Title: Of Toilets and Tantrums

Summary: Little Sammy needs to learn how to use the toilet like a big boy, but things are never easy for the Winchesters.

A/N: Another one for my fanfic23 table at snflashback. This is for when Sam was two and Dean was six and the prompt is training. My apologies for squickiness to come. Apparently I'm obsessed about writing about poop. Yeah. Don't try to figure it out. And a thousand thanks and love to Gem who beta'ed this despite her general aversion to poop fics. You KNOW I love you, right?? And Brenna--thanks for the confidence booster. I don't know where I'd be if not surrounded by such good people.

Disclaimer: I certainly don't own them.

Rating: PG, gen

Characters: wee!Sam, wee!Dean, John


Of Toilets and Tantrums

"Dad, we're out of diapers."

John glanced up from his writing into the all-too-serious face of his six-year-old son. Dean was holding up an empty package of diapers, looking expectant.

"We're out. And Sammy needs a new one," Dean explained, just a hint of exasperation in his voice.

"Did you check the bathroom?"

"We're out there."

"The diaper bag?"

"We've been out there for a week," Dean said. "And I checked the car, the bedroom, even under the couch. We're out. And Sammy smells."

As if on cue, his youngest waddled in. The two year old was chubby and obliviously happy, wandering around the house in his diaper and t-shirt, his dark curly hair mussed and fine on his head. "Daddy!" he exclaimed, looking brightly at John.

Not sensing his father's usual distance while working, Sam dared to scurry over, hands on John's leg, looking up with a twinkle in his eye that said he wanted to play.

John leaned down, stroking his son's hair, and caught of whiff of the offensive order.

Sam giggled as John pulled away and made a face. "I'm smelly!" Sam exclaimed, as though it were the best thing in the world.

John glanced back at Dean, who was still waiting for a solution to the diaper problem. John sighed, looking back at Sam who grinned toothily back at him. His baby had just turned two. He was bright for his age, John was certain of that, though he was still very much a baby. He needed and wanted a lot, often demanding far more time and attention than he remembered Dean needing. But, then again, they'd had Mary then, and only after she was gone did he realize just how much she had done for all of them.

Clenching his teeth against the memory, he sighed, closing off these thoughts. They were still too fresh, too painful. And they didn't change the fact that Sam's needs were a little more than he could hand at this point. Maybe it was time for his son to grow up some.

"Go find a pair of your old underwear. Clean him off, and put him in them."

Dean looked surprised. "But he'll just get them dirty."

"It's time Sam was potty trained anyway. This will teach him quickly to go in the toilet."

Dean looked skeptical.

"Trust me, Dean," John assured him. "It's time for Sam to grow up."

With that, he went back to his work, ignoring Sam's soft hands pleading with him to play. Dean extracted Sam quickly though, encouraging his baby brother to follow him down the hall.

-o-

A day and three pairs of underwear later, Dean was pretty sure Sam would need some extra help with potty training. So he decided to talk Sam through the process. First, he had to acquaint Sam with the parts of the bathroom.

He led his brother, who followed him dutifully. "This is where you go when you need to go potty," he explained. "You just go over and sit down on this."

Sam looked skeptical.

"It's a big boy toilet, Sammy. You can go in it just like Dad and me." Sam spent most of his time trying to emulate his father and brother, and Dean could only hope that this would appeal to his brother in this arena as well.

"It's a big boy toilet?" Sammy asked, edging closer to the now-prominent fixture in the bathroom.

Dean nodded eagerly. Sammy was taking the bait, hook, line, and sinker. He'd have the kid potty trained in no time.

At Dean's exuberance, Sam crept even closer, straining his neck to look into it, as though he was noticing it for the first time. He'd never had a need to study it before, but his brother's interest had piqued his own.

What he saw, however, did not seem to justify Dean's attitude. "Icky," he said, scrunching his nose up.

Dean followed his brother's gaze and tried to think of a compelling counterargument. But Sam did have a point. The porcelain was stained nearly completely brown on the inside, darker smears still tracing along the bottom where the puddle of water sat. The seat itself didn't sit right, mostly askew on the speckled rim. At the base, the seal was stained yellow and cracked. The top of the toilet was missing, exposing the dark and dank inner workings of the ancient contraption. The flusher was more rust than metal.

Sam took Dean's pause as validation. He stepped back, looking concerned. "It's icky, Dean."

Then Dean had an inspiration. "Your underwear's icky too, Sammy."

But Sam didn't buy it. "I don' wanna grow up," he said finally before running back into the hall to play.

Dean just groaned and followed after him.

-o-

Now that Dean had introduced Sam to the toilet, his brother seemed afraid of it, as opposed to his previous indifference. He refused to go in the bathroom alone, always watching it warily whenever Dean forced him in to brush his teeth. He would pause by the doorway before he ran past it, little head darting around the edge of the door, as if to make sure the offensive object was not out to get him. Then, when he felt mildly assured, he would scamper past, straight on to the bedroom.

