Potty Training: How to support your child by giving up expectations

On Saturday, my daughter told me she had to go to the bathroom. "Poop," she said, and when I asked if she wanted to go to the potty, she vigorously nodded. I got up from reading my book and started the routine. I tried to assume a stance that was unimposing yet supportive, leaning against the window sill in our bathroom as we waited. She sat on the training potty by our bathroom toilet. After pondering for a bit, she actually pooped on the potty. I applauded the action and involved her in the cleanup process. Potty training has commenced.


She has used the training potty every day so far this week. She did this once before at about fourteen months and then refused thereafter. I'm not attached to the habit sticking this time either, but I find it marvelous that she has decided (if only for a time) to make an effort. 


As with most things in parenthood, I'm learning to let go of expectations. Many of the stages kids go through in the first couple years go through a couple progressions and recessions. Like weening. I've night-weened my child at least three times now. She has completely stopped nursing at night for a week and then started again. Instead of giving up completely and feeling like a failure, I've decided that it's not up to me to decide some of these things, I have to wait for cues as to when she is ready. 


Being a control-freak makes parenting a lot harder, but I'm trying to find a flow state where I'm not pushing against resistance all the time. I'll be writing about this more in the next couple posts. With the potty training, I'm finding that my daughter doesn't want to be "trained," she does better when I am available to support her in her decision to use the bathroom. Letting go of expectations and pressure is helping both of us through these developments.