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What Oprah can Teach Us About Potty Training!

aha moment oprah potty potty training stress toddler unicorn

While reading last month’s “What I know for Sure” article in Oprah’s "O" Magazine, the following phrase jumped out:

 “Stress is caused by wanting this moment to be something it is not.”

While we are sure, it was not her intention, Oprah actually got to the heart of so much of the angst surrounding potty training (cue the aha moment). Many parents contact us saying they are stressed out by potty training before they have even started the process. They have heard horror stories and are already dreading it, and wishing for it to be over.  Others are a few days into training, feeling completely wrecked by their child’s inability to “get it” in the magical 3-day window (an unrealistic goal for most children). The last group has been working at potty training for 6 months to a year, with lots of stops and re-starts. This group is now absolutely convinced that their child will go to college in diapers.  What all these parents have in common is that they are super-focused on what potty training “might be” or “should be” instead of what it actually is, for their unique child, in that specific moment.

Like most things in parenting, potty training is rarely like anything you imagined.   And it probably won’t be like the magical unicorn stories you hear on the playground either: “My daughter potty trained herself in a weekend” or “My son just asked for underwear, and that was it.”   Potty training can take 6-8 weeks for your child to master ,and there will be messes, as sure as the sun rises each day. All the wishing in the world won’t change this. But fighting the moment is just as pointless.

We won’t advise you to embrace potty training cause that may be a tall order. Instead embrace the opportunity to spend quality time with your child and discover how they learn. Teach them how to persevere. Teach them how to celebrate success. Teach them how to recover from mistakes. Teach them that as their parent, you’ve always got their back and even through the big messes of life (and there will be bigger ones than poop on the floor), you will always love them. Potty training becomes much easier when you focus on the child before you and are realistic about their personal readiness and capabilities, regardless of what age they are.  

So listen to Oprah and be present in the moment. Believe it or not, one day, when you are battling over curfews and car keys, you will miss this milestone of toddlerhood.


For more info on potty training readiness click here:

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