The Art of Potty Training Negotiation (with a 3 Year Old)

Lego-2-200x200“That is not a poopy toy!! IT’S A PEE-PEE TOYYYYY!!!!!!!”

That is what Garrett yelled at my face from only three inches away. (There was an emphasis on the “P.”) I stared into his eyes while slowly wiping away his spittle from my cheek. Calmly, I insisted that if he wanted that toy…then I wanted him to poop in the toilet. As a Talent Manager, I’ve seen my share of shitty negotiations. But this……this was the “shittiest” negotiation of all time.

In (yet another failed attempt) to potty train Garrett, I resorted to bribery. In exchange for going pee-pee, I gave Garrett Hot Wheels cars and squirt guns. These were merely trinkets. Garrett knew there was better stuff on the horizon, but he wouldn’t give me what I wanted in order to get it.

Much like having fantasies of grandeur while holding a lottery ticket, Garrett began to dream BIG about what he could get for going potty. He even took it to the next level: Internet Research! Garrett took GWE’s iPad, opened the Kids’ YouTube app, tapped on the microphone, and started asking YouTube to provide him with Lego options. From his bedroom, I could hear him command the app by saying, “Lego Firestation,” “Lego Police Station,” and “Lego Trucks.”

Once he found what he wanted, he decided to present his argument (via YouTube clips) to me as to which toys he should get for going pee-pee in the potty and which toys he should get for going poopy in the potty. I agreed with him that some of the smaller items could be considered pee-pee toys. But then, the toys started getting larger…


“Daddy, if I go pee-pee in the potty, you’re going to get me the Lego (pronounced “Yego”) Fire Station.”

“No,” I responded. “That’s a poopy toy.”

“But, daddy!!!!!! It has two garages and a fire truck and a pole the man slides down!! It’s a pee-pee toy!” he replied.

“Nope. You can get the little Lego Mixel if you go pee-pee. The Fire Station is for pooping only.” I offered.

“NOOOOOO. I go pee-pee and you get me the LEGO…..FIRE….STATION!!”

I prepared my counter-offer. “I will get you the Lego Fire Station only if you go poopy in the potty five time with no accidents.”

“NNNNNNNOOOOOOoooooooooo” he screamed as he flung himself onto his bed. “IT’S…….A……PEE-PEE…..TOYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!”

After a few minutes of sobbing, he collected himself and tried a different tactic. “Ok, daddy,” as he wiped away the tears. “Here’s the deal….” Yes, he really says that now. “This (point to YouTube again) is the Lego (“Yego”) Police Station. This is a pee-pee toy!”

“Nope. That’s a poopy toy also.” I stated matter-of-factly. Angrily, he stared at me. I was a little concerned that he might reach back into his diaper, pull out a fresh poop, and fling it at me like a monkey. Luckily, the diaper was dry.

I wish I could tell you that this story has a happy ending. It’s doesn’t. We’re at a stalemate. This is the Cuban Missile Crisis of Toilet Training. Garrett keeps making Lego demands on me while continuing to deny the potty’s existence.

I am preparing to impose the Closed Wallet/No Lego sanctions of 2015 on him!



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