Embrace a Life Change. Customize Your Potty.
Potty training sucks.
It’s true. Not only does it suck from a parent’s perspective, but it can be pretty traumatic for toddlers, too. Trust me on this…I’ve been living the nightmare for several months now.
OK, OK. So, I’m being a little bit of a drama queen. That’s mostly for effect.
I really do have some important points to make that can apply to each and every single person on this planet.
If you take these points to heart, you will hit your “target” more often than not. Not only that, but life will be way more interesting along the way.
How Potty Training Evolved
During Paloma’s yearly check-up (the week after she turned 2), our pediatrician yelled at me and my husband because we hadn’t gotten on the potty training bandwagon yet. I was crushed. Because I’m someone who can’t keep a plant alive for more than a week, I thought our doc should have congratulated us on keeping the baby alive for another year.
We left the office. In the parking lot, I told James we were starting potty training right that second. I kissed Paloma’s chubby little face as I whispered the same thing in her ear.
She gazed up at me with her pretty hazel eyes. She had no clue what the hell I was talking about. Little did she know that when she got home, her control freak, overachiever, by-the-book mommy was about wedge a green frog potty under her a**.
Um…yeah. That didn’t work out so well.
From Diapers to Drama
The potty. It’s a life change for a toddler.
Potty = Change.
Paloma did not want to sit on her potty at all. She shrieked, she flailed, and she planked. She cried. And cried. Then cried some more.
And so did I.
After a couple of weeks of going through this emotional upheaval several times daily, my husband suggested that maybe Paloma just wasn’t ready for that change yet. He watched me pulling my hair out, feeling defeated and exhausted and wondered whether I wasn’t ready for the change, either.
For once, I listened to him. I was so relieved to have someone let me off the hook. I gave myself (and Paloma) permission to put this change on hold until we were both ready.
Potty Training and Life Lesson #1 – Don’t Force Change If You Really Aren’t Ready
Change is inevitable. Sometimes it is thrust upon you, and you have no choice about it. Other times though, YOU are putting too much pressure on yourself and forcing change. The fact of the matter may be that you aren’t ready or your time hasn’t come yet.
Have compassion for yourself. Give yourself a break. Let things ride. Don’t force it. Go with the flow.
Change is good. But if you aren’t ready and you have a choice about things, allow yourself to mature. Give yourself some time to get more experience under your belt. Start pepping yourself up with the courage and the energy to move forward when you no longer have a choice about things…
From Huggies to Hopkins
Fast forward six months. Paloma was ready. She didn’t tell me she was, but I could see it in her.
I was ready, too.
This time when I told her she was going to start using the potty like momma, I saw a flicker of understanding in her eyes. She knew what I was talking about. I took her over to the green frog potty again and…
I’ll be damned if she didn’t throw another screaming fit!
It was still a change for her. Still unfamiliar. Still as scary as before.
This time though, I believe Paloma’s “issue” was about her being stubborn and set in her ways more than anything. The experience (of flailing, of crying, of planking) was the same, but it was different than before – I could feel it. I knew she had evolved.
And, so had I…
So…I approached our potty training adventure differently this time. I made it fun for both of us. I talked to Paloma. I didn’t force her to sit her little bottom on that frog. Instead, I showed her books about the potty. We watched videos about going to the potty. We read books together when I was going to the potty. We made a big deal whenever her daddy went potty.
We became the family that flushes together…
Then, I started to see something happen. Paloma started wanting to customize her potty. She decorated him with stickers. She named him (Hopkins). She wanted to start sleeping with him. She wanted to take him outside.
She wanted to sit on him.
Not so bad this time around.
Well, I think the second time, it truly was the right time. Not only that, but Paloma became friends with and made peace with her potty (change).
The second time, with the pressure off, I had made peace with the process, too.
It all worked out.
Potty Training and Life Lesson #2 – Make Friends With Change When It Happens
There are times when there is no doubt – change is happening whether you like it or not. Whether or not change is a “good” thing for you depends on your perspective. I, for one, think change is always “good” regardless of how much I might complain about it…
Change is how each of us evolves as individuals.
Can you make friends with the life change you are experiencing? If you can and you do, that change is going to propel you into a better place. By embracing change (and like embracing the potty), you open yourself up to more freedom… Freedom from the past, freedom from the fear, freedom from the predictable, freedom from the rut.
Use the change in your life to make new friends, develop new hobbies, be exposed to a different culture, a different side of town or a new way of earning your living. Change opens the door to a universe of new possibilities. (Tweet this!)
Make friends with the change. Take it to bed with you every night, focusing on the best parts about it. Customize the change so it suits you. Celebrate the change with a name, with stickers, with a new hairdo, or with whatever you choose.
Love the changes. Be grateful for those changes. They are your biggest teachers.
Just like Paloma and her potty training have been mine.
Sending you my wishes for a week in which you make friends with the change.
All my best,