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I have never pressured my little one to learn skills. I am not the type who would schedule time and require my little boy to learn the ABCs or 123. I didn’t teach him to write, I just saw him trying to write his name one day. I guess I’m also lucky because my little one learns fast and all I really needed was to provide him with the tools and resources which he can use when he wants to.

However, with potty training, I must admit that I did feel the pressure. He was in pre-school already and other kids his age were already potty trained. It was even identified as one of his goals for the quarter. We tried several times and failed. He explicitly resisted being potty trained… Take note, RESISTED. We tried all the tricks I read from the internet or from mommy groups. I even bought him a fancy potty trainer (that plays music!) when he was two. He sat on it twice or thrice, but nothing happened.

Just a couple of days after my little boy turned four, I did a little research and some reflection too. I realized that I was doing it all wrong. My son learned other skills on his own and when he was ready. Why should potty training be any different? I realized that the techniques that worked for other kids are not what’s best for him. The “rewards” we attempted to use is not what mattered to him. I sat down with him, talked to him, and most importantly, I LISTENED. I found out what his concerns were and we came up with a plan TOGETHER. We agreed on a reward, something he wanted for so long – Jackson Storm’s Hauler. We got it for his birthday, but for some reason we kept it because he received too many toys already (haha!). We agreed that he can peel off a part of the wrapper every time he pees or poops in the potty (not the trainer, the REAL one). It worked because the reward was tangible (he can see it and he can see his progress), yet he knows he can’t have it yet. J So we practiced, practiced, practiced. It took a lot of patience, discipline and commitment from all of us including myself, his dad and his yaya. We even went on a trip abroad which somewhat broke the continuity of the training because it was challenging (more for me I guess) being always on the go. When we got back in Manila though, we resumed our training. He became more and more confident to do it. Soon, he got his reward! In less than two months, my four-year-old was completely potty-trained – day and night, at home, in school and everywhere we go.

Moral lesson? Sometimes, we get pressured by people and circumstances around us that we fail to understand what’s really going on “inside”. Are you struggling with teaching your little one a new skill? Or are YOU trying to learn a new skill yourself? Look within and you’ll find what works best to do what you (or your child) want(s) at your (his) own time and pace.