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That Time I Let Someone Else Make My Parenting Choices for Me

This is a story from about 18 months ago, when I did something I shouldn’t have, and as you might expect from the title, it totally backfired. You see I let someone else (not me or my husband, you know, the parents) dictate the way a particularly dreaded part of parenting happened. You see, my son was three. And was not potty trained. *gasp* Yes I know. The preschool he attends (okay and that I’m the Director of) has a rule that you need to be potty trained before entering the “Three’s” class, but thanks to his November birthday he basically had until 3y9m to figure it out. So was I worried? Not really. He had gone through a period of interest right about 2.5 but unfortunately I had his little sister that month. And of course because I didn’t take advantage the moment passed and he lost interest. So fast forward and he still isn’t potty trained and although I personally felt no pressure to start the process, I started to feel pressured. I don’t remember the details but comments were made, comparisons were made, and at one point I felt like he was being held back in some ways because he wasn’t potty trained nor was he as verbal as some of his peers (thank you tongue tie). It didn’t matter that he walked early, or his motor skills in general knocked others’ out of the park, he was perceived as younger.  And don’t you know it started to bug me.

So you can guess what happened, my mommy guilt and self induced pressure kicked in and I started to potty train him. And failed miserably. Y’all, he plain wasn’t ready, and more importantly, wasn’t interested in the least. Unlike some three year olds (and like some others) there is no convincing him to do anything he doesn’t want to do. Period. The end. No sticker chart, candy/toy bribes, naked booty, hours minutes on the potty, well reasoned argument, timers, cool Paw Patrol underwear, or any of the other half dozen well researched and time tested methods worked. And it took a couple days, but this mommy had to admit defeat and pull the diapers back out. He actually would #1 in the potty, but refused #2 and wasn’t really “trained” to do #1, he just would when prompted and then 10 minutes later would do it again right in his pants…

Anyway, we gave it a few more months and then HE started showing signs HE was ready. I had to work with him on sitting for #2, but once we got that down he was a champ. Like down to one accident by day 2, underwear the first night, and never looked back.

Immediately after the success of round two, I felt guilt for a whole other series of reasons. I let someone else push me into forcing him into doing something he didn’t need to do. The only motivation was others’ perception and opinions of what he “should” be doing, which aren’t reasons at all. And worse, I was VERY frustrated with him during round one. I doubt I was a fun mommy those two days and that not only didn’t help but was unnecessary.

Overall though, I count this as a learning experience.  Not only did I learn to not let other people influence my parenting decisions, but I learned a lot about my son.  He’s awesome when he wants to be, and immoveable when he doesn’t.  I knew he was strong-willed and all of that, but this was one of the first times we saw it in a big way, and I learned to appreciate that particular quality, and not just be frustrated by it.  I have to remember to trust him, because like I shared already, he knew when he was ready to learn and once he did he mastered it immediately.  The same will also probably be true about reading, learning to ride a bike without training wheels, participate in extra-curricular activities, and more.  

The moral of the story? Ask advice. Seek second or third opinions if you want.  Google away. But trust yourself.  And trust your kid.  You both know what you’re doing better than you think.


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