Potty Training: Trial and Error

Potty Training: Trial and Error

charmin_tipsarticles_howtopottytrainagirl_image2Waking up to epic poop outs in the morning, where you need to change the crib sheets and give the baby a head-to-toe bath, is really getting old.

And so am I. I’m getting too old for this. My baby is two-years-old. She is getting too old for this too. We really need to get this potty training down.

That’s one of the reasons I was excited about Tot on the Pot. It seemed to offer a solution in a box, complete with a parent guide, a stuffed toy with her own play potty, activity cards and a nice step-by-step picture book for the baby.

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I think she’s telling the doll to use the toy potty.  The irony…

It’s the whole parental involvement part that’s bugging me. I’m tired. Everyone in my house has been sick for the past month. Me included, but I’m not getting rest because I’m taking care of everybody else. I thought I ordered a solution in a box and all I had to do was unpack it and let it work.

But it’s really not a casual undertaking, and I think that’s my been my problem. I’ve been putting potty training on my schedule: when I don’t have anything else scheduled outside of the house to do, or when I’ve had some really strong coffee and decide to take on all the things that need to be done, or when I’ve just dropped $100 on diapers and I’m mad so I decide she’s going to wear underwear for the rest of the day (but didn’t you just buy all those diapers) and then she pees on the couch and I slap a diaper on her.

Yea, I’ve been doing this all wrong.

With the Veterans holiday, we had a three-day weekend to get this done. But I just didn’t feel like it. And then I spent Saturday night in Urgent Care with the three-year-old who had a bad case of Croup. Yes, people still get Croup, even though it sounds like something my grandfather used to get.

So tomorrow is Monday, and I will try again. Everybody’s still home sick and snotty and sneezing but we are going to get this done. I’ve got some juice boxes and some salty snacks and I’m going to sit in the bathroom (or really close by) with my commando baby and Tot on the Pot and we’re going to get this done. As god is my witness.

Because I’m definitely going to need his help too.

How did you potty-train your toddler? Please leave your comments in the box below.

 

 

 

 

 

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Pee and Poop on Demand: Potty Training Baby #2

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Has your kid ever screamed, or got pee all over the floor, when the automatic flush in a public bathroom went into action and scared them half to death?

Have you ever thought of covering those sensors with a post-it note so your kid could finish the deal in (relative) peace?

Genius, right? Well, I didn’t come up with that. That tip came from Tot on the Pot, a new potty training system designed to coax toddlers to use the bathroom by encouraging play time and rewards for success. They advertise themselves as “potty training simplified for parents.”

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My Tot on the Pot came with the toy doll, toy potty and activity cards that are part of the rewards and incentives to help your child be successful using this system.

I came across their site on Instagram and reached out to them, particularly after several frustrating days of encouraging my two-year-old to use the potty and having her pee on the floor EVERY SINGLE TIME. Aren’t girls supposed to be easier to potty train?

My Tot on the Pot system came in the mail this week (it’s not available in stores yet; the company is raising interest and money on Kickstarter) and included a toy potty, an anatomically-correct girl doll, activity cards and a parent guide (an illustrated book introducing the doll was mistakenly not included but hopefully will come later).

First impressions: This simplified system requires you to read a 35-page guide to get started.

But don’t let that scare you. It’s pretty large print. And as I started to skim the book, I actually found its advice and tips quite helpful, even though I’ve already potty-trained an older child. The parent guide helps you find ways to use the doll, the book and activity cards as a reward system when your child successfully pees or poops. It also keeps the process engaging and fun for them.

But do I really need a system to help me potty train my kid? Big Mama said she potty trained six kids at the same time all on the same day.

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The guide was a fast read and informative. Now if someone could just publish a guide on parenting and motherhood….

You can start this process over confident if you want to. But trust, know and believe: a self-willed two-year-old will break you down and render you emotionally inept very quickly.

I started off skimming the parent’s guide but I’m glad I ended up reading it. It feels like a preemptive pep talk, encouraging us to be mentally ready, remain positive and consistent throughout the process. I need all of this right now.

Some of the advice includes: Don’t compare this child’s potty training progress to that of another child, even a sibling. This is your child’s very own journey.

Another tip: Some children need to be alone to poop. Casually walking out of the bathroom for a moment might give them the privacy they need to succeed.

And keep the mood light: If your child seems anxious when they catch sight of the poop swirling down the drain, encourage them to wave bye-bye as it disappears from sight.

