Random Notes on Toilet Training a Toddler While Traveling

We’re on vacation visiting family, so please pardon the lack of posts around here this week. Maybe I would be better about keeping up with things if this vacation wasn’t sucking every last ounce of energy out of me. That’s always the problem with “vacations” that involve bringing your children, though, isn’t it? And as if the running and chasing, the excessive use of the word “NO!”, the constant re-directing away from family member’s valuables and innocent/terrified pets wasn’t enough, we had to throw potty training into the mix this time. I think next time  we travel I will keep him on a leash (no really, I’m totally NOT above that) that I will somehow attach a portable toilet to. I don’t have the time or the mental capacity to tie this all into one cohesive flow of paragraphs, so I’m just going to spout out some random recollections from the week that revolve around… poop. (<<<THAT IS YOUR WARNING.)

1. Potty training is all well and good until you decide to take a 16 hour road trip. Through the desert. With nothing but the country’s most foul and frightening truck stops along the way. For sanity’s sake (and for the sake of my newly cleaned car) we opted to put a diaper on him for the trip. Yeah, yeah, yeah… BIG potty training no-no. I KNOW, but I do not care. Nor did I care when in the middle of a part of the country that civilization has neglected for obvious reasons like inferno-like temperatures and lack luster views my kid informed us from the back seat that he needed to “Poopy Potty!” Scott and I both looked at each other as a tumbleweed blew across the road in front of us, the temp gauge reading out 101 degrees. “Pretend you didn’t hear him,” I whispered. And we proceeded to ignore his requests to find him a toilet until he finally just went in his diaper. I’m sure that was all sorts of confusing for him, but, bottom line, I was NOT stopping every two hours to help him go on a toilet that may or may not have been cleaned in the last year or on the side of a road most likely infested with rattle snakes.

2. My kid crapped in Chick-Fil-A. I knew it was only a matter of time. The first day we were here we sought out our favorite food joint for lunch and Kendall decided the corner of the play area made a nice place to fill his pants (possibly still confused by the diaper situation, more likely deliberate revenge for the 16 hour roadtrip). Luckily, it was all solidly contained in his underwear and I didn’t have to be the parent that makes CFA shut down their playground for the day. I cleaned him and his pants up in the bathroom and he free balled it the way home. Yeah, like the ONE time I was without extra undies for him the last month. Perfect timing. I wish I could tell you I lost my appetite after that, but I was immune to the toddler poop and starving. I came back to the table and polished off my Spicy Chicken Sandwich like the pregnant woman I am.

3. After many unsuccesful attempts by his father, I was the one to finally get Kendall to pee *AND POOP* outside. (Let me clarify, we actually haven’t attempted to teach him to POOP outside… just the peeing in the privacy of our own yard.) While hiking/picnicking  yesterday he informed me that he needed to go, so I took him to a nearby tree, completely stripped him naked from the waist down because he refuses to go if there is a stitch of clothing  on his lower body, even when sitting on the toilet. After a couple minutes I was ready to give up waiting for him to make it happen, but he finally started to go just as I realized we were faced uphill. The pee streamed back down toward us. Mental note for next time- pee downhill. (Yes, I should know this. No, I never pee outside. Okay.. sort of not true.  I’ve peed outside while drunk and unable to tell or care if I’m peeing up or downhill. This, unfortunately, was a very sober experience.)

OH, but it does not end there because minutes later he insists he must poop. I beg him to please hold it until we can make it up the hill to the bathrooms, but realize I’m screwed when I feel he’s already started the task in his pants. I rush back over to the tree, whip down his pants, underwear, tear off his shoes and instruct him to squat while I hold his arms. It was like a weird second nature thing. It all happened so fast, like I just instinctually knew how to teach my son to shit in the woods. And he did, which leads me to…

4. You know when you’re changing diapers and it’s a really loaded one? You know what you never think about? How that would have probably been the most massive, man-sized log if it actually made it, un-smashed, into the toilet. Let me tell you, the size of the crap I have seen come out of my 2 year old’s butt leaves me in shock. Last week he pooped something so enormous I, for the first time in our nearly 10 year relationship, yelled at my husband to come look in the toilet. Yesterday’s deposit in the woods was nearly as awe-inspiring. Even more fun? Cleaning it up. Oh yes, I cleaned it up. We were at a picnic area, I had to. Well, I say I cleaned it up when really I made my dad’s wife do it, all the time choking back my gag reflex. It cleaned up just like a dog crap, with a plastic baggie, which I’ve done countless times without gagging. It was just something about human poop that really got to me. The odd thing is, I have no issue wiping it from his butt still, but I’m pretty sure I’d lose my lunch if I had to wipe my dog’s ass. Weird.

In closing, this post probably just made you gag, and I’m sorry about that. Folks, all I have to talk about these days is poop. My world revolves around it. Well, I could tell you all about how pregnancy is making me psychotic, but that’s another post for another time.

