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Potty training. I am sure volumes of books have been written on the subject but just in case you wondered, here is my two cents worth on the topic.

Isn’t it all about respect? Respect for the other person’s needs, and in this case it’s your child who needs you to show them how to become a functional adult capable of using public restrooms without embarrassing himself. Objective, matter-of-factness is the tack we took, avoiding any negative words like dirty or messy or what-the-hell-is-this-huge-mess, to show respect for the fact that learning was taking place and mistakes are expected in any education.

The more you fuss about the process the more you send the message that there is a problem and it is because of the child, and the more destruction and dysfunction you can expect for that day and probably those into the future. Putting pull-ups on a child who is potty training is sending a loud and disrespectful message that you expect them to fail. The more you respect the process as one of trial and error including wet clothes and accidents, and respect the child as a student who in time, if not now, will willingly learn what you teach, the more likely your child will detect your understanding of their position and be open to learning what to do. Bodily functions fall into that small category of things that you have zero control over as a parent (like your child’s eating and sleeping as well) and so getting use to allowing your child to own his own power over these areas is the first step to respecting your child’s long journey to adulthood.

To me, kids who want to learn to use the bathroom do so quickly, and those that are not ready do not. Kids who are not ready may not be ready because the adults in their lives are standing in the way.

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