Like most 2 1/2 year olds, Tabitha is in the midst of potty training. I had always heard that potty training girls was easier than boys. Honestly, potty training Adam was a piece of cake. So I envisioned a training experience for my daughter that would involve me providing a basic overview of the process, pointing at the toilet and the step stool and returning to find her washing and drying her hands, perhaps applying some lip balm in the mirror – potty training complete. However, I have totally underestimated the complexities of my daughter yet again.

Tabitha is nothing if not complicated. She loves fresh cooked or raw veggies and fruits, but she hates dried anything. She sleeps laid out like a vampire now, and yet refused to lay in her crib for the first 8 months of her life. As much as she loves to spin in her daddy’s desk chair, she detests being made dizzy. She makes a spectacle about going pee in the potty, but poops on the floor like it’s no big deal.

Pooping on the floor is something I occasionally expect to see from the dog. After all, he’s trapped in the house all day and his walkies are sporadic, at best. But the idea that my flirtatious, doll collecting, pink-wearing, cosmetics-loving, little tart would voluntarily stand in the middle of our living room, sans underwear, and take an enormous, stinking dump on the floor never occurred to me. But, to her credit, as soon as she was done, she casually walked in and mentioned that there was poop on the floor suggesting that, “Somebody better clean that up…”

I’ve read books about child development that discourage parents from saying anything that would make your child feel shameful about soiling themselves, particularly during the potty training process. But no where does it mention applying some shame for soiling the floor. Still, I resisted the urge to say, “What the f@#$, girlfriend? You’ve got this potty thing all wrong.” Instead, I tried to do what we parents do, and turn the situation into a learning moment by saying, in as perky a voice as I could muster, “Gosh, that’s disgusting, isn’t it? Where should that poop go?” To my disappointment, Tabitha, grinning from ear to ear shouted with confidence, “In a Pull-Up!” Sigh. I can see now that we have a long potty training road ahead of us.

Still, I can’t help but feel fortunate that the poop is being confined to the floor. Years ago, probably a good 8 or 10 B.C. now, Dick and I had a lunch with an old work colleague who, at the time, also had a 2+ year old girl in the middle of potty training. The poopy problem he was having with her was so awful, I’ve been trying to erase it from my mind ever since.

Apparently, when this guy’s kid would poop in her pants, she would secretly take them off, then carry the soiled undergarment into the family room and fling it upwards as hard as she could, towards the spinning ceiling fan overhead. Naturally, she was successful at splattering poop all over the familly room on numerous occasions. To our horror this guy told us that if we were to come over to his house for dinner, we’d still be able to find brown polka dots on the flowered wall paper in that room. How, um, appetizing. Let me tell you, that’s one dinner invitation I have no problem taking a pass on.

Telling you about how Tabitha poops on the floor is one thing, but informing potential dinner guests of our shitty little secret, is another thing all together. Poop should go in the potty, and crap confessions should stay in the can.

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