One of the universal themes in parenting is that you’ll receive an endless stream of unsolicited advice. For many people, who haven’t accomplished much in the whole world except churning out some loinproduct, this is their one chance to feel like an expert about something. Anything. They’ll assault your ears with all kinds of nonsense and wives’ tales about how to get your kids to stop using their pacifier, or how to trick the little weasels into eating servings of vegetables, or how to get them to stop removing neighbors’ license plates.
I felt that being the oldest of five kids gave me a nice head start into fatherhood. I was better prepared because I was raised around lots of small humans. I watched the trials and tribulations of my (very young) parents, helped out where I could, and I remember their struggles. I remember having to take a break from my marathon girlfriend telephone conversation — “Sorry sweetie, my brother is about to poop” — and then join my family in the bathroom. All seven of us would huddle in there — we were required to clap and cheer for my brother Jerry while he dropped a tiny deuce into the plastic kiddy potty. Then he received a small matchbox car for his efforts.
I never received anything.
What eventually spawned out of trying to get all these little hoodlums to stop crapping their pants on the couch was an idea of such sheer genius, that it eventually went into widespread usage for successful potty training. You may have heard about it elsewhere, but this all started in my backyard. I give my stepmom Frances the credit for The Method.
Step one: You let your kids run around the backyard with no pants on. There are no other steps — that’s the whole plan. I didn’t say it was an elaborate system, but it works for every kid. After they drop a couple biscuits in the yard, they begin to realize that it is so much nicer than hauling dirty logs around. Eventually they’re wearing real underwear for the first time, and voila, they’re on their way to wiping their own little butts. Hallelujah.
One of the drawbacks to The Method is that it’s not very sophisticated. There is a theorectial possibility that your two-year-old angel hikes up her little easter outfit and starts pooping in your grass while you’re talking to your neighbor Andy in the front yard. But just think of it as a small price to pay to have them stop using diapers. As time passes, nobody will ever remember that event and embarrass them later. Unless your dad happens to write a column about it, of course. Sorry, kid.