Training a Padawan: A Jedi Dad’s Journey

A long time ago, in a household far far away…. The adventure started when my wife gave me a mission. A challenge that NO Jedi Dad would pass up. Training our young Padawan in the art of the potty. Understanding how to go potty is a necessity as a Jedi and having proper training can make a powerful Jedi. In those moments of chaos, we all learn how to handle ourselves as parents: our speed, response time, either celebrating a victory or accepting a heartbreaking loss, and most importantly controlling our gag reflexes. I talked to other fathers at work and close friends on how they handled potty training with their children. With their words of advice and from my fails I can officially say my little Padawan is 95% potty trained. This is my story of patience, anger, and sadness that ends with a rewarding victory, leaving this father very proud.

“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to Anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering…” – Master Yoda.

Overcoming my daughter’s fear of her princess potty took a day or two. She was over come with anger and fear when she was asked to sit on the potty. Our little Padawan would scream and kick and say over and over, “No potty, No potty!!!” as if we were punishing her by making her sit on the potty. I had to figure out away to show her that going potty wasn’t a scary thing and she was not in trouble by sitting on it. My better half told me to use jelly beans as a reward system and with my little girl loving sweets as much as I do, I felt that was a genius idea. I also talked to one of my old Jedi Masters who told me that when he went through this battle he literally took his child into the restroom with him and relieved himself and showed his kids what going potty was all about, and how it wasn’t a scary thing at all. So taking these two methods I started to show how rewarding it was to go to the restroom by whenever daddy went to the potty he got a jelly bean and how daddy wasn’t scared. Like my old Jedi Master did, I showed my Padawan that daddy went either pee or poop and I celebrated the fact that daddy went potty by making a big deal about it.  I ran around saying, “daddy went potty daddy went potty!!” Screaming, dancing and jumping around showing Anna that going potty is both fun AND rewarding (jelly bean). I then asked my young Padawan every 30 minutes to go sit on the potty. I would also turn off/stop whatever she was doing/watching and take her to the potty.

My little Padawan started to understand and started sitting on her potty, standing up and pointing saying, “potty potty!!” I then went running to the jelly beans location. I went to her potty and saw nothing, with a sad face I informed her “Anna, no potty.” She looked at me with her gorgeous blue eyes looked down at her potty and said “okkayyyy” with the saddest sound of defeat and disappointment behind it. She sat back down and thus a mental note to me, I realized she understood what needed to be done. This went on for a couple days. She cried because she didn’t get a reward for sitting down on her potty and got mad at me for going potty and getting jelly beans…Until the day came when she went pee in the potty.

A friend at work,  told me to make a huge deal when she goes potty; take pictures, call everyone, make a video for grandma and having your child explain what they just did. Oh did we… We did the potty dance, which was running around screaming “Anna went potty!” over and over, we ran in her room screaming it, we ran in mommy and daddy’s room screaming it. We then called grandma screaming it while dancing. Huge deal with a huge reward, finally, Anna gets her jelly bean. Then, as soon as the excitement had started, it was gone. Within five minutes there was a huge huge HUGE disappointment on my carpet right in front of the TV and potty chair… After my 10 minutes of dry heaving and with gag-tears coming out of my eyes I finally got the mess cleaned up. Looking at my daughter I knew I had to make this mistake a big deal, but not one that made her feel like she was in trouble and was going to be punished. I looked at her and said, “oh no!! Anna didn’t go potty in her potty! (putting my hands on my head, with a sad voice) Anna needs to go poop in her potty! Oh no!!! Anna made a mess!”. I  Did not yell, I just simply used a sad sad voice. She got it and her response was perfect. She, in her own way, acknowledged by saying “oh no, Im sorry daddy! Me sorry! Anna go potty now!” as she ran to give me a hug and a kiss. She then turned around and ran to sit on the potty. Finally she gets it…For that moment. A day later my sister in-law came over with her son to play with Anna. She had her son go potty to get a jelly bean in which Anna got really excited that another person was going to the potty who was closer to her age and she ran to her seat. Her cousin comes out and gets his jelly bean for going potty. Anna sees this, stands up proud and says “potty!!!!!!” I look and see nothing… “Anna it’s empty there is no poop or pee?!”. My little girl looks up at me and with a look of (oh you want poop?) reaches behind her to her underwear and pulls out a handful of poop, throws it inside the potty and says with excitement “POTTY!! POOP!!”. Gagging and laughing I cleaned it up and rewarded her with a jelly bean for creativity. Love it.

