How Toilet Training My Son Made Me a Better Writer

Jodi Hughey By Jodi Hughey, 18th Nov 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Tips

Discover how the technique used for toilet training can be used for writing! Learn a few quick tips that will help you accomplish tasks you never thought were possible.

The Inspiration

There is not much I can brag about. I never ran a marathon. I haven’t found a cure for Alzheimer’s and I have yet to write a best-selling novel.

However, I can brag that I trained my son to use the toilet in about 3 ½ hours. Start to finish. Number one and number two!

My son is well beyond the stages of potty training but I still remember the frightening moment when I had to make the decision to get him from diapers to big boy underwear.

What does this have to do with being a better writer?

I am getting to that.

When I made the decision to potty train my son I had no idea how to go about doing it. A friend referred me to a book that claimed to show you how to train your toddler to tinkle in the toilet in less than a day.

I borrowed the book from the library, skeptical that it would help.

It was thin and didn't take me long to read. I was riveted by the information. It left me feeling positive and filled with self-confidence. I couldn't wait to get started with the potty training business.

I followed the instructions provided in the book, and presto! In less than four hours my son was trained.

The main concept of the book was to teach you how to teach your child to go potty. The instructions ranged from setting a firm goal (potty training); setting aside time that’s free from distractions (no television, no toys); rewarding your child for every achievement (sitting on potty, tinkling in potty, etc.); and having a support network in place for your child to call on for encouragement and positive reinforcement.

Years later, as I endeavored on a freelance writing career, I found myself going back to that book and taking the same techniques for toilet training and using them in my writing. I was so inspired by this book. The accomplishment of toilet training my son in less than a day was gratifying for me. The book gave me a boost of self-confidence and showed me that if I put my mind to it I could make anything happen. The techniques I learned have helped me accomplish tasks I thought were next to impossible to complete.

I took a few moments to ponder exactly how the book touched my life and helped to make me a better writer. I will share the techniques with you (minus the instructions for toilet training, if you are interested in the book I will direct you here for more reading).

Set a Goal

Just as I had to establish the goal of toilet training my son, I too learned to establish goals when it comes to writing.

The trick is to be as specific and clear in your goal as possible. For example:

• Write an articles for the blog.
• Outline a book idea.
• Write a news release announcing the start of a blog or website.

Important Note: Keep in mind to make your goals realistic. Don’t set yourself up for a let down by setting goals that can’t be reached.

Set Aside Time to Write

One of the valuable lessons I learned from toilet training, and how it made me a better writer, was how it forced me to set aside time to focus on one thing only.

It may seem like a given to set aside time to write, but if your household in anything like mine, time can be tricky. Setting aside enough time is important, no writer working on a masterpiece wants to feel as if they don’t have enough time to write.

Important Note: Be sure to schedule your time to write when you will receive NO distractions. NO interruptions. NO intrusions.

Remain Focused

Even though my toilet training session began and ended on one day back in 1998, I still remember to this day how I wanted to pull my hair out and give up on trying to show my son how to go potty on the toilet.

But I didn’t.

I kept going

I remained focused and intent on my goal.

I face my writing projects in the same way. Even though I want to pull my hair out and quit, I keep going; I keep writing.

Important Note: Allow yourself moments of melt-down. Not every writing goal will go well. The idea is to allow yourself to feel moments of frustration, but not to dwell on them. Experience the emotion, let it rides its course, and with renewed vigor refocus your intent on completing your task.

Reward Yourself

Since I rewarded my son with treats and snacks when he made progress with his potty training I figured I would do the same for myself whenever I completed a writing task.

I will reward myself with little things like treating myself to ice cream or watching one of my favorite movies once I complete a certain portion of my writing.

It’s in these small gestures that break up the routine and allow me a chance to see the results of my efforts. I finish a rough draft of an article, I eat a chocolate bar. I publish a new blog post, I call my mom.

Important Note: Reward yourself for all accomplishments, both great and small. Rewards can be as simple as a 10 minute break or as elaborate as a filet mignon.

Establish a Support Network

It was such a sweet moment when the time came and my little boy went for the first time on the big potty. To share the news of his accomplishment with, he called his “support network” made of grandparents, aunts and uncles. They were so proud of him and told him so. It was a self-esteem boost for him and the reinforcement he needed.

This technique worked so well that I decided to adopt the same idea and develop my own support network of people who would offer me encouragement and positive words when I need it most. Every time I complete a project I contact someone on my support list. If I am having trouble with writing I contact someone on my support list.

Important Note: Your support network should include all those who will offer only positive encouragement and constructive criticism. Keep all negative Nelly’s out of your circle.

Major Points to Remember . . .

• Set a goal.
• Set aside time to achieve that goal.
• Avoid distractions – keep focused.
• Reward yourself with every accomplishment and allow yourself melt-down time for when things don’t go right.
• Establish a support network of close friends, family members and other writers who will be there to offer encouragement.
• Remain Focused!!


Accomplishment, Freelance Writing Career, Goal, Setting Goals, Writer

Meet the author

author avatar Jodi Hughey
Hughey is a writer/publisher of all things meant to support positive mind, body and spirit. Her current projects include writing blog posts, articles and a book for those affected by sexual assault.

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