This week's blog post is by WDP co-host Matt Rocco, who lives in the Edgewater Glen neighborhood of Chicago with Professor Foster (his non-white, non-dad wife), their daughter Viva, and a Fisher-Price Froggy Potty that thus far remains unsullied.
I am staring into a Nietzschean abyss in our bathroom, and that abyss is staring back into me. The abyss is the mouth of my daughter's potty. (Specifically a gaping frog mouth as designed by Fisher-Price.) Potty training is coming, and hell's coming with hit: Accidents, wiping, cleaning out the contemporary chamber pot, taking a little girl into filthy men's rooms, etc.
Before one has their first child, a lot of jokes and fuss are made about diapers, "Oh ho ho, New Dad, you sure are going to change a lot of diapers! Haw Haw! (puffs on comically-oversized cigar)" In actuality, changing diapers ain't no thang. Dealing with tiny plastic buckets of feces out in the open and cleaning up soiled rompers in public? That, friend, is a lifestyle trend downward.
In this brave new world of Tiger Parenting and French Parenting and all kinds of irritating new ways to parent (all of which are mostly just ways of creating more blog posts and selling books), parents are potty training earlier and earlier. Some parents, it seems, won't be happy until their children splurt forth from the womb with a copy of Crain's under their arm and head right for the john.
But why, why, why potty train EARLIER? Diapers are God's non-biodegradable way of saying, "You don't have to deal with your kid's body functions until this inning is over." Diapers mean dry sheets, overalls that can be worn more than once before washing, and never having to hold someone over the toilet in a public restroom unless you've found a way to go back in time to before your marriage and get lucky in a club.
And what excuses do people give for wanting to potty train early? "Because diapers are bad for the environment"! You know what is really bad for the environment? HAVING KIDS! But that didn't stop you from expanding your carbon footprint all up in your wife's guts.
Why else? "Because they're into it in Europe"? You know what other things they've started over there?
Do not listen to the Europeans!
Early potty training, in addition to turning your life into a maelstrom of defecation, can have negative effects. Kids potty trained too early can become "chronic holders," leading to urinary tract infections, bowel obstructions, and MADNESS. Also, you know the guy whose head exploded in the movie "Scanners"? He was totally holding it in for too long.
Sure, LATE potty training can lead to trouble developing bladder and bowel control, and it can get you banned from preschool, but, you know what? They make diapers for adults, too, and preschool only leads to lice, bullying, and MADNESS.
Everyone is potty training too early! Why are you fighting with your 2- or 3-year-old to tell you when they have to pee? I don't even know I have to pee until a minute before it happens, and I'm old enough, in the words of Steely Dan, to "remember Queen of Soul." That's why one always keeps an empty water bottle in the car on long trips.
Why not let your kid potty train themselves? We let them figure everything else out in the wild - social interaction through peer pressure, reproduction through pornography, and technology through sexting. When other kids start calling them, "Stinky Stinky Puffy Pants" they'll realize it's time for the diapers to go. Or maybe diapers will just become "cool"! Didn't think of that one, did you Tiger Mom? Maybe MC Hammer pants will come back and everyone will be wearing diapers and not-missing-out on their U.S. history lectures because they had to pee! Then the kids with medical problems will feel less anxiety, and everyone will be relaxed and warm all the time. Gangs will make friends and twerking will be a thing of the past and the world will sing in perfect harmony. Shutter shades came back - wearing diapers is not weirder than wearing shutter shades.
I've talked myself into it. Potty training is for chumps! Or at least that's what I'm going to tell my wife, and then maybe she'll handle it herself.
Viva Rocco (Age 2), Froggy Face Potty Chair, 2013, Marker on paper
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