Thank you for reading. I can share my thoughts on encouraging good behavior in general and then on potty training.

In most cases, good behavior encouragement is not needed for our little ones. They are born social beings and people-pleasers. The best way to make sure they collaborate with us, is to nurture our relationship with them. If that’s strong, in the majority of the cases, they will do whatever to please us. They want to fit it. They want to make the people they love happy.

I have explained here that we should worry more about fostering our children’s ability to say no rather than collaboration. Collaboration is something that comes naturally to them most of the times.

Frequently, behaviors that we consider wrong are just age appropriate. Since our children do not develop empathy before three years old, it is normal for them not to share or understand that mommy is tired for example. Trying to show empathy for their feelings helps. Keeping their needs met. Managing our expectations.

We can manage bad behavior by setting limits using personal language such as ‘I do not want you to…,’ and ‘I do not like it when…’

It is good to avoid evaluative language such as ‘you are a bad girl’ and ‘you are not allowed.’

Now potty training. As much as I enjoy studying about parenting, I read nothing about potty training. I only knew I should not make a big fuss about accidents, not put pressure and not make a big deal out of it. We did it around a month ago; my daughter was two years and four months. It went extremely well. Not sure if it was our approach or we were just lucky. I can share what we did.

We let her come with us to the toilet for months in advance; she was familiar with the process. We bought a toddler book about a girl that went through potty training and read it to her; again months in advance. We started one day that she did not want to wear her nappy. There were plenty of days like this in the past, but I was not ready. This time, I said ‘You do not want to wear a nappy. Should we wear panties and you go to the potty instead?’ She was familiar with these from the book. She said yes.

The first day she had accidents. Our answer was ‘That’s ok honey. Maybe next time you will prefer to go to the potty’. The second day she would go to the potty, but not pull down her underwear. The third day she was trained. I had no idea she was ‘ready’. I did not expect it to be so painless.

Unfortunately, the second day of potty training, I got hospitalized with pneumonia. We did not stop the training because it was going so well. As you can imagine, it was the last thing 0n our minds. Maybe that helped. When she did it, we did give encouragement. Rather than a judgment, we used an honest ‘I am very happy you are going to the potty!’ Two weeks later we got rid of the night nappy as well.

If it had not gone that well, I would have put her back in nappies and tried in a few months. I had decided not to stress about it. Good luck with potty training! Let me know how it goes!

Executive Coach at Former Google business leader. Fast Company & Thrive Global Contributor.

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