We recently finished potty training our 2 year old son. While he still wears pull-ups at night and has the occasional accident, I’m amazed at how quickly he picked it up. This is one way in which him and his sister are exact opposites. She picked up the mental things (counting, shapes, colors, etc.) incredibly quickly. He on the other hand has been amazing when it comes to the physical things (crawling, walking, catching, etc.). At least part of the reason that the potty training went smoothly is that we went into it with a plan, and both parents were able to help out and support the other.
I think the biggest reason, however, was that karma finally came around and rewarded me for the immense amounts of poop that I had to handle when we were potty training his older sister. We lived in Virginia at the time, and I had just returned from deployment #3. We just had a small 2 bedroom apartment because we knew that I would be transferring in the near future. It was great because there were 2 bathrooms and 1 was right at the end of the hallway a short distance from any part of the house.
The trickiest part about potty training our daughter was that my wife was pregnant with our son at the time. There were many reasons why this was a painful pregnancy, but there were 2 specific concerns that made potty training nearly impossible for her. First, she was incredibly nauseous for most of the pregnancy. Second, she developed a super sniffer that could smell a Mudslide Blizzard from 500 yards. When you combine these two things, helping our daughter in the bathroom was horrible. It’s hard to give your daughter positive reinforcement when you have to leave the room to hoark.
Therefore, the bulk of the potty training fell on me which I completely didn’t mind (much). While I was not underway during this time, I did still have to work during the day, sometimes long hours. As a result, potty training was mostly reserved for the evenings and weekends which made the process much longer than it had to be.
Sweet Baby Buddha, there was a lot of poop. She was always a healthy eater, but some nights, she would let about half her body weight nestle into her underwear. She was a trooper and she worked hard, but she always had trouble with #2. She seemed to get really confused between pooping and farting. She would run to the toilet and then sit there and pass gas for 10 minutes, but then she would just drop a load without even realizing it. (On a side note, I can’t wait until she’s old enough to go back and read the archive of this blog.)
To be honest, this was probably far less than my fair share. I had certainly missed a ton of diapers during the prior 6 months and the deployment before that. I really felt that this was a duty that I owed my wife. I was fine with it.
Then, a freak rain storm changed everything. It must have dropped about 6 inches of rain in the course of a couple hours. This wouldn’t be a big deal in itself except for the fact that the sewage system for our apartment building was full. Since our apartment was on the ground level, it started backing up into our bathtubs. Now, I would have been ok with this if we were the only ones that lived in our building, but that wasn’t the case. That’s right, we had fecal matter from other people coating our bathtubs.
We reported this, and a maintenance guy came by (in all fairness, he was incredibly nice). It appeared that the apartment complex’ contribution effort to the cleanup was going to be dropping off a bottle of bleach. 3 hours, 4 pairs of rubber gloves, and 6 scalding hot showers later, the problem had been eliminated. I had also come to the realization that I had now handled more than my fair share of poop.
Now, you can see why I think karma played such a huge part in our son picking up potty-training so easily. I think it was the poop fairy’s way of saying, “Hey, my bad.”