Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Potty Training, Ready, Get Set, Go!

We started potty training our little boy when he was around 18 months. He seemed ready. He knew how to say “wiwi” or “poo-poo.” He knew how to remove his diaper and short pants. He was interested to go to the bathroom often and to imitate me or his Dad when we need to go to the toilet. So, we shopped for his own potty. We were all excited for him to use it and be diaper-free soon. My husband was already computing how much we would save should our son stops wearing diapers.

We eagerly taught him how to urinate in the potty by letting him watch his Dad urinate. Then we practiced a number of times until he got excited to visit his potty often. Actually, he got so excited he would sometimes run to the potty repeatedly throughout the day. Then, something happened. Our maid left.

I ended up doing most of the household chores. I would be exhausted at the end of each day cleaning the house, cooking and taking care of the baby. The last thing on my mind was potty training. I felt at that time that I didn’t have the luxury of time to bring him to his potty many times during the day. I also dreaded the idea of having more things to clean when he would have accidents and when he poops in his potty. I felt that diapers were my best friends then; since I can just throw them in the garbage can with all the dirty wet wipes every time he soils his diaper. It went on for months until I realized that my son has already turned two years old and not yet potty trained. There was a feeling of guilt inside me but I had an excuse. We haven’t found a new maid yet. So, we conveniently used diapers even though our son keeps on telling us many times during the day that he wants to go to his potty to urinate or poop.

I realized that to successfully potty train your child, a parent should be ready as well, not just the child.

Our new maid arrived a month after our son turned two. Potty training was not on top of my list still. First, I wanted our maid to learn and get used to the daily work routine that my husband and I made for her. Second, I needed to teach her how to cook simple recipes because she doesn’t know how to cook. Now, that our maid is on her third month with us and is showing competence in cooking simple recipes and mastery of her daily work routine, potty training came to my mind once more.

I’ve read many articles from books and the internet on how to successfully potty train my child. They are all very good and helpful. I learned a lot of tips. But the most important thing I need to resume potty training our son is PATIENCE. I need to be patient in bringing him to his potty many times daily. I need to be patient and loving towards him when he makes mistakes and wets the floor, our beddings or furniture pieces. I need to patiently wait for him to finish his business in the potty and not pressure him to do it fast when he needs to poop. Patience, patience, patience. A truckload of patience. Then, I need to make a commitment to my son and to myself that I will drop everything when my son says he needs to go to the potty. Many things can distract me from honouring my commitment to help my son achieve this milestone. It can be as trivial as surfing the internet or getting in touch with friends through Facebook. It can also be serious stuff like finishing an article or preparing Power Point slides for a presentation or seminar. But I have finally arrived at the decision that whatever it is, I need to focus on my son and our goal to be free from being diaper dependent.

I have armed myself with knowledge and a lot of prayer. I have also decided to use a potty chart that will put stars every time he successfully urinates in his potty and a smiling face when he poops in it. I am excited and determined. More than being thrilled on saving a few hundred thousand pesos each month, I am energized to conquer my impatience and to grow in character as a mother. As early as now, I’m already looking forward to our diaper-free party when we’d celebrate our success on potty training. For this development is as much a milestone for me as a parent as it is for my child.

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