Melissa Joan Hart on the 'Messiest Job Ever'

10/06/2008 at 12:30 PM ET
David Livingston/Getty

It’s hard to stay above the fray when potty training a toddler, and Melissa Joan Hart says that in the process of going diaper-free with 2 ½-year-old Mason Walter she’s learning that no topic — or term — is off limits. Calling it the "messiest job ever," the 32-year-old actress and her husband Mark Wilkerson have found potty training to be a humbling experience. "Everyone says when you become a mom you talk about things you’ve never spoken about before, and it’s true," Melissa said during a Friday appearance on The Bonnie Hunt Show. "I’ve never used the word poop so much in my life."

"It’s ridiculous. It’s kind of disgusting, but at the same time, it just kind of flows off the tongue now. We used to call it ‘#2,’ just to be mysterious about it. Now we call it ‘code brown,’ or ‘He’s got a present for us.’"

Although Mason "has gotten the hang of" potty training, Melissa says the couple still have "some horror stories" to share. Their son is still in a diaper when the family is traveling, and on a recent flight he went with mom to check out the airplane’s bathroom. Mason asked Melissa if he had a diaper on, and when she replied yes, he asked to go potty in his diaper; Melissa gave him the go-ahead, which "worked well because we were in the [bathroom]," she says. He apparently had difficulty making the distinction between going in-flight and going on the ground, however! While waiting in line for their rental car, Mason again asked Melissa if he had a diaper on — when she again said yes, he announced to everyone within range: "I’m gonna poop now" — and did!

His potty training progress is surely coming in handy at preschool, which Mason just started. Calling her son a "crazy, kooky guy," Melissa says Mason’s favorite thing to do at the moment is sing songs "at the top of his lungs." He’s often not alone. The day before her appearance, Melissa joked that Mason asked her to sing the ‘female deer’ song — Do-Re-Mi, from The Sound of Music — "like 30 times."

In addition to Mason, Melissa and Mark are parents to 6 ½-month-old Braydon ‘Brady’ Hart.

Source: The Bonnie Hunt Show

FILED UNDER: News , Parenting

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Meaghan on

Why not just let him go to the bathroom in the toilet instead of the diaper when he asked in the airplane bathroom? In my opinion, if a child is old enough to announce he’s about to go to the bathroom is his diaper he’s old enough to be potty trained when traveling. It’s just shows laziness on his parents part.

Dannie on

I know that every child potty-trains at a different rate, but IMO I think 2 1/2 is too old wear a pull-up. Maybe to bed at night, but that’s it.

Susan on

Some kids are inconsistent. I don’t think that shows laziness on the part of the parents, but an understanding that each child progresses a little differently.

Cee on

I have 2 boys (four and one) and my Mom potty-trained both of them at six-month. I think it’s easier to do that since they are so young and they will sit still. As they get older, they have their own opinions and will be harder to train. My one-year old now will say poo-poop when he has to go and i just put him on the toilet. I think it’s because that’s all they remember is that this is the way that I go if i have to go poop-poop. Hope that helps. Although, the first week of training, they might not go in the bowl but just to get them used to the idea of sitting in a potty-bowl.

Vanessa Paige on

I have 3 sons and all 3 of them wanted nothing to do with potty training until 3.

Karen on

Try potty training rewards. This worked gerat for our son. He loved pushing the audio push button hearing he is a Big Boy and opening a door to find a chocolate surprise. He really became involved. He was peeing and pooping in his potty within a week. Have a look and see if this would work for you.

Pearl on

If he can say that he wants to poop,then he might as well do it in the toilet. Simple as that!

amandamay on

seriously, can there not be one post on cbb without judgmental commenting about parenting choices?? i’m all for having differing opinions and the right to express them, but i’m almost to the point of never coming back to this site. it’s just a reminder that women are “judgey” and mean to each other. parenting isn’t a contest. everyone does it differently. calling melissa LAZY for not having her toddler go potty in a gross airplane toilet hardly makes her a bad mother. my son wasn’t fully potty trained til he was almost 4. does that make me a bad mother? no, each child is DIFFERENT and does things at a different pace. my son attends the same preschool as melissa’s son and thankfully it’s an open-minded school that fosters each child’s individuality and knows kids reach milestones at different ages. i’m glad there aren’t such judgmental parents at our school. embrace DIFFERENCES! teach your kids to be kind and open-minded, not judgmental. just because a mother does something differently than you do, doesn’t make it wrong, bad or lazy. just because you do things a certain way, doesn’t make it the ONLY way or the RIGHT way. if mothers and women in general could support each other more and judge less, everyone would be better off, especially the children.

dsmom on

Susan, very well said! My thoughts exactly.

Susan on

Why thank you dsmom! (bows, then gets strange looks because is at work). 🙂

Heather Lynn on

seriously? he’s 2 1/2 not 10! who cares if he still wears a diaper when traveling? I thought it was a cute story!! But I guess I’m the only one…

Jen DC on

This reminds me of my babysitting incident last week! Li’l B had to go potty, but didn’t want to miss a *second* of the singalong video we were watching. He waited too long… And ended up peeing on the floor after getting his pants and underwear down! We had a talk about it afterward, how it is important not to wait until you have to squeeeeeeeeze to keep the pee pee in, but to go ahead and go when you first know you need to.

