Code Word

I recently spent two months of my life potty training a small animal. I use the word “spent” in its most literal sense: I did nothing but eat, sleep and potty train for nearly 60 days.

Potty training my small animal was more of a potty coaxing, really. The routine went something like this: I would say the code word for peeing or pooping (“Do It” and “Go Poop” respectively) over and over again until he responded with the appropriate bodily function. Once he was finished I would praise him gushingly, as if he had just performed nuclear fission.

“Do It” proved to be the easier of commands to follow. My small animal was soon “Doing It” at every opportunity. He was happy to “Do It,” often looking at me with an expression that said, “I really love to Do It.”

But the “Going Poop” part of the process continues to be an unpredictable nightmare, one with ramifications I understood only last night when trying to coax him into “Going Poop” while the dinner I had just made was getting cold upstairs.

“Going Poop,” it turns out, really isn�t the best code word for going poop, especially when you�re hungry, in a hurry, and clueless as to how to get your small animal to actually go poop.

Both my husband and I were dragging our small animal in circles, screaming, “Go Poop!” in turns, looking at each other and pleading, “Why won�t he Go Poop?”

“Go Poop!” I yelled. “Go Poop! Go Poop! Go Poop!”

Then my husband took his turn, “Go Poop! Puppy! Go Poop!”

Eventually a hint of recognition flashed across the animal�s face, like, “I think they want me to Go Poop.” And both my husband and I looked back at him, like, “Duh.”

Just as he was crouching down into the appropriate catcher�s position, just when I thought we might enjoy at least a warm dinner, the toothy blonde kid from next door hopped out of his car and gleefully interrupted, “Chuck!”

You�ve never seen a faucet turn off so fast.

I really can�t take responsibility for what happened next, the witch-like screeching and crazy arm-waving and the hopping hopping hopping frustration, but I somehow found myself berating the neighbor kid: “Can�t you see he has to Go Poop!? Let him Go Poop!”

He didn�t go poop. Next time I�m going to try, “Don�t Go Poop.”