Hi guys. Been awhile, I know. This household has been a busy one - annual National Guard training that left me a single mom for three weeks, potty training, catching up on homework, catching up on parenting, catching up on marriage, catching up on life.
I hope you caught that potty training bit, because it's sort of a big deal. And by big deal, I mean that we no longer use cloth diapers. Yeah, that's right, we have a (more or less) potty trained child!
What happened? Peer pressure. All she needed was two hours of watching her friends using their potty at their home, and the next day she basically started training herself. Since that fateful day, we've been working out of diapers into underwear one small step at a time. She's even gone on a couple tentative grocery trips and walks to the park in underwear.
I learned something important from watching my child develop this skill over the last month -
Kids learn differently. [Uh, yeah, Shelby. That's, like, child-rearing 101.]
I've decided that each different method of potty training isn't better than another, but rather, each will be effective if it hits a child's learning style. I know the 3-day potty party method works, because I personally know kids that it worked for. Same goes for the bribery method. Why didn't they work for my kid, though? Because she likes to do things with her peers. (But not with me, apparently. I tried the show-and-tell method for months and it did nothing.) Since this slow realization I've been keeping a more watchful eye on how she relates with her friends, and I have seen that her interest in copying other kids is high, and I mean really high.
On one hand, it's great. When my child follows a three-year-old buddy around the park, she will push herself to try out new parts of the playground that I can't convince her to go near. On the other hand, it means that I will have to be extra-sensitive to what sorts of influence her friends will have on her. But this realization has been good for me. I see my child a little bit more as a future adult with her own strengths and weaknesses. I can't just teach through the "methods" from books or what's popular in the child-rearing world and expect immediate success. Rather, I have to teach my child in ways that fits how she learns and who she is as a little person.
It's been a bit sobering realizing all this. One, because I can't slack on my parenting if I really want to follow through on this discovery. I have to stay alert to what she's absorbing in the world and how she's taking it all in, and then work with it to influence her in the direction I want to see her go in life. Two, its another sign that she's growing up, and growing up quickly. My chance to influence my child is going to be gone sooner than I'd like. Now is the time for me to set a foundation of showing her healthy peer relationships by guiding her when she is with her friends and setting an example with my own friendships.
But the future also looks pretty bright from here. This house is going to be stocked with potty rewards [commonly referred to as M&Ms] for a very, very long time. :)
How did the potty training process go for you? Did you find that certain ways worked a lot better than others? Did you see your child's style of learning come out in their potty training?