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Some Potty Talk

Lets talk about the potty.
Ok that's weird, you are saying to yourself,  she's really gone batty now..
What about the potty?
Other than it being a cutsie thing that parents say when they actually mean toilet and bathroom that drives their friends without kids crazy, the potty is just that. Nothing more, nothing less...

The potty is a tool that pretty much defines, or it used to, way before smart phones and the internet, modern life. Think of Marcel Duchamp’s urinal "The Fountain." As thought provoking and cutting edge as that piece was (you could almost hear the scandalized artsy gasps echoing from coast to coast) and as many people who claimed they knew what the heck it was all about; in my mind it's just an echo of the modern times. Think it about, it's not rocket science. It's a toilet. Which is all well and good when you have one, and also know how to use it. Those who don't, well they all live in third world countries right? Places that don't have "La Potty."

All these thoughts and more crowd through my fuddled brain as I stand in the baby aisle of the grocery store. My feet hurt and my neck hurts and I'm embarrassed to stand in the crowded line because I smell strongly of horse since I came straight from work, but all that suddenly fades away as I stare at the billions of squishy packages and boxes of diapers. Row after row: Pampers, Huggies, Luvs, organic (what the?) natural ones, chemical ones pretending to be all natural, soft ones, stretchy ones, generic ones, cartoon character ones, any kind of diaper a human can imagine, and it's there, taunting me from the shelf. 

I start rummaging through the shelves. Ten minutes later and I'm still looking. Finally behind a Pampers and a Seventh Generation (what's a couple less years in the landfill between friends anyway?) I finally find it. A number 6. It's generic of course, no all naturals or cartoon characters in sight, but it's a size 6. 
As I pick up the package, it hits me. I just spent a ridiculous amount of time riffling through the stupid diaper racks because...because... my big lion cub is in the last size you can buy, if you aren't picky as to brand, in the grocery and department stores. They don't stock size 7s. No worries, I think, I'll just keep the boy in the training diapers, you know, the pull ups. I grab a package and before tossing it into the cart I notice the size label. 2T-3T. Really? Come on. Never mind- there is a small and astronomically expensive package of 3T-4T pull ups lurking in the dusty back. Is all there is?  So the common thought here seems to be that by 3T, your toddler had better be potty trained, or if you have a four year old going on five still working on the training bit, you are just plumb out of luck. I suppose grocery store toddlers are all textbook perfect? Ok, in all fairness, Leo is still a 4T, and yes he can fit into those pull up/training pants, however...other than the fact that part of the "training" is to make those diapers feel as stiff and nasty as possible (added incentive to "training" I assume) They cram a measly few into a package and slap a hefty price tag on it. (Potty training incentive for parents here.)
So moral of the story is get those tots potty trained like every good upstanding first world citizen.
Potty trained... 
Like walking over, pulling down the pants, climbing up, doing, and, well, using the potty- potty trained. Because, if your toddler isn't potty trained, than he may as well be modeling for Duchamp, because finding affordable diapers in convenient location like everyone else is not reality.
I can't believe it. It's almost bitter-sweet, because I never ever even thought, in the dawn of Leo's life, that first he would even live long enough to need special order diapers, and second that I would even dare to presume that he wouldn't need them.
So there you have it, I've gotten so complacent and so horsie-gift-mouth, that I just assumed like everyone else does with their kids, that Leo will just figure the potty thing out. His sister did, when it was the right time for her, in that 2-3T range of course and it just happened that one day she was done with diapers. 
Honestly? I just didn't think about it and subconsciously assumed the grocery diaper aisle just would go on. And on. But it doesn't. 
Because babies grow up and use the potty.

Found this pic on the internet and could not resist! I mean its got so much going for it! I don't know where to start...the triple Xs just kill me. There is no other way to specify that they are very large? There's a roll up option? What the? The little girl is adorable, but is she really wearing diapers? Dubious.
I'm not saying that Leo will never use the potty, because so far, there is a pretty good chance that he will. He knows where the potty is, what to call it, how to bug people when they are using it, and once in awhile he will even let me sit him on it. Though it seems like a game to him right now, a game that gets boring pretty quick, especially when I refuse to let him flush the toilet every three seconds. Don't get me wrong, I'm not despairing of the potty training, not at all, but the chances of him getting "trained" before he grows out of that cataclysmic size 6, suddenly seems shockingly remote, and the opaque horizon of never ending diapers seems closer...

Over the years I've come up with catch phrases that quickly describe or explain Leo to people who don't know him yet; lines that give a quick definition or a landmark that people can understand. Unfortunately, those landmarks quickly lead people into the "special needs land." One of the lines that I've used many times is the "We don't count Leo's first year, so he's actually a year younger than what it says on his birth certificate."  So if this follows then he is still safely in the potty training margin of 2T-3T. Unfortunately little lion's body isn't. He isn't such a little lion after all. 
Just so we are straight, I'm not about to spend every fifteen minutes of my life dragging Leo to the potty and doing the whole routine with him no matter how heavy the incentive for training there is...

Because I know my kid. And when he is ready, he will figure it out. After all the things he's done and all the impossibilities he's made come true, I don't doubt this one for one minute. Little lion man follows his own time line, not the stupid one some grocery store king decided. And if that means that I will cross over into very real and sobering special needs land by special ordering large size (XXXL perhaps?) diapers for him, then so be it. Because it's not really about him anyway, it's about me, it's about our stupid society and what is acceptable and normal, and how anything that doesn't fit into the text book is not normal, is special, which basically means crazy expensive, hard to find, and most of all, outside the common guidebook. Every parent who finds themselves facing the end of the line in the diaper aisle, the shoe store, the toy store, anyplace where their child sticks out because he or she follows their own journey, is a parent who is making it up as they go. It is a parent who has to write her own guidebook for her kid, and it is a parent who dashes away a tear in the diaper aisle, but on catching sight of the beautiful smiles that her special toddler is giving to a shopper passing by, walks away from the norm with a spring in her step, and trust in her heart. Leo will persevere, somehow. He always does. Which follows that the rest of us will too.

Eat your heart out Duchamp!


  1. Love this post! I babysit for a kiddo whose parents subscribe to diapers on Amazon prime. The pampers 12 hour ones come in size 7, but one commenter said that the target brand size 6 is much cheaper and oddly larger by an inch. I hope that helps!

  2. Ah good to know! Thank you! If only we had a local target out here in the sticks...however the internet to the rescue! The main problem is, I can never get my act together to order online before he's down to the last diaper. :-)

  3. Love the picture of Leo - look at those log legs! He is getting so tall and grown-up. Thank you for sharing him with us!


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