Every parent longs for the day diapers are no longer a necessity. Quite literally, changing the baby’s diaper stinks. And even in a good economy, this single purchase can drain a household of precious resources.
Some parents try to push the issue too soon, and others anxiously look for those tell-tale cues that their child is ready to be seated atop the miniature throne. With my oldest daughter, potty training began around the age of two. The process seemed to go smoothly. Success was awarded with stickers (which to this day she goes nuts over). The only complication was the fact that the process took place in a divided household. Still, my oldest has proven from a very young age that she is adaptable to almost any situation.
Soon enough, we were ditching the diapers and wearing big girl panties. Mission accomplished. Or was it?
Little did I know four years ago that I would still be teaching my child how to use the facilities today. She has the know-how. It’s following through with proper procedure that is the problem. Despite years of experience, she somehow forgets the sequence to follow after she has relieved herself — wipe, flush, wash.
Each morning, when I make my first trip to the necessary room, I know who has been before me. The water in the bowl has a distinct tinge to it and is absent of tissue. Knowing that she has missed two out of three, I don’t have to guess as to whether she got the last all-important step.
So begins each new day in our training. I make my way into the living room where she has settled herself in front of a cartoon and remind her of protocol. Wipe. Flush. Wash. And seeing as there is no longer any point in going through with the first two steps, I lead her back into the bathroom to wash her hands (which she has already used to touch the remote control and her sister’s toys).
Throughout the day, I am on alert. When she goes to take care of business, I listen. If she does not satisfy my ears, I make her go back into the room and do the job properly. And I wonder how much longer I will have to do this.
Perhaps the two most important rules in training a child to do anything are to be consistent and to be patient. So, as I tell my child for the 700th time to wipe, flush, wash, I must tell myself to stop, breathe, be patient.
Good advice, no matter the challenge.