The Pottyssey, Chapter One: Finding Our Will


Ever read Homer’s “The Odyssey?”.

Yeah, me neither.  I just thought the allusion might add a little class to the proceedings.

According to the Wikipedia entry, it tells the story of Odysseus, who spent 10 long years after the Trojan War trying to get home to his family.  Of course along the way, hijinks ensued.  Every time he seemed to be coming close to achieving his objective, some sea monster or witch would pop up to either eat his crew, turn them into animals, or some combination of both.  This naturally delayed him that much longer from reaching home and retaking his throne.

I only bring this up because that’s what potty-training feels like: a seemingly never ending quest to have someone place himself back on his throne.  In this case, the porcelain kind.

Let’s flashback to about a year ago.  Cray-Cray is 3, Roundbottom has just turned 2.  After three years of literally wading elbow deep through pee-pee and poo-poo, Mama Angel and I have decided enough is enough.  It’s time for these shenanigans to end.  Time to have these two soiled beasts rise up and claim their humanity by ascending to the porcelain throne.  We got charts, we got stickers, we’re all set for this.  It was go time.

Not so much.

See there was one, not insignificant snag to our plan:  Cray-Cray didn’t understand what the hell we were trying to do.  At this point in time, he seemed completely fine with ringing for someone to cleanse him whenever he soiled himself.  He saw no reason whatsoever to change a system that worked.  For him, at least.   With the communication issues it was hard to make him understand that Daddy was really hoping to take that diaper budget and apply it to something crucially needed, like a big-screen TV.  After a few false starts and barely avoiding instances of feces being flung onto the wall like some jacked-up modern art painting using the most odiferous medium imaginable, it was determined it might be best to hold off until such time as Cray-Cray communicated he was ready.  Roundbottom of course would have no part of it until such time  as he witnessed his brother try it first in order to make certain that the toilet would not actually eat a human being upon flushing.

Then came “the incident”. You may have read in a previous post of mine (“Hello Silence, My Old Friend”) that during one sunny summer afternoon, I became way too uncomfortable with the fact that the house had become far too quiet after putting them up for their naps.  “Isn’t that the point?”, you ask, “that it’s SUPPOSED to be quiet when they’re napping?”.  Not an entirely unreasonable question, unless of course you actually know my children.  If there isn’t at least 45 to 75 minutes of hooting, clicking, or other sleep – interrupting cacophony, there’s something wrong.  I go up, look in the room, and there lies Cray-Cray on the floor, covered almost head to toe in mud.

I don’t have a mud pit in my house, folks.  I think you see where I’m getting at.

An hour-long scrubbing later, I decided that THIS really was the breaking point.  No more dawdling, no more excuses.  It was time, literally, for this child to poop or get off the toilet.  Training pants were bought, a new “CARS” potty was purchased, and all systems were go.

Except, of course, for his system.  Every time I would try to sit the child on the potty, I was met with questioning looks that clearly conveyed his confusion, such as “why am I stripping to sit down,” and “why would I crap on the furniture?  I have people for this.  What have you been drinking?”.

You all know what I’ve been drinking.  But I digress.

Well, time went on, and I kept trying to make things happen.  I even tried to check myself by posting status updates on Facebook, kind of a way to make Angel and myself accountable so that we would hold our breath and muscle through this crap (pun intended).

Obviously, I wouldn’t be writing all this if we had actually done what we set out to.

At some point, I think we just gave up.  It was just easier to change the damn diapers than it was to try to sit the kids on some toy toilet every hour.  Think about it.  You get the kid stripped, put him on the toilet, do the whole “count to ten” thing, and then sit there and stare at him as he does nothing but stare back.  You get him up, get the diaper and the pants back on, watch him run back out to the couch, and five minutes later he drops a load that would result in fines and prison time from the EPA.  It’s like Sisyphus and his rock.  The children simply would not go when we wanted, and showed no indication that they had any problem whatsoever with the status quo.

Until about a month ago.

It kind of crept up on us.  We would just be sitting there in the family room when all of a sudden Cray-Cray would stand up and strip his pants off.  Normally this wouldn’t throw us, just because it seems that the child’s most fervent wish would be to live in a world without clothing.  If he didn’t strip at least once a day, it was probably because it was the middle of winter and he was smart enough to realize that unlike his brother, he didn’t have much booty to freeze off.  However, the incidents of stripping were increasing.  He was taking the pants off five times a day, usually after having fouled himself.

I’m an educated man, so I was finally able to put two and two together.  “Hold on,” I thought oh-so-cleverly, “MAYBE this is his way of telling me he wants a change!”.


On top of that, he had also added a new little trick just to make things that much more interesting.  You see, if he is not attended to in a fashion he would consider timely, he will start reaching INTO the diaper.  Yes, my child who goes into a meltdown if the smallest drop of applesauce is spilled onto his chin seems to have no problem with playing “paint the walls” with his own poo.  Every time he’s done it, I just flash back to that nightmare day when all sense left the world.  In some small way, I think this is way of impressing the importance on me to man up and do what must be done.

Oh, and his brother jumped on the “stripping off the pants” bandwagon shortly after.  Only he’s kind enough to then come up to me and tell me, “Daddy, I poopied.  I need diaper” (Translation: “I am soiled, peasant. Cleanse me”).

Message received, gentlemen.

So here we are.  The point of no return.  It’s time to face our fears and once again conquer the (porcelain) throne.  No more excuses.  No more doubts.  It is time for ACTION.

Which is where you come in, dear reader.

If you have already completed this quest with your own little crews then I beg of you, BEG OF YOU, please help me.  Share the tricks and strategies that freed you of the tyranny of diapers.  I do not care one bit how outlandish or crazy your particular methods may have seemed.  As long as they got results, they are worth a try, especially if you also had a special needs kid.  Any guidance whatsoever is greatly appreciated. I vow to not only provide you with regular updates, but to spread this knowledge so that one day, all our children may poo and pee freely.

I really, really want that big screen television.  Poo-free hands would be lovely, too.

Leave your comments and suggestions below, and please feel free to share so that others may offer their guidance as well.  Together, we can complete this epic quest and bring honor back to the House of Cheeks.

Let the Pottyssey begin…..



Follow along on the great adventure as it unfolds on Instagram at fatherhood_in_the_trenches or on twitter @jmwilson3055.  I’m going to need all the help I can get.


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