:

    LOL it sounds like you are having so much fun in your house!!! I was lucky with my son as his great grandmother stayed home with him and let him run around the house naked while she chased him with the potty. In turn she had him potty trained in a few days!!! My daughters was surprisingly easily and didn’t give me any problems with the potty but they always say girls are easier. I feel really bad for that Wizard of Oz book!!!!


  4. Potty training – uggh. It is not pretty in so many ways. I hope your son is going on his own soon.
    Btw, the pop-up looks really cool.


  5. You are .hilarious.


  6. worst parenting challenge in my life…round one child, i’m into round two with twins….little Miss is getting it with the wee, and is even dry all night, yet she fails to do number twos in the loo!!! frustration doesn’t even cover it. menwhile little Mr 2 only ever wants to “do wee in potty” at 8pm at night when he’s running thin on excuses to not be in bed!

    Be safe in the knowledge that you ARE NOT ALONE! You will get there, when they are ready….unfortunately not something that any amount of positive thoughts by yourself are going to result in them doing it before they are ready!



  7. So my 21 month old son has figured out how to control when he pees. I’m partially impressed that he can pee on command and partially distressed because he holds it until diaper changing time and pees all over me. Yet, I am totally worried that he is still too young to potty train. I have feared the idea of potty training since he was born, but I think he’s forcing my hand with the peeing. Good luck to you! Potty solidarity!


  8. momuverse says:

    Give it time, it will happen eventually. Have wine on stand-by for restorative purposes. My daugher was a little over two, I bought a peeing doll, set a timer and ever 30 minutes, me, the doll, then her all took turns peeing. The #2… took a lot longer! My friend has a son who flat out refused to go in the potty till almost kindergarten (bless her heart). If your daughter is ready, maybe focus on her and let her show her Big Bro how it’s done! Good Luck, it will happen.
    PS We bribed with M&Ms!


  9. jillo31 says:

    http://WWW…I just wrote about potty training my first. I’m in the throws of it with my second and it’s not my favorite. Hang in there!


  10. Here’s my advice. Get yourself a giant bottle of wine. Drink from it regularly. It won’t help them train, but eventually you won’t care anymore.


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