I’m off to enjoy a family dinner and the fact that Scott is home from work and on potty training duty the rest of the night.

Kendall is 2 and I’m 17 weeks pregnant

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  1. This post cracked.me.up! We were talking about this the other day! How can a 2 year old make such a ginormous turd?!

  2. That’s not true, the only poopscapade you mentioned on your Twitter was helping the boy go in the woods. Your life doesn’t TOTALLY revolve around poop.

    (That didn’t sound stalkerish at all….)

  3. OMG!!! This made me laugh until there were tears running down my face. It just kept getting better. I love that you go through these things about 6 months prior to me. You’re my guidebook and a hilarious one at that. Keep it up, Jill. Embarassing our children will never get old.

  4. “It cleaned up just like a dog crap, with a plastic baggie, which I’ve done countless times without gagging. It was just something about human poop that really got to me. The odd thing is, I have no issue wiping it from his butt still, but I’m pretty sure I’d lose my lunch if I had to wipe my dog’s ass. Weird.”

    Seriously… I think I peed a little I was laughing so hard!

    And for the record… I’m eating breakfast while reading this. My life revolves around poop right now too.

  5. I’m gagging. Just THINKING about picking up human poop from the ground makes me even more nauseous than wiping my kid’s butt.

    I’m surprised you didn’t buy a potty seat for the road trip so you didn’t have to risk scary gas station bathrooms. All the mamas I know who are potty training carry them around in the back of their cars although I still think I’d choose diaper over washing out a singing Elmo potty at a truck stop.

  6. Wait, I hit submit too soon.

    thank you thank you thank you

    I’ve been meaning to start with Ella since literally last Christmas. Since I had the week off, I was going to do it then. But then I got sick, so I blew it off.

    January – March we were too busy getting ready to sell/move. April was spent dealing with new house. May was moving. June was travelling. July is…well, I’m tired. She doesn’t seem too interested and I don’t have the energy to be a cheerleader at the moment.

    I’ve been feeling kinda bad about putting it off but not after reading your hilarious post. I now have no qualms about waiting for just the right time. 🙂

  7. Jill, so much of this post makes me laugh and also makes me want to cry.

    We’re gonna start potty training Landon next month after his second birthday. I’m in no rush. I think that’s the key. I hope he has it down by the time he turns three. Your stories are both funny and worrisome for me. I honestly think we’ll look back on these times and feel nothing but fondness for them. But right now I’m a bit terrified of the next year due to potty training!

    Also, I wanted to say that I am SO excited to find out what you’re having. It’s so close and I know that feeling of excitement and nervousness of finding out what #2 will be! I’m still getting BOY for you on my radar but I could be totally wrong 🙂

  8. Girlfriend – (not a salutation I use often but it totally applies here) – I have been up to my eyeballs in shit this week. Not a single drop of it has made it anywhere near the toilet. About two minutes ago I heard Julesy get quiet in the corner and I say “Are you pooping?” Him: “ugghghgttt, yeah mommy, I’m pooping, uughghghtttt.” There is no desire whatsoever to shit anywhere but where he’s standing. He won’t show interest for another year – I’m certain of that.

    So well done Kendall.

  9. I just wanted to say that I absolutely LOVE your blog! I read it at first because of your great description of labor, and now I enjoy every single post of potty training as it is both entertaining and informative.

    I am sure I will be thinking of them when I will be potty training my son, who is now just shy of 3 months.

  10. I keep one of those little Baby Bjorn potties in our car AT ALL TIMES for road trip bathroom breaks. My daughter is almost 4 but still has a very hard time going in public bathrooms. So we have the little potty in the trunk and she just sits there and goes. I also did this when first training her. She’d say the word and I’d just pull over the on the of the road (where it was safe of course) instead of trying to get into a store or restaurant that happened to be nearby. I also had my 4 month old in the car when she was training so this avoided needing to get him out and into the public bathroom too. Didn’t know if you had thought about doing that, but it has made our life soo much easier! (clean up is pretty easy too – you can line the potty with a bag and they go right into the bag, and you throw it away! Good luck with the training, you seem to be doing great!

  11. Here’s a product placement: Kalencom 2-in-1 Potette Plus. Only because it’s the one reason I feel (semi-)confident taking my daughter out of the house in underwear for more than an hour. Only had it about two weeks, and it’s already proved to be worth its weight in gold. We just took a trip this weekend, and it helped SO much.

  12. hilarious!
    of course, your blog was found after I typed in “won’t poop in potty but lawn okay”.
    Yes, I am truly amazed at the enormous amt of poop that comes out of my son’s butt in less than a second, sometimes. I had to pick up the poop from my lawn today with the plastic baggie and frankly, it was scary!
    When will the madness end, and what’s so friggin scary about pooping in the toilet???? **sigh** patience…….
    -mom of a 3 year 5 mo son

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