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Adventures in Potty Training

May 27, 2014 - Short stories

I wrote this story over 12 years ago and submitted to CBC’s Vinyl Cafe.
Stuart McLean read it on one of his tours and it was subsequently broadcast.

Adventures in Potty Training
Telling stories is one of our favourite things to do at family gatherings. Amazingly enough, this story remained untold for over twenty years, until our last family reunion, in 2001. The story goes like this—My sister, brother-in-law and their 3 year old son were out shopping for house wares. They went to a massive warehouse space that had all kinds of mock rooms set up to show off all the various furnishings. While looking at a display model of a shower stall, my sister noticed my nephew was missing and went looking for him. Walking past a display set up of a full bathroom my sister hears, “Mom!” She looks over and sees her son sitting on a display toilet with his pants at his ankles. Now my sister is thinking, “Oh please don’t let me be too late”, but the next thing my nephew says, “I need wipe, Mom!” makes it oh too clear that she is indeed, too late. It’s at this time in the story my sister shares her inner monologue. Her primary reaction is unadulterated mortification, but then she sees her son who has been potty training and has up until now, never gotten to the advance stage of getting on the pot without coaxing or prompting. How could she possibly chastise him, when he has finally done what she has been asking him to do for months? It is the right apparatus, after all. And he is only three. Quietly my sister pulled her son’s pants up, while he shyly protested, “Wipe?” “Not this time”, she whispered lovingly in his ear, while she closed the lid of the defiled display model. With son in tow, she briskly walked over to her husband and curtly announced they were leaving. Without any further explanation they exited with my somewhat baffled brother-in-law following behind. Once out the door my sister’s conscience tugged at her—she felt bad for the salesperson that would lift the lid, but way too mortified to actually do anything about it. Their business was done.