So I tried to potty-train my son. Remember that?

I quit the day I blogged about it, because he was clearly determined to never acquiesce in this matter.


He was overjoyed to be allowed to crap in his pants in peace again, and I was a much better person for not trying to make him do otherwise.

And so, we moved on with life.

“He’ll do it when he’s ready,”

everyone said.

“Boys are different.”

Fine by me. I wasn’t particularly enjoying spending my time on the bathroom floor with a screaming clinching toddler who was gifted with sphincters of steel.

A week later, the kids went to spend the night with my parents.

The next morning at 8:30, I got a text from my Dad.

Potty Training Text From Dad

I chuckled viciously to myself, wondering why they were willing to do that to themselves.

I didn’t hear from them again until 10:30, when Mom shared the stranger aspects of my other child.


Mom Text 1

I assumed that meant that potty-training was an issue of which we wouldn’t speak any longer.

Until two hours later. When the messages started coming in every half-hour.

Mom Text 2

All day. The kid who had never peed a drop outside his diaper was going every time she took him.

And staying dry.Mom Text 3

Mom finally called me that afternoon.

I immediately asked the question I’d been wondering all day.

“What did you TELL him?? What did you DO??”

“Nothing really…I just told him we weren’t going to tee-tee in his diaper today. I only took him once an hour. And he went every time.”

What the….

I spent five days of HELL with that child, taking him to the bathroom every twenty minutes, encouraging, bribing, begging, pleading, cheering, giving his privy member every sort of frolicsome name possible (“Use your fire hose to put out the fire, Noah!”) and got NOTHING.

And she does basically zilch and has him perfectly potty-trained on the first try. Without a single tear shed by either one of them.

What the…

It was at this moment I remembered that my parents had taught BOTH of my children to walk, too. And I began wondering if I had the credentials it takes to be a mother, let alone a homeschool mom.

If I can’t teach them The Basics of Life (yes I hear 4Him in the background) then how can I expect to teach them long division?

Because I totally don’t remember how to do that kind of crap.

I fumed at the injustice and fantasized about interrogating my son as to his intentions with my sanity.

Meanwhile, my parents were celebrating their stunning accomplishments with streamers and confetti.

When Noah came home and I took him to the bathroom the first time, he actually said the words “I can’t – I can only tee-tee in the potty at Gramamma’s house.”

OH NO, son. OH NO YOU DIDN’T. You will pee and you will like it. Your cover is blown. BLOWN. BLOWN!!

He came around quickly, and has been practically 100% potty-trained ever since. Dry overnight and everything. AND INCLUSIVE OF POOP.

What the…

The moral of this story is: When random grandparents gaze reminiscently at you and your children and say sadly, “Enjoy every minute – it just goes by so quickly!”, THEY ARE LYING.

THEY are the ones living the dream.

Getting to spoil the grandkids and having nary a care about discipline.

Experiencing the euphoria of children responding to their every nudge or whim of leadership and being able to watch with joy as the children learn from their great aged wisdom.

And most importantly, they get to send those kids home right before they become brats.

So next time you see a Grandparent with their grandchildren, please look at them longingly and say sadly, “Enjoy every minute! It just takes us so long to get there!”

25 thoughts on “On Making Something so Easy so Hard.

  1. I’m not a mom, so clearly my opinions count for naught, but maybe it was a power-struggle thing. Your parents aren’t Noah’s primary disciplinarians, so maybe he didn’t feel like he needed to struggle with them? Whatever the reason, you have been released from Potty Training Hell–and that has to be a huge relief!

  2. Hate to say it, but “I told you so.”

    I really think kids pick up on our nervousness. Grandparents have nothing to lose by teaching them these things so they are totally relaxed.

    And then, sometimes kids can just be pains (just keeping it real) and will not do whatever we want them to do just because they can.

    Just think what a great grandmother you are going to make though. That’s what I keep telling myself.

