Gay Dad Life

One Gay Dad's Arduous Ascent Atop Potty Mountain

Potty training can feel like climbing a mountain with many peaks and valleys. Here are some words of wisdom from one gay dad who made the ascent and lived to tell the tale.

BSA Photography

Anyone with kids can probably attest that potty training is literally one of the hardest things you've encountered as a parent so far. I know I sure as heck can. It really felt like we were climbing a mountain... in flip-flops! There were highs that were full of celebrations with potty treats and dancing while we cheered our girl on. But then, just as things were looking good, it takes a sharp turn for the worse. Get ready, because there are just as many lows. I am talking full of sheer and utter dread. There were days that I felt so defeated.

Just when it seemed like we had started hiking up that mountain again, we'd fall almost right back to the bottom.

But I am here to tell you, there is hope!


Be prepared for anything

Starting out on the potty training journey, I was so eager for it to begin. In hindsight, maybe I was a little too eager.

I quickly went to Costco and got a great big jug of M&M's to serve as our potty treats. And we were off to the races!
It started great! Sometimes she would tell me when she needed to go, and other times, I would ask her if she needed to go. Many times she'd say yes and other times she wouldn't and messes were made.

After about a week and half into this new journey the novelty of the whole process wore off. I didn't know what to do. I read many, many articles about what NOT to do and one really stood out. "Don't lose your cool."

REALLY!? I just wiped poop off the walls, floor, bed frame AND toy box and I am supposed to be cool as a cucumber?

Bless my baby's heart. I know she was learning. And I know that I'd get hot headed sometimes. She was still processing this.
She was really trying hard too. And as gross as some days were, it was adorable to see her effort. I did not want to come across mad at something she couldn't control or didn't understand. I absolutely do not want her to feel like she had failed.

I quickly needed to reassess my expectations. I needed to be prepared for anything. Good days are awesome... but bad days are going to happen. That's life. I needed to get over it and know that I am making memories, and one day we would laugh at this.

Think outside the box

Once the novelty wore off, I was at a loss. I didn't know how to keep it fresh, new and exciting. A fun environment is what she enjoyed. Another thing I found problematic was I would forget to remind her to go potty. Whether I was with our youngest daughter or cooking dinner, sometimes, especially if we were doing good with this potty routine, I would "drop the ball" by not keeping her on schedule. Because of that, accidents were also made.

In the midst of feeling perplexed about what to do next, a dear friend told me what she did with her daughter. She said "get a potty clock! And bring books into the bathroom." The clock will help get you there in time and the books will keep her entertained. It's funny, I knew about the books but when you are so far up this mountain you forget about helpful suggestions from others that were made in the past.

We have a grandfather clock that just so happens to chime every 15 minutes. Perfect! That was our potty clock. I grabbed some new books that she hadn't read before and I would read to her to help her relax. My dear friend's suggestions were brilliant! It was like we took off the flip-flops and put on mountain boots!

Make it fun

Those suggestions were awesome! She was pottying all the time. It got to the point where she would remember that she needed to go and I didn't have to remind her. She loved getting her potty treat and everything was great, except she stopped pooping.

I read many things about this happening. It is very common. A lot of it has to do with feeling shameful or embarrassed about this process being gross and because of that, she held it in and would not go. Something else for us to think about was that we love pasta and cheese in this house. If it were up to my husband, he'd eat pasta every night. Because of that, it could cause her difficulty to make bowel movements. Our pediatrician told us to give the girls a half dose of milk of magnesia every day and that would help with the ease of going.

We were still at a wall with going "number 2" until I had an idea.

When I was a kid, I created this game for my sister who is 10 years younger than me. I transformed my room into a place called "Rainbowland." I used my motorized disco light to cast colors all over the room with exciting disney scores playing in the background. She would walk on clouds (pillows) until she got to the door where I had a treasure box full of

Mardi Gras beads. My sister was able to pick a prize and then it was over- Quick and fun.

That's it! I needed to make it fun. If I was able to have her enjoy going to the potty, for whatever reason, I felt like I would see big results. So I recreated "Rainbowland!"

