Brittany Arnold
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April 3, 2013
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Brittany Arnold: Potty-training is a lesson for Mommy, too

Never in my life have I spent more time in the bathroom; never have I been more challenged in parenting; never has something else made labor seem easy – hello, potty training (round-two).

This whole thing has had me so lost. I’ve Googled a million how-to’s, I have bought every sweet snack and Dollar Tree toy, and I’ve stood in a public bathroom for 30 minutes singing “It’s a Small World.”

For the past two weeks, pee and poop have been my world. Items in my purse have been replaced by a travel potty seat, towels, candy bag and fresh underwear.

However, for the past two weeks, Audrey hasn’t been the only one in-training – so has Mommy.

My patience and endurance have been put to the test. I’ve had to focus on encouraging without pushing and had to tame my inner-frustration with a big smile and an, “It’s OK!”

And there are days that I totally failed. The big sighs and tired tone of voice would erupt. How crushing it was to hear her ask, “Mommy, are you mad at me?”

After that, I felt God was doing some life-training on me.

This whole time her potty training had really been about me and the timing that I wanted her to be trained. It was about me comparing to other parents and their children. It was about me feeling like a failure if I couldn’t do it.

While I was being selfish, it was making her feel like the failure.

I needed a lot more than patience – I needed completely new motives that focused on her and not what I expected or wanted. I want to be the good coach, not the mean teacher.

It is hard to figure out an almost-3-year-old's feelings (especially being that she is naturally all-girl with an assortment of them), but by studying how she likes to learn, what makes her frustrated and what makes her confident – I was able to see her needed formula for potty training instead of going by what the books or what people keep telling me to do.

Every child is different, and so is every parent. I’ve learned it takes just as much practice and discipline from me as it does my toddler.

By working together, she has been successfully going on the potty for a few days and we are both so excited. Now, I just need to stop rewarding myself with gummy bears, too.

Brittany Arnold is married with one child and another on the way. Read her Wednesdays on Douglas County Moms. Also check out her personal blog here.

I needed a lot more than patience – I needed completely new motives that focused on her and not what I expected or wanted. I want to be the good coach, not the mean teacher.


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The News-Review Updated Nov 18, 2013 07:28PM Published Apr 11, 2013 08:16AM Copyright 2013 The News-Review. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.