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I faked my son’s birthday to get him to potty train Add to ...

My youngest son is a very determined five-year-old. Strong-willed is putting it delicately. His name is Caleb, but around our house, he’s known as Chaos. He marches to the beat of his own drum – loudly – and imposes his own timelines on everything: immediacy if it involves “unhealthy” things; delay if it’s something anyone else wants him to do. This definitely applied to toilet training.

My older son had dragged toilet training on for more than a year, so I decided not to push it with Caleb. He would start when he was ready, hopefully before he turned three.

No such luck.

His third birthday came and went, and still no underwear. As gentle suggestions turned into forceful insistence, he held firm in his Pull-Ups. I finally resorted to begging, and just before Easter, he’d had enough. “I’m not wearing underwear until I turn four,” he declared. Quick mental calculation: July 29th birthday + September start to JK = Not nearly enough time to get this done.

“Well, it’s a good thing your birthday is on Monday,” I quickly replied.

Then the guilt set in. Was this pushing the boundaries of the white lie? Would he be more scarred by a fake birthday or by being the kid who peed his pants at school? More importantly, would I be scarred being the mother of the kid who peed his pants at school? Early birthday it was.

With his brother onside, we planned the party. A quick trip to the dollar store for some cheap gifts, a McCain frozen cake, some recycled candles and plenty of pictures and video, and voilà! Our little boy turned four three months early. And true to his word, he put on the underwear that day.

Bottom line: success. He wasn’t confused at all by a larger birthday celebration in the summer (better presents, I guess) and he only had a few accidents at school. And the relief I felt over that far outweighed the guilt I have over lying to him.

Now I’m wondering if there is a white lie I can tell him to get him to stop wetting the bed . . .

Party Faker is a Toronto mom.



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