Potty Training – the Mom Fail

Have you ever hit that point as a mom where you are pulling your hair out because of something your kiddo is doing, and then BAM you realize, “Uh oh. I caused this behavior.”

Yeah that. That’s no fun.

I’m an analyst, and by my very nature, I’m strategic in how I act towards my 2 year-old Samuel. When he’s behaving a certain way, I’m looking for the causes, knowing that sometimes the cause is HE’S TWO. 😉 When I teach him something or show him how to do something, I’m already thinking of the next level so that when he’s ready for it, I can build from the way I’m teaching him now.

I’m not tooting my horn about this; it’s probably quite annoying to anyone watching, and maybe to Sammy too! Haha! It’s just how I’m wired and how I approach being a mommy.

But sometime lately, all of that pre-planning broke down. I found myself angrily yelling when my son had a poopoo accident. He cried. I was just focused on containing the mess and didn’t think about what I had just done.

At that moment, Brad and I were leaving to go out of town. When I got back in town, guess what happened? My son, who had potty trained just fine, all of a sudden would not even step foot in the bathroom with me. He had potty accidents for an entire day because he was alone with me and – I imagine – scared that I would get mad at him.

It hit me halfway through the day that I must have scared him away from the potty with my negative reaction, and I wanted to convince myself that it was just that one situation, but I couldn’t. I realized that my frustration at the pottying had been escalating, and he was having accidents almost exclusively with me.

Doesn’t that just make me sound like mom of the year?

The day all of this hit me was a very emotional day. I felt so terrible that I had reacted so rashly and let emotion enter a very sensitive space – a naked, vulnerable, learning space. I made sure not to push Samuel to potty at all, and I coaxed him into the bathroom – just to change clothes – so that he would see that I wasn’t mad at him.

I apologized to him, but he didn’t seem to understand. Thankfully, kids are just SO forgiving anyway. And over the next few days, with a completely different perspective, and a return to CANDY FOR POTTYING :), Samuel seems to trust me again.

I truly hope I remember this moment. Because what if I do the same thing to my children when they’re trying to learn their multiplication tables, or when they have a sin pattern in their life, or when they just aren’t meeting my expectations in some way? How much more damaging will that be?

I’m grateful that God gives us grace 100% of the time, and I want to be a parent that models grace and mercy for my children.

Would you share a time where you succeeded in giving grace or mercy – even when it was hard?

4 thoughts on “Potty Training – the Mom Fail

  1. Donna

    Great insite Stephanie! I love how you show your vulnerabilty & are willing to face it head on.
    I remember in my son’s early years how I could easily lose it with him because of his bad temper, of course he got that from his father & not me LOL!). I would usually send him to his room “to think about it”. But what ended up happening was he had full reign to demonstrate his anger on his toys! I would hear things being thrown around & crashing against the floor. That would only make me more upset so I would yell from the livingroom to him that disrespecting his toys & breaking things would not help him calm down & that he needed to relax. (Knowing in my mind that if he could learn to calm himself down he could better deal with his emotions & think more clearly….also to give me time to calm down as well. hehe ). So my plan was to help him see that he could control his reactions to anger & think more clearly giving him have better understanding that he didn’t have to rush in & react to his anger in such a strong way. Well though it all seemed quite logical in my adult mind, my 4 year old was not getting it at all..to say the least. He yells back to me “HOW CAN I CALM DOWN WHEN BODY WON’T LET ME!” Out of the mouths of babes, right! I realized in that moment that our “flesh” isn’t naturally born knowing how to be controlled by the spirit. It has to be “tamed” & that I had to teach him that his mind is what is controlling his reactions, not his body. Not easy for a young mind to comprehend. And the strange thing is he didn’t seem to be as demonstrative/(“demon”strative lol) when his father was home. Not fair, I’m with him all day & he listens to his dad better than he does to me! AUTHORITY! His voice had authority. Mine had more compassion & understanding about how he was feeling. I believe that God gave women softer voices for this reason, someone they can turn to, even in adulthood, for grace, mercy & understanding. It’s just part of our making that the Lord intended when he created Eve to be the other half of Adam. Are we blessed! 🙂

    1. Stephanie Post author

      Donna – I’m glad you posted a “long” comment LOL! Great hearing from another mom on their headstrong toddlers! This reminded me: the other day, I told Brad, “He loves me, but he looks up to you.” Yup – that’s how boys are with dad! He’s the hero! Must be nice. 😉 I have to remember that is by design!!!

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