Potty Training Wall Street

I smell like urine. Everything smells like urine. My fiercely brave wife and I have been potty training our 3 year old son for the last few days. (He’s doing well, by the way.) And I can’t help but feel like my son has mastered something in three days that people in our political and financial centers still haven’t figured out — namely, how to read and control base urges in order to avoid pissing all over everything.

It’s pretty amazing, really. (Both that my son is a genius and that so many career sorts still need newspaper spread around everywhere they go.) A few days ago my little boy was just letting it rip whenever the urge hit (a sensation I haven’t experienced since going tubing a few years ago). Now he’s registering the impulse to wiz mentally and cuing his little body to beeline for the toilet before doing so.

Yet, around our fair land, a noticeable percentage of the people in charge of leading us and forecasting our fates seem to have relapsed. It’s not that they even have diapers on. Somehow they were able to manage their ethical bladders long enough for the rest of us to stop checking every five minutes to see if they were dry. And then… wizzam. Piss everywhere.

Lately it appears that an increasing amount of the work-a-day parents (tired of sopping up urine from around the house and tired of the olfactory bleaching necessary just to carry on) have started getting a bit rowdy (see my Occupy This! post). But, honestly I think they’re using the wrong approach.

Here’s what I suggest: The potty training method we’ve been using in our house recommends a praise saturated environment rather than the knee jerk sort of comment that comes to mind for most of us: “For the love of… Not on the couch!” So for the last few days, everything to do with urine has been “Yeah!, GReat job!, You got some in the potty!” We’ve been exultant over getting the last drop of urine into the toilet despite the trail leading across the house. We’ve handed out stickers, given him little toys–at first for results that were essentially failures.

Plus, we’ve praised him non-stop for every moment during which he hasn’t wet his pants.

This is what we need to do for our nation’s financial and political leaders. Rather than bludgeon them for the idiotic incompetence, I recommend that we praise them for any behavior that isn’t illegal, shameful or ridiculous. “You still haven’t been indicted! Yeah, great job!” “Is your office still solvent?” Yeah! You’re such a big boy!“[divider]

I predict that after a few months of that, they’ll want to clean up their act and control their urges. Sure, even the best of us have an accident every now and then. But this widespread lack of temperance calls for drastic measures. So let’s start the encouragement before we have to change the sheets again.

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