And the award for Parent of the Most Civilized Pooping Child goes to . . .

Since I first became a parent, I’ve been taking an informal survey on how old children are when they complete potty training.  This has been an unintentional survey; I’ve never asked parents how long it took to potty train their children. Yet, scads of parents seem to think I want to know. The word potty can’t come up in conversation without people laying out the impressive timetables of their children’s migrations to the toilet.

Due to the unwilling nature of my research, I have never recorded the results of my survey. This could have the slight potential to erode the credibility of the findings. The only result of which I am certain is that 0.00% of respondents’ children took longer to potty train than my own.

My two potty trained children became so somewhere in the three-year-old range. The remaining child seems on pace to match that timing. When it comes to deciding where to poop, I thought I had pretty normal kids. The older two, in their own time, came around to a decision I can endorse. I have high hopes the third will eventually see the wisdom in their choices. On the other hand, I can’t honestly argue that a diaper isn’t a convenient alternative when you’re on the run.

Assuming my youngest takes approximately the same time to potty train as his brothers, he represents the third strike in my beginning hypothesis that my children are normal. It will prove beyond the margin of error that they are outliers – sluggard, ne’er-do-well poopers – the slowest children ever to be potty trained.

Further research has confirmed my fears about the futures of poorly trained children like my own. Source: Delusional Parent Magazine.

Further research has confirmed my fears about the futures of poorly trained children like my own. Source: Delusional Parent Magazine.

The stats don’t lie. And the stats are backed up by random, self-reported data from proud parents that happened to come up in conversation. These facts were presented to me by confident (almost beaming) individuals, through the famously unbiased memory of parenthood, who were prescient enough to ascertain that I was conducting a survey on this exact topic. That’s pretty solid, considering I didn’t even know I was conducting this survey. How can I begin to question the validity of such information?

Having not ever encountered a single survey subject whose children were slower to evolve than mine, I am left to consider the consequences of my children’s backwardness. Will these arrested beginnings hinder their futures? I fear so. None of the survey respondents who offered updates reported that their advanced pooping children are now incarcerated. And since someone has to fill the prisons, I can only conclude it will be the slow toilet adopters, of whom my children are, statistically, the slowest.

I know you’re probably thinking how brave it is of me to publicly admit these facts about my own beloved children. But now that I’ve done it, I wonder if I should have just lied about it. I can’t do that though. I wouldn’t want to be known as the first parent to embellish his children’s toilet skills.

Poop your Butt!

I wish three-year-olds devoted as much effort to learning their letters and numbers as they do to perfecting potty talk. If working poop into every conversation were a preschool subject, Buster would be at the top of his class. He’s not as much into the alphabet or counting, although he can count to 19, by 19s, but the numbers in between 0 and 19 are white noise.

Going potty at the appropriate time and place is a big deal in a preschooler’s world. As such, poop is an important word to know and use in the development of good hygiene routines. That’s where it ends for the grown-ups, but for the three-year-old, the word poop is an expressive cornucopia.

And in those rare circumstance when poop doesn’t quite fill the bill, butt usually works as a good substitute to bring the point home.

For instance, Buster might offer his impression of Mommy or Daddy giving an ultimatum this way: “If you don’t pick up these toys right now, Big Brother will poop in his pants!”

This is not the conventional ultimatum, in that it involves his brother providing the negative consequence, but even this third-party ultimatum meets the minimum requirements: there is a demanded action and a consequence for not acting. I certainly don’t want Big Brother to poop in his pants. I don’t want anybody in the house to poop in their pants. When it comes down to it, I don’t want anybody anywhere to poop in their pants, if that’s an option.

Where the threat fails is in the fact that Big Brother has not been consulted, and the method of enforcing  the threat is news to him. Big Brother will balk at his role in the proceedings, which may lead Buster to call him a butthead. This is tough on Big Brother as he is sensitive about what part of his body he carries atop his neck. Buster seems to have thicker skin than Big Brother. He is also more ruthless with the trash talk, which leaves him in better shape to endure the times when sibling rivalry goes verbal-nuclear.

Butts are not just a conversation piece. Sometimes they are real and can be a menace to society. One day, I came home to find Buster dressed in his Batman outfit, looking for bad guys to vanquish. He ran over to me and announced, “Your butt is the Joker.” Without giving my butt a chance to profess it’s innocence, he punched it in right in the proverbial nose. I was just happy I was facing the counter at the time because some villains can take a punch and some villains can’t.

Uh-oh! Looks like Batman stepped in something when he started accusing innocent butts of being arch-villains.

Uh-oh! Looks like Batman stepped in something when he started accusing innocent butts of being arch-villains.

I can stand a butt punch from a crime fighting three-year-old as well as the next guy, but that doesn’t mean I should have to. I sat Buster down to have a long talk with him. Within minutes, our heart-to-heart devolved into a discussion about . . .

                                                                                                                  you guessed it . . .

poop.