Potty talk

I don't consider myself much of a cook, but I can follow a recipe decently well. And if you give me a stack of Ikea furniture parts, I won't be able to do much with them – until you hand me the instructions, which will allow me to make the best dang bedside table you've ever seen.

The scariest thing about our newest household adventure – potty training – isn't all the cleanup of human waste that lies ahead, though don't get me wrong, I'm not much looking forward to that. The terror lies in the fact that potty training doesn't come with instructions. Or, rather, that it does, but in such quantity and with such variation that the instructions are pretty much useless. It's like opening your box of Ikea bedside table parts and finding ALL of the instructions for every piece of furniture they make. Now what?

Some people say to take it slow – forcing things will cause more problems than it solves. But then you hear about three-day weekend method (well, OK, there are several three-day weekend methods) that'll get your kid on the potty in a jiffy. Pull-ups? Diapers? No pants? Big-girl panties? Real toilet? Kiddie potty? Tangible rewards? Praise only? Act like it's no big deal? Do a potty dance?

I'm so overwhelmed by trying to "do my homework" on this that I just have to laugh. And give up on trying to figure it out. Maybe this is one of those rare times in life where it's best to just wing it.

So for now, we're taking it slow.We're trying a mini-potty, and we're doling out M&Ms (which she's already learned she can obtain by faking having to go) and putting stickers on the wall to celebrate, um, achievements. If that doesn't work, well, we'll try something else.

Meanwhile, I think I'll head to Ikea to pick up a nice fluffy rug to cover the hard bathroom floor. Because the one thing everyone seems to agree on is that I'm going to be spending a LOT of time in there during this project, and I might as well be comfortable.