A few months ago we began the potty training trek with our two-year-old, Jack. At the beginning, he gleefully accepted the tinier-than-average toilet seat. Today – a few smudged big boy pants later – we’ve found ourselves negotiating to even change his diaper.
He’s young, most say. But those who know Jack also know his desire to overachieve. His neediness to accomplish adult tasks. His teachers and pediatrician have all commented on his readiness for the seat. He does go lengths without wetness. Notifies us of No. 2’s. And, holds those until he gets home.
When we started the journey, we’d fit Jack’s bathroom throne with the miniature seat. To complete the experience (we’ve got the books, DVDs and all caregivers on board), we needed a reliable stepping stool.
True to my fashion, I need something unique and practical. No engraved name, since two little ones will be sharing the same stool in the near future. Tall and sturdy enough for ease. After sifting the Internet and many inspiring pages of Etsy, I had a light bulb.
Jack could paint his own.
Ikea ($15-25), Michaels ($15) and other places sell unfinished wood stepping stools. Our basement is bursting with rainbow colors of paint. Why not let the little guy express himself on the ever-so-special stool? After all, it is his palace. Maybe it would rekindle the tinkle-in-potty joy.
My husband, Justin, pre-coated the stool with a dark brown, to match the current décor in Jack’s bathroom. Then, one rainy afternoon Jack and I dressed in grubby clothes and tramped down to the basement. We first picked a few designs. Jack picked the stars. I chose the sun. We taped them on with painters tape. Jack picked a few colors. Light green. Grey blue. White and yellow. I was happy we didn’t have orange paint. He can’t resist the color. Always picks the orange balloon and solely wears orange shirts.
We sat down on an old blanket and I poured paint onto a paper plate. Handed Jack a brush. And told him to get to work. I was determined not to get in his way. Let his creativity run away.
Hours of paint layers later, our project was complete. He’d even strategically painted the stool legs, careful not to touch the wet top while filling in the blanks.
Later that night, we pulled the tape to uncover Jack’s creation. It wasn’t nearly what I expected. It was better. Amazing how the littlest thing had made me beam.
The new stool didn’t curve Jack’s desire to cooperate with potty training. But he does enjoy toting the stool around the house. Using it as a seat. Or to reach anything he can’t from ground level. Regardless of its intention, the painted potty stool project was a success. We had fun. I stole memories. And now Jack has something to reach the cookies with.
For the back story, visit the Stepping Up to the Job post on my blog, Tiny Mitten Secrets. At the least, I hope our little project inspires you to create one of your own. And if you do, please share!