Tag Archives: toddler

Adventures in Toilet Training – Part Three

5 Oct

Click here for Part One.  Click here for Part Two.

The “hard core” training I mentioned in the last post came right at the right time!  I woke up to a literal shit storm.  I’d put him in a Pull-Up the night before and when I went to get him in the morning, there was poop everywhere.  And I mean everywhere.  If I didn’t see it with my own eyes, I would never have believed it.  It was in his hair, under his finger and toe nails, it was all over his sheets, his blanket, and his beloved Bevo.  He’d smeared it all over his crib, on the wall, and you could even see where he had attempted to reach the light switch at one point!

To keep myself from crying, I did the only thing I could: laugh.  I laughed a maniacal laugh then went straight to work giving him a bath and helping my wonderful husband clean up the poo fiasco!  After that experience, I became even more determined that it was time to train.  Seriously.  I am DONE with diapers!

Although it was a bit rough going at times, there was a reason behind my madness!  I started putting my son in the really absorbent Gerber cotton underwear.  I don’t even bother with shorts or “bottoms” at this point, because he is still having breakthrough accidents from time to time.  I do put him in plastic pant/covers (over the underwear) when we go out in public, just to avoid the embarrassment of any leakage spilling out.

I started by giving him lots of water to drink and taking him to potty every five minutes.  We eventually progressed from that to fifteen to now about between thirty and forty-five minutes!  There are times when he goes right away, and there are times when he doesn’t have to go.  When he doesn’t go right away and I can tell he probably doesn’t need to go, I just let him down and we try again in another 10 minutes.  I am literally setting my watch.  It’s mind numbing in the beginning and our life has centered around this training process, but I know it will be worth every minute of it once he’s full trained and I can kiss those diapers goodbye forever….well until I need them myself!

I have noticed a few differences between potty training the girls and now a boy.  He does not mind at all having wet underwear; the girls wanted to be changed immediately.  He also doesn’t want to have to stop playing, so I have to have really interesting and exciting books in the bathroom!  He is also taking longer to catch on.  It’s been about three weeks since I started training him, and while he’s progressing, it’s been slower than I remember the girls going.

At this point, he’s able to communicate some of the time that he needs to go to the potty.  He is fully poop trained (meaning he hasn’t had any accidents in his underwear).  He’s only having one accident a day on average!  I went from having to wash underwear daily to now washing every few days!  Success at last!!!

Adventures in Toilet Training – Part Two

29 Sep

Read Part One of Lori’s toilet training process by clicking here.

This week my baby is fifteen months old!  He definitely prefers the “regular” potty to the “training” or baby potty.  I went ahead and put the training potty in the back of my car for future emergencies.

This week I’ve been putting him in Pull Ups during the day.  I’m taking it slower with him, because everyone has told me it will be more difficult to train a boy.  I’m on the no-pressure plan.  I put him on the potty every morning after he wakes up and before he gets dressed.  I put him on the potty several times during the day, either when he tells me he needs to go (by signing “pee” or “poop”), or I can visually read his cues (like when he’s grunting in a squat, I know he’s pooping).  I also put him on the potty every night before bed.

I feel successful at this point if he uses the potty at least once a day.  He usually exceeds my expectations.  He only communicates his need to use the potty about half of the time he actually goes, but he’s been using the potty on average about twice daily.

He loves getting the positive encouragement when he goes.  He is eager to go tell everyone, and when anyone mentions it to him, he grins from ear to ear!  I’ve been talking to him a lot about what it feels like to be “dry” and “clean” as opposed to “wet” and “dirty”.  Whenever he poops in his Pull Up, I physically dump the poop from the Pull Up into the potty and show him, “This is where the poop goes!”  He then helps me flush it down and wave goodbye.

He doesn’t seem to need much incentive other than verbal praise.  He loves the toilet paper, to the point of obsession, so when he does go potty in the toilet, I give him a square of toilet paper which he then joyously shreds to tiny pieces.

