Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Praise and the Potty

So I had a lot of motivation to potty train my daughter. I was about to birth a new child who was going to also be wearing diapers. Just the thought of having two kids in diapers makes my hair turn gray, so big kudos to those of you who have to go through it and do it with grace and your natural-born hair color. So we potty-trained my daughter and switched her bed to the big-girl bed around the time she was 2. A few months later I had my son and we had a little regression with the potty, but nothing major. Only one in diapers. Hooray! Done and done. 
Our little Stinker Belle

But my son's second birthday came and went and we had no desire to shake things up. We don't have another little diaper-wearer on the way. But finally I had a few glaring signs that it was time to kick this potty training thing into high gear. For one thing, he kept taking his diaper off during his naps. Like, every nap for several weeks. That was some fun laundry, let me tell you. Also, my perfectly cheap Amazon Mom Subscribe & Save diaper program increased their price by $6 a box. If you want to get me to make a change, hit me in my pocketbook. I am a frugal momma and hate paying more money for something than I absolutely have to, especially if there is a way I can get around using that product at all. So we decided to tackle potty training. We put it on the schedule during a holiday and I committed to staying home for at least 2 days so we could give it a fair shot. I was so eager we even started half a day early. We were home sick anyways so why not make use of that time. On Sunday, after nap time I took Davis' diaper off and we left it off. (Sorry Pull-Ups, you aren't welcome here either.) I offered him lots of yummy drinks and showed him the new treats he would get if he stayed clean and dry.  

My son is strong-willed! He drank and drank and drank and refused to go potty for several hours! Finally, as we sat down for dinner he ran in to go potty and went just the tiniest bit. The look of joy that overcame his face was priceless! He figured it out! He understood what we meant! He was rewarded with a high five and chocolate cheerios! Yay! hooray! A light at the end of the tunnel! The excitement was felt from every member of the family! Two minutes later.... off to the potty again. Tiniest little amount of potty, huge reward and excitement! This happened about 20 times in that hour! This little boy had discovered a gold mine. We had praised him for staying clean and dry up to that point, but he saw our excitement when he actually went in the potty! He wanted to harness that praise and energy
and repeat it over and over again!

I'm not going to bore you with all the details of our potty-training. (I hear a huge thank you out there!) Ask details if you want them. And to my family members who have received all the details, every step of the way: You're welcome. If you are interested in the method we used I highly recommend reading On Becoming Pottywise which provides a lot of great tools and several different ways to train. It's the book we used with both our children even though we trained them differently. 

I am kind of amazed at how well my son has done. The past several days haven't been without accidents. Just this afternoon we had a huge accident. Pantry and potty apparently sound similar. But I digress... This process has been more for me than just training my son to stay clean and dry. He is at that age where every day seems to contain new frustrations to me as his mom. I am constantly amazed at my lack of patience. By the time naptime comes around I usually have a few more gray hairs than I started with that day. This process of potty training has given me opportunity to celebrate and dance around in joy and praise my son. He is probably confused as to who is this happy woman who has invaded his mother's body. 

I had a moment of clarity today. No one claps for me, when I go #2 on the potty. But if I didn't the world sure would let me know it's expectations. Why is the world such a harsh place when it comes to praise and recognition? As parents we do have to prepare our kids for a world that's like that, yes. But as parents we also have to introduce more opportunities where we can praise and recognize our kids achievements. When we sit down at meals we praise God for the food he has provided with a blessing, but then we may not continue that praise into family mealtime. I know I am guilty of highlighting the day's faults like it's the evening news of who got time-out for what. There are plenty of opportunities for correction and consequences naturally built into the day of two-year-old, but at this tender age I seem to have to make it a point to seek out the positive and highlight the good.  I am going to challenge myself from now on to look for more opportunities to praise and reward my kids more often. To praise my family, my friends, my cashier at the grocery store. Wouldn't the world be a nicer place to live if we all clapped and high-fived every-time someone exited the rest room? Kind of a weird place to live, yes. But you get my drift! 

1 comment:

  1. Congrats to the little man! Love the idea of using the joe o's. And I love the reminder to seek out ways to encourage, needed to hear that.