The disappearing diaper… Still hasn’t been found, but there are theories circling around. One day my Padawan was playing in her room on her own and started yelling “potty potty!” in which she came running out of her room with no diaper on but a little turd hanging from her bottom. My mind pictured the worse image possible that happen in her room. Gagging I picked her up, AWAY from my body and cleaned up her bottom and her hands…Yes her hands. I asked her what happen to her diaper and all she responded with was “Yucky! Yucky! Poop! Yucky!”. There was no poop figures drawn in her room and no poop in the room at all actually. But the diaper, what happen to the diaper? I looked around her bed, her toy chest, in dresser drawers, her closet…I got on my knees, her level, and looked everywhere. Nothing, I looked for an hour and couldn’t find a thing. I had to go to work and get her ready, as I did so and hoped for the best. I got home and my wife didn’t say anything…it wasn’t until the next morning while we drank our coffee that I brought it up; “So ummm, how was you and Anna’s evening? All good? You find anything (noticed Anna’s room was cleaned)?” She told me everything was fine and their night together was filled with fun, potty training, story time, arts and crafts. She mentioned nothing about a diaper… I’m in the clear I thought, and informed her about the missing diaper tragedy from the day before. She laughed at me and we both checked out the room together. The theory we want to believe is that our daughter is a little smarty pants and threw the diaper away. Diaper is still MIA…I like it.

After a couple more accidents my Padawan got to the point when she wasn’t told to go sit down, instead I would just ask her, “Does Anna need to go potty?” every 30 minutes. In which she would either say in an annoyed voice “no” or realize she had to go and make a dash to her potty. Now, she is off playing in her room or drawing pictures and she will either come over, on her own and go potty, or have a moment of forgetfulness and do a potty dance, in which she is prompted with a question, “Do you need to go potty?!” she then realizes and takes of her pants and goes running to the potty.

The other day I thought I would take our new success to a whole other level by taking her out for a morning with no diaper on, just her big girl pants. Boy was I scared because up to this point, while she is home she is either running around bare or sporting her big girl pants but once we go somewhere or go to bed she is back in her diaper. So, every Tuesday, my daughter and I go to the local library for story time with other kids. Oh lord! Was I stressed and nervous. As soon as we got to the library I asked for the restroom key and went to the bathroom to show her where she needed to go potty. Out of my nervousness I grabbed the wrong keys and went to the ladies restroom instead of the mens. Thank Jabba the little old lady who was already in there didn’t attack me with her purse and thank Jabba the library ladies and I are on great terms and didn’t kick me out then and there. Within 10 seconds I realized I was in the wrong place, ran out of the ladies restroom with my daughter in my arms along with a face as white as a Jedi’s ghost! I grabbed the correct keys and apologized to all involved. During story time and craft time I was back to asking my Padawan if she needed to go potty while constantly checking if she went already. She did great. No messes, no gagging, just my pride was damaged a little. She got home and went straight to the potty and went.

Today, my wife and I woke up at 6am with our little girl running in screaming “potty potty!!” I play dead to allow my pregnant wife to tend to it because I thought we had another disappearing diaper situation and poop was all over her bed. Instead she was waking us up with a DRY diaper yelling for us to get out of bed because she HAD to go potty and needed us to take off her diaper. Along with that, whenever she goes potty correctly and gets a jelly bean she, one her own, came up with the idea to give both mommy and daddy a jelly bean with her to celebrate he going potty. Victory.

This Jedi adventure has been an enjoyable one, hard, but a fun rewarding one none the less. The next part of this crazy voyage with my Padawan will continue with no diapers while she sleeps…. My fear in this next venture is how many times I’m going to have to wash the sheets.

The is no emotion, there is peace. There is no ignorance, there is knowledge. There is no passion, there is serenity. There is no chaos, there is harmony. There is no death, there is the Force.

-The Force Code




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