Great Ideas Start With Big Decisions
So, I decided it was time to hit hard on the potty training recently. My son is 3 1/2 and the transition to his next class at the daycare requires he be in underwear. And that transition usually happens mid-August.
My husband and I have been pretty casual about Ethan using the toilet. If we happened to catch him in time and he used the potty, great. But we haven’t been all drill sergeant, regimented routine about it.
And then the teacher said, “Well, if he wants to advance to the next class…….” And of course, we parents never want our child left behind. So it was ON.
But Sometimes Your Decisions Are Not Right At The Time
I decided (without really discussing it with my husband- *sigh bad move*) that one particular weekend, we would just throw Ethan in underwear and start an every 20 minutes to the potty routine.
After about 200 pairs of underwear (or wait, did it just seem like that because the washer was going ALL THE TIME????), multiple uses of the carpet cleaning machine, and washcloths flying around like ninja warrior stars, it all came to a head on Father’s Day.
I volunteered to cook breakfast and dinner for my husband (he’s normally the chef). That meant I was in the kitchen for a good part of the day. That also meant he was primarily in charge of working with Ethan re: potty training.
Quite honestly, a TERRIBLE way for him to spend Father’s Day.
And Then Your Decisions Wreak Havoc on You and Everyone Around You
By that afternoon, after we had all screamed at each other (including our daughter, who was actually trying to help by taking off his shorts, but in turn enabled him to poop on the carpet- DEAR LORD) and I spent half an hour crying, we said Enough is Enough.
Hubby and I looked at each and said “This isn’t working. He’s not ready. And forcing it to happen when it’s just not time is making us sick, stressed and unhappy.”
So, we circled back and decided to lay off. I put him in a Pullup and when we managed to catch him before he went, we celebrated. And the minute we stepped back, you could feel the tension dissolve. Everyone started smiling again.
And wouldn’t you know it? That next week at daycare, he managed to use the potty successfully at least once a day. Which is a damn sight better than anything we accomplished. He’s got a ways to go, but he’s doing it on his schedule.
Here’s the lesson to take away from all of this
If you have to force it, it’s not meant to be, at least at that particular time. This could be when you’re trying to write a blog post. Or writing an ad. Or dreaming up the next big thing.
Whatever it is, trying to force the idea will make you angry, stressed and miserable. Your “house” will be in turmoil. And you’ll feel worthless.
What Potty Training Has Taught Me About Idea Creation
- First, acknowledge it just isn’t going to happen. And it’s OK that it isn’t.
- Fall back and hash out a new course of action
- Ease up on yourself
- Get a change of scenery if necessary
- Laughing at yourself and the situation is crucial
- Talk to others- you would be amazed at the constructive advice/information I got from friends that basically said “Carrie, he’s not ready.” Get feedback from others about your idea- they may offer tips/guidance you never thought about
- Maybe your big idea will turn into a different, but better idea
We were forcing the issue with Ethan, and getting nowhere (except a ride to Crazytown). It just isn’t worth it folks.
He’ll get it. And so will you.
What do you seek for inspiration when wrestling with ideas? What do you do to get over the hump? Any strategies you’d like to share?
*Bonus- Here’s a picture of my boy- so 10 years from now, he can say “MOM! Why did you write about potty training me for the entire world to see?”