Sometimes it really does take a village

standard May 21, 2008 3 responses

The shelves in my bedroom as sagging under the weight of parenting books. No joke, that’s how many I have. And yet, I’ve never ever cracked a single chapter on the topic of potty training. Ask me anything about breast feeding or sleep training. Go on. I dare you. In fact I double dog dare you. But please don’t ask me about potty training. Because that? I’ve got no clue.

Wait, that’s not true. I do have a clue. You’re supposed to give candy or something. Right? Oh, and you’re not supposed to pressure anyone to do anything. And never get mad about accidents. So basically you give your tyrant of a toddler free reign to pee wherever and whenever and to eat candy on a whim and you just hope that they chose the potty. No? See why I was scared to read up on this? Oy.

But of course I had visions of being able to potty train my kids in the blink of an eye; no accidents, no hassle. People would stare and comment on my superior parenting skills. There would be a parade in my honor. Books would be written. It was going to be great. Then I had kids and I learned that nothing goes the way you plan or dream.

That said, in my vision I was going to manage to potty train C over the course of a weekend, maybe a long one, so that I could deliver her to daycare one morning and be able to say with confidence “No more diapers!” I wasn’t so much concerned about how great a mom they thought I was and more about how much extra work I was assigning. 14 kids is challenging enough, 14 kids plus one that’s trying to learn to pee and poop on the potty is pushing it.

On Sunday when C declared she was done with diapers my heart sank a little. One day does not a potty training graduate make. So when I dropped her off on Monday morning and handed over with two changes of clothing I apologized for the extra hassle, but there wasn’t much else I could do.

Today I realized I’d forgotten an essential element: they love my kid and they are completely invested in her success. Frankly it was hard to tell who was most excited about her poop in the potty victory. The daycare director and C told me at the same time, both of them glowing with excitement. Then she and I discussed what kinds of treats she could give C as small rewards during this process. The annoyance I had feared was nowhere to be seen, instead all I saw was enthusiasm. It filled me with warm fuzzies.

I may not know what the heck I’m doing when it comes to potty training, but I’m not alone and my new partners have been around the block a few times. It’s good to have a village to rely on.

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