Saturday, October 07, 2006

Potty Training and Goal Setting with Your Child - Empowerment or Shame?

I'm always amazed at the sheer vast numbers of parents who are looking for help on how to potty-train their toddlers.

Potty or toilet training is a huge milestone for you and your baby or toddler and is an episode that can either teach your child empowerment or embarrassment. Which will it be for YOUR child?

I cringe to tell you this but my earliest memory is of wetting myself. Here is how I remember it...

"It’s very late. It’s dark outside. The sky is pitch black, and something amazing is happening. Soft white flakes are drifting down from the sky, slowly and quietly. Everything is quiet; it must be that the whole world is asleep.
Somehow I persuade the big people to take me outside to see this miracle for myself. They put me in yellow Wellingtons and a fluffy yellow all-in-one thing, called a Snowsuit, and let me stand outside. I reach out my tiny hands to try and catch the snow, and watch it gently settle on the ground and the railings of the balcony outside our flat."

"Before I realise what is happening, my little bladder gives in to the cold and I feel a warm wet sensation flooding my lower body and seeping into my wellington boots. Following quickly on the heels of that physical sensation comes a crippling feeling of utter shame. Mother and Father expect me to be perfect, how could I let them down like this?"

This memory has always been a very vivid one for me - such intense shame and guilt, knowing that I had done something terrible. I assumed that I must have been about 5 or 6 years old to feel so ashamed of having an accident.

Imagine my surprise when I mentioned this memory to my mother and she said, "Oh yes, I remember that and you in your yellow snowsuit. You were only two."

TWO? Two innocent years old and I felt THAT terrible about a little accident?

I hope that you will choose to teach your child EMPOWERMENT by using PRAISE in your potty training, rather than using PUNISHMENT, guilt and shame like my mother did.

For more suggestions on positive potty training, check out Monicka's article on Potty Training  and if your child was successfully potty trained but is experiencing problems, this article on Potty Training Problems and Regression might help!

Happy Goal setting with your kids!

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