Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
In the Bathroom: A Play in Ten Acts

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I. Put one-month old on potty. Take her off when she cries.

II. Try again.

III. Take pictures of baby on toilet. Debate sending these to relatives but decide against it: how will baby feel 18 years from now?

IV. Tell everyone you know: "Our baby goes on the potty!" but ridicule elimination communication. Say, "Those people are crazy."

V. When baby is old enough to sit up on her own, lug a basket of toys into the bathroom. Hand over one at a time and say, "See there? Going potty is FUN!" Be prepared for baby to look at you strangely.

VI. Bring visiting friends into the bathroom to watch your four-month old pee on the potty. Clap and cheer, but don't point.

VII. Teach babysitter how to put baby on potty. Explain. "We don't push the issue. If she goes in her diaper, we really don't care." Jump for joy when after six months, baby no longer poops in her diaper.

VIII. Around other parents, downplay your child's success. Say, "We only did it on a whim. Who knew she'd take to it like that?"

IX. Tell them: "It's really us who are trained, not her."

X. When pressed, lower voice and add with a knowing look: "We did it for the environment." After a while, you'll start to think you mean it.


Janet Freeman’s musings on motherhood have appeared in Mamalode, Mamaphonic, The Feminist Review, and elsewhere. She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico with her partner Chris, daughter Lucy and two german shepherds. More about her can be found online.


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