Patience, Patience, Patience! 1

potty training alarm clock

They say patience is a virtue, and while writing this post, out of curiosity I looked up what exactly "patience" means.  Patience = the ability to calmly wait for something without getting angry.  **What** better word could apply to modern potty training situations?  It may be a product of a current culture full of instant gratification via the internet, video streaming, etc.  It may be the relatively new idea that potty training should be a task completed, from start to finish, in 3 days.  It may be that many of us just have a lot of anxiety these days.  Regardless of the reason, the ability - NO: the virtue -  of "calmly waiting" is something that most of us could stand to tap into more, whether we are talking about potty training or the myriad of other difficult situations we encounter on a daily basis.  Potty training offers so many opportunities to practice this virtue.  Nothing could be more true of a particular aspect of potty training: self-initiation.  I'm sharing one of my favorite posts here from Jamie Glowacki, author of Oh Crap! Potty Training, that talks more about what parent's should realistically expect regarding self-initiated potty use, and how to keep this in perspective with other aspects of your child's development.

Q and A: “I Feel Like I’m Being Trained, Not My Kid”

Question: We are 2 weeks into potty training and while we’re not having any accidents, I feel like it’s me being trained, not my kid. I have to remind him all the time and help all the time.  When will he do this on his own?

Answer: Your child will of course, eventually go the bathroom all on his own.  The younger your child is, the more help they will need from you. But here’s the thing; potty training seems to be the only major developmental milestone in which our society expects child to learn and then BAM! be all on their own.  When your child learned to walk, you encouraged, you held her little hands. You didn’t say after a few weeks, “When will my kid be running on their own?”  Right?

All learning is a process. (Except iPad use. All they have to do is get their hands on one and they’re swiping away. Zero learning curve.)

Seriously though. We don’t expect a child to learn their alphabet and suddenly read. We don’t expect a child to learn to ride a bike and be able to ride in all situations.

Potty training is no different. If your child needs you right now to prompt and help, it’s totally cool. Don’t try to take that rug out from under them too soon.  You must remember that 2 weeks ago (or however long ago you started potty training) your child was completely unfocused on their need to pee and the action now required. Let’s cut them a break when it comes time to helping them.

And come on,  think of all the other things you prompt and help your child with. Things they should probably know to do but don’t. Time to get dressed. Brush your teeth. Nope…you do need shoes to leave the house. It’s snowing out, you probably want a coat. Every night your child goes to bed,  I’m pretty sure you prompt and help with that.

I’m kind of being silly but it’s just to point out that we’re totally trained ANYWAY.  I think it’s better to help our kids towards autonomy than not.

Remember that self initiation for potty use usually BEGINS around 3 weeks after you started potty training. And it may be once in a while, not consistent at first. If you find that you are months into potty training and still are doing ALL of the prompting and helping, then yes…it may be time to scooch things along a bit. Here two other posts to help you do that. But again! Don’t pull the rug of help out too soon with your child!  It will backfire on you!  Autonomy and Potty Training and Self Initiated Potty Use both contain some helpful tips for nudging your child towards autonomous potty use.

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