|As a first-time mother, I have
watched my two-year-old daughter, Erica come upon and conquer many of the normal
milestones of a typical child. In fact, in most instances, she was quite advanced in her
development; before she was six-months-old, she was sitting up, by eight months, she was
pulling herself up on furniture and "cruising" around the living room, and at 10
months, she took her first step. Erica also began talking early, and she now boasts a
nearly fifty-plus word vocabulary that continues to increase every day.
Along with her obvious physical and mental development, her psychological development too, has come into its own. She has the will of a bull coming out of the shoot at a rodeo. When Erica realizes that she has control over a situation, she takes it and doesn't let go, and I pity the poor rider who is on her back trying to take hold the reins of control. (I'm told her mother was like that too at her age, but I won't admit it.)
A newcomer in the game of parenting, I foresaw the next developmental milestone out in the distance way before Erica did, potty training. She was nearly two now, and I believed it was high time we said bye-bye to Huggies. Besides, there were plenty of other things I could spend $25.00 a month on. And so, the preparation began. I searched out and interviewed as many experienced trainers as I could find to get their thoughts and advice on potty training. How do I know if she is ready? Do I buy Pull-Ups or training pants? What strategies worked for you and which did not? How long will it take? My list of questions went on and on.
Then I found the book. Potty Training in Less Than a Day was the answer I was looking for. I read it cover-to-cover in two days, and while I began my reading as a skeptic, I was a born again believer at book's end.
The step-by-step procedures were well defined; using a dolly that wets, Erica would learn to take dolly to the potty, after all, the best way to teach a child a new skill is to have the child teach that skill to someone else. After dolly has learned to keep her pants dry and use the potty, it would be time for Erica to do the same.
During this training, keep in mind that Erica
is being offered as much to drink of her
This no doubt was an intense training
approach; our entire day was to revolve around the potty. We would talk of nothing except
the potty. We would talk about how grown up she would be when she learned to use the
potty. We would talk about everyone else she knew and admired who used the potty. We would
talk about potty even when she tried to change the subject. Potty, potty, potty. Radical
as it seemed, I believed without a doubt she could do it!
As much as parents want to continue to guide
and teach their children, more and more, their children want to learn on their own terms,
in their own way.
This was the crucial point of awakening for
mommy; do I forge ahead, or retreat?
Frustration is not exclusive to parents
either; children who are not ready to potty train, but are forced to, can also end up
feeling equally if not more frustrated than mommy and daddy, and often the effects are far
worse for the child. They can develop a very real fear of using the toilet, and will avoid
having to perform the skill at all costs. For many, "holding it" is a real
problem; they will not allow themselves to have a bowel movement for days, ultimately
causing themselves physical agony, and their parents total and complete frustration.
But we all know it does not come that easy. For me, I have resigned to approach the potty issue with a much more laid back attitude. I still talk about the potty, I still encourage her to at least sit on the potty, and I regularly remind her that "big girls" use the potty instead of diapers.
I know my words are reaching her, but for now words are all I am contributing to the cause; when it comes to Erica learning to use the potty and saying bye-bye to diapers, it is going to be her way, and in her time.