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Oh, IKEA!  How we worship your store, its grand selection, its spectacular prices, its quantity o’off-the-shelf, ready-to-assemble stuff.  Oh, great IKEA!  How marvelous thy meatballs; how fabulous thy strange fabric patterns and colors; how helpful thy blue & yellow smocked sales clerks; how mysterious thy potty training powers.  What?  You didn’t know that IKEA potty trains your toddler for you? 

“Just one of the many customer services we provide at our store.”

T's room 3 resized-Ikea

When we were preparing for the new arrival, the bedroom rearranging was in full swing.  It was so exciting.  Mr. T moved from his baby/pre-toddler bedroom to the big boy room that I mentioned in Another mother, another baby.  The room was my office, and I was happy to give it up.  The unveiling was two weeks ago.

T's room 5 resized-IKEA

While the new baby helped spur the bedroom swap, it was presaged by a milestone we have been anticipating—potty training.  You see we have not one potty but three: the normal porcelain kind, a cushy seated blue and white plastic number and then a sticker clad, musical job, complete with a faux flusher that has realistic sounds including a recorded message from Daddy that says, “Good job T!”  There has been more than a little anxiety around our house due to the lack of interest in the potty from one stubborn little toddler.  Oh, he likes flushing, he just doesn’t want to take the time to sit and give any one of the three potties a whirl.  He even likes underpants (really pull-ups).  He has taken a dislike to diapers, I believe in part because he sees other kids using pull-ups at day care.  But when we explain that pull-ups are for kids who use the potty, and would he like to try, he declines and submits to being diapered.

Daddy & T & pull-up-IKEA

That is until last weekend.  In setting up his new room we purchased a blue dresser and red bookcase courtesy of IKEA.  We don’t typically go through the entire store anymore.  We’ve learned that the little shopping rat maze that they put you through is intended to expose you to as much inexpensive crap as possible to load one’s cart with lots of impulse purchases: tin lanterns, purple moon shaped pillows and what the hell do I do with a lime green Päardnt for $3.99?  Besides T is mainly interested in the kids section of the store to which we have discovered the secret passage very near the front entrance.  We did however have to meander through the carpet section for just a moment, which just so happens to butt up against the back entrance to the Kids Playroom.

From the doorway you could see the maze through which you enter a room full of brightly colored balls and other fun areas.  The place stopped the little guy dead in his tracks.  As he began to motion wildly towards the doorway saying he wanted to go in there, I pointed to the sign at the door.  You see the playroom is only for kids who are potty-trained—no diapers allowed.  You have to use the potty to go in there.  When I explained the situation, his eyes got big and he immediately understood.  We thought that was the end of it.

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The pestering began the instant we got home.  He wanted to use the potty.  So Darrow took the little guy upstairs and took off his pants and diaper.  He let him run around au natural for a little while, playing with his trains and fire truck until finally, nature called him to the potty.  It was amazing.  Over the next few days it was a frequent occurrence.  And each time he mentioned the big kids playroom, we reminded him that he just needed to keep using the potty.  What’s more, he not only figured out that he likes going to the potty, he’s decided that he is going to use the little plastic potty with the lid closed as a stool and climb up on the toilet.  What’s funny is that his little behind is so small he has to hoist himself up and then hold on to the seat with both hands to keep from falling in. 

There’s T about to mount the bars….watch as he puts his stool before the toilet….he lifts the seat….he steps up and with one sure—well mostly sure—move he straddles the wide seat holding himself up with his hands. 

He has figured out in one fell swoop that he can not only go to the potty, he has control over when he goes.  “Look Papa, I’m peeing,” and out comes the stream just like a big boy and across his face is a wide brimming look of glee.  “Now can we go to the store and see the playroom with the big kids?” 

“You have to keep using the potty and wear underpants instead of diapers.”

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Each night he was piddling consistently.  We even have had some success going no. 2, too.  We’re still not there yet of course.  Some days his interest seems to wane a bit.  He has started to use it as part of his terrible twoness, incorporating yet another item into his repertoire of opposition.  But we often remind him about IKEA.  As I recall the wonders of IKEA’s playroom, describing the colors and the kids, his eyes go wide and he whispers in an almost hypnotic state, “yes, yes, IKEA.”

He understands that when the time comes that he has pretty much got the hang of the potty thing, we will be making a trip out to IKEA whether or not we need to go shopping.  Who knows, maybe I will even get Darrow to eat some of those cute, little, gray Swedish meatballs?

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