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Diaper Free since 2006

By February 23, 2006January 9th, 2009monkeys

Hear Ye, Hear Ye, Hallelujah! Ten months after Zoe and Lucy officially potty trained themselves, the Upside Up is officially Done. With. Diapers.

(Attn: With that announcement made, I want to offer any of you non-parents or you very normal people-who-don’t-like-talking-about-poop the chance to stop reading and go do something more productive right now.)

All went smoothly back last March/April when the girls spontaneously renounced diapers one week. Few accidents, lots of exploring of the assorted Bathrooms of Durham (and the assorted Trees of the Parks of Durham) and they were very proud of themselves. They loved peeing so much you’d’a thought they were boys. But as for the poopin’ — and the doing it in the potty — they were not interested. No big whoop, we decided. So they continued to do their biz’ness in diapers as needed. One day, a month or so into the “training,” Lucy decided it might not be so awful to give it a try, and lo, she liked it. She loved it, in fact. So much so that she became a Pooping Machine. Every time she peed, she pooped. All day long. Every day. I can’t believe she didn’t lose 15 pounds those few weeks. Sometimes she even got a sing-songy thing going when she was sitting on the potty, like, “I’mmm gonnnna make a POOP! now. But firST: A pee pee.”

Zoe was another story altogether.

She held out longer than Lucy, to be sure. A month or so after Lucy went all the way, Zoe tried it, successfully and fairly celebratedly, then gave it up. Two months later she tried it again, but unintentionally, then gave it up. A month later, one more time, then nada. And I played it so uncool, y’all. I bribed, I pleaded, I enlisted Lucy’s help with the cajoling, I even got a little angry once or twice. But nothing worked. Finally, around November, I gave in. No more discussing it whatsoever. She needs to poop, she asks for a diaper (we never called them pull-ups because we never wanted to “glorify” them in any way — diaper sounds way less grown-up), we give it to her, she puts it on herself, goes into the bathroom, poops, then we clean it up. Not so awful except for one round of stomach virus. And that was a nightmare on leaky street, let me tell you. But everything is going smoothly. “I gotta make a poop in a diaper” is how she announces herself and I just keep my mouth shut and hand her a diaper, trusting the powers-that-be that she won’t head off to college with Dora the Explorer pull-ups in her duffle bag.

Then one afternoon a couple of weeks ago, the girls and I are making a run to Ben & Jerry’s to get some ice cream. We also only have 2 diapers in the house, so I head up Roxboro to our friendly neighborhood Tar-Mart first.

“THIS ISN’T THE WAY TO BARNES & JERRY’S!!” the girls yell together from the back seat (note the mash-up of their favorite hegemonic bookstore with their favorite hegemonic ice cream store).

“No,” I say. ” We need diapers first. Then Ben & Jerry’s.”

“Go to Barnes & Jerry’s, then go get diapers.” Clever monkeys.

“We have to get diapers before ice cream. If we get the ice cream first, it will melt in the car when we go get the diapers. And we have to get diapers…” (clever monkey mama) “…because we don’t have any diapers left.”

“No mama.” Zoe this time. “Don’t get diapers. Just get ice cream.”

“Zoe.” I’m speaking carefully and slowly. I don’t want to make a misstep. “If we don’t get diapers, we won’t have any diapers in the house if you need to poop tomorrow.”

Zoe thinks about this. Waits a beat or two before answering.

“If I have to make a poop tomorrow, I’ll make it in the potty.”

“Are you sure?” I ask, tentatively.

She nods.

I turn immediately off Roxboro (to exaggerate the point that we’re not going to the diaper store) and head west. But I pull over once we’re off the busy road. My new cell phone takes videos (crappy crappy crap quality, but they do, in fact, move) and I’ve got an idea:

(Can’t see the crappy video? You need QuickTime!)

Zoe is verrrry quiet, but what she’s saying is “I will make a poop in the potty” in response to my whack-you-over-the-head-with-subtlety question, “What happens if you need to make a poo-poo tomorrow?”