And then he took a shower, because there was pee *EVERYWHERE*.

But I agree with Susan – Melissa’s not being lazy by letting Mason go in his pull ups; I don’t want to use the airplane bathroom myself, let alone struggle to hold a nearly 3 yr old above the seat while he decides to let loose or not. And what if there’s the slightest bit of turbulence? Pee everywhere. And travel is stressful enough for a little boy; I would think that if at any time he’s liable to have an accident, it’s during the stress of a trip on a plane, then through the airport, then in the checkout line for the rental car… that’s a lot for a kid. And it’s probably easier and faster just to let ‘im go, than to have to stop every 1,000 feet and ask whether he’s sure or not.

MommyX2 on

How is 2 and a half “too old” for a pullup? My daughter was pretty much completely potty trained at that age, but I still put a pullup on her, and in fact just stopped that she’s now 3. Not because I was lazy or letting her pee or poop in her pants, but because when she did have an occasional accident, I didn’t have the time or energy to be cleaning up the floor and my daughter with a newborn in the house. Also, when we went out, why WOULDN’T I put a pullup on her in case she peed herself in the middle of grocery shopping or in her carseat? Even though accidents only happened every month or so, that was enough for me to keep a pullup on her until she would absolutey not have one when we were out, etc.

Clare on

I thought it was a lovely story too until I read the comments here – then I felt a bit sad that some readers were so quick to make judgemental comments.
My son is 2.5 yrs and I would be ecstastic if he showed any interest in the potty at all. I must be a terribly lazy mum;)

Mom2boys on

Meaghan, that’s some pretty tough talk. I bet you aren’t a mom. You are not supposed to force your children into potty training…and if he needs to poop in his diaper instead of the toilet, then what is it to you? Better he goes in his diaper opposed to holding it in, potentially causing encopresis which children are hospitalized over.

Get over yourself and your high horse.

Ash on

Aw, sad to see judgemental comments about Melissa – in my opinion she is one of the most awesome celeb moms out there and I love the way she shares so many of her experiences with everyone to make people feel less alone. Mason is so totally not too old to still be in pullups while travelling etc, I actually think hes doing remarkably well in this tough battleground called potty training, so kudos to Melissa on this front. You have beautiful sons!

Brittany on

The second i read this i knew someone would be judgemental *rolls eyes* Firstly children go at their own pace when it comes to potty training, hes 2 1/2 for crying out loud not 5!!

I think its a very cute story, shes a great mom and definetly not lazy!

Brandi on

Please, she’s lucky to have gotten as far as she has. What is with all the judgment? Moms need to support each other. Boys are TOUGH to train. My older son is 4 and has just stopped wetting at night. He was day trained at a little past 3. My younger son is almost 2 1/2 and is just getting interested, mostly because of his brother. I am providing encouragement, yet letting him go at his own pace.

Meanwhile, my niece was totally trained just past her third birthday. It’s different for everyone. Potty training is draining, moms need support and encouragement, not to be told they’re doing something wrong or their kid “shouldn’t be in pull ups.” I’m sure your kid shouldn’t have a paci, shouldn’t be on the bottle, shouldn’t watch so much TV, something. No one is a perfect parent.

This topic really gets me going. Instead of being judgmental, why not tell a mom that you understand, you’ve been there yourself, and this is what worked for you. That’s much more helpful to someone who’s already stressed.

Dannie on

Mom2boys, I don’t think Meghan was being harsh, of course every child is different, but potty training is something a child has to be taught. When my kids starting walking good, I started potty training them. I figured if they were big enough to walk around, they were big enough to sit on their potty, it didn’t happen overnite and both my kids were fully potty trained by the time they were 20 months. Consistency is key when it comes to potty training. Telling a child it’s ok to poop in a pull-up isn’t exactly being consistant. Also as far as making a child “hold it” whenever I go out, I make sure my kids use the bathroom before we leave the house or restaurant. She could have sat him on the toilet in the airport before they boarded the flight to avoid the gross airplane bathroom.

SH on

I have 4 kids, (2 of each) and I’m actually impressed that she’s got him doing well at potty training at 2 1/2! To the judgmental people – potty training is a PROCESS that usually takes months. If you do it completely in a matter of weeks (especially with younger kids in the house to take care of) you are the exception to the rule. Just because she has a pullup on him at an AIRPORT at 2 1/2 years old does NOT mean she’s a lazy parent. I swear, WHERE do you get that? Meaghan and Dannie, have you guys ever potty trained a boy?? If you have, then fine, but you really need to realize that everyones methods are different, every child is different, and THAT’S OK!

