A Lesson from My Three Year Old Son

Our youngest son is having a great deal of difficulty with potty training.

He’ll go through a period of several days where things are just perfect, then he’ll have an accident. After that happens, he is really hard on himself. He’ll cry about it out of frustration.

Right after that accident, he’ll usually have a couple of days where the routine is really rough. He’ll follow it with two or three more accidents.

So, we’ll revert back to what really works. We’ll remind him every hour or so to go to the bathroom and make him go every other hour or so.

After a day or so of that, he’s usually on the right trail again.

Part of the pleasure of being a parent is the realizations that it gives you about your own life.

For example, my son’s bathroom escapades were a clear demonstration of how something as simple as going to the bathroom is truly a routine. We begin to feel the need to go, we recognize it, we head to the bathroom to do our business.

Similarly, his response to a bathroom failure reminded me strongly of how hard I get on myself when I fail at a routine I’m trying to establish.

Sure, it’s not something as fundamental as a bathroom routine, but it is something that’s important to me, something that will make my life better by succeeding at it.

Just like my little boy, once I’ve broken a routine, it becomes much easier to break it again and again. Just like my son, when I clear my head, I can get back into that routine.

Eventually, my son will succeed at this, just like his older siblings before him. He’ll establish that new routine in his life.

How will he get there? He’ll get there thanks to a few things: a desire for something better for himself, constant support from the people around him, and positive motivation when he makes good decisions.

In other words, the same things that help me establish my own routines and achieve my own goals.

When I take him into the bathroom and sit there with him while he goes, it’s easy to get bored and let my mind wander. When I stop for a moment, though, and think about what he’s going through, that journey of establishing a powerful and positive new life habit, it makes me realize that I have a lot of work to do, too.

Bravo, little man.

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