  3. I’m convinced that if we could skip right to grandparenthood without all that pesky parenthood(gosh.. and childbirth. blech) every single one of us would. At least those of us who started this journey somewhat sane…

  4. I have also had similar grandparent episodes (including a colicky baby that would ONLY stop crying for my dad); I have simply concluded that grandparents are magical.. And I’m pretty sure the kids love them more than they love us. Which seems fair given that all four of our own parents have confessed that they love their grandchildren way more than their boring, grown-up children.

    1. So true! I once drove 4 hours to take a colicky baby to his grandfather for that exact reason. And it wasn’t even my own dad, it was my FIL.

  5. 4Him…Bahahahahah! Better than Steve Green in the background, but not by much ;)

    My mom is magical…magical! She can get my girls to do anything! When my oldest was little, she REFUSED to wear shoes. She got so upset that she would puke. Naturally, my mom manipulated her into it.

    Nanas are magic.

  6. My daughter did the exact same thing. I asked my stepmom what she did and she said “well, I think she liked the special undies I got for her”. They were the exact same set I had gotten a few months earlier! :) and she also did the same thing when she got home and tried to pretend like she didn’t know how. Now that we are working in her not sucking her thumb, I am thinking a weekend at the grandparents is in order!

  7. Oh man, that is so funny. Well – you know everything is much more fun at grandmom’s house! Although I have to say, my daughter was stubborn enough that she wouldn’t even do it for her grand-mom. Just be thankful it’s done no matter how it got there!! LOL

  8. A+ blog just for the 4Him reference.

    For the record, grandparents have some sort of magic – I’d call it devilmagic, but it’s not evil. Just write everything off to them having special powers that you’ll have one day. Until that day, just pawn off anything you need to the grandparents – we’ve done it with bike riding, mathematics, baseball – lots of stuff. “I’d love to teach them, Grandma/Grandpa – I just can’t!?!? I guess they’ll be okay never learning how to play the piano/jump rope/fish/write book reports . . . I’m sure they’ll be fine . . . “

    1. I’m a mom of 6, and grandma of 11, and have to agree that being a grandparent is indeed a special time of life earned by being so stressed out with your own kids for so many years. It is a magical time when you can relax and totally enjoy those precious grand kids, guilt-free, and like you said, send them home after spoiling them to death. I intend to thoroughly relish every minute of having these babies around. So thankful to have lived through the tough years to find out about this!

  9. LOL, I love that last statement! Because random grocery store ladies DO say the first one to me. I’m totally going to start saying that back. Ok maybe not, but I will definitely be thinking it. Haha :) Congrats on the potty training success no matter how it came about! That’s going to be my summer endeavor. Joy. Oh and T and I totally sang The Basics of Life with two of our friends in high school (for choir). SO funny.

  10. So glad he is using the toilet!! My mother said to me once (in the middle of everyone having a nervous beakdown) “Please just enjoy these days. They DO fly by and are the best years of your life”. A little voice inside my head said “Please … NO! Because these days are soooo hard.”

  11. I sent Jack to “potty Boot camp” at Tim’s mama’s. Told him he couldn’t come home until he was potty trained. It took two days! After I had tried for months.

  12. I had a similar thing happen with my middle daughter. I had been trying (and failing) to get her to use the potty. She told me “I’ll just stay little, thanks.” The babysitter says to her “I bet you can’t use the potty.” And that’s all it took. Potty trained (poop included) from then on. How is it that we can love our kids so much, and still want to strangle them??
    Look at the bright side: potty trained! Yippee!!

  13. Ha! The psychology of parenting is fascinating. My son flat refused to be potty-trained. Refused. Finally one day I sat him down and told him we were done, it was entirely up to him. He could not move up to the next daycare class, the one with the big playground, because they did not take kids in diapers, but we were fine with it and if he wanted to stay in diapers forever we were perfectly fine with that too. But if he ever changed his mind, tell me.

    Two days to think about it and he never wore a diaper again.

  14. My mom is welcome to potty training my almost-three-year-old. YOUR mom is totally welcome to potty train him!!! :-)
    “Yay!” for being done with diapers though! I’m looking forward to that day.

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