Saturday, August 23, 2014

How to potty train your child in 2 easy steps

So I've had a lot of mothers asking me how we were so successful at potty training Bryce. I don't really consider myself a potty training guru, but here is what I think every mother needs to hear:

Step 1: Decide when your child is ready.
Step 2: Potty train them.*

*if you are unsuccessful, revisit step 1. Repeat when ready.

If you care to read my ramblings on the matter, continue reading.

When my son was just about 14 months old, I walked in to my local Barnes and Noble and found myself in the parenting section. I wanted to find a book, a bible, a holy grail for potty training. I started so early because its not like I have a lot of time for reading books in the first place so I wanted to be well read on the subject when the time did come to potty train Bryce.  At first, I was completely overwhelmed. All these books had different methods promising to be the best way to potty train your child. How was I ever going to decide which way was the best? I spend a lot of time standing in front of the bookshelves, agonizing. I eventually bought a book that had cataloged several methods and how to achieve success. I never read the book. I can't even find it now, so I can't tell you the title.

A few months later, I was at local consignment sale. I saw a potty chair/contraption that was like $5 and it was in perfect condition so I bought it. I took it home that night and Bryce immediately wanted to know what it was. He couldn't even talk. He was 16 months old and had like 2 words. I just remember him pointing to it looking at me like "tell me about this". So I did. I told him all about how it worked and how to use it. I asked him if he wanted to pee pee in the potty and he grunted his cave man grunt that only his mother would know meant "yes". I had no intention what so ever of starting the  potty training process when I bought the potty chair that day, but I figured if he was so interested in it, why not? What happened next still amazes me today. I pulled off his diaper, sat him on it, and he immediately peed and then pooped. I couldn't believe it. I mean, this stuff isn't supposed to be this easy is it? I didn't read to much into it and just decided it was a fluke. Beginners luck. I put the potty chair in the corner of his room and left it there for the future. Whenever that future might be, I didn't know.

In the months that followed, I did not offer the potty chair to him, not once. I didn't even mention it, or refer back to it. I knew he was WAY to young to start pressuring him to use it. However, he did use it multiple times in those few months. It was all his idea. He was chronically constipated so pooping was always an Olympic event at our house. I think that this actually helped potty train him. We could always tell when he was working on a poop and had time to get him to the potty. He quickly realized that it was a lot more comfortable and easier to go on the potty than in his diaper. He was about 20 months old when he started requesting the potty to go poop. At this point, peeing in the potty was just happenstance. 

It was also around 18-20 months that I noticed he could control his stream of urine. Sorry, I know this is kinda invasive! I would lay him down to change his diaper and he would grin a very mischievous grin. Then I would notice that it was like he was concentrating very hard on something. Then he would pee. I was CONVINCED he was peeing on me on purpose. No one believed me. Everyone was like "Oh he can't control it yet, he is too young." But after awhile I knew for sure he was controlling it because I could tell by watching him do it that he was using his "muscles down there" (sorry I don't know how else to say it).

My thoughts were that at 20 months old, he was ready to start potty training full time. I couldn't get anyone to support me in this. My mom, the school, other moms, all told me he was too young. They all kept saying, "But he's not even 2!" As if 2 is some magical number that suddenly makes all toddlers "ready" to use the potty. He was already pooping in the potty and could control his pee, so what did it matter how old he was? I was his mother and I felt like he was ready.

I didn't want to fight the school on it. I just made up my mind that when he turned 2 we would go all in. Right around his 2nd birthday, I noticed that his diaper would be completely dry every morning. This was another big indicator to me to stop waiting around. So I got onboard with his teachers at school and we laid out a plan to potty train him.

I feel like pull ups are kinda pointless really. They are just a glorified diaper. A great marketing ploy by Huggies. And I'm not even sure what the point in training underwear is. Maybe they soak up the pee so it doesn't run down the child's legs? Idk. Anyways I felt like going cold turkey from a diaper into some big boy underwear was the best route.

I sent him to school in some underwear on Monday. He had 1 accident where he emptied his entire bladder on the floor of his classroom. (Sorry Ms. Kyesha!) I sent him to school in underwear on Tuesday. He had 1 accident where he peed all over himself as he was trying to get on the potty. And on Wednesday, no accidents.

That was 4 months ago. We have probably only had 1 accident at home and maybe 3-4 accidents at school. At school, his teachers offered to use the bathroom every 30 mins -1 hour. Once he got the hang of things, they left it up to him to say when he needed to go. He also never napped in a diaper. At home, I always made him go when we got home and right before bed. Any other time, I would let him tell me when he needed to go. He doesn't nap in a diaper or pull up at home either. I do put him in a pull up at night. We just keep re-using the same pull up until he wets it.

It was amazingly easy. I know there are mothers right now cursing at me as they read this because they are in the potty training trenches and it hasn't been an easy Sunday afternoon stroll. But let me just be really clear on this- I fully believe that the reason it was so easy was because he was 100% ready. He was ready for months before I tried. Not only was he physically ready, but he had the motivation, he was ready. He had all the classic potty training readiness skills:

1) staying dry all night
2) indicating when wet or dirty
3) language skills to tell caregiver when he/she needs to use the potty (this can be verbal or non-verbal)
4) shows and interest in the potty
5) gross motor skills to get on and off potty (with assistance of course)

I know what some of you are thinking. "This girl just got lucky and had an easy experience." Maybe I did. But I really feel that it was because he was ready. Oh and Ms. Kyesha! I owe most of the credit to her. Bryce is in her care for most of his waking hours and she obviously had a lot to do with his success.

