I’m going through potty training for the third time with our third child. I think we’re almost THERE! But I learned something last week when I was helping him pull his pants up. I realized I had been helping him wipe and pull his pants up every time. In preparation for vacation bible school this week where he has to be completely potty trained, I thought, “I better start letting him do this because he won’t have any help at school.”
The thought occurred to me that so many of us never let go during potty training. There comes a time when we have to let our children grow and develop. They must learn how to wipe and clean themselves and how to pull up their pants. They must develop independence and the ability to think for themselves. If I continue to do all the wiping and pulling the pants up, my little boy will never learn those much-needed skills. He’ll eventually always expect someone else to do it for him or he’ll become resentful that he never learned when he sees other friends doing it themselves.
Of course, I’m not really talking about just potty training…but the bigger picture is learning to walk the fine line between being a guide and teacher and allowing them to grow and develop. There are times when we must show them the ropes once or twice and then let go. There are times when we must allow them to fall so they can learn what not to do, but be there to gently assure them they are okay. There are times when we give advice but allow them to make the decision and be okay with that decision. There are times when we may not even know they are in the bathroom and we send up continual prayers. Whatever the case, we can learn something from potty training the third time around!
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