Soon, I’m planning on doing the hard core training.  Stay tuned!

Check Your Child’s Car Seat!

23 Sep

Parents and caregivers are urged to have their children’s car seats checked on National Seat Check Saturday, September 24.  As part of Child Passenger Safety Week (September 18-24), certified child passenger safety technicians will be available to inspect car seats and provide hands-on advice free of charge.

For more information, click the link below:


How I Potty Trained My Kids Early

7 Sep

The scene has been similar with each child: harried mom with disheveled hair and clothes, running around the house, chasing a toddler who has no clothes on (at least on the bottom half), has emptied the entire roll of toilet paper onto the floor, and is running away, fast!  Welcome to toilet training!

Over the years and with the help and support of my mom, I’ve discovered a few things about toilet training.  A few close friends have joked that I should write a book, because I managed to train both of my girls (completely) by the time they were 18 months.  I did it at the encouragement of my mom, who had trained me, my sister, and my brother around the same age.

My mom is a very wise woman and I’m grateful for her advice and encouragement.  A lot of people thought I was completely crazy for training my girls that early.  Then, there were other moms, who scoffed, “Well, just wait until you have a boy!” like somehow training a boy is tenfold more difficult.  And maybe for some it is.  I know every child is different.  They each have individualized traits, idiosyncrasies, temperaments, etc.  The thing is, if you start early enough, you can train them while they are still in the “eager to please” phase and before they reach the “I’m going to do it all by myself” phase!

The following are a list of tips based on nothing other than my own experience with training my three children:

Phase I:

  • Start early, once the child is walking, mimicking your behavior, and has a good grasp on expressive & receptive communication skills (They do not have to be able to speak.  Sign language can be easily taught and learned.)  *Based on my experience and in talking with other mothers, there seems to be a window of opportunity with kids, between the ages of about 14 months and 18 months when they are ready/able/willing to toilet train relatively easily.  It seems once they are about 18 months, their sense of autonomy develops rapidly and it becomes increasingly difficult for you to get them to do what you want.  At that point, they want to do what they want, and based on what my friends report, that does not include going potty on a toilet!  Once they have hit this phase, it seems like potty training comes to a complete stand still until about age 2 ½ for girls and 3 for boys.
  • Once your child is walking, mimicking you, and communicating, you can start by putting a training potty on the bathroom floor where you use the bathroom the most.
  • Take your child with you every time you use the potty so he/she can see how you’re doing it.
  • Initially, your child may explore the potty; want to sit on it with their clothes on, etc.  That’s great.  That’s showing “interest”.
  • Make the potty appealing by putting a basket of books nearby that are only to be read if the child is sitting on the potty.  (Lift the flaps, touchy feely, and search and find books are great examples my kids get excited about reading with me.)
  • Once the potty has been sufficiently explored, have your child sit (unclothed) on his/her potty whenever you go.  If he/she goes great!  If not, don’t sweat it.  At this point, you’re still simply trying to help your child understand the idea of going potty.  Make sure you talk about going potty.  When you go, show your child the inside of the potty.  When you flush, you can both wave bye-bye.
  • When your child finally does go in the potty, make a BIG deal about it!  We chant and do a dance.  The lyrics are simple, “You’re a big boy now, not a baby anymore.” We have the kids give a high five.  We tell everyone about it in front of them.  (Conversely, if they don’t go, we don’t make a big deal out of it all.  We just say, “We’ll try again later!”)
  • Once your child gets the concept of using the potty and has done it a few times and you can see that they “get” it, you’re ready for Phase II!

