The new year is upon us and, if you’re like me, your mind out of habit is gravitating toward “New Year’s Resolutions.” (It’s a given that two of mine will be to exercise more and eat less—and this year I mean it!)
But as I let my mind drift back, it returns to a New Years over 20 years ago—1988 to be exact--when my son, Kai, was 2 ½ and I was facing (no, dreading!) the challenge of potty training. I had been asked by my mother-in-law over Christmas why he wasn’t trained yet and I told her he “wasn’t ready” and that my pediatrician had assured me that Kai would let me know when the time was right. But darn it, he seemed perfectly content to let things continue as they were! The problem with this was that I needed to enroll him in a new child care program more convenient to the university where I taught and they wouldn’t let him in unless he was out of diapers.
So, I made a New Year’s Resolution to start in the Spring. Ready or not, here I come—with the potty! By that time he was closing in on 3 and really not interested in wasting time using the potty when he could be playing and just using his diaper as he had been doing for the past 30 months. Problem was that the child care enrollment deadline was looming and he simply had to get trained!
Fortunately, the passage of time has dimmed my memory of the struggles that ensued (and there were struggles)—with one exception. I remember vividly promising the director of the child care center that he was, indeed, trained—and then feigning surprise when they would inform me that he had had an accident again. “Oh, I’m sure it’s the stress of starting a new school,” I lied. I’m not proud of myself for lying to them, but, like many parents before and since, I was desperate!
Since that time I’ve learned a lot about potty training, enough in fact, to feel comfortable writing about a book about it and creating a whole program designed to make it easier for parent and child alike. In the next few postings I’ll talk about some of the most important lessons I’ve learned in the hope that it will help some of you out there to make good on your own New Year’s “Potty Time” Resolution.
Co-Founder, the Baby Signs Program
Professor Emeritus, UC Davis