SH on

Brandi – very well said.
Dannie – you are very judgmental. Just because something works for you and your kids doesn’t mean it works for everyone else.
At an AIRPORT?? Come on. Yes, potty training is all about consistency, but I think it’s ok at an airport of all places to be inconsistent when your kid is 2 1/2. I’ve had nightmares about public bathrooms ever since 2 of my kids got rotavirus at the same time in a public bathroom – and I washed their hands when we were in there. I rarely go into public bathrooms with my kids. I change their diapers in the car and they hold it until we get home. If she doesn’t want her kid in a public bathroom at the airport I don’t blame her.

marla on

cee, will you rent out your mother to potty train my boys? 🙂 6 months. wow!

t. on

with as many people that go through an airport everyday and on an airplane I can’t imagine how many germs are there.

Just a side note on the 2.5 year old BOY and potty time. They absolutly LOVE flushing the toilet and he could be in a stage of “needing” to go potty when he really dosen’t and just wants to flush…

mp on

My mother loves to tell a story from my potty-training days: my aunt & uncle, who lived in Asia, were visiting, and I was so enthralled with the conversation that I dragged my potty chair into the room and did my business while everyone was talking so I wouldn’t miss any of the fun! (My aunt independently verified this tale.) Mason’s airplane adventure strikes me as being in the same vein.

Cee on

Yeah, I was shocked when my Mom potty-trained my first one. But because it worked so well with him that by the time he was 8-months, he was doing #2 in the potty-bowl and graduated to the toilet around 11-month-old (with the toilet seat for kids)that she tried again with my younger one. Also, knowing their schedule (when they have to go) helps a great deal. With my younger one, I just wait for about 10mins after he finishes breakfast and puts him on the toilet. But again, patience is the key here. The first week of putting them on the potty-bowl you will probably see nothing. It’s just the idea of having to sit down and be still. With the younger one, he would scoot around in his potty-bowl in the family room but we were fine with that. Now that he sits on the toilet, he plays with the toilet paper. But I find that training them at a younger age is much, much, much easier. Believe me, it’s nice to go out knowing that you wont have to change a poopy diaper.

Lauren on

I just don’t see why Melissa didn’t sit Mason on the toilet and have him go that way? I don’t see the big deal about him not being potty trained completely at 2 1/2, especially since Melissa’s already got the ball rolling-it’s not like she isn’t trying. But if they were in the bathroom, Mason’s in the middle of being potty trained, and he let her know he had to go, why did she let him go in his diaper? Seems confusing and counterproductive to me.

Meaghan on

I am a mother and I DO understand that children train at different rates. However, Mason is ALREADY potty trained and I feel by letting him use diapers when traveling will just confuse him and he will regress back into using them. If he was not already trained I would not have even commented. I don’t think she is a bad mom. I don’t even know her. It’s just my opinion. Last time I checked we were ALL allowed to have one.

Meaghan on

After reading all the comments, I would like to apologize for being judgmental. I have not potty trained a boy, I have 2 girls, nor have I had to travel extensively like Melissa has. I just think that it’s important once you do potty train to stick with it and not confuse the child by letting them wear diapers sometimes except for overnights that’s a different story. So again I’m sorry for my statement that she was lazy. As parents we should be bringing each other up and not down. I just thought that since he was right next to the toilet and said he was about to go she just could have popped him right on the bowl. I should have left my comment as such.

Susan on

Meaghan – we all get caught up in our own experiences and we DO judge the world by what we have seen and done. In light of what you just said, your comment was totally understandable. 🙂 Pals?

Molly on

To me it makes sense to put the kid back into diapers for travel – you never know how far you’re going to be at any given time from a bathroom, and kids aren’t always great about holding it in. Better to use a diaper than risk having to clean up a “code brown” in the middle of a crowded airport!

I was still partially in diapers until my third birthday (I told my parents I would stop when I was three and they held me to it!) and had no confusion issues, so I guess that’s something that depends on the kid.

Gwyneth Paltrow on

Derek Haas the screenwriter for the movie “WANTED” with ANGELINA JOLIE and feature writer for Men’s Health Magazine (Sept. issue with DAVID BECKHAM on the cover) recommends Potty Train Your Child in Just One Day: Proven Secrets of the Potty Pro by Teri Crane.

My husband picked us up a copy after reading the article. IT REALLY WORKS!!

Everyone is talking about throwing a “potty party” to potty train a child. I was so desperate, I was willing to do anything. Her book outlines 10 themed parties. What kid doesn’t love to play and pretend? All my mommy friends have successfully potty trained their kids with her book too.

Honestly, when I first learned of this book, I thought NO WAY! Maybe this would work on a little boy, but NOT a BOSSY, 2-1/2 year old girl. NO WAY! Guess what? It REALLY WORKED!!! Teri Crane SAVED MY SANITY!!! Her book was easy to read, funny and extremely helpful. I can’t thank Teri enough. I would HIGHLY recommend this book to EVERY parent. It will save you much grief and frustration. Potty training shouldn’t be difficult, we as parents make it difficult because we don’t know what to do. Teri teaches you. Buy the book, it’s the best money you will ever spend.

Most amazingly, I had some questions, so I called the author, and she CALLED ME BACK!!