Hello, toddler! So, you’ve tested your parents with colic, broken their will to live during sleep training, then lulled them into a false sense of security with a few months of relative calm. Now it’s time to crush their spirits once again with potty training. They’ve gotten complacent, and what better way to remind them who runs the house than by covering it in human waste?


They want you to pee and poop in the potty. You want them to question their purpose for living.


In the days leading up to potty training, talk a big game about how excited you are. Do not let either parent use the bathroom alone. Insist on flushing the toilet, or better yet, beg to “touch the poo poo.” Make them buy you seven different potty books and insist that they read nothing else. Really sell your enthusiasm. Convince them that they are in control.


In the first days of potty training, you will be naked and under house arrest. Your parents might also dress you in a shirt and socks, like Tom Cruise in Risky Business. This is so they can catch you immediately when you pee, at least according to that book written for overbearing parents. They will watch you intensely, like Gollum tracking the Precious. The moment you begin peeing (ideally on new carpet), they will spring into action, scooping you up and rushing you over to the Squatty Potty, which is inexplicably placed in the dining room. When they do — and this is very important — continue peeing. Leave a trail of urine from your toys to the potty in case you get lost on your way back. Get a tiny bit into the bowl, enough to make them excited. They will cheer, clap, and sing celebratory songs. Return their enthusiasm with a blank stare.

Give your parents no useful cues before peeing. Some toddlers do a dance. Others cross their legs. Your only tell should be a stone-cold poker face moments before you release an arc of pee onto the dog. Mix in a few successful attempts to give them a false sense of confidence, at least enough so they’ll give you your damn clothes back.

NOTE: During Phase One, do not poop for 72 hours.


In this phase, you’re clothed but commando. No diapers, no undies. Now that your parents have some confidence, it’s time to start messing with them. By now, they think they have a decent sense of your bodily rhythm. This is the perfect time to switch up your bodily rhythm. Go two hours without peeing, then, after breaking the seal, dribble nonstop. Try to destroy five pairs of pants before noon. Frequency and volume should have no correlation to your level of fluid intake. Fart discreetly so that they are constantly searching for a phantom stool. You’ll know you’re doing it right if your parents are anxiously asking if you need to potty every seven minutes. In fact, most of Phase Two should be spent on the potty, not actually peeing. Refuse to stay seated unless Mom lets you watch Paw Patrol on her phone. Remember: you have leverage now.

Phase Two is also when you should have your first bowel movement. After days of not dropping a deuce, have a big one ready for Dad’s shift. First, hint that you are about to go. Squat and go silent, grab your butt, whatever it takes to catch Dad’s eye. If asked whether or not you need to poop, deny vehemently. When he brings you to the potty, do your usual routine, trying to escape until he pulls up Cocomelon on the iPad. Sit through four episodes, farting ineffectually. Eventually, Dad will give up. Get up from the potty, waddle away with your pants around your ankle, and release a turd on the floor directly next to the potty. Run around giggling as Dad tries in vain to wipe your butt. When he finally catches you, immediately become super cuddly and try to crawl onto his lap.

If you are back in daycare during this time, use their toilet flawlessly.

Going Out

Once you’ve convinced your parents that you can reliably go in the potty (or once they’ve gone insane from being homebound), they’ll want to try leaving the house. Most parents will opt for a stroll around the block or a short trip to the neighborhood playground. Others may roll the dice and take you with them to Target. Their arrogance must be punished. Wait until their cart is full before wetting yourself. Then, when they try to walk you to the restroom, scream hysterically and flop dramatically to the floor like a marionette cut from its strings.

For public outings, make your parents purchase a fancy, 19-in-1 travel potty with biodegradable waste bags, ergonomic backrest, and Bluetooth speakers. This contraption should cost more than their mortgage. Refuse to pee in it.


Congratulations! Now that you’re potty trained, you can wear undies like a Big Kid! Develop rigid preferences for colors, patterns, and cartoon characters, and refuse to wear anything that strays from them.

The Next Eight Years of Your Life

Wet the bed every few months just to keep your parents on their toes.

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My Three-Month-Old’s Guide to Sleep Training Your Parents