By week's end, John was quickly growing exasperated. So was Dean.

"How did I learn, Daddy?"

John's face lightened with a smile. "You just did it because I asked you to, champ."

"Then why won't Sammy?"

At that John sighed. "Sam just wants to do his own thing. He's a stubborn little guy."

"So what are we going to do?" Dean asked, genuinely concerned.

"Well, try bribing him," John suggested. "Offer him a reward for going."

"Like what?"

"Well, something he'd like. A piece of candy or a sticker."

Dean considered the advice. "Do you think it will work?"

"Like a charm," John reassured him. Sure, he had his doubts. But at this point, anything was worth a try.

-o-

It might have worked, but it turned out Dean didn't have the fortitude for bribing. When he offered Sam the sticker, Sam's face lit up so bright and he reached for it eagerly. But when he added the stipulation of using the toilet first, Sam's face crumpled and he shied away dejectedly.

He didn't cry, but his eyes looked hurt. The more Dean coaxed, the more desolate Sam looked, until Dean finally gave him the whole sheet of stickers, just to see him smile.

-o-

Dean had given up. He needed help. And he only had one person who could do it.

"Daddy, Sammy's going poopy," Dean said, hoping his father would take matters into his own hands.

John didn't look up from his book. "How do you know?"

"He's making that face," Dean said.

"What face?"

"His poopy face."

At this John finally looked up at his oldest. "Your brother has a poopy face?"

Dean simply nodded to his brother.

Sure enough, Sam held a toy dinosaur in his hand, but he wasn't playing with it. He was merely gripping it while he squatted, a serious and grimacing expression on his small face.

"Take him to the bathroom," John said, thinking it would solve the problem.

"Sammy won't go," Dean said, matter-of-fact.

"He won't go?"

Dean sighed deeply. "I've tried. He runs and squeals. By the time I catch him, he's already done."

At this, John put down his book, now perturbed with his youngest son. "Come on, Sammy," he said, pushing himself off the chair. "Looks like you need to use the bathroom."

Defiance glimmered in Sam's eyes. "No potty!"

"Yes," John ordered simply, approaching the boy and reaching a hand out. "Let's go."

Sam backed away decidedly, looking crossly up at his father. "No!"

This time, John sighed, and glanced at Dean who shrugged his shoulders knowingly. Turning back to his youngest, he reached out and grabbed his arm.

Sam immediately screeched, trying to wrench himself from his father's grip.

But John was faster, and clamped down, keeping the boy from running.

Finding himself caught, Sam began to cry, squirming to get away. He was no match though, as his father gathered him forcefully into his arms. He kicked and wailed, to no avail.

"You will go to the bathroom," John said definitively, putting his son down in the bathroom.

Sam would have none of it; he tried to pull away again, and John was forced to lay Sam on the floor in order to disrobe the young child.

It was a difficult process and Sam's wails had reached a desperate pitch. Dean watched warily from the doorway as his father manhandled his baby brother onto the toilet. By the time Sam was sitting there, John's patience was gone, used up by his son's tantrum.

He stilled gripped the boy by the arms, kneeling to look into his tear streaked face. "You will go to the bathroom, do you understand me? You will stay there until you're going to go like a man, do you hear me, Samuel?"

Sam flailed, his little legs making contact with his father's chest and stomach.

Angry at his son's defiance, John's grip tightened and he shook the boy slightly. "Stop it, right now," he ordered tersely. "Stop it or I'll make sure you can't sit down on the toilet long enough to go."

The words didn't compute in Sam's angst-ridden brain, but the tone did, and his tantrum turned to desolation just that quickly. He was sobbing in earnest now, large and desperate tears of grief from incurring such wrath from his father.

The tears did not soften John though. He released his son, standing up and glowering down at the boy. "You stay there until you're finished," he snapped, stalking out of the bathroom and disappearing into the hall.

Sam was trembling, his little chest heaving up and down as he held on to the edge of the toilet to keep himself from falling in or off.

Dean just watched as his brother sobbed wretchedly, his heart wanting to go comfort him. But he glanced down the hall to where his father had taken up residence. His father's book was forgotten, and he sat on the chair, his head in his hands. And at that moment, Dean didn't know who to comfort.

-o-

Sam cried himself out, until he grew drowsy on the toilet. Dean had slumped in the doorway of the bathroom, keeping on eye on his brother and his father. John held out until the toddler was reduced to sniffles, before finally looking up.

"Did he go?" John asked.

Dean could smell it in the air and nodded without speaking.

John sighed again, rising and heading to the bathroom. He tousled Dean's hair as he passed before moving in toward Sam.

For his part, Sam eyed him warily, if not sleepily, seeming to shrink on the seat, but John looked down at him sorrowfully. When he reached down, the little boy's arms went up immediately, eager for acceptance.

John picked the boy up, hugging him against himself. With one look, he could see the boy had indeed gone and he worked carefully to wipe the small child without putting him down.