The guide seems to incorporate some of the science behind potty training without overwhelming readers, as well as Tot Tips based on the experiences of countless parents who have already been through this. There’s also modified tips to support parents who are potty training children with developmental delays.

The system encourages setting aside a block of time–around four days– when the parent and child will be home or nearby to start this process.

So I’m prepping now. Next week, we begin.

I think my little girl is ready. I hope I am too.

 

 

 

The Simple Things

The Simple Things

I’m learning how to keep it simple. Low-budget activities. Lower stress lifestyle. Less expensive outings.

Sometimes I over do it, trying to be the Bestest Mommy Ever. I’m always trying do my best, but typically it also means doing too much. It’s the perfectionist in me, and since I’m not perfect, well, I fall short. A lot.

The kids don’t notice anyway. They just want to have fun and be with the people they love.

So while I’m trying to take them to Disney World (again), all they really want to do is go to the playground.

I had a list of activities that I wanted the kids to do this summer and fall. Go apple-picking. Watch the solar eclipse. Take a day trip to walk through some caves. Throw an art party with 12 of their friends. Go to the beach.

We actually did most of the activities on my list. But I have to tell you, I was exhausted after each one of them (the solar eclipse was free and an awesome experience). And my pockets hurt! We spent $75 apple picking! Not including filling up the tank to drive an hour and a half to the orchard! Because we also had to eat the funnel cakes. And jump in the bouncy house. And buy the homemade ice cream. And pumpkin butter.

When did having fun get so expensive?

The most fun we had was last weekend, in our backyard, around the fire pit. It was an impromptu get-together. Five of our grown-up friends came. I didn’t cook and told everyone not to expect food. Our kids learned to make smores and that was their dinner. Don’t judge, they fine.

We listened to music on our phones and swapped stories. And we had the best time.

Right in our own backyard.

5 Tips for a Good Day

5 Tips for a Good Day

So it’s February.  And the newness of 2017, the feelgood promise of new beginnings, affirmations and resolutions have faded.

I’m in a rut ya’ll.

Call it seasonal depression. Maybe I need two cups of coffee to jumpstart my mood.

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It’s a tot potty, in front of a real potty with a potty seat on top. We got it covered from all angles.

Maybe its that one toddler is potty-training but now uses the darn thing every 15-minutes. I’d put a diaper on him if I could find one that fits a 40lb three-year-old. And baby #2 is teething and leaves puddles of drool EVERYWHERE. Not to mention she screams and cries at the drop of a hat now.

I’m overwhelmed by mommyhood. I’m trying to balance a freelance career and deadlines with being a stay-at-home mom. I’m trying to stay crazy in love (and not just, you know, crazy and married).

I’m trying to be the Bestest Mommy Ever. (It’s as impractical as it is ungrammatical folks. See what I did there… a little sexy syntax and wordplay for ya Thursday!)

But I’m determined not to stay in this rut.

I’ve been collecting great quotes and positive words on Pinterest lately and I recently came across a great set of daily affirmations from the Levo League, a life hack and style website. The post was from 2015 but still feels timely to me. I shrunk my list and adapted it for my daily life. It’s pretty short, which means if I can master these changes and make lifestyle adjustments, hopefully they will last longer.

1. Wake up early.

Cus opening your eyes just as the first kid starts crying in the crib, which wakes up the other kid, ain’t working out. I start out frazzled and end up playing catch up all day.

2. Read something positive and meditate on how to include it in your life.

Holla. Seriously though, this can set you in the right frame of mind for the rest of the day. I’ve been reading the book of Ecclesiastes and meditating on Solomon’s wisdom about purpose in life and using our time on Earth wisely. If that don’t set ya straight….

3. Take a shower.

Mandatory self-care. Daily.

4. Text or call two people to say good morning and wish them a good day.

For me, this is about passing on good vibes to other folks. And this keeps me from getting bogged down and drowning in my own muck. Reach out and call, or at least text somebody and let them know you thinking about them. It feels good too.

5. Make a to-do list with five tasks to tackle.

This has been helping me prioritize my tasks and get stuff done.  I keep it short so I don’t overwhelm myself. And if I’m having a slow day, I put in stuff like Eat. Feed the kids. Brush my teeth. And check’em off when I’m done. By the end of the day, I have a record of productivity (at least they ate food, right?)

