Potty training, Volume 1: Who wants a cowpie?

We have a rather interesting potty training strategy around here.

Let me rephrase that.

We’re pretty lazy when it comes to potty training.  Our strategy is, in fact, pretty much non-existent.

Mainly because I have a serious aversion to cleaning accidents up off the floor.  So while the idea of letting my child run around naked for days at a time sounds tempting to try (and I’ve heard it works wonders with other people’s kids), I just can’t bring myself to do it.

Personally, I’d prefer to just kill a tree and throw another Huggies in the diaper champ.

I know.  That’s so not green.  But sometimes the stuff that comes out of my children is green.  Which is another reason why the thought of scraping it off the floor doesn’t sit well with me.

That lovely context behind us, I’m happy to say that, by about age three, Bobo was more or less going on the big girl on a consistent basis.  But it didn’t come without some outside assistance.

Truth be told, our potty training salvation was delivered to us one day in an unlikely form.


Meet Bessie.  Our salvation.

She’s a rather ingenious contraption, really.  You fill the cow with candy (we used M&M’s), push on its butt, and… Voila!  Out pops an emmie.

And, for those who are curious, there are two ways to fill the cow.  You can either twist the head off and pour in the candy, or you can carefully insert them one by one through the other end.  It goes without saying that I chose the bovine enema method, which made me giggle each time I had to fill her up.

Coincidentally, Bobo also thought it was great fun to make Bessie poop.

So we started offering a little treat each time she used the potty.  Our reward system was carefully calculated:

  • If you go #1, you’d get one M&M turd.
  • For a #2, the cow would squeeze out two little nuggets.
  • For a combined #1 and #2, you’d get 3 candies.  Or the equivalent of a whole cowpie.

And it worked.

Suffice to say, she ate a lot of emmies between the ages of 1 and 3.  But it worked.

Granted, it took about 549 days for it to actually “take” when it came to potty training our daughter.  But it worked.

For some strange reason, though, I’ve never been able to look at an M&M in the same light since then.  I guess it’s a good thing I never really liked chocolate in the first place.

To be continued in Volume 2…

15 thoughts on “Potty training, Volume 1: Who wants a cowpie?”

  1. That is pure smarts right there. We are trying that as we speak and my toddler is running around in little undies making little messes in every corner of my house.
    I tried coaxing him with suckers but this sounds like a better idea. Love it!

  2. So not a fan of scraping shit off the floor, potty training or not. Ahem.

    We used hershey’s kisses, and boy was THAT a mistake. Do you know how often a boy can pee? Even a dribble? Kid was covered in chocolate. The second kid got ‘jellybeans’ [those fruit snack things].

    Not nearly as fun as the cowpies, mind you. You win.

  3. Yeah, I think Imma be getting on of those when we do the potty training for the Wild Thing.

    I’m pretty sure he’d love being naked so much that poop filled floors would not faze him.

  4. Yay! First poop post of the new year! I’m thinking my wife should get Bessie whenever she gets around to potty training me. I love M&Ms. And poop posts.

  5. Does “The Cow” moonlight as an after-dinner mint dispenser at a diner in Astoria? I think I’ve seen her before…can’t wait for part 2.

  6. *snort!*

    I did not do any of those things.

    In fact, I did not do ANYTHING.

    Child A’s daycare took on potty training, we just tried to reinforce it when he got home.

    For a period some weeks, he was potty trained at day-care and NOT potty trained at home.

    Which drove me friggin’ nuts.

    And I didn’t think of prizes.

    Damn it.

  7. This made me laugh so hard! Did you seriously use that cow thing for more than a year?

    With Asher, we used the “grandparents” method of potty training. That method requires escaping to Mexico and leaving the child with a grandparent who has decided he doesn’t want to change diapers anymore. Seriously, we came home and he was potty trained.

    Greatest. Vacation. Ever.

  8. What? Do you mean to tell me they don’t just magically become potty trained at some point?? Major Bummer!

    But Bessie? God Bless Bessie the cow and her M&M turds 🙂

  9. I love Bessie! We did M&Ms but just in a silly bowl, wish I had had Bessie.

    My favorite memories are when we potty trained my brother (8 years younger)…my dad and I would always choose to use his bathroom when going potty 🙂

  10. We were like sisters lost at birth and then you had to go and say that thing about chocolate!

    My son is in the midst of potty training right now and I KNOW what you mean about the pee and poop everywhere. He refuses to even consider pooping on the potty so brings us a diaper everytime he needs to poop. I wasn’t even going to attempt potty training until the baby started sleeping through the night (still not sleeping:() but one day he just told me he wanted to go in the potty. Lazy me was like – REALLY, why? Terrible parenting.

    I wanted to thank you for the kind comment you left on my blog. It means a lot to have you read my drivel and take the time to leave really nice thoughts. I would have responded sooner but we’ve all been hit with some sort of cold/sinus infection virus. Oh the fun it’s been!

  11. Hahahahaha! I need one of those. I plan to take my mom’s potty training advice. “You can fight it at from 18 mo to 3 years or you can just wait until they are 3. At that point they just get tired of sitting in shit”.

    Worked for 4 kids. Plus, I’m lazy. Still, I think chocolate reinforcements from a cows booty is AWESOME!!

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