Leadership Lessons of Potty Training

Boss Mom, Potty Training, Portia Mount

We started potty training D2 over the holidays. I agonized about what method to use. Three-day bootcamp method? Gradual method? No method?  Ultimately, our pediatrician gave us the best advice, wait until he is ready and you’ll know. You can’t force a child to potty train before he is ready. He’s now at the point where he can wear undies during the day and diapers at night.  It’s been a remarkably smooth transition thus far but it got me thinking. There are a lot of leadership lessons you can glean from potty training your little one:

Accidents happen. Don’t make a deal about it, just move on. I’ve noticed that when D2 is really engrossed in a project, he’ll forget to go to the bathroom and will pee in his pants. He’ll quickly notice and say, “Pee pee on the floor! Uh, oh!” The reality is that as a leader, you too will have accidents and make mistakes. Learn the lesson and move on.

Celebrate small successes.  The first time D2 peed in the potty, we celebrated. Stickers on the sticker chart and a big “Hoo Ray!” He loved it.  As a leader you need to celebrate your team’s small successes as much as the big ones. In this day of budget cut backs and reduced opportunities for training, don’t underestimate the power of just saying “thank you” or publicly recognizing a job well done. It will go a long way towards building morale on  your team.

Shit stinks. Clean it up. When D2 first pooped in his little potty, my face nearly melted off. It was so big and so… stinky. After the deed is done, D2 always announces, “Big Poo Poo, yay! Clean up time!” Truer words have never been spoken. As a leader when you find yourself in a mess, don’t let it sit there stinking up the room. Roll up yourselves and get to work. Clean up time!

Every day is a new day. What I love about D2 is that at two-years old, he doesn’t dwell on the mistakes of yesterday. Every day is a new day to be approached with wonder and excitement. So what if he pee peed in his pants yesterday?  Today is a new day. As leaders we’d do well to remember this. How often do we beat ourselves up over what we coulda should’ve done? Approach every day with the excitement and wonder of a two-year old and see how that transforms your outlook.

What do you think? Have you learned anything from your child that you can apply at work?

Showing 4 comments
  • Blessing

    I busted out laughing at shit happens. I have definitely learned a lot from my daughter potty training. For the record, she is almost 3 and no longer uses a diaper, even at night. She wakes up to use the potty, its truly remarkable. One thing my daughter taught me while potty training, was that “you can’t explain how it works”, you have to show it. And that is what leadership is really all about. I take her with me to potty, and even when I wake up at night, I gently lift her up and take her with me to the toilet. My friends thought I was crazy, and wondered who wakes their toddler up at night to potty, but guess what, their six year olds are still wearing diapers when my 2year old is already out of diapers. Leadership is by “doing/example”, you have to show people and stop explaining. Love this post. Absolutely sharing 🙂

    • bossmomonline

      Love it! So true, right? When did we as adults forget that it’s better to show and not tell? I support your idea of waking your tot up. D2 wakes up on his own occasionally but for the most part he’s still wetting at night which is why we are still in diapers. I may need try your method. Still what I love is he is learning that when he has a certain “feeling” it’s time to get up and go!

  • Optimistic Mom

    I really like all the examples.
    One of the things that stands out as my son is writing more and more, is that sometimes you don’t get it right the first time, but you have to learn how to do it. So you try again and don’t give up.

    • bossmomonline

      Latorsha, exactly! I’m amazed at how much my son will just plug away at something until he gets it. He’s not stressed or anxious and in fact is pretty pleased with himself when he finally does get it. Adults would do well to have a similarly positive attitude.

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