Potty training in our house hasn’t exactly been what could be called a raging success. Don’t get me wrong—there’s plenty of rage, but none of it comes from either my husband or myself. Instead, this river of fiery emotion flows freely and unpredictably from the tiny body of our 2-year-old dictator, when a very specific set of conditions isn’t met prior to her delicately arranging her derriere on the potty.
After much thought, observation and data crunching, we have determined these 20 factors must all be attended to in order for my 2-year-old to use the potty and success to be possible:
1. Mercury must be in retrograde. Jupiter must also be ascending. Additionally, a bad moon should be on the rise.
2. The bathroom must smell as fresh as a meadow in spring, and not by the use of artificial air fresheners, but rather by a rotating selection of fresh organic herbs, handpicked and bundled with a short length of periwinkle velvet ribbon.
3. The overall wattage of the lighting must not exceed 120.
4. The temperature of the bathroom must remain between 72.5 and a generous 72.7 degrees at all times. Showers must be postponed, as the steam will most certainly push the temperature out of the desired, nay, mandatory range.
5. A virgin sheep must concurrently be in the process of being shorn somewhere within a 1,000 mile radius.
6. One must remain calm and not make eye contact when making petty requests such as “please don’t pee on my arm” and “Whoa! Don’t touch that. It’s a pube.”
7. One must correctly predict if the desired throne will be the training potty or the full-size potty. There is a 50/50 chance, and no hints will be given prior to the decision being made. Selection of the wrong device will result in immediate refusal to use the potty and a guarantee of a bowel movement within the next 17 seconds.
8. No commercial planes, no seagulls and no crows must be flying overhead. Pigeons and historical pre-World War II aircraft are acceptable.
9. Nobody should be wearing any socks.
10. An audience of at least four stuffed animals and one living cat must remain still and attentive throughout the whole process.
11. It must be the first Tuesday, the second Monday, the third Saturday or the fourth Friday of any month ending in a “Y” for potty usage to even be considered. Any other day, potty usage is out of the question. Unless, of course, it’s raining, in which case only Thursdays are possible.
12. A deer and an antelope must be playing somewhere on a range, where a buffalo also happens to be roaming.
13. The library must be closed.
14. Organic bananas must be on sale at Whole Foods.
15. One-third of the doors in your house must be open.
16. The kitchen rug must be slightly askew, in a counter-clockwise fashion.
17. The phone mustn’t ring for 15 minutes before or after any attempts at going potty are made. Texting, going on Facebook or checking the weather are also forbidden.
18. A parent must desperately need to use the bathroom at the same time.
19. A blood relative must simultaneously be discovering an unsightly chin hair.
20. A double rainbow must be gracefully arcing over a pod of albino dolphins who are escorting an orphaned beluga whale to its new family.