I made a ticket with her name so when she poops in the potty, she gets a ticket to "Rainbowland." I made a treasure chest and started to fill it with different things I knew she loved.

I ordered rhinestones from Amazon, I added Mardi Gras beads, dress up clothes, necklaces and bracelets.

I wanted to keep it new and exciting, so I replaced different items to keep it fun and fresh. Each time she goes, she sees something that wasn't in the treasure box before- and it worked

She is still as excited to go to "Rainbowland" now as she was in the beginning. She is thrilled when she goes to the potty and gets her ticket. To see her excited like this absolutely makes me melt. It is such a cheesy idea, but it worked for us!

The struggle is real when it comes to climbing potty mountain! I quickly found that I would use whatever tactic that could work. And for us, this has.

They get big so fast! It's easy to get caught up in the emotions of the potty training journey, but keep in mind- this too shall pass.

I cannot believe she is 3 years old already. It feels like yesterday we were trying to figure out how this tiny preemie could keep her baby formula down. Now, she is using the bathroom on her own! This stage will quickly fade into so many others, so I savor every single second. We could not be more proud of our big girl.

BSA Photography

***

I would love for you to follow our family's journey!

Like us on Facebook

Follow us on Instagram

Keep up with my blog at Nolapapa.com

Show Comments ()
Gay Dad Life

Karamo Brown Co-Writes Children's Book with Son, Jason

The 'Queer Eye' star and his son named the story on a family mantra: You are Perfectly Designed

When his sons, Jason and Chris, were young, "Queer Eye" Star Karamo Brown repeated the same saying to them: "You are perfectly designed."

That mantra is now a Children's Book, cowritten by Karamo and his 22-year-old son, Jason, who used to come how and "say things like, 'I don't want to be me, I wish I was someone else, I wish I had a different life." As a parent, that "broke my heart," Karamo told Yahoo! Lifestyle. "I would say to him, 'You are blessed and you are perfect just the way you are,' as a reminder that you have been given so much and you should be appreciative and know that you're enough — I know that the world will try to tear you down, but if you can say to yourself, 'I am perfectly designed,' maybe it can quiet out some of those negative messages."

The illustrations, by Anoosha Syed, also make a point of displaying families of a variety of races and sexual orientations throughout the book.

Read more about Karamo's fascinating path to becoming a gay dad here, and then check out the video below that delves deeper into the inspiration behind "You Are Perfectly Designed," available on Amazon.



Gay Dad Life

The Suburban Gay Dad

Are you intimidated by the suburbs? This gay dad was — but then he moved there.

In a recent article for Yahoo! Lifestyle, Steve Jacobs says the thought of living in the suburbs as a gay dad "intimidated" him. But when he started fantasizing about garages, he began to question that notion. Any apprehension he had soon evaporated, he said, one winter morning while trying to navigate the snowy streets of New York City with a stroller.

While "pushing the stroller through snow banks and pools of slush with snowflakes stinging our faces," he wrote, "a vision came to me: I pictured us walking into a garage, hopping into a car, and arriving at a diner with 10 times less drama. This image planted the seed of moving to the 'burbs that I couldn't shake."

Soon, the family of four found a house in a town a half hour outside the city. "It had grass and a beautiful yard for our spirited kiddos. The schools were good. There were even good restaurants. The only red flag: Census data estimated only 0.1 percent of the population was gay male."

There were some "growing pains" while trying to make friends in this environment. "When we attended our first dinner party, within minutes the hostess went to the kitchen and the other wives followed her, while the husbands settled into the living room. Ira and I froze, looking at each other. In the city, our straight friends hadn't separated out like this for the evening. Should we stay with the dudes, exert our masculinity, and blow off the mom we liked? Or does one of us go with the wives and accept the personal branding that comes with that? We did a quick rock paper scissors in the foyer. Ira went with the wives."

But ultimately, "being a parent defined me more than I ever imagined it would," he wrote, and he settled in nicely to his new suburban life.

Have you had a similar adjustment, from city life to the suburbs? Tell us about it at dads@gayswithkids.com for an upcoming piece!