Phase II:

  • Plan to be home for a few days, maybe even a week.
  • Put your child in underpants.  Give them salty crackers (like Saltines, Goldfish, etc.) and fluid to drink.
  • Set a timer.  Initially, it will literally be every 5 minutes.  Gradually increase the timing by 5 minutes as needed.
  • Be prepared for accidents.  They are going to happen.  Each time you take your child to the potty, make a big deal out of it.  Use your sign or word for potty.  Read to your child or do finger plays to keep them entertained.  If they do not want to stay on the potty, let them get off.  Try again a few minutes later.
  • If the child has older siblings, get them involved!  By the time my second and third children came around, we only used the “baby” potty in the back of the car for on the go emergencies.  Once the younger two saw the older using the “big” potty, that’s where they wanted to go.  (Another tip: Home Depot and Lowe’s sell actually toilet seats you can install on your grown up toilets that have a smaller kid friendly seat built inside of the adult seat, so you can pull that down for your child, and put it up when you have company.)
  • When your child has an accident, talk about how it feels to be wet.  I usually say something like “Oh no!  Uh oh, pee pee in your pants doesn’t feel good.  It’s wet! Yuck!” and I help them change into new clean underwear.  Then I’d say something like, “Nice and clean, and dry!  That feels better!”  If they poop in their underwear, I’d say something like, “Oh no!  Uh oh, poop goes in the potty!  Yucky!  Now your pants are dirty.”  I’d then take the underwear off the child and transfer the poop into the potty, so they can see you putting the poop where it belongs.  They can then help you flush it and wave goodbye.
  • When they have a “pee” accident, I would also encourage them to help me clean it up.  At this age, again they are eager to help, and it shows them how to be responsible.  I’d get a towel for them, and have them help me clean it up.  If they refuse, you just take their hand, hold the towel, and do it with them.
  • During Phase II I would utilize Pull Ups only during nap and nighttime.
  • Phase II can be especially challenging.  I recommend having a support person you can call.  There were several times I had to call my mom, begging her to tell me I wasn’t crazy, that my child really was ready, and why I shouldn’t just give up right then and there.  If you have a supportive spouse, it’s a nice idea to get him/her involved near the end of the day, to give you a break.
  • Stick to the timer schedule.  After a few weeks, you can transition to taking your child potty every 20-30 minutes or so and they should start having fewer accidents.
  • Other tips for the phase including using a towel or something to cover the car seat.  Always have at least one change of clothes for your child and fresh clean underwear.  Even when you do decide you’re ready to leave the home, bring a portable potty for the car and/or a portable toilet seat cover.  I know the iPhone has a toilet training app one of my friends used and it was great.  It had a timer and the child clicks whether he went in the potty or just tried.  When they “go” they get to pick out a virtual sticker and put it on their “wall”

I realize this method may not work for everyone; it’s just what worked for me!

Child Proofing Refresher

17 Aug

Child proofing for me has been an ongoing evolutionary challenge.  Just when I think I’ve got everything under control, something (or someone) comes along and shows me how much more should be done!

With my first child, we covered all the basics like outlet covers, locks on the kitchen cabinets that contained chemicals, a bumper pad around the ledges of the fireplace, and having safety doorknob covers on any room we didn’t want her having unsupervised access to.

When my second child came along, we had to forget the doorknob covers (because as soon as she was tall enough, she very quickly learned how to open doors even with the covers on).  We ended up adding a padding to the coffee table which worked until she figured out how to climb on it.  Then, we had to remove it altogether.  We literally had no coffee table in our living room for about three years, which was especially challenging when I hosted book club meetings!

Both girls were relatively good about adhering to my stern looks and voice stating “danger” when they went near something that would be harmful to them.  For example, they never went into the kitchen and tore all the cabinets apart.  They never got into the toilets.  At the time, we didn’t have stairs, so that was also a nonissue.

Since my son has become mobile, it’s been an entirely different experience.  Nothing seems to be off limits to him.  He doesn’t react the same way to my stern face and voice stating “danger”.  He repeats “day-der” and then smiles and does whatever it is again.  He gets into the trash can.  He plays in the toilet.  He climbs the furniture.  I even caught him climbing the outside of the staircase!

