Post-Crescent column - Oct. 23, 2009
There's a new pet in the Patterson house, and its name is the Potty Penguin. My daughter Mihret, who turns 3 in January, is its proud owner.
The faux-feathered, winter-apparel-wearing friend — a gift for me and my husband, Josh, from a holiday long past — stores candy in its hollow belly. Press its head, and the Potty Penguin produces the treats.
Josh and I had hidden the Potty Penguin away in a closet but pulled it out a month or so ago when we realized it might have a practical purpose. It now sits high atop Mihret's bedroom cubby, so she can see it but can't reach it without help. It only performs one trick, but that trick's enough to keep Mihret encouraged as she practices the steps for using the potty and continues the countdown toward consistently keeping her Pull-Ups clean and dry.
When Mihret successfully uses the potty, the Potty Penguin dispenses an M&M. That's triple fun for her, because she loves to read the letter M — "M for Mihret" — and also likes to pick out a different color each time.
The Potty Penguin is a frequent topic of conversation when Mihret's around. She's also learning about sharing, so she's inclined to tell any visitor who excuses him or herself to the bathroom, "You can go potty and get an M&M." Most people respectfully decline.
We're hoping that soon, Mihret's friend the Potty Penguin will introduce her to another new pal — Hello Kitty underpants.
By Kara Patterson, Post-Crescent staff writer/www.postcrescent.com