What Potty Training Actually Looked Like For Us- Keepin’ It Real!

Naked and three days. That’s what you’ll hear again and again regarding potty training and that’s the method most people I know use. But I’m here to tell you that for us, it certainly wasn’t three days. Here’s what the process looked like for us.

First of all, know that all kids are different and it’s in everyone’s best interest to wait until your child is ready. We first gave potty training a go when my daughter was 2 years and 4 months. She was showing many signs of being ready but, after two days of staying home and keeping her naked from the waist down, she was no where near 50% success; she was literally peeing everywhere! We decided to stop and it was definitely for the best.

We tried again when she was 2 years and 7 months and this time was much different right from the start. On the first day, she only had one accident! I couldn’t believe the difference three months made- she really understood what was going on. The following days were not as great as day one but she was easily at 75% success so I knew we were on the right track.

We stayed home as much as possible for the first few weeks. I tried to put underwear on her at home but she would just pee in them. I used pull-ups for nap time and bed time and when we would go out. We were very successful when she was naked but if she had underwear or a pull-up on, she treated it like a diaper. I was beginning to get frustrated.

I decided it must be the pull-ups. I stopped using them for outings and nap time (I still use them for bed time) and just keep her naked from the waist down whenever we were home. And THAT was the magic that worked for us! For my daughter, feeling anything down there must have reminded her of a diaper. After a full month of this strategy, she was 90% potty trained and went many days without accidents.

The Details

Before you start, gather your supplies. Here is what we used.

 

 

It turns out my little one wasn’t interested in the sticker chart at all so I used “pee pee candy”- one single M&M.  Knowing kids very commonly have an issue with going #2 on the potty, I made the reward for that a lollipop (a small Dum Dum). (I realize there are many opinions about using candy as a reward but this is what worked for us so please no judgement!). We keep one potty in the car and that has been a lifesaver!

Know that taking your child to pee in public SUCKS. I’m not going to sugar coat it. Bathrooms are dirty and they’ll want to touch everything. In the beginning you’ll have to take them every 15-30 minutes so be prepared to get to know every bathroom of the places you frequently visit. Watch this hilarious video on peeing in public with a toddler for a visual 🙂 The struggle is real, my friends!

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Momsplained- How to Teach a Toddler to Pee in Public

 

And that’s what potty training looked like in our house. We are two months in and she still occasionally has accidents; it’s not usually 100% for quite some time. I sometimes keep her naked from the waist down at home for sheer ease because she can’t fully pull down her pants by herself but if she’s naked she can go to the potty and wipe herself independently- hallelujah!

*This post may include affiliate links which means if you chose to buy something I mention, please do so using the links above. There is no additional cost to you and it’s a nice way to say thank you and help offset this Mom’s addiction to Amazon Prime*

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Transitioning From a Crib to a BIG GIRL/BOY BED

This experienced mom made a rookie mistake.

I thought the transition from a crib to a toddler bed would be no big deal, when in fact any change for a two year old is a very big deal. Take my advice and follow these tips for the smoothest transition possible.

My best piece of advice? WAIT AS LONG AS POSSIBLE. My daughter climbed out of the crib once and I thought she needed a bed right away. I should have waited to see if that was a fluke or an actual issue.

 

Assuming you are ready and have waited as long as possible, first, choose the bed. You may want to consider just placing a mattress on the floor. There are also some really adorable floor beds on Etsy. Whether you choose to use your crib mattress or go straight to a twin, the most important thing is your child needs to be able to get in and out easily to foster independence.

Most toddler beds come with some type of rail but it proved basically useless for my kid. These magic bumpers were a wonder and so inexpensive.

It’s important to mention, if you haven’t already, you must completely baby proof the entire room. Attach dressers and bookshelves and anything else that could tip over to the wall. Cover all outlets. Make sure all windows are properly secured. Your child is about to get a taste of freedom and they’re certainly going to use it!

Next, plan what you will do if (more likely, WHEN) you child will attempt to exit their room. If you currently shut their door after you put them to bed, this may continue to work. If you don’t or if they can open the door, have this extra tall gate on hand. I would say have it on hand regardless. You can put it in place and still shut the door- then it just serves as an insurance policy that they are not wandering the halls at all hours.

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My daughter sitting on the floor, very unhappy she could no longer wander the halls (we practiced “fading” and would first sit close to the gate, then in the hallway where she could see us, and then in the hallway out of sight)

Finally, pick up one of these handy “OK to Wake” alarm clocks. Even though my kid is far from understanding actual time, she gets that green means it time to wake up. When she calls for me at 5am, I ask her to look at her clock and see if it’s green. She says no and *mostly* goes back to sleep 🙂 🙂 🙂

Be prepared that you might need to sleep train your child all over again. Hopefully these tips and products will make it as easy as possible for you!