Sam had burrowed his head into his father's shoulder, arms wrapped around him in a cling of desperation. The crying had started softly again, his whole body shaking from exertion.

John shushed him and flushed the toilet, before carrying him back to the bedroom. Dean followed behind, watching from a distance while John laid Sam down. Without a word, Dean grabbed a new pair of underwear and sweatpants for Sammy, offering them to his father, who also accepted them with a small murmur of thanks.

He then went about dressing his son, who watched him with wide and shining eyes. Finally he pulled the sheets up over Sam, kissing him gently on the head. He turned on the lamp, smiled sadly at Dean, before turning out the lights and leaving.

Dean stood still for a minute, before he finally went to his brother.

Sam's eyes were still open, still held hints of fear and sadness. Reassuringly, Dean smiled for his brother, letting his hand rest on his fine hair. Sam rolled over so he was closer to Dean and reached out an arm for a hug.

Dean quickly granted the hug, sliding on the bed next to Sam, holding him while his brother fell asleep.

He watched as Sam's eyes blinked, slower and slower, until his body relaxed completely into Dean's. Dean knew they'd all learned a lesson that night, though it was not the one that any of them had intended.

-o-

They didn't talk about that night, but it was clear that all it had succeeded in doing was to make Sam more afraid of the toilet and more afraid to poop his pants in public. He had now resorted to corners and truly preferred to be behind doors when he did his business, and had even learned to leave the soiled clothes in the corner, to avoid getting caught.

John was too weary to fight him, and using force did not appeal to him again. Instead, he left it to Dean, hoping somehow the situation would correct itself without his intervention. After all, he had other things to worry about--ghosts and demons and saving lives. Potty training certainly didn't seem too important in that scheme of things.

Dean was getting weary of it, too. The two-year-old made a mess everywhere he went it seemed, though Dean was relieved he had stopped painting with it.

But when he caught him behind his bedroom door, teeth clench and brow furrowed, his frustration snapped. He loved the kid, but he was tired of picking up after him. He was smelling just as poopy as Sammy was.

"Sam, you can't go in your underwear! It'll get everything dirty!"

Sam grinned. "It's dirty!"

"Sam, that's a bad thing. I don't want you to be dirty."

Sam blinked up at him. "Dirty's bad?"

"Yes," Dean said in exasperation. "And who do you think will clean it up?"

Sam smiled. He knew the answer to this one. He knew it would be the same person who did most things for him. "Dean!" he shouted happily.

Dean didn't smile back. "I don't like cleaning up your poop, Sammy."

Sam's smile fell and he cocked his head and looked hard at his brother. This thought hadn't occurred to him. Dean was just there for him, he just did things for him. That was the way it worked. He loved Dean, and Dean loved him. Dean would make him dinner and Sam would hug him. Dean would read him a story and Sam would do all the sounds for him. "Dean?"

"It's just messy, Sammy," Dean explained tiredly. "It'd be so much easier if you just went in the toilet."

At this, Sam had no reply. His wide eyes simply watched as Dean gathered up the messy pair of underwear, heading for the trash.

Dean looked so sad, so upset, that Sam just stared bewildered after him.

That would not do. That wasn't how it was supposed to go. Tentatively, Sam stepped out from the bedroom, trying to see where his brother had gone. When he didn't see him, he walked into the hallway. With a deep breath, he paused at the bathroom door.

Thinking of his brother, he went inside. It took some work, but he managed to get his pants and underwear off. Then, carefully, he approached the toilet. Climbing on was harder than it looked, but after several minutes of trying he found himself securely situated on top.

Then he pushed.

When he heard the resounding tinkle and then the loud plops, he giggled happily. Dean would be so proud.

-o-

The minute John got home, he wanted to rest. He was exhausted, and ready to drink a beer and sleep. He sincerely hoped his boys were behaving themselves, because he did not feel like dealing with them at that exact moment.

But when he walked through the door, Dean was there waiting for him, pulling his hand excitedly. "Dad, Dad, you've got to see this," he said, his voice excited and his face flushed.

"What? Is everything okay?" he asked, as he let himself be led inside.

"Yeah, yeah, it's great. You've got to see," Dean said again.

John was half amused and half concerned. He could not think what would be warranting such enthusiasm from his six year old.

Then Dean was stopping, pointing proudly to the toilet, grinning madly. Dean followed his finger and gaped.

There, on the dingy toilet that had been the object of so much scorn and conflict, sat the youngest Winchester. His underwear and pants were about his ankles. Sam contentedly swung his legs, muttering absently to himself while his eyes perused the ceiling, clearly engaged in the act of going to the bathroom.

"How did you do it?" John asked, watching in disbelief.

Dean just smiled, chuckled a little in a way far too old for his young years. "I'm not sure," he admitted. "I just...asked him to."

John looked at Dean, surprised. Then he smiled, laughing himself. "Of course you did, Dean," he said, putting his arm around his son. "Of course you did."