Short and sweet. Five changes to get you in the mode and the mood to have a good day.

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Enjoying a warm winter day in January.

Life is getting better.

I’d like to incorporate a nap or daily exercise too, but I’m pacing myself.

What are your tips for having a good day?  Feel free to share yours in the comments below; it’s always encouraging to hear how other mommies are keeping it together.

Thanks for reading! Love and Peace!

The War on Vegetables

The War on Vegetables

At my son’s 36-month appointment (that’s what his Dr called it, can we just say he’s 3!), I got a lecture about how he needs to eat more vegetables.

MORE vegetables? Can you get him to eat ONE vegetable? 

Girl, bye.

There’s a war on vegetables in my house and my toddler is winning. He went from being the adventurous avocado eating, sweet potato-slurping, pureed peas-pooping 18-month-old to the two-year-old who wouldn’t eat anything but cheerios. And chicken nuggets.

Add a year and the war is still on. He’ll slurp the Catalina dressing off a spinach leaf but he ain’t gonna swallow it. I seasoned the green beans with minced garlic and onions like he used to eat them as a baby and he straight up told me “I don’t like it.”

I got really frustrated the other day and tried to force a spoon of honey-soaked sweet potatoes in his mouth. It was a small spoon. Still a bad idea. He immediately gagged and vomited all his food on the dinner table.

Bestest.Mommy.Ever.

I had forgotten my secret weapon. Veggie smoothies! Yes. YAAAASSS.

Ingredients for a simple, healthy toddler smoothie.
Ingredients for a simple, healthy toddler smoothie.

Two handfuls of washed spinach. Some frozen fruit. A cup of milk. Half a cucumber. A banana to sweeten things up. And a tablespoon of honey. Blend it all up.

Green goodness. I put a lid on it the first time so the green hue wouldn’t turn him off.

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Everyday he gets a smoothie now.

He gets his veggies. And I win the war. At least, this war.

Learning to banish negative self-talk

Learning to banish negative self-talk

Refuse to give in to the negative self-talk that happens in our heads. Banish it.

I felt myself retreating into a corner this week, more like a hole. I felt like my creativity was getting choked, like an editor was hovered over me criticizing my work, deleting my articles and replacing type with question marks.

But none of that was real. It was all anxiety, smoke shoveled into my mind to shutdown my work. And I was doing it to myself.

Has this ever happened to you? Have you ever shutdown a dream, an idea, a vision, with negative self talk and scenarios that haven’t even happened?

Well it has happened to me. Alot. And the reason is fear. Fear of failure. Sometimes it’s masked as procrastination, or mommy brain (I hate that phrase) or fatigue or I-just-don’t-have-time-to-do-it-all.

But I do. I do the things I want to do. Don’t we all? We make time for the things we really want to do.

But if I start, maybe I’ll stop in the middle, and an incomplete project seems worse than never having the idea leave my mind. 

And there it is, an imagined failure over a unrealized plan never set in motion in the first place. Fake fears shoveling smoke and masking fruition.

So I didn’t blog all week. Because I kept looking at my wordpress stats and thinking no one is reading this and I don’t have anything unique to say and those two blog views from China were probably hackers anyway.

But I kept jotting down ideas for new posts, like how my son put himself in a time out after drinking my coffee.


Or how my baby girl, who spent the first week of her life in intensive care, is now wrestling her 40lb brother to the ground.

Or how I spent an hour this week speaking to a refugee family about hope. In Swahili. Yes, I had a productive conversation in Swahili, a language I’ve been trying to grasp for more than five years now.
There is inspiration all round me.  How can I not write about that or share it with someone in the hopes it will inspire them?

But everyone is a mommy blogger nowadays. It doesn’t matter if there are already a thousand mom blogs. Didn’t Seinfeld conceive and write an entire show about nothing? For nine seasons? Is that even a helpful example?

Negative self talk is real and it can feed fears that make you immobile and paralyzed, unable to progress or move forward. I have to banish it as soon as it starts and replace it with positive, encouraging talk. Even speaking it out loud helps to drown out the negative noise.

Tavia you really do have a track record of finishing projects. Remember, you have been a published author and journalist for more than 15 years now. And you just set up this blog last week boo, so it’s a bit unrealistic to expect 20k followers but give it time. 

Yea! Yes! Yaaaaasssss! Take that fear!

Keep it up and I’ll give it to you in Swahili too.