*This post includes affiliate links which means if you chose to buy something I mention, please do so using the links above. There is no additional cost to you and it’s a nice way to say thank you and help offset this Mom’s addiction to Amazon Prime*

 

 

Choosing a Preschool

Just six short months ago I was spending my days and nights researching colleges for my 18 year old. Fast forward to my last three weeks visiting five nursery schools, with two more schools scheduled to visit next week. Is choosing a preschool really such a big deal? I believe so and I’ll do my best to explain why and what you should be looking for in a quality preschool program.

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Me and my now 14 year old (!) at a Mothers’ Day event at her preschool

When to Send

At two? At three? At four? Back in the day, preschool literally meant “before school” and that was typically at the age of 4. Nowadays, it can be used to describe a two’s program. So when is the right time? Research shows that there is no benefit to child attending a program before the age of three. Now for my two older children, I was working full time and it was not a choice. For many of us, it is not a choice. In that case, you should look for the highest quality program you can afford- focusing not only on the facility but also on the educational backgrounds of the caregivers.

To put it simply, most children under three are not equipped with the skills needed to interact with other children successfully and may not be ready to separate.

Of course, there are exceptions and there are children who do amazing in the twos and there will be children at three who are not ready. Every child is an individual. This is also not to say that sending your child to a twos program will hurt them; research just shows that it does not have a measurable benefit.

“There is no evidence that daycare is advantageous to children from middle-class families,” Oliver James writes in his most recent book, How Not To F*** Them Up. “If daycare is as distressing to under-threes as many researchers believe, it would not be surprising if it affected their cortisol levels: when distressed we usually secrete the hormone.”

Here are some additional articles that discuss when is the right time to send children to school.

Preschool/Nursery School/Daycare

These terms are often used interchangeably but there are subtle differences.

  • A preschool tends to focus on learning and development
  • A nursery school tends to focus on play and socialization
  • A daycare tends to focus on the care of young children

Not surprisingly, many of these places, even if they call themselves one thing or another, incorporate all of the ideals mentioned above in the day of a young child,

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Different Philosophies (most common)

Play– The focus of the day is learning through play. Any academic skills are taught through theme-based activities. The teacher serves as a facilitator of learning, not as a direct instructor.

Academic– In an academic-based preschool, the teacher is the direct instructor. Children spend the majority of the day learning letters, letter sounds, numbers, colors, shapes and handwriting.

Montessori– The Montessori method is known as a child-centered learning approach. Children are placed in mixed age classrooms and learn through working with carefully chosen materials set at their level. Teachers are specifically trained in the Montessori method.

Cooperative– Known more commonly as a “co-op”, cooperative schools may have varying philosophies but the main thing is that parents are very involved in the classroom, often working along side the teachers.

Check out this article on preschool philosophies.

What to look for (in no order) and questions you should be asking

  1. Secure facilities– How difficult was it for you to get in? Was the door locked? We’re you buzzed in? ASK– Do classroom doors lock? Do they have a policy for lockdowns and lockouts? Who can come into the classroom at any given time?
  2. Classroom setup– Look to see if materials and board (if there is one) is at a child’s eye-level. Are there bathrooms in the classroom? This is important for young kids who are still working on independent bathroom skills.
  3. Teacher backgrounds– Certification to work in a preschool varies by state. In most areas, all someone needs is a certificate earned in as little as two weeks. ASK– Do head/lead teachers have degrees in education? Are all employees CPR trained? Do all employees undergo background checks?
  4. Curriculum– There is no set curriculum a preschool must follow. There are, however, guidelines set by the state. ASK– Does the school follow the state guidelines? Are teachers responsible for creating lesson plans? Who decides what is done in the classroom on a daily basis?
Other important questions to ask-
  • How do they deal with a child who is having difficulty separating?
  • What is their potty training policy?
  • How do they handle discipline issues?
  • Is the school/classroom nut free?

Closing Thoughts

Preschool may be your child’s first time away from you on a regular basis and will be their first educational experience. This experience will shape their feelings and thoughts toward school, peers, and usually the first non-family adults they will spend time with regularly. Choose wisely!

Cyberbullying- Could Your Child be a Target? (Guest Post!)

Today’s post comes to you from Laura Pearson. Laura created Edutude – she believes that every student has great potential and aims to help as many as possible unlock it. She also strives to find unique, creative ways for parents and educators to encourage students to be challenged, motivated and excited by learning.

