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Spring, the month of May in particular, is always a hectic month for us, and this past weekend was no different.  We have a long list of projects that we want to get done, and had pegged this past weekend to look at one or both of: Moving the kids sandbox and moving ahead on our painting project.

In the end, we did neither of them.

And it was the best possible decision we could have made.

When Focus Equals Results

The reason that we dropped our other projects is because we had something else that we needed to focus on, and we realized that unless we dedicated ourselves to what needed to be done, it wouldn't succeed.

What was it?

Potty training our daughter.

Our daughter is almost three.  She'll hit that age in just over three weeks.  We tried potty training her a few months ago to no success.  She had no interest and fought us every step of the way.  After a few days, my tired wife pulled the diapers back out and decided we would try again in a few months.

This past week, that time came to pass.

My wife actually started again earlier in the week.  For several days, our daughter would fight us when we took her to the potty, tell us she had to go, sit there until she reported she was ‘done', then get up, leave the bathroom, and promptly have an accident, finally reporting us that she ‘went potty'.

It was exhausting.  My wife had higher resolve, and this time she called in the reinforcements.  Me.

She decided that it was time to implement the strategy of ‘no pants, undies, or diapers'.  That's right, our daughter walked around the house with nothing on from the waist down.  The idea is that if they don't have anything against them to ‘go' into, they won't like what happens.

And, by gosh, it worked!

Saturday morning she overcame the ‘fear' of going in the potty, as she sat there, told us she was done, got up, but then went back and did what she was supposed to.  She had one accident that day, but every other time she used the potty.

Sunday had the same success rate.  Her only accident was when she was playing outside.

We were on our way.

My wife was afraid that when we put the clothes back on, she might revert to her old ways, but after the pants went back on Monday, she did good.  She also announced that she had to go when she was out at the store with my wife.

Speaking of my wife, I have to give her all the credit in the world.  On Sunday night, I joked with her that since everything finally kicked in on Saturday (when I was home), I was going to take credit for the success, but in reality, I was just a pair of hands.  All the planning and determination came from her.

Focus Was Key

We realized that we had no choice but to dedicate ourselves to this.  Actually, we did get stuff done.  It wasn't like we both sat around and hovered over our daughter for the weekend.  My wife and I both got to run errands and get stuff done, but by focusing our attention:

  • We were able to divide and conquer – There was always someone around our daughter, which left one of us able to get other running around done or complete smaller tasks.
  • We relieved each other – My wife was exhausted of the whole process by the time mb-2014-05outhousethe weekend started, so I was happy to give her a break from it.  When she did spell me, the time away from ‘potty training' gave her back her energy and patience.
  • We committed to the process – If we'd had gotten involved with something big, we might have been tempted to put potty training on the back burner in the name of making progress on whatever we were working on.  Bad idea.  Our daughter is not only strong willed, but she would sense out that kink in the armor and exploit it.  Any regression on our part would have likely set us back by days.

In the end, the focus was an investment for us.  While we didn't get any major project work done, we instead got to cross an even bigger item off our list (well, a big part of it is crossed off, anyways).  In the end, that made for a bigger sense of accomplishment than any paint on the wall or relocated sandbox would have done.

Readers, have you ever had to drop everything to give focus on something in order to have a fighting chance of success?  How did it turn out?