It’s My Potty and I’ll Pee If I Want To

by Alison Friedman in Marvelous Madelyn, Mommy's Musings

You know what doesn’t piss me off? A 2.3 year-old who asks, “Mummy, may I please go to the loo?” Ok, well Madelyn doesn’t speak with a little girl English accent, but how cute would that be? And I also think we need to start saying “loo” much more often in ‘Murica.


Madelyn does, however, tell me: “Sissy! Potty! Mama! Sissy!” It’s more of a demand than a question — she WILL go sissy! Sissy! In the potty! Potty, Mama, NOW.

So who am I to deny my little ready toddler a diaper-free life?

I am a busy mom with a fear of public restrooms. You should see me work a restroom anywhere outside my house: I break out of there without touching a thing with my own bare hands, so you better believe that managing a curious and gropey two-year-old in a bathroom gives me anxiety to the ceiling.

Therefore, I really like diapers. They’re self-containing. I’m in control. And oh, they smell so good (pre-soiled. Duh. I love that fresh-out-of-the-box powdery, sweet, baby smell).

I’ve decided that at the moment, Madelyn is potty training me. She began showing an interest in the potty about four months ago when she began stripping all the time. At first, I thought maybe it was just a slight leaning toward her future career, but then I realized that the clothes and diaper would come off when she was wet or wet+, which made for a really fun clean-up job (think: gorilla. zoo. poop.). It dawned on me that Madelyn did not like being in her own waste, so I bought her a potty chair to try whenever she felt like it.

At first, she sat on it, fully clothed, and just talked away, playing with toys and singing songs. Then she started sitting her baby dolls on the potty and started to narrate what they were doing: “Deedee (baby) sissy on potty!” This told me she was fascinated with the whole potty concept and she’d been paying attention to her family members who allowed her front row seats as a spectator for grown-up potty events.

Hi, Baby! Urine good company!

Hi, Baby! Urine good company!

Then one night before bed, I asked her if she’d like to try to make sissy on the potty. I expected nothing. But sure enough, a few tinkle-tinkles later, and she looked up at me, shocked, and we had a party. A potty party! I praised her like crazy, we did high-fives, I gave her a zillion hugs and kisses, my voice went up 32 octaves, and we danced it out. It was a really fun first experience. And then my instinct was to reinforce it positively with an M&M because, really, if you gave me an M&M anytime I did something you wanted me to do, I would never not do what you want me to do!

I realize how Pavlovian this is and I was one click away from treating her like a dog at obedience school, but the M&M was both celebratory and behavior enforcement. Madelyn learned very quickly that a successful sissy would earn her one M&M in the color of her choice (99% of the time, her pick is “weh-wo”).

These days, Madelyn has been making sissy in the potty about three times a day. She’s still wearing diapers, and we are not close to giving them up entirely, but she’s become extremely comfortable with the whole routine. I usually don’t even ask her if she has to go anymore. She usually just tells me except for this week when I was cleaning my own bathroom, and she saw me attach a new roll of TP. Her eyes got wide, her voice excitedly said, as if she was just reminded, “Oh!” and ran out of my bathroom. I figured she was going to play with one of her baby dolls, but I heard her grunting and talking to herself as she was trying to remove her jeggings and diaper and I walked in on a very satisfied Madelyn who was mid-tinkle on her potty. She’s making connections and it’s really amazing to witness.


I think we’re probably a month or two away from battening down the hatches and doing an intense 3-day potty boot camp. I think that will be the finishing touch to get her out of diapers and I like that she will already be so comfortable with the whole potty exercise. Sometimes I question if I’m doing this right — as if there’s only one way or one correct answer — but I go with my mommy gut and tell myself that this current set-up is teaching Madelyn independence at her own pace and hey, look, no public restroom fiascos to deal with.

I know she’s not going to be walking down the aisle with a diaper underneath her wedding dress, and I know she’s going to be entering preschool with a pretty strong sense of how it all works, so I’m not living in any great fear that I must get on the potty training train OR ELSE, OMG.

We read a cute book called The Potty Book that she requests every night before bed and narrates all the illustrations. She’s super stoked about the idea of undies and has already decided that she wants Diddie Rouse and Ariel on them when it’s her turn to wear them. And don’t get me started on the M&Ms as it’s her new favorite food group.

I think she’ll master making sissy on the potty without the diaper safety net pretty quickly and soon enough, we’ll be tip-toeing through the public restrooms while I have my daughter’s hands restrained in a straitjacket and a hurricane of antibacterial spray surrounding her like the polar opposite of the dude from “Peanuts” with the dirt cloud constantly around him (does anyone ever know what that kid’s name is?)

And then we’ll get to do it all over again with the poops. Shit.


  1. Mimi
    11/14/2013 3:48 PM

    Madelyn, you are so smart!
    Just a warning—be prepared that when you are in a public restroom, not only when you’re with Mommy, but also when you’re with Mimi, you will hear these words, “Don’t touch anything! Don’t touch the door! Don’t touch the walls!” many times. 😉
    Love you! xoxox