Monday, August 1, 2011

Tonight We're Gonna Potty Like It's 1974

I am the last person who should be making fun of a potty-training book.  My three year-old has no interest in the cute monkey potty chair or the Go, Diego, Go underwear I've recently bought him.  I'm sure he'll be one of those rare kids that shows up for kindergarten still wearing some sort of giant diapers and, when asked to pull his own pants up or down, whining, "I CAAAAAN'T!"

When we took Boo to his annual check-up, we mentioned that he wasn't potty trained and his pediatrician said, without even blinking, "Toilet Training In Less Than A Day."  He wrote it down on our take-home sheet, and I immediately looked it up on the library website when we got home.  When it was transferred to our branch a week later,  I was a little surprised when it wasn't a glossy paperback but an old, dark blue, hardcover book that still had the pocket for a check-out card in the back.  I made up my mind that this meant it was a tried and true, old school method that Boo's pediatrician had had much success with over the years.  I checked the copyright: 1974.  I wondered if maybe my own mother had potty trained me using this very book.  **Just an aside.  When I saw 1974, my honest-to-God first thought was, "Oh, so it was written about 20 years ago."  Heh, heh.  The continuation of time got a little foggy after I graduated high school.  Around 10 years ago.**

This is the very first potty training book I've ever even looked through, so I guess I don't know how it stacks up with more modern books.  The premise, that you get your child a doll that wets itself, and have the child train the doll to use the potty, seems reasonable to me, even if I cringe at the thought of a doll being chucked into a corner and forgotten, dribbling a puddle onto our hardwood floors.

But as I thumbed through the book at the library, I actually had to clap my hand over my mouth because some of the wording and the pictures were hysterically funny.  Of course, I have to share.

The first part of the book is devoted to telling mothers (yes, this book is pretty much geared toward women) all the things that are wrong with the "old way" of potty training, although I'm not exactly sure what that was. A great deal of pictures and stories depict annoyed housewives whose children's toileting needs are taking up all their precious time.

The book is very explicit on the tools you need and where you need to put them.

I'm sure you don't have to feel the doll's pants and shove the treat into it's mouth simultaneously.

This is the part I don't know if I like.  And again, I'm not an expert.  But I'm a little more in the, "It's OK, accidents happen," school myself.

" the hope that your loud voice will cause the urination to be interrupted."  I think it would have the opposite effect on my kid.

And polyester pants. Bow-chicka-wow, Dad!

So, I didn't mention the part where you're supposed to reward your child all along with pop and candy, but that's what the book suggests...until potty training is complete and you hand him this boring "diploma" he can't even read.

The back of the book is pure silliness, and where I got the most laughs.  There's a FAQ, of sorts, that I guess is supposed to drive home a few of the important details, in case you weren't paying attention.

That must be one talented doll.

So all kidding aside, I'm intrigued by the idea of using a doll, because both Boo and Punky have just started playing with dolls and like undressing them and rocking them to sleep.  I bet they'd get a kick out of checking Dolly's pants and handing out treats.  But I can't follow this book's advice to the letter, and I certainly don't expect potty training to happen in just a matter of hours, although, how awesome would that be?

I Googled the book title to see if there was an updated version of it somewhere, and there doesn't appear to be.  I did find other references to it, though, including one dad's experience here.  His account of potty-training by this method is much funnier than anything I could write, because he actually did follow the book down to every cheesy prompt or reprimand.

I suspect Boo just isn't ready, and I've had several friends tell me that when they're ready, everything just clicks.  So for the time being, I'm going to work on "patience training for mommies" and let Boo take his own sweet time.  


  1. OH my word!!! This is hysterical! What's more hysterical is that you were referred to this nonsense by a medical professional. It blows me away!!

  2. I'm still cringing. Good luck with mommy patience training and, hopefully, hunting for a new doctor, geez!

  3. oh. my. word. I read the article about the dad training his son and laughed so hard my kids were wondering why I was crying! The advice(solicited or unsolicited)I give to every person I know getting ready to potty train a child is "NO PULL UPS"...the child actually has to feel wet and yucky.