Lessons Learned on Goal- Setting from Potty Training a Toddler 

A couple weeks ago I set a goal to have my toddler toilet trained before he turned 2 years old. It seemed like a reasonable goal but many parents told me it was a lofty goal especially since we had three weeks to master the challenge. 

Prior to starting the official “training”, I talked to my husband and other adults whose support would be vital along this journey including our sitter and grandparents. I purchased fun underwear featuring his favorite character Elmo, a potty, potty training books featuring characters from Sesame Street, and happy face stickers as small rewards. I tried toys and even candy (it was organic) but the stickers resonated most.

I think the stickers worked best because once he placed them on the potty board he was able to watch them grow as opposed to the candy that was gone after consumption or the toys that blended in with the other toys.

Within 4 days and 30 stickers later we had found a groove of success. It was painstakingly difficult in the beginning and tears were shed from all parties involved but my son was successfully using the actual toilet because of the consistency (and lots of prayers). By the end of the week, he had amassed over 50 stickers and was FaceTiming family members to show them the smiley faces he had accrued.


My son’s success in building a habit got me to thinking about how to utilize the “sticker” system for success in setting and accomplishing goals in adulthood.

Set the goal and determine the tools needed for success.

If you want to write more you may need a journal. If you want to run more you may need to identify a nearby park or running trail. The point is to identify the goal and corresponding things that will get you success. 

There’s an African proverb that states “if you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

Share your new goal with your support system so they can encourage you, be a resource and keep you accountable. Your tribe wants to see you win!

Stay consistent.

The beginning of any new endeavor is extremely hard and it may be hard to visualize success. Take it moment by moment and always assess what’s at risk for NOT pursuing the goal. 

Create a visual reminder that symbolizes your success.

While stickers are fun for kids they may not be the best representation of adulthood. Unless they're wine stickers that you can lick and actually taste like wine. But the premise is the same, use small tokens to track your success. That could include adding coins to an empty jar, putting paper clips in an empty cup or placing affirming sticky notes on a mirror or wall every time you accomplish the task Being Mary Jane style. 


The way we do anything is the way we do all things. If you develop a productive habit on goal setting that yields success in one area of your life it can manifest change in other areas from fitness to business to career. 

With less than 4 months left in the year what pending goals are out there for you to set + accomplish?   Think about it then download the free Serious Plans printable.  


Ar'Sheill Monsanto