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Friday, May 09, 2008

Rethinking Potty Training

I've been searching on the net for potty training advice and ran into the Huggies Pull-Ups site and ran into "3 Common Potty Training Challenges...And How to Overcome Them". One quote that helped eased my mind was this, "Setbacks are a natural part of the potty training process. Just because you and your child are both ready to begin potty training doesn’t mean that your toddler’s mind and body are always on board. The key to overcoming all these challenges is to remain positive and patient."

I expect far too much from my little 2 year old. I always look at DearDaughter1's behavior from my perspective, which always look like disobedience and often overlook DearDaughter1's perspective. Perhaps going to the gym brings on anxiety in DearDaughter1 because the potty is not familiar, there are lots of kids, she doesn't see the "teachers" often or consistently, and she doesn't feel safe and secure. Perhaps she was so overwhelmed by the happenings at the gym that potty training didn't seem so fun anymore, even though we were back home in her familiar and secure setting.

So, as I wrote out my frustrating post yesterday, I wanted to filter the situation through the lens of scripture. However, I was only looking at it from discipline's point of view. I forgot that Jesus practices much patience and much forgiveness towards us also. If God were as quick to lose his patience over disobedience as I am over disobedience, I would be "scarred" with His discipline. Yet, God is always so merciful and kind to spare His discipline and opening up opportunity after opportunity to do what is right. God, having been in our shoes through Jesus, knows our struggle with the flesh, and has mercy on us. So, why can't I be more merciful to DearDaughter1.

I wondered how I could justify not disciplining DearDaughter1 when she wet her pants, but when I look at potty training through her eyes, it's a big weight to carrry because though I am there to help and support her, it's really all of her choices that will help her succeed or "fail". Making those decisions is hard for a little 2 year old and it's something that she can't be pushed into.

I think I was carrying a lot of pride on my shoulders too. It's exciting when your little one achieves a big milestone and you've already shared that milestone with your friends. My pride said, "My child's success is also MY success. My child's failure is also MY failure." The set-backs that DearDaughter1 has had seemed like a failure in potty training on my part and I did not want to fail. I wanted to do everything I could do to make her succeed. What a wrong attitude to have and I am really sorry about it.

Who would have thought that potty training would carry me into so many deep thoughts? It is definitely a challenge.

1 comment:

Trish D said...

Potty training is such a big milestone, and I know it was frustrating to me because both kids were later than many of their friends. It definitely was a humbling experience (make that humbling experience #2,417 in my 5 years as a mommy!) and once again I was reminded that things don't always happen on my terms. Take it easy - it will come in time. Keep searching out various resources, but trust your instincts, too. Every child is different, and no theory/approach will work for everyone!

Continuing to pray for you!