I didn’t mention it again, but I did hide the two diapers we had left. The next day, Zoe came running to find me. “I need to make a poop in a diaper!”

“Well,” I say, hesitating a little bit. “Do you remember yesterday when we went to get ice cream? I wanted to get diapers but you said no.”

Of course she protested and started to get upset.

“Wanna see the movie I took?”

They love movies — I knew she’d stop revving up for that.

“Ok,” she says meekly.

I get my phone and play the movie for her. She doesn’t say anything but heads to the potty and sits down. She starts to cry. I sit down with her and offer to hug her, hold her, talk to her, tell her a story, anything to make her feel better and to make me feel less like one of the torturers at Abu Ghraib. She cries and cries and cries and I feel like I’m being punched in the stomach with my “World’s Worst Mom” trophy . But she’s successful. And instead of focusing on what she did, I set out to comfort her and help her stop crying. When she does, she looks up at me and asks, exuberantly, “Can I call Papa?”

We do. She tells him the news. He’s excited.

15 minutes later, she needs to poop again and asks for a diaper.

“We still don’t have any diapers,” I feign apology.

She heads dejectedly for the toilet. She sits. No crying this time. GOALLLLLL!

We call Gay-Gay and Pop. We’re very excited now.

2 hours later, she announces another poop coming our way. She starts to tell me she needs to poop in a ….

But she doesn’t finish. Instead she heads to the bathroom and sits on the throne. For Zoe is the Queen of the Day.

Join the discussion 3 Comments

  • Matthew says:


    Oh, I shudder at the thought of potty training. Glad to hear it’s all over.

    And YAY Zoe!

    (By the way, Dr. Phil says the child should call Barney or Dora or Bob the Builder to celebrate. Daddy’s good too, though.)

  • Laurie says:

    The funny thing is we’ve considered it to be “over” since last April. We just weren’t quite done with diapers til now. And boy was I dreading it — but it was about as painless as I could have imagined.

    Zoe is still very proud of herself every time she poops. She usually tells me all about it, even if I was in there while it happened. So today, after reading your comment about Dr. Phil, and after she told me about the poop she had just made, I asked her if she wanted to call Dora to tell her about it.

    “No mama,” she said, a bit reproachfully. “We can’t call Dora — she’s too far away.”

  • Ashley says:

    i share your happiness:

    the day we found out I was pregnant, John and I started planning for the baby. When the time came, at 2:34 am, i went into labor and we ended up with–not one baby girl, but two! Their names are Shannon Leraine and Amber Eileen (Leraine and Eileen being their middle names).

    When the girls turned 2, the first thing Amber says is “t.v time. where my blankie?”

    So I get the girls settled while John leaves for work. I vacuum, do laundry, do dishes, etc while the girls watch Sesame Street. I notice Shannon looking uncomfortable. I pick her up and bring her upstairs to her room. She tries to shy away as I set her on the changing table. I push her into the mattress of the changing table as I flip her on her stomach. I peered into her diaper, and see a huge amount of poop lying inside. Also, the moment I look to see, Shannon is peeing and it’s soaking through her diaper. So I change her and clean her up then spank her, for I’ve tried to get her to go poop in her potty chair at least. Then she crawls to the staircase and rubs her sore bottom, wailing hysterically.

    “Hush now Shannon, behave,”I say as I pick her up and hold her under the arms so her feet dangled in the air.
    Shannon bites my arm to be stubborn and a brat, so I put her in the playpen and tell her to sit in the corner.

    By this point in time, Amber says “Mommy!!My pee-pee’s coming out!” and I notice her diaper was dripping and sagging until it fell off completely. I told her to get the her potty chair, but she stands there, relieving herself on my white carpet.

    Then Shannon starts to cry. She says “I went my pee-pee in the potty, but now i have to poopsies!”

    None the less, I’ve found that rewarding them with cookies works great. Now they both poop and pee in the toilet!