Potty Season Is About Awareness First, Success Second
1/1/1985 | by Gwenn S. O’Keeffe, MD, FAAP
Did you know that June is National Potty Training Awareness Month?
Typically, things only fall into the realm of “awareness” when they impact our kids’ lives in a major way. And, these special awareness months are not just to raise the level of chatter about important topics, but to help all of us take stock in the special challenges surrounding them.
I find these awareness months always have some special features in common:
1. They’re all important in the lives of children. In the case of potty training, this important milestone marks great independence for the child and the official transition from infancy to toddlerhood. There’s no way to diminish the significance of this moment for the child, regardless of the path taken to making diapers a thing of the past. The day the diaper finally (finally!) disappears is the day each and every child becomes an official Big Kid®!
2. They all embody a challenge. While potty training is not the life altering challenge that some of the other awareness campaigns embody, it is a challenge indeed. Some families seem to slide through the process seamlessly while others find the process one of the most stressful moments of their children’s lives.
3. They are significant for parents, too. The day the diaper disappears is the day each and every child becomes an official Big Kid, and that’s not easy for every parent. Some parents love it and yearn for it, while others moan the loss of the infant left behind.
4. They help create a sense of community via shared experiences and drive parents to rally around each other and support the person who matters most: their child.
So, how can we best support each other this month? How can we best create awareness around the unique circumstances that potty training creates for each child and family?
Simple. We offer each other the shared recognition that because some of us have been there, we understand that there can be ups and downs, and we understand that each child is unique. We also offer the shared recognition that eventually every child “gets it” and that a parent’s job is to be cheerleader and supporter. If we do that, we will have created the type of awareness campaign potty training requires for kids – and for parents.
War story swapping creates stress. Cheering each other on for our own successes creates empowerment. That, to me, is what our goal is this month.
Good luck with your adventure in moving from diapers to the potty. Your child will get there…that much I can promise you.