Lessons in Potty Training: Never Say No to Unsolicited Help From a 2 Year Old


Poop is part of parenthood.

Just let that sink in for a few seconds if you don’t already have babies. Every moment of every day is like a moment spent waiting for a poop explosion. So when Monday night happened, I really shouldn’t have been so surprised.

As Rick and I were finishing our dinner, Ricky went off to play in the living room. Suddenly, something began to smell. You know where this is going. I looked down on the floor to see turd after turd on the ground. Following the trail, I was (obviously) led to my potty training two year old.

I had to turn around and laugh. I couldn’t help it: my juvenile sense of humor always seems to choose these inopportune moments to kick in.

When I regained my composure, I ran my sweet boy up to the bathroom, thinking this was just a little accident, no big deal. Boy was I wrong. It was so bad, I had to use the dog sprayer to wash him off in the tub.

He, of course, loved every second of this “shower.” While his mama was left gagging on the side of the tub. Yes, my friends, it was THAT bad.

Once I got him cleaned up, the bathroom sanitized and used the carpet cleaner, along with 15 Lysol wipes, on the floor, things were relatively back to normal. Because you really do have to take everything that parenthood throws at you, even if it’s…poop.

And really, this was just a summation of a crazy day. By the time the crap got cleaned up, I was ready for the day to be done. Which led to a total mommy fail later that evening, when I was just trying to get some laundry done before bed.

Ricky wanted to help. And if you’ve ever invited an almost-three-year-old to do laundry with you before, then you know how much extra effort it can take to just check this task off of your list. No only do they want to help fold, they want to take apart, and re-fold, everything that comes out of the dryer. They want to move laundry from the washer to the dryer, one item at a time, at a seemingly snail’s pace.

So as Ricky came down to the laundry room, asking to help, I said, “no Ricky. Mama’s going to do this quick and then we have to get ready for bed.”

And he replied, “Please mama? I want to help.”

I could feel my heart softening. “No, honey. Go pick out some books to read at bedtime, please.”

And then the clincher, “Mama, you will be so happy if I help you.”

Yes, my child has me down pat. Tug on the heart strings, and you will get to help. Besides: who could POSSIBLY say no to that?

As I pulled everything, item by item, out of the washing machine for Ricky to examine and place gently in the drier, I realized how much these little moments mean to him, and how this is what is shaping him as a person. As much as we think the big moments are what’s important, it’s the mundane, little ones that mean the most.

So I encourage you, friends, even when you’re utterly exhausted from cleaning up poop, and wiping boogies out of noses, and cleaning up dinner, and switching the laundry, to include your babies when they want to help. It might take a little longer to check everything off of your list, but you’ll feel pretty fulfilled once they’re tucked into bed.


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    Kelly says

    Great share – led me to laugh as I can relate! Even tonight, my kiddos helped me make bread from scratch, we had to head out and I usually do not like to take my boys out after 8pm but I ran out of deodorant and knew I MUST get one…so, out we went plus I knew it would take longer but they would have fun! My younger son insisted he wanted to carry the basket while the older one decided to take cookies etc from the shelf and into the basket and mind you, I was trying to hurry because we had to quickly get back home, get them “showered” etc and off to bed…! Anyhow, I am thankful for those precious moments as well.

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