At the house we now live in, we do have stairs, so I’ve added gates at the top and bottom.  I still haven’t figured out a way to keep him from climbing the outside ledges though, short of constant supervision.  I’ve had to improvise, for instance, when I have to use the restroom.  I have to use the pack n play, so I know he is safe.  We haven’t yet baby proofed the master bathroom, so I can’t even let him wander around in there while I’m indisposed.  We’ve had to flip a couch upside down, because that’s the only way he couldn’t climb it.  We’ve had to install locks on all of the toilets, the trash can and the recycle can.  We’ve got a lock on the cabinet in the kitchen where the chemicals are stored, but still need to lock everything else up as well.  Anytime I’m in the kitchen, he’s in the kitchen, leaving a trail of chaos in his wake!

I decided it was time for a refresher in baby proofing!  I found this comprehensive list at about.com:

  • Use covers on electrical outlets and latches on cabinets
  • Set the temperature of your hot water heater between 120 and 130 degrees to prevent scalding burns
  • Prevent poisonings by keeping household cleaners, chemicals, and medicines out of reach, storing them in original containers with a child resistant cap
  • Use stair gates and window guards
  • Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and fire extinguishers ub tge house and use flame retardant sleepwear
  • Remove furniture with sharp edges or use soft guards
  • Consider using a wall anchor for the stove and large pieces of furniture that can tip over
  • Use nonskid backing on rugs and make sure carpets are securely tacked down
  • Remove breakables from low tables and shelves
  • Remove small toys and other choking hazards from around your child
  • Do not carry hot liquids or food near your child and do not allow your child near stoves, heaters, or other hot appliances (curling irons included).  When cooking, use the back burners and turn pot handles inwards
  • To prevent drowning, empty all water from bathtubs and pails, keep the doors to the bathrooms closed and never leave your child alone in or near any body of water
  • If you must have a gun in the house, keep it and the ammunition in separate locked places

Some other important things to remember: keep a list of emergency contacts near the phone; including the number for poison control.  Lock any rooms that are not child proofed.  Install a safety fencing with a self closing, self latching lock around any swimming pools.  Hot tubs should always be covered and locked while not in use.

Nursing Beyond a Year

29 Jun

Nursing my third baby has posed several challenges I never faced while nursing the first two.  Within the first few weeks, he developed symptoms of colic, where he would cry for several hours straight, for days on end.  It was exhausting, until we discovered he was actually experiencing an aversion to dairy.  Once I cut it out of my diet completely, his symptoms disappeared.

He has not nursed for comfort as much as the girls did.  If he’s hungry or thirsty, he nurses, if he’s not, he won’t.

He has continuously bit, whereas the girls went through a phase when they started getting their first teeth, but it ended as quickly as it began.  With my third, I have to be vigilant about recognizing when he’s done.  If I let my guard down and don’t pull him off right when he’s decided he’s done, he can surprise me with a painful chomp down.

He went through the “typical” nursing strike at eight months, but then had another right around his first birthday.  I started to panic that maybe he was trying to wean himself.  I became painfully engorged, but fortunately it was short-lived.  (I’m so thankful I have learned the art of self- or hand- expression this time around, because my pump broke amid my most recent engorgement mini crisis!)

Despite these challenges, I continue to want to breastfeed my baby, who is quickly becoming a toddler.  I’ve heard all sorts of comments about women choosing to breastfeed beyond a year.  Some people think it’s “gross”, that once a child can “ask” for it the child is “too old,” and I have even heard people say they believe that after a year the milk has no further nutritional value, as though breast milk has a shelf life which expires at some arbitrary date.

La Leche League International recommends continuing the breastfeeding relationship for as long as is mutually satisfactory.  The World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding for the first two years.

