This is a guest post from my good friend @Gin_Elie.
Ah, the joys of parenting! Especially if you’re a first-timer. The expectations… the questions… the answers that you’ll only find for yourself. When you become a parent for the first time, you always ask your friends and family for advise. But no child is like the other and none of them come with an owner’s manual. Especially when it comes to potty training.
I remember when I was teaching my daughter to go to the potty. She was 3 years-old, a little late for some. And yes, I asked for advise and tried to follow most of them like: letting my child come with me into the bathroom and watch me sit; explain to her why it is important to let go of the diaper; let her pee on herself and tell her to help you clean up, and so on. Somehow, she was very afraid of the toilet! She avoided it as if it were a monster! I googled for similar situations, read every answer to every question and I tried them all without success. I felt so frustrated and unaccomplished, and she could also feel my frustration!
Then, my brother-in-law said the simplest thing: “Don’t worry, she won’t be using diapers in College!” Wow! At first I thought it was the most ridiculous comment anyone had ever said to me. And then I got it! All he meant was to be patient, to take it easy on the child. Let her be, she’ll get it soon enough. So I just relaxed and stopped pressuring her!
She wouldn’t announce she had to go do “#1”. So the incident was always a surprise. She knew it was wrong, she always appologized. Then slowly she started to let me know, although still afraid of the toilet.
Then, the day came. It was a saturday. We were going sailing on my dad’s boat. I sensed she had to go (mother’s instinct), on the floor of my dad’s sailboat! “NO!” I screamed to myself. “Not here!” We were standing in front of the boat’s “head” (that’s how they call a boat’s toilet) so I just grabbed her, sat her down on it and she let go… with a smile! I said: “See? Nothing was going to happen. Wasn’t it easier on the toilet?”. “Yes, mommy. It was!”, she replied with amazement. One down… #2 to go!
Now that one was even harder!!! Months went by and the only way she would do #2 was on her diaper. She knew it was easier on the toilet, so why was she not trying? Here we go again, the advises, the research… the torture!