Gay Dad Life

"Fridays with Fitz": A New Kid's Book Based Upon the Son of These Two Dads

Tracey Wimperly, author of the new children's book, said she hopes to give a more honest portrayal of the role grandparents play in the lives of children.

Guest post Tracey Wimperly

I've recently written a children's picture book (aimed at 2-4 year olds) called "Fridays with Fitz: Fitz Goes to the Pool." Every Friday - when his two dads go to work - Fitz and his grandparents (my husband, Steve and I) head off on an adventure. Through the eyes of a curious and energetic 3 year old, even ordinary adventures, like riding the bus or foraging for fungus in the forest can be fun and magical.

Keep reading... Show less
Gay Dad Family Stories

One Single Gay Dad's Trailblazing Path to Parenthood Via Surrogacy

20 years ago, Gene became the first single gay man to work with Circle Surrogacy in order to become a dad — trailblazing a path for many others since.

This article is part of our family feature series with Circle Surrogacy, a surrogacy agency that has been helping LGBTQ+ singles and couples realize their dream of parenthood for the past 20 years.

"I think I was pretty naïve, I guess," chuckled Gene, one of the first single gay dads to work with Circle Surrogacy over 19 years ago. "I just had made a decision and went out and did it, and wasn't really thinking about how difficult it might be or what other people thought, being first at doing something."

So how did Gene hear about surrogacy as an option for single gay men? Well, it began with Gene flipping through a bar magazine. He recalls seeing an ad about a woman providing a service to connect gay men with lesbians in platonic co-parenting relationships. While he started down that path, working with the founder, Jennifer, he remembers thinking, "What if I meet someone? What if I want to move? It would create all these complications."

Keep reading... Show less
Change the World

"Dadvocates" Gather in D.C. to Demand Paid Family Leave for ALL Parents

"Dadvocate" and new gay dad Rudy Segovia joined others in D.C. recently to educate lawmakers on the need for paid family leave for ALL parents

On Tuesday October 22, Dove Men+Care and PL+US (Paid Leave for the United States) led the Dads' Day of Action on Capitol Hill. A group of over 40 dads and "dadvocates" from across the states lobbied key member of Congress on the issue of paid paternity leave for *ALL* dads. They shared stories of their struggles to take time off when welcoming new family members and the challenges dads face with no paid paternity leave.

Keep reading... Show less
Gay Dad Photo Essays

Falling for Fall: 33 Photos of Gay Dads and Kids at the Pumpkin Patch

Oh my gourd, it's fall! To celebrate, we rounded up 33 pics (and whole lot of pun-kins) in our annual fall photo essay!

Don your checked shirt, grab them apples, and shine those smiles while perched on pumpkins — it's the annual fall family photo op! A trip to the pumpkin patch and / or apple orchard is a staple family fall outing, and we're here for it. 🎃🍎🍂👨👨👧👦

Thanks to these dads who shared their pics with us! Share your own to dads@gayswithkids.com and we'll add them to this post!

Keep reading... Show less
Gay Dad Family Stories

David and Ben Met on the Dance Floor — and Are Now Grooving Their Way Through Fatherhood

David and Ben, who became fathers with the help of Northwest Surrogacy Center, live in Melbourne with their daughter, Maia.

In 2003, while both studying at Reading University in the UK, Ben Suter and David Cocks met after locking eyes on the dance floor and then being introduced by a mutual friend. Ben, a meteorologist and Operations Manager, and David, an Assistant Principal, have been together ever since. They moved to Australia together in 2010, seeking a different life, and an overall better work-life balance. The chose Cairns in Queensland as their new home, between the Great Barrier Reef and the tropical rainforest, "taking life a bit easier," said David. The couple were also married in June 2016, back home in England.

While David always wanted kids, Ben took a little convincing. So they started their parenting journey with a dog, Titan, who quickly became like their first born. From there, Ben came around rather quickly.

Keep reading... Show less

Fatherhood, the gay way

Get the latest from Gays With Kids delivered to your inbox!

Follow Gays With Kids

Powered by RebelMouse