March 28, 2012

On her own

You know how it goes. Two steps forward, one step back. SB had her first accident in big girl underpants the other day.

It has happened a few times in Pull-Ups. She tends to not want to stop playing to use the potty. Which is pretty normal. So I will remind her throughout the day. I had been reluctant to put her in underwear for this very reason. But I figured we had to bite the bullet at some point.

And accidents are part of the process. The first day in big girl panties, she did great. Even used a public restroom, which she tends to not want to do. (And I'm amazed how long she can hold it to be able to use her own potty at home.)

The second day, she peed all over herself and our deck.

Truth be told, I was a little irritated. I had just asked her to try to use the potty. I know when she needs to go. And usually she will agree to try and have success.

This time, she wouldn't. So, we went outside to play. And it happened.

It made for very easy clean up. I'm grateful for that. It was a warm day, so I just stripped her down and got out the hose. Which we had been planning to play with anyway.

She was so shocked and upset it was impossible to be mad. I gently comforted her, told her it was OK. That it happens sometimes and I was confident next time she would be able to get to the potty in time. I did not make a big deal about it. I don't think I needed to.

She knew it wasn't a good thing, and she didn't like the way it felt. That will carry much more weight than anything I could say or do. It is part of the process.

The rest of the day did not go so well. She had a few more accidents before bedtime. I didn't handle them quite as well as the first one. The next day she started out strong, then things went downhill.

I put the underwear away. She's back in Pull-Ups. For now.

I didn't think she was really ready for underpants, but she wanted to try. And I needed to let her. Even if I believed she would fail.

Because she needs to fail. On her own. Just as much as she needs to succeed on her own.

That is my overall philosophy about raising my child. My job as a parent, as I view it, is to support her in both situations and help her see them as opportunities. She will learn as much, if not more, from failing as she will from succeeding.

And she will fare much better out in the big scary world someday if I allow her to do both.

Of course I want her to succeed. And I want to help her build the tools she will need to do so. But failure is a part of life, too. Helping her learn how to get up, brush off and keep going is just as important as celebrating her successes.

Today, it's potty training. Tomorrow, it will be much bigger things.
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