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Shifting My Expectations Toward Potty Learning

It's been a few weeks since I've written about Gus' potty learning journey and I wanted to talk about it again. He is still mostly wearing underwear here at home, but diapers when we are out and about. I plan to shift to all undies during the school year when he's the only one with me, right now I just can't deal with three kids in public and have to also deal with wet clothes and poop. That might not be the most Montessori answer, but it is what works for our family. And, what keeps the process stress free for us, which I think is most important. 

Undertaking the potty learning process has required me to shift my thinking as an adult.

I wanted to talk about shifting my expectations for potty learning. Because there has been a big shift. When I first started parenting, I didn't know anything about potty learning, I would have called it potty training, and it most certainly was a system based on rewards, an adult imposed time table and frustration. So this has been a shift. A shift towards learning. A shift towards respect and time. I'm not expecting anything overnight. I'm creating a new routine. 

This means I need to be: 
  • neutral toward accidents 
  • flexible - his plan might not always be my plan
  • kind and empathetic - this is a big change 
  • enthusiastic but not fake - this excitement has to be real, really invested in him and his journey without cheapening it by making it over the top. Basically, it needs to be genuine. 
  • patient this is learning, just like with learning to walk, talk, sit, stand, use toys - it takes time and practice and mistakes and exploration. 
I have also needed to shift my expectations away from perfection. On a couple fronts. One, the idea that potty learning will be this perfect process from diapers to underwear. That it will be a straight line. IT WILL NOT BE. There will be ups and downs, periods of intense interest, periods of no interest. There will be accidents, there will be success. I need to settle in for that ride. 

Undertaking the potty learning process has required me to shift my thinking as an adult.

BUT, I also need to let go of the idea of some "perfect" potty learning approach. My house is not a Montessori classroom. I cannot do everything exactly perfectly all the time. I need to know that there are times when I will feel discouraged, frustrated, and just need a break. And, that's alright too. 

This means I need to: 
  • recognize when I need to take a deep breath and step back from a situation 
  • make sure I'm making time for some self-care 
  • know that its alright to make adjustments (like using diapers out in public) when it's necessary for our family 
  • understand when its time for me to readjust our plan if something isn't working
It's a process that I'm excited to undertake! And, one that we will be walking through for awhile! If you are also starting to think about potty learning, looking for support, or otherwise wanting to learn more about potty learning, make sure you check out my course Your Toddler's Potty Plan



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