I want to continue nursing beyond a year.  My first daughter weaned herself on her 2nd birthday.  I weaned my second daughter halfway through my third pregnancy (my daughter was about 28 months).  I know that breast milk is healthy.  I know that breastfeeding my children will help increase their IQ.  I know that breastfeeding creates a strong bond between a me and my children.  I know that breastfeeding will reduce my risk of getting several different types of cancer.  I know that breastfeeding will reduce the likelihood of my children developing allergies.  Breastfeeding doesn’t cost me a thing.  It’s convenient and my breast milk contains no added chemicals.  For these reasons and more, I am choosing to breastfeed beyond a year!

Cloth Diapering

2 Jun

Curious about cloth diapering?  Check this out from our guest blogger, Kayla!

When I found out I was pregnant, the furthest thing from my mind was cloth diapering.  I browsed baby name books, imagined what I wanted the nursery to look like, and started a registry for all the baby essentials.  Then some cloth diapering friends of mine encouraged me to invest in cloth for my child.  They told me how much money I could save, that it was much easier than I imagined and how much fun it was.  I’ll admit I was skeptical, especially about the fun part.

I’ve been using cloth diapers for a year now and I couldn’t be happier about my decision to do so.  Here is my breakdown on the nitty-gritty of using cloth diapers.

The pros

  • You can save a lot of money, as long as you are disciplined and do not get too caught up in getting all the newest and cutest diapers out there.
  • We have had much better luck with keeping poop contained.  The elastic on the back of cloth diapers has saved us countless times.
  • You will send significantly less trash to the landfill.
  • While the claims of possible harmful effects of disposables can be wildly exaggerated, you will definitely be exposing your child to fewer chemicals.
  • Believe it or not, you can sell your used cloth diapers.  On the same note, you can save by buying used.
  • You can save them and use them for your next child.  Then the savings really add up.
  • Let’s face it.  They are pretty cute and (my friends were right) fun!

The cons

  • You will have to do laundry every 2 to 3 days on average.
  • It may take some trial and error to find what works for you and your child.
  • You may not be able to use cloth while traveling.
  • You cannot be lazy about changing.  Disposables will contain more pee before leaking.  (Although I’m torn on whether or not that should actually count against cloth.)

If you are new to cloth diapers and are trying to learn more then here is some information that I hope you will find helpful.

Types of cloth diapers

All of the types can be overwhelming at first.  Don’t worry, there are many sites that will answer all of your questions.  To find out about the different types of cloth diapers click here or here.


Wash routines do not have to be complicated.  My wash routine is one cold wash (sometimes I use the “quick wash” option, sometimes the “normal” wash option) with out any detergent.  Then a hot wash with a scoop of cloth diaper friendly detergent and an extra rinse added on.  I line dry everything except for my cloth wipes.  The sun is great for getting out any lingering stains.

Where to buy

Cloth diaper stores are few and far between in most cities.  You may be lucky enough to live near one but if you are not then you will find no shortage of cloth diapers online.  You can find them on craigslist, “for sell or trade” sites (such as diaperswappers), ebay, as well as online natural baby and cloth diaper stores.  Trial packages are available which can help you save money while trying to find the type of system you prefer and which brand fits your child best.  You can also buy from WAHM’s (work-at-home moms) who sell on a variety of sites.

What you will need

After you purchase your cloth diaper of choice, you will need a few accessories along the way.  Wet bags will store your diapers in between washes and you will find them in many sizes.  I have one large wet bag that lines a kitchen sized trash can and two medium sized bags for when I’m on the go or in another part of the house.

Cloth wipes will save you from having pick out disposable wipes from your diapers.  You can save by getting cheap baby wash cloths.  I keep a small spray bottle that has some water and a few squirts of baby wash in it to wet my daughter’s bottom before wiping her.

A diaper sprayer that hooks up to your toilet will save you from having to dunk the diapers when they are dirty.  (But cloth diapers do not need to be rinsed while your baby is exclusively breastfed.  Their poop will simply dissolve in the wash.)

Last but not least, detergent that is safe for cloth diapers:  click here for a a list that breaks down which detergents will work and which ones are not recommended.

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