I despised potty training.
None of my children were “easy” to potty train. I tried stickers, bribes, making a big deal out of buying underwear, putting the kids on the toilet every hour, having them run naked all day outside, and still it took an average of 9 months to potty train each child.
He would go just a little in the toilet so he could get a treat and then minutes later he would pee all over the floor.
Finally, when faced with the prospect of having three in diapers, I broke. We had been working with Kyle for over a year, he was four years old, and I was at my wits end. So, Derrick and I decided the next time he peed on the floor we would spank him.
It worked but it was not a proud parenting moment for me.
My heart broke and I felt like the worse mother in the world.
It didn’t seem fair that there where moms out there who could potty train their kids in a few days and here I was “the bad mom” spanking my child so he would pee on the toilet like a civilized person. I was humble and mortified at the same time. (Clarification: This is how I felt and not an appraisal on spanking children).
As it turned out, potty training would only be one of my many humbling parenting experiences. Luckily, I would have many more “bad mom” moments to come.
I know in my heart of hearts I am great mom.
But sometimes I get scared and nervous that my parenting choices will ruin my children’s chance at happiness and a great life. Because you know, if you scream at your child just once they will never get into a good college ; ) Learning to cut myself some slack as been a big part of my mothering experience.
Yes, I do scream at my kids on occasion, I can be harsh with them not because of what they did but because of my mood, and I have sent them to bed a few times without dinner. But I spend a lot more time, playing with my kids, laughing with my kids, listening to them, reading to them, hugging them, taking them on adventures, kissing them, showing an interest in their interests…. so, in the great scheme of things it looks like I am a pretty good parent. And my guess is you are too.
Here are a few parenting gems I learned from potty training my three kids!
- There is no such thing as Perfect Parenting.
- Mistakes are a part of good parenting.
- One size does not fit all when parenting kids. Kids come with their own unique personality. So, one child’s needs are not the same as another child’s needs.
- I can offer my children all the candy in the world but until they say so the mountain will not move.
- I can pick my battles. I can choose to die on the, “I refuse to pee in the toilet” tree or not.
- Children can be frustrating. Luckily, I can choose how I want to respond to their needs.
- I am a great mom. Doing the best I can with what I have been given.
FYI: All my kids survived potty training and are still great kids.