I think most parents will agree that changing diapers is a task that loses its’ appeal pretty quickly – like after the second or third time you do it. So it’s no wonder that potty training is a big deal. My kids both started resisting diapers when they turned two – almost like a switch had been flipped, and so I told them fine (no really, it’s totally fine with me that you no longer want to wear diapers!); no diapers means it’s the toilet now for you, complete with your own super comfy cartoon decorated seat to fit your mini-sized butt. And that was pretty much it. I don’t recall more than a few accidents with either kid, although I did carry around extra clothes for months, just in case.
Now I know that the path is not always so smooth for everyone, but today I received an email from “House Party” with the title, “Host A Pull-Ups Potty Dance Day House Party”. Ok first of all, why am I still on this mailing list? My kids are waaaay beyond pull-ups (which we never used but I can see how they could be helpful). Secondly, excuse me? A “Potty Dance Day House Party”?! Well, the text for this cannot – repeat – cannot be paraphrased. You must read it all to get the full effect. So here it is, and I quote:
Potty training is an important part of growing up and Pull-Ups Training Pants can help make it a great bonding experience between you and your child and other parents starting the potty training process. Celebrate your child’s journey to success with a Pull-Ups Potty Dance Day House Party.
If selected as a host, you and your guests will:
- Share potty training tips, tricks, and stories on the national party page to help spread the word about what works and what doesn’t.
- Help your toddler learn “The Potty Dance,” the catchy song and dance routine that can help make potty training a fun experience for parent and child.
- Watch a live streaming concert performance of “The Potty Dance” by the GRAMMY®-nominated children’s music sensation Ralph’s World.”
They tell you at the end that hosting spots are limited. As if this is some honor given to only the designated few. Is this really a pitch for a new reality TV show? How much are they paying Ralph’s World to do a song about learning to use the toilet? And finally, will there be hidden cameras around each party so we can see the parents trying to get the toddlers to dance, use pull ups and somehow make those two things connect to going to the bathroom by themselves? (And if there are, can I please get the link to watch them?)
Yes, yes, I know. Here I am, making fun of the poor parents who are just trying anything they can to avoid having to change anymore toxic diapers. I’m not really poking fun at the parents, (well yes I am, but as I mentioned yesterday, I used to be one of the over-zealous ones) so much as appalled at the way absolutely everything about early childhood and learning has to be a big production. Write songs, buy 50 books, do dances about it. Rewards for using the potty, for cleaning your room, for getting an A. Bumper stickers that boast “My child is an honor student at such and such school”. Make sure their play is constructive and instructive. A toy can’t just be a toy, it must teach the child something! A book can’t just be a good read, it must have a moral lesson and that lesson should preferably be pointed out by a parent or teacher, in case the kid was too busy enjoying the story and missed it.
And what does all the hullabaloo get us? In a lot of cases, it gets us kids who can’t do anything on their own. Tell them to go play and they say, “play what?” Everything must be organized, sanitized and supervised. Learning is something done to them. Education is given. A skill must be taught, preferably by someone with a degree. Nothing can be done autonomously.
Here’s what I’m saying. Just like each kid learns to walk at some point, usually before the age of two, they’ll all also learn to use the toilet, even without a special song and dance. Probably even before they start school (definitely before college!). And they won’t expect any fanfare for it, unless we teach them to expect it. Cut the parties, the ‘bonding’ (over potty training? You’ve really got to be kidding), and the song and dance. Let them be kids, and discover, and learn on their own. They’ll be happier for it, and trust me, so will you.
Now the postscript:
Maya accompanied me to the interviews for a Data Entry person today. I introduced her to each person as they sat down, she listened to what they had to say and how they said it and gave me her feedback after they left. Without any prompting from me, her feedback matched my own 100%. We chose 3 out of 7 to move on to a second interview with Joshua. Now that was a good days’ work.