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When it comes to potty training, I’m a whiz

December 9, 2012
By KELLY VAN DE WALLE ( , Times-Republican

They say training a child to use a toilet is like being a bomb disposal technician. I feel that to be an unfair comparison, mostly because that guy doesn't feel near the pressure.

Tell you what; YOU frantically carry a slowly leaking human to a miniature plastic receptacle. I'LL disarm your fruity little bomb.

As a parent, during the first stages of training you're constantly on edge, knowing that whenever you foolishly attempt to do anything constructive for five consecutive uninterrupted minutes that will be the time your child will shout "potty!" There's more panic in that moment than having the Kool-Aid Man actually burst through your wall forcing you to drink head punch.

There have been several instances I've burned perfectly good bacon during an "emergency!" that ended up being a 10-minute false alarm, which in my house is a capital offense where the punishment SHOULD be traveling to the grocery store, purchasing more bacon, cooking it to my specifications, feeding it to me while I sit in a reclined leather chair with my arms crossed trying not to hate you.

When we set out to do this we had the date circled on the calendar so we could have something to dread. It was like preparing for oral surgery; only you have a marginally smaller chance of being peed on by your dentist.

Laying our daughter down, giggling, I bravely stepped up for the procedure.

"You do it," I said, courageously giving my wife this opportunity. "I really don't know how all that works anyway."

"I KNOW," she replied, insinuating something, though I'm not sure exactly what.

"No, really, it's like telling an airplane mechanic to work on submarines. I'm not qualified."

"You can do it," she said, ignoring my extremely plausible excuse for not doing this. It must've been too science-y for her lady brain.

"Fine. I'm removing the diaper," I said, solemnly, like a sad heart surgeon. "Hand me the underwear."

"Wait," she said, grasping my hand nervously. "Are we sure we want to do this?"

"It's time," I said, valiantly. "This is serious. Hand me the underpants with the little cartoon Hispanic girl and her monkey."

I placed them on (her) sadly, making note that doing so was also wiping away the final indicator that my daughter was no longer a baby and had, without my consent, grown into a little girl. While I was contemplating this my daughter purposely kicked me in the face while calling me "puppy."

Once they were on, I slowly backed away, keeping my hands raised and my eyes locked on hers like she was some kind of terrorist holding me hostage.

"Why are you walking like that?" my wife asked, dumbly.

"Are you kidding? That could go off at any moment. I don't want to make any sudden moves."

"Good heavens, Kelly, she's not a cobra."

"You don't know that," I whispered through clenched teeth. "And you just said 'good heavens.' That's hilarious."

And then you wait like two policemen on a very weird stakeout.

When it finally happens there's no alarm, no klaxon. If I had my way, the diaper early warning system would be exactly like the tornado alarm, only less subtle. After several trial runs your child will eventually "go" where you intend. The manual says when that happens you're to shower your child with praise, which I did while also doing a "You did it!" dance that I made up on the spot. It will probably be a major trend in nightclubs soon. So look for that.

After the celebration and your child runs off, reality kicks in and when all is said and done you now have a little plastic puddle of urine sitting in the middle of your living room.

My wife and I just looked at each other like we just discovered a dead body.

"Soooonow what?" I asked.

"I'm not touching it," my wife replied, helpfully.

Clearly the only option left was to purchase a new miniature toilet after every "success." This was going to get expensive.

Did you know just by emptying a plastic toilet you're able to get child pee on your fingers? And they say parenthood isn't glamorous.

After a few weeks I've started seeing the positives, one being the advantage of having a portable toilet in your room. I put her potty over by my bed JUST TO SEE WHAT IT'D LOOK LIKE.

"Don't even think about it," my wife said, accusingly.

"What?" I replied, innocent of the apparent crime of simply looking at a colorful urine bowl.

That's the problem with being married to someone for awhile; they always know when you get that look on your face that says you want to pee in your daughter's toilet.

The other positive aspect of all this is I've discovered that I rather enjoy the idea of celebrating bodily functions, which is why I've started throwing colored confetti in the air after burping. It was a brilliant idea until I had to vacuum it up afterwards. Now I only do it in public, which I find to be just as entertaining. Plus, people really don't get to see a lot of celebratory confetti. It's yet another public service I'm doing that goes mysteriously unfunded.


Kelly Van De Walle is the senior creative & marketing writer for Briscoe14 Communications ( He can be reached at or in his bathroom, which is where he now spends 80% of his days. Follow Kelly on Twitter @pancake_bunny or he'll chastise an owl.



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