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Daddio's Corner, Featured

Navigating Potty Training and Independence

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Potty Training – yikes! As parents, few experiences match the joy of witnessing our children conquer new challenges, each victory marking a milestone in their development. However, there’s one particular phase that often brings a mix of nostalgia and anxiety—the infamous “I Do/Myself” stage.

If you’re a parent, you likely remember those countless moments of hurriedly waiting as your child insisted on doing things independently, from getting into the car to struggling with shoes or a jacket. Recently, our family found ourselves once again immersed in this phase, this time coupled with the initiation of potty training for our youngest daughter.

In this blog post, we aim to share our journey, providing insights, practical tips, and a touch of humor for fellow parents navigating the intricate terrain of the “I Do/Myself” phase and the unique challenge of potty training.

Potty Training: The Ultimate Potty-Training Guide for Dad’s

1. Timing is Everything:

    • Recognize the right time to introduce the potty. Every child is unique, so be attuned to their cues and readiness signals.

2. Make it Their Idea:

    • Embrace the wisdom of making them think it was their idea. Place the kids’ potty where they play and let them explore it naturally, fostering curiosity.

3. Monkey See, Monkey Do:

    • Leverage the power of imitation. Children often learn by observing, so find children’s books and TV shows that feature characters using the potty to make it relatable and fun.

4. Repetition is Key:

    • Understand that kids thrive on repetition. Continually discuss the concept of using the potty, reinforcing key terms like “Pee-Pees” and “Doo-Doos” to help them grasp the idea.

5. Encourage Independence:

    • Embrace the “I Do/Myself” spirit. Let your child take charge of the entire bathroom routine—lifting the lid, pulling down pants, going potty, wiping, flushing, pulling clothes back up, and washing hands. Patience is key.

6. Books and Screen Time:

    • Integrate books and screen time strategically. Choose engaging books about potty training and find TV shows with similar themes to make the learning process enjoyable and educational.

7. Celebrate Every Step:

    • Be the cheerleader. Celebrate each successful step with enthusiasm—high-fives, hugs, and cheers. Positive reinforcement creates positive associations and motivates them for the next round.

8. Prepare for Messes:

    • Accept that messes are part of the learning process. Have cleaning supplies ready, stay calm during accidents, and remember it’s a temporary phase.

9. Quality Over Speed:

    • It’s not a race. While the temptation to speed things up may be strong, remember that the journey is about quality learning experiences. The more they repeat, the quicker they’ll master it.

10. Create a Joyful Experience:

    • Foster a positive environment. Turn the learning process into a joyful adventure. Your child’s happiness during this phase contributes to your own joy as a parent.

11. Embrace Imperfections:

    • Understand that perfection is not the goal. Embrace imperfections, celebrate progress, and find humor in the journey. Parenting is an adventure filled with unexpected moments—treasure them all.

12. Enjoy the Ride:

    • Above all, savor the moments. The “I Do/Myself” phase and potty training are fleeting chapters in your child’s development. Enjoy the ride, relish the victories, and create lasting memories.

Making Them Think It Was Their Idea:

Navigating the “I Do/Myself” phase and introducing the concept of potty training requires a delicate touch. The cornerstone advice we received was simple yet profound: “You have to make them think it was their idea.” Children, by nature, resist change and find comfort in routines. Applying this principle to potty training, we strategically placed the kids’ potty in the playroom, allowing our daughter to discover it organically. Once she interacted with it herself, we seized the opportunity to explain its purpose, engaging her curiosity. For children aged 2 or 3, who often harp on key words or phrases, consistent repetition becomes paramount. Throughout this phase, we talked about “Pee-Pees” and “Doo-Doos” regularly, recognizing that understanding and mastery take time.

Reinforcing the Change:

To further solidify the shift from diapers to using the potty, we integrated books and TV shows centered on the theme into our daily routine. Reading books about kids using the potty became a cherished activity, aligning seamlessly with our ongoing conversations. Children typically adhere to the “Monkey See-Monkey Do” standard, and exposing them to characters using the potty serves as a powerful learning tool. During the “I Do/Myself” phase, we empowered our daughter to perform every step of the bathroom routine independently, even if it meant extending the process. The satisfaction she derived from managing the activity herself significantly contributed to her overall sense of accomplishment.

Celebrating Wins:

Undoubtedly, the journey involves its fair share of challenges, from cleaning up inevitable messes to managing tantrums. However, celebrating each successful step is not just beneficial but crucial. Positive reinforcement, whether in the form of high-fives, hugs, or cheers, plays a pivotal role in creating patterned behavior. The feeling of pride and accomplishment serves as a powerful motivator for both children and adults. As parents, recognizing and acknowledging the small victories and transforming them into exciting moments contribute significantly to creating positive associations with the new skill.

In essence, potty training during the “I Do/Myself” phase is far from a perfect science. Every child has their unique pace of learning, and the key lies in adhering to principles while joyfully celebrating successes. Parenting is an ongoing journey of survival, and finding joy in the learning process can make the good days even more enjoyable. As our daughter consistently uses the potty, each occasion is met with cheers, high-fives, and hugs—reinforcing the positive experience and setting the stage for further success. Remember, the happier your child is during this learning process, the happier you’ll be navigating the challenges of parenthood. Embrace the journey, celebrate the wins, and find joy in the adventure of parenthood during the “I Do/Myself” phase.

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Allison Conway


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