Once the kids are in bed for the night, I will sometimes take my dog for a walk around the neighborhood and call my dad. It is a relaxing way for us to catch up, and a nice way to end what is usually a stressful day.
While most of our conversations focus on baseball, we do talk about general life, as well. As I’ve become a parent in the last few years, the conversation inevitably turns to my two children and some of the struggles of parenting them. My dad sometimes has good advice, but there are other times where he’ll say something along the lines of “your mother dealt with most of that; I was at work.”
It is a reminder, at least for me, of some of the different gender roles that existed when I was a kid more than 30 years ago. My mom quit her job when my sister and I were young and took care of us while my dad went to work. Mom handled the majority of early parenting milestones while my dad was out of the house at his job.
While that is the case for some families today, that structure is not entirely in place for my family. My wife works part-time at a job from home while parenting our two children: taking them to school, arranging activities, getting them in for naps, etc. On the other hand, I go to an office three days per week while working from home the other two. That leaves me available to watch the children in the middle of the day, pick them up from school, and do other things my dad could never do.
How Potty Training Has Changed
I say this all to get to a simple point: Potty training for dads is no different than it is for moms. In my home, at least, the household duties are a little more split. My wife and I both work, we both spend lots of time with the kids, and we both need breaks from each. I’ve tried to be involved in the different aspects of my children growing up, potty training included because my work schedule allows.
As a dad, it is enjoyable to be a part of these things (maybe not cleaning up after a potty accident, but the rest can be fun). My wife and I treated potty training like we do everything else. We come up with a plan and then try to be consistent from parent to parent.
In the early stages of potty training, that included routinely asking my daughter if she needed the bathroom, making sure she spent lots of time sitting on her potty, and praising her when she had success. Potty training for dads is not different from moms. No matter how much dad (or mom) works outside of the house, the most important thing is consistency. If my wife was telling my daughter something, I wanted to make sure I was doing the same.
A few decades ago this would likely have been different. Potty training likely fell to mom while dad might have helped, begrudgingly, on the weekends. That is not the case for me and probably a lot of dads out there. Potty training for dads is the same as it is mom: A stressful, yet necessary, process that requires patience, discipline, and a positive attitude.