I read a quote once, “Never do for a child what he is capable of doing for himself.” It really struck a chord with me, and I’ve tried to help my children by making them help themselves. It’s hard sometimes, because often it’s so much easier to do it for them!
Who hasn’t heard the words, “I do it!” or “Me do it!” out of the mouths of a toddler? They get to that age where independence is what they strive for, whether it’s a simple task of shutting off the light or something that requires more dexterity, like cutting meat with a knife. It doesn’t really matter what it is, if you’re doing it, they want to do it instead.
Enter potty training. My youngest is very much in the “Me do it!” stage. He’s contemptuous when I attempt to do anything for him that he’d rather do himself. Notice that last little caveat I added? If it’s a task he’d rather not do, he’s more than happy to let me take the reins. Say, for instance, going potty in the toilet. Don’t get me wrong, he, like my other two children, would just love to see every toilet on the face of the planet. This does not mean, however, that he plans to use it. He knows just enough about potty training to act all excited when he sees/hears about/senses a potty might be in his presence. But, once we get there, get the pants pulled down, the diaper off and seated upon the throne, out come the inevitable words of, “All done!”” despite the fact that nothing actually transpired.
Since he’s not particularly willing to actually make the business on the toilet and since our pediatrician told us two children ago not to bother forcing them to do it, that they’d come to the concept all on their own, when they were darn well ready, I have not pressed the issue. But, this means, as you would imagine, I have changed a lot of diapers in my day. A LOT of diapers.
The other day, we started talking to him about this whole thing – the passive resistance to potty training. He said during a recent diaper change the words that pretty much sum it all up, as an explanation, if you will, as to why he had no interest in going on the potty, why he’d rather stay in diapers than take a seat and go for it: “Mommy do it!” As in, “I have this one lady who takes care of these things for me. Don’t you worry, she’ll have me changed and this poop off my butt in no time. “
“Never do for your child what he is capable of doing for himself.” Hmm. They were really on to something…