When it rains, it pours…all over the bathroom…

I’m thinking about renting “Daddy Day Care”.

I know it bombed at the box office, and I’m not usually one who go for stupid sitcom movies, particularly if they star A-name stars attempting to be funny (and yeah, I know Eddie Murphy starred in many comedies, but when was the last time you really had a side-ripping laugh from one?)

The reason I want to watch it because I remember in the trailer Eddie sending a kid to the bathroom, and after the kid does his thing, Eddie pokes his head in and stares aghast at what is presumably over the floor, the walls, the sink…and possibly the ceiling. Mere exaggeration to induce a comedic effect, I had thought at the time…

…until my boy became the human sprinkler last night.

Yes, toilet training has started up again in our household. Something I had pretty much been dreading, thanks to the failure we had last year. It actually started sometime last month. I didn’t say much about it, though, because I’ve learned my lesson–crowing about your kid going potty can be premature sometimes. There are days when things move swimming along; they get it, you get it, and everything stays nice and dry. Then there are yesterdays, when you hear the flat, unmistakable tinkle-tinkle on ceramic tile, and you dash like mad to the bathroom, and there you stand, pulling an Eddie Murphy face as you stare at the floor…and the walls…and the…sink…

(I didn’t look up. I just didn’t want to risk it.)

Before I started wailing on my kid, let me first tell you that Daniel’s got a better handle on the potty than the last time around. There is something to waiting until kids are around three years old to attempt potty training. First of all, Daniel actually wants to use the potty. I’ve been using the winter months to play tons of potty videos, both DVD and online, and sometime during those months, it somehow clicked in his toddler mind that going potty can be fun.

I did mention that a couple of months ago, Daniel had started asking to wear underpants out of the blue. It surprised me, because the only video that actually showed a kid wearing underpants and appreciating them was the Japanese one that’s on YouTube. He also could be interested in underpants because my daycare person is also training her son as well. Man, if there is anything to this potty-training business, it’s that it’s a lot easier if you personally know other kids going through the same thing and try to get them all to go together. Mass potty trips sounds icky, but it’s a great way to learn.

And Daniel has been learning. He can now pull down his pants, something he couldn’t do last August. Instead of me asking him constantly if he needs to go, he takes the initiative himself and goes into the bathroom, somehow backs himself onto the toilet (he’s bigger now, so he apparently he doesn’t have the fear of falling in anymore) and goes. And afterwards–and this, I think, is the big thing that helps him learn–he gets to put a sticker on the sticker chart.

I didn’t do the sticker thing before. I did fruit snacks. I had figured that if Daniel wanted a reward, then he could earn it. Trouble was, Daniel just didn’t get it. He asked for a snack, I tell him that he had to potty first, and I’d wind up with a screaming toddler and feeling pretty frustrated myself. I love the sticker chart, because this time, Daniel has a visual representation of his progress with the potty. We put a sticker on, then count all the stickers that are on the chart, and it makes Daniel happy, because it’s something he really enjoys (and it helps him in his math skills too–gotta sneak that in). Yesterday, Daniel got his 30th sticker, which meant that he got a ‘present’: a pack of Thomas the Train Engine underwear.

I’m not saying that using the snacks was wrong–I just think that last year, he simply wasn’t ready. I can admit that now without feeling any guilt. I think that he’s a lot more ready now. And though the potty training last year was like doing a root canal on my son’s tooth all by myself, blindfolded, at midnight, I think that last year’s attempt had some benefit: it helped me prepare for this round and gave me a measure to compare against. And though I still have from time to time the occasional urge to rip the locks from my head whenever my son looks down at the puddle at his feet, I don’t have the urge to burst into tears and scream that I don’t know what the hell I’m doing. Because now, instead of blithely going on his merry way, Daniel will look at the puddle and say, “Oh, no! Wet! Let’s clean it, mommy. Let’s clean it!”

He ain’t trained yet. But we’re getting there. We got all summer to do so.