Parents: Say No to Cyberbullying

There are plenty of times when kids should be left on their own to figure life out for themselves. For parents of children who are being cyberbullied, now is not the time for kids to be kids.
With the increasing prevalence of technology playing critical roles in children’s lives, parents must be aware of how to help their child avoid being cyberbullied and, if they are already, how to provide solutions that will cease the torment. This is especially true for parents who have recently moved, their child being rendered the “new kid in town,” which often makes them an easy target for bullies.

Prevention: The First Goal

If possible, parents should aim to prevent any instances of cyberbullying before they arise. The Cyber Bully Hotline suggests several strategies for preventing cyberbullying. While many pertain to instances of cyberbullying that have already occurred, it’s important for parents to be proactive in monitoring their child’s use of technology.

This means consistently enforcing rules about when a child can be on their phone or computer for the use of social media. While cyberbullying can’t be completely stymied through limited usage, the message inherent to these limitations goes deeper. Considering a McAfee study, which found that 87% of students ages 11 to 15 at one school had witnessed cyberbullying, it’s clear that the problem is virtually unavoidable. This means parents must fortify their own child so that they won’t be prone to the often-crippling effects that cyberbullying can have.

Children put far more stock in the perceptions of their peers than adults. For this reason, teaching a child that their worth shouldn’t be determined by the masses but instead by their true friends and family is crucial, and reinforcement of this message is never too frequent. For children who have recently moved, the home may be the only source of familiarity available, making the fostering of positivity all the more critical.

Start at Home

First and foremost, it’s important that home is a safe zone. Particularly when moving to a new city, it’s imperative to take the time to create a stress-free environment. This allows a child to have a place where they feel comfortable and safe, especially during such a rough transition as moving to a new school.

The greatest asset a parent can have in ensuring their child suffers no true harm as the result of cyberbullying is communication. Livestrong.com notes many of the benefits for children who live in a household with strong communication. These benefits include increased self-esteem, an ability to share feelings and emotions maturely, a decrease in “acting out,” and greater listening skills. All of these benefits can help a child develop a strong sense of self and the ability to confidently combat bullies in person, decreasing the chances of being persistently picked on.

A child who personifies a strong sense of self stands a better chance of understanding that bullies are not rational and that their words are not to be assigned any value. This type of child is equipped to succeed in any environment, which is why families who move to a new town must ensure that active communication throughout the move and after relocation is consistently practiced.

If a child does experience cyberbullying, they’re more likely to speak to their parents about the issue if household communication is strong. HASA notes that good communication in the home prepares a child to withstand even greater issues. Still, parents should make it clear that the child is not on their own and that should an issue arise, parents can intervene for the better without embarrassing the child.

When Problems Arise

If a parent finds out their child has experienced a form of cyber-torment, they should first talk to the child. Asking the child to be honest, probe whether the bullying is consistent, or whether it was a one-time instance that has not recurred.

If the problem is persistent, and the bully is known, a call by one or both parents to the offending child’s parent may be the quickest way to nip the problem in the bud. If the bully’s parent is not receptive to counseling and/or disciplining the child, any evidence of cyberbullying should be documented and brought to school administrators’ attention.

As stated, bullying is nearly unavoidable. When a student is different, whether due to their appearance, mannerisms, interests, or their status as new kid on the block, they can be particularly prone to being victimized. But parents can negate the potential damage of cyberbullying by maintaining open lines of communication and an atmosphere of safety and security at home. Not only will this enable a child to shake off the malevolence of self-loathing bullies, but also to feel comfortable disclosing any persistent issues to their parents. A strong mind is a strong child, and molding that strong mind starts at home.

Friday Favs

Friday Favs- a spot where I share my favorite products, apps, sites, articles, and moments from the week.

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An afternoon pick-me-up for you and a friend- now through Saturday, Macchiatos are buy 1, get 1 free at Starbucks from 2-5 each day.

Speaking of Starbucks, I grabbed this bar for the baby a few weeks ago. I was so impressed I looked for them in my local grocery stores with no luck. Amazon to the rescue! I ordered a case and I may like them just as much as she does 🙂

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This isn’t new but every time I start to use it again, I wonder why I stopped. Natural Calm is a magnesium supplement that helps with stress, helps you sleep, helps with headaches, and helps keep you regular. Read the reviews on Amazon and check it out for yourself.

Finally, with the weather warming up, I’ve got Spring on my mind. Check out the sale at Shop Bop until tomorrow. The more you buy, the more you save at Shop Bop until 3/4.

 

 

Book Review- The Vaccine-Friendly Plan

First and foremost, all my children are vaccinated. I believe in the science behind vaccines. I believe vaccines save countless lives each day. I also believe that the idea “all vaccines for all people at the same time are 100% … Continue reading

Friday Favs

Friday Favs- a spot where I share my favorite products, apps, sites, articles, and moments from the week.

