After spending four years in United States Marine Corps I was bound and determined to take my experiences and apply them in the civilian world. No event calls for more discipline of the mind and body than raising children. But this is not a lesson about forcing children to do pushups in a sand pit as punishment for a variety of transgressions. This is more about preparing yourself for parenting and sharpening your skills and not about screaming in your children’s faces. It is my hope that the insight I’ve gathered about the parallels between creating Marines and raising children helps you create a happier and more efficient household. Potty training Marines know that every person thinks differently. Marines know that not everyone is going to be at the same starting place. So it is important to remember that just because little Johnny down the street is already in underwear while your poor little Susie is scared to death of the potty, especially if it rewards every tinkle with a song. If you’re going to honestly encourage potty training the biggest change has to happen with you as the parent. Three mindset changes must occur:
One important fundamental of recruit training that I learned at Parris Island was time structure. Every minute had a purpose just as every minute is crucial in potty training. Dedicate several days to work with your child on this new adventure. Additionally, set up the timer that will go off at 20 minute intervals. Once you and your child hear the alarm, guide your child positively to their waste receptacle. Only maintain the system if each instance of training is comfortable and positive. If your child is scared, anxious or frustrated, regroup and reevaluate the situation. Is there some factor that is causing your child to behave in this manner? Also remember that you will need plenty of underwear as there will be leaks. Preparation is key.
You have to be mentally ready and not give up on your child. You must maintain a positive attitude the entire time. Social learning psychologist Albert Bandura found that children will model observed behavior. If you are frustrated your children will be frustrated. Always maintain a Gung-ho attitude and your child may follow suit.
This standard of potty training ties into both structure and persistence. Maintain the positive attitude at all times. Be constantly willing to work with your child even if they aren’t mentally ready. Adhere to your schedule. This will benefit you in the end because the constant reinforcement of the schedule will encourage your child to remind you that it’s time to go potty. Consistency will build initiative and confidence in your child. Apply this principle and the one second you look away you may find your child sitting on the potty correctly and independently warmly complemented with the phrases ” all done.”
One final note. Make sure you have a strong wing man or wing woman who equally understands the importance of persistence, consistently and structure. This relieve the burden of time commitment and stress. Always make sure that your six is covered. Mission accomplished.