Potty training can be such an adventure. We are in the long and arduous process of potty training Charleigh, my second child and first little girl, to pee pee and poo poo in the potty. We have successfully trained Tucker to use the potty effectively and efficiently, and honestly Tucker was pretty easy. The essence of Tucker’s potty training included a week or two of trying to get him to use the potty and then his simple decision to do it. He did it. He does it. It was easy for him and still is easy. Charleigh, on the other hand, has been at this potty training thing for four months. Charleigh is a smart little girl who has a healthy self-awareness, but Charleigh is a bit on the stubborn side of things. Charleigh has conceded to pee pee in the potty, which is great, but she refuses to ummm… well to go to the potty for other reasons. Charleigh’s stubbornness frustrates me at times. Like, for instance, when she hides under my desk to go number two in her pull-up, or when I’m at a restaurant eating supper and she stands up and exclaims, “You need to change my diaper”.
My frustration with Charleigh is not that she is incapable of using the potty; my frustration is that she refuses to use it. My frustrations have lead to several unsuccessful attempts to motivate and necessitate potty usage.
The first technique is humiliation. The last time she hid under my desk to potty, I lashed out and immediately yelled for the entire office to hear, “Charleigh poo pooed in her pants!!!” I pushed it, “Hey, Mr. Matt did you hear that Charleigh poo pooed in her pants.” After that I drug her from under my desk to carry her into Mr. Matt’s office and made her face him. She was sheepish and embarrassed, but continued to use her pull-ups.
The second technique is what I refer to as, “a shot at the pride”. This has been my go to for a month or so. When Charleigh comes to me saying, “Change my pull-up,” I immediately get loud saying, “Charleigh you are a baby! Are you a baby like Ellie? Babies poo poo in their pants!” The technique has proven unsuccessful. Charleigh has now begun to respond to my jeers with cheerful agreement responding, “I’m a baby.”
The failed attempts at motivating my child to use the potty have proven frustrating, but have also revealed to me one of my fatal flaws. I guess God, through Charleigh, has revealed to me that my speech and motivation for Charleigh should be positive. For instance, my time of prayer and Bible reading this morning was in Proverbs. One of the Proverbs reads, “A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.”[i] I must confess that my fatal and sinful flaw is my tongue. My tongue lacks gentleness, is not life giving, and is often destructive. My tongue should give Charleigh a motivation that tells her she will be potty trained, that she is becoming potty trained. After all, isn’t that how the best Father speaks to us who are His children. I must note that God isn’t Father to all people, and all people are not His children. But for those who say, I turn from my way, I trust You as my Lord and Savior, He becomes the best Father saying, “I have begun a good work in you and I will bring it to completion… You are becoming!”[ii] Or saying, “If you are My child, you won’t continue in sin, defeated and filthy…. I will clean you up and teach you to be clean.”[iii]