Between taking an online class this week, two going down with the stomach virus, and my mom visiting from Florida, it was a busy week. Here are my Friday Favs a day late 🙂

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By know I’m sure you know what an Acai Bowl is but have you heard of a Buddah Bowl?

Check out these recipes.

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If you have a toddler and play their tunes in the car, you may love this rendition of If You’re Happy and You Know It just as much as I do- and yes, I need a car wash desperately 😉

I loved reading these reminders on Ways to Raise Good Kids.

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Favorite moment of the week- getting to see a bucket list concert with my 17 year old.

I’ve loved Red Hot Chili Peppers since I was 12 when Under the Bridge came out 🙂

Friday Favs

Friday Favs- a spot where I share my favorite products, apps, sites, articles, and moments from the week.

I hope you enjoy!

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I know I’m late to the game with this but I swiped my daughter’s S’well (that she HAD to have and now never uses) and it really is AMAZING! I’m not a big water drinker so my goal has been to fill it in the morning and finish it by dinner. I’ve actually had to refill more often because I’m drinking so much.

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This moment from a new class. What’s sweeter that babies holding hands?!

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I’ve spent way too much time on this FB group this week- you could say I’m slightly obsessed. If you have a child 15 or up, check it out- you won’t be disappointed!

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I’ve loved this free app for a few years but had forgotten about it. Bring that my current workout routine is non-existent, I decided to bring it back it my daily rotation. You can choose which type of workout and set the time and do it anywhere. I started with full body for 10 minutes (no laughing) and I’ve done it everyday while the baby plays next to me 🎉👍🏼🎊

And lastly, tips for dealing with toddler tantrums.

Wishing you all a great weekend 😘

Want to give the PERFECT baby gift? You can’t go wrong with these ideas!

Favorite Baby Gifts To Give (and GET!)

First and foremost, if we are talking about a first time mom, I am all about buying things off of the registry. Most moms spend countless hours researching baby items and have a good idea what they need/want. I tend to pick a theme- sleep, play time, feeding, bath time- and buy many things related and put them together in a cute basket or an actual item you are purchasing (for example, putting many bath time items in a baby bathtub).

However sometimes, whether you’re feeling creative, it’s a second time mom who doesn’t need as much, or a good friend or family member, you may be looking for out-of-the-box ideas. If that’s the case, here are a few of my favorites!

A Basket of Books

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This is great, especially if YOU have kids. I like to have my entire family pick out their favorite books and each write a message to the new baby. Put all the books together in a beautiful basket and you have a personal, practical gift that both the new mom and baby are sure to treasure for years to come.

Monthly Onesies

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This one is relatively new since the trend of taking monthly pictures has taken off all over social media. There is pretty much a style for everyone. Go to Etsy, type in “monthly onesies” and start your search.

Here are some precious ones for a little girl

Anything Personalized

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Whether it’s clothes, a name puzzle, a book, or pretty much anything else you can think of, moms are over the moon for anything with their child’s name.

How cute is this personalized onesie from an Etsy shop? (Bonus- it’s $12!)

Love this personalized name puzzle that can also be used as a stool

Check out all the awesome stories that you can personalize!

Pottery Barn Anywhere Chair

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Moms love this for the amazing photo ops and the baby will love it right around their first birthday. Bonus that it has a slipcover so it comes off for easy cleaning.

There are so many styles to choose from so you’re sure to find one that’s perfect!

Other Ideas

  • Spring for a cleaning service or a few hours of help from postpartum doula (mine was a lifesaver!)
  • Gift certificate towards newborn pictures
  • Drop off a delicious dinner from their favorite restaurant that they won’t be able to get to in the foreseeable future (don’t ask if she wants it, she’s sure to tell you it’s unnecessary- just tell her when and DO IT)

Do you have any creative gifts you love to give or maybe something incredible you received? Let us know!

 

 

 

 

Making Life Easier The First Year- The Baby Items You Won’t Want To Live Without

Since it had been 12 years since having a baby, I was so excited to buy every last baby item I could get my hands on. I mean, what is more fun than shopping for baby stuff?!

B and I were just discussing what were the good purchases and what we could have done without. The Bugaboo that I was dying to have? Sure, it is beautiful and I very much enjoyed taking her for walks the first few months but when we were actually leaving the house on a daily basis the fact that it is two pieces and heavy as hell became a real annoyance (hello, Baby Jogger City Mini GT!). The Pack N’ Play? Well, it served the purpose of having a place to put her downstairs but I would never attempt to travel with it because it is so heavy and a real pain to take down and put up (enter the Lotus Travel Crib, which I adore). The items below are certainly not must-haves like a crib and car seat but these are must-haves for making your life a tab bit simpler with an infant.