When It’s Necessary To Drop Everything

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?  

15 thoughts on “When It’s Necessary To Drop Everything”

  1. Wow, it must have been very tiring! I remember when my sister and I had to potty train my niece…boy, it was really exhausting. She simply refused to use the potty! At one point, my sister got so frustrated that she resulted to threats but of course, it didn’t help at all. What really helped was patience and the determination to teach her to go in the potty. 🙂

  2. I have loved every phase of my son’s development and growth through his 15 years of life….except potty training. I could have SO done without that. We also tried with him right before his 3rd birthday. He would SCREAM when we put underwear on him. We took a break telling him we would try again once he turned three. On the way home from his birthday party at McDonalds I asked him if he liked his party and his presents. He said “No.” Surprised I asked him if we should give his presents all back. He said, “Yes.” It dawned on me that he didn’t want to potty train again. It was miserable…..obviously in the end it took, but man…..that was a nightmare.

  3. It’s so important to work together on these things especially in the face of unrelenting lack of reason that young children can possess in astounding quantities. Congratulations to you both on getting through a tricky time!

  4. It’s really hard for me to drop everything. But if it’s for significant others, I would. I made many decisions in life. But my first priority is to finish my studies, I should focus on it and set aside others so that I can achieve success soon.

  5. My uncle told me he potty trained his three boys by using a scrub brush. When there was an accident, the kids got cleaned with the scrub brush. They didn’t like that, and got trained quick.

    3 years old is pretty old for a girl to still be in diapers though.

    • Yes, her birthday is in a few weeks and we really wanted it done before that milestone. It is looking like a success!

      A scrub brush? That’s not something I would ever consider as it seems a bit cruel, but every parent does things differently.

  6. Man, gotta love potty training. We’ve been through it with our oldest two and actually used the same strategy for both. I thought my wife was crazy at first, but after an accident or two it went off without a hitch. Our oldest actually started on her own literally the day we brought her brother home from the hospital. We were like, what on earth…we have two to deal with now and one of them decides to start potty training now?! But, she is our fearless one so it makes total sense now. 🙂

    • That’s funny. I have heard the stories of kids that decided on their own that they were ready. I’d hoped that our daughter would somehow find that, but alas, it only happened with our intervention.

  7. I remember potty training. The change over usually happens quickly. Which seems to be true in your case. Our son moved up to the big-boy pull-ups when he was about two. We still had to wipe his butt now and then, but having him use the potty was so much easier than dealing with diapers.

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