When most families hear the term “potty talk,” they probably think of ongoing discussions about toilet training or even the infamous poop jokes toddlers seem to love so much. But in our house, potty talk takes on a whole different meaning.
Conversations on the toilet are cherished bonding time. We’ve fallen into a nightly routine: After we’ve tucked in our three year-old and turned out the lights, we wait at the door for what’s become the oh-so-familiar, “Mommy, Daddy, I need to go potty one more time.”
No matter how many times we’ve had him sit on the toilet before saying goodnight, the call always comes. A delaying tactic to be sure, but one that’s become so much a part of our nightly routine, as regular as story time or tooth brushing, that it’s no longer about toddler testing. It’s become Mommy-son or Daddy-son (whoever’s been “tagged” in that night) bonding time.
As soon as he’s on the toilet, he gives me instruction: “Mommy, sit down.” And then, always the same question: “What can we talk about?”
I sit on the edge of the bathtub while he pretends he’s actually there to poop, and I run through a litany of conversation starters:
“Lollipops?” I ask.
“No!” He giggles.
“No!” He laughs again.
“Batman?” I try next, a suggestion that’s usually met with a delighted, “Yes!” Though sometimes it’s puppies or castles or science-y questions like: “Where does lightning come from?”
It doesn’t really matter what we talk about—just that we talk.
Occasionally, when I’m busy running through the mental list of all the things that still need to get done before I can tuck myself into bed – the articles that need to be written, the laundry that needs to get washed, the lunches that need to be packed—I’ll find myself rushing him, knowing he really doesn’t need to potty at all but just wants to get out of going to bed.
And that’s when he’ll give me the pouty-glare that all three year-olds are masters of and pronounce: “But we haven’t talked yet!”
So, I’ll sit myself back down, remembering that the laundry can wait, but he can’t. He won’t be three forever. Someday I’ll blink and he’ll be a teenager, spending all his time behind a closed door, or a grown man who only calls his mother once a week, if I’m lucky.
But right now, when I start to leave and he says, “Mommy, sit down,” I know there’s nowhere in the world more important to be than right here, right now. And when I sit and he asks, “What can we talk about?” my heart melts, and I know there’s nowhere in the world I’d rather be than right here, right now.
So, as long as he keeps wanting to talk about lollipops or rainbows or Batman, potty talk will be a thing that keeps on happening in our house.