Some of you might be thinking "My son is 3 and he has all of these readiness skills and he still is not potty training".  I know we mothers have heard it a million times but I'm here to tell you again: All children develop at their own rate and develop differently than others. Just because my child was ready at 2 years doesn't mean that your child should be ready at 2. It doesn't mean that he is more advanced or smarter than your child either. It doesn't mean that I'm a better mother than you (b/c believe me I am not).

My husband wasn't potty trained until after his 4th birthday. (I know I'm embarrassing the heck out of him right now). He is a completely normal, healthy, adult with a college degree. The age at which he was potty trained has absolutely no bearing on the rest of his life. He had all those skills on the list too, but he, himself, wasn't ready or motivated to actually use the potty. It wasn't until he was denied a field trip to the zoo with the rest of the 4 year olds that he made up his own mind to potty train himself. His mother patiently and gracefully waited it out until he was ready.

This is why I don't think there some magic age to potty train. I don't believe there is one magic way to potty train either. I picked a way that I thought was best for him and my family and my parenting style and it worked. Every mother out there can find a way that best suits her child and her parenting style. There is no right or wrong way to do it. Its all up to you as a mother.

All that really matters is that you and your child are happy and have a successful experience. If it really has become such a burden, then take a break. Give your child a break from the stress of being expected to use the potty. Give them a few months to grow and develop a little more and then try again.

And under no circumstances should you ever feel like a failure! No mother really knows what they are doing! If anything, I hope this helps mothers realize that they are spending too much of their precious time trying to compare their child to someone else's. You are doing just fine momma!

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Another day gone

He came running asking for a goodnight kiss. He looked so precious in that moment. Shirt off, covered in pizza sauce, his grin showing his crooked little teeth. I wanted more than a kiss. 

I pulled him into my lap, leaned way back in the chair, and laid him on his belly right on top of me. He props his head in his hands. His face is just inches from mine. I feel his baby soft skin. But he's not a baby. His legs dangle off my lap. He his heavy against me. 

"Sing momma" he says with anticipation. "What would you like me to sing? I'll sing you anything."
"Had a farm. Old Donald had a farm."
I smile. He says farm with 3 syllables bc his southern accent is so thick. I start singing and he excitedly shouts out animals. 

In this moment he is mine. Neither of us are distracted. We are in the moment. He is so intoxicating. My heart overflows and I can't stop it. How did I ever live without him? 

He seems so big! Not the kind of big you'd expect. Like really really big. His face has changed. He is taller. Heavier. I noticed earlier when I picked him up it seemed he doubled his weight over night. 

When did you get this heavy?

12 months ago when he would run into our room in the morning his eyes were barely high enough to see over the mattress. Tonight I noticed you can see not only his whole face but his chest too. 

When did you get this tall?

He talks in whole sentences. Makes demands. Has opinions. He counted to 20 the other night in the tub.

When did you get this smart?

This past week I keep starting at him, trying to soak it all up. Partly in disbelief. He is a little boy. My baby is gone. My heart keeps trying to deny it but brain knows what it sees right before me. 

My suspicions were confirmed and that I wasn't going crazy when I measured him tonight. He HAS gotten big and isn't showing signs if slowing. And I can't help but be completely heartbroken. 

Another day gone. He'll never be this little, this small again. Tomorrow he will be bigger, faster, smarter. I'll blink and he will be asking to borrow the car. 

Oh sure, we all want our kids to grow up into healthy successful adults. I do too. But he'll never be mine like the way he was tonight. 

I can't stop it. All I can do is try to remember each day as much as possible. Try to savor every moment, every slobbery kiss, every tantrum, every laugh, every cry, because tomorrow will just be another day gone. 

His big boy haircut

Jan 1, march 16, and June 1. 

36 inches tall

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Red, white, and blue

So I'm a little late for Memorial Day but I plan on leaving these up all summer. I love red, white, and blue! 

My new motto is simple is better. I cut some stars out of scrapbook paper I had in my crafting arsenal. I didn't cut any blue stars bc I didn't have any blue paper but it worked out because I think the blue shutters incorporate it so well. I already had the red lantern on a bookshelf and the white pitcher I use for everything. I picked up some flags for a dollar at target. I actually taped dowel rods to the flags to make them taller. I stuffed some Target sacks down in the pitcher to stabilize the flags where I wanted them.  Bam and done! The whole thing cost $1! I really withheld the urge to buy some really fab red white and blue pinwheels while I was at Target, but I told myself it didn't need to over the top, just simply stated.

This was a Goodwill find. I've been waiting for months to bust it out! It looks handmade and vintage and that's why I love it more! It was $3. I hot glued some twine to the back to make a loop to hang it on.  I need to stick some sticky tack on the back so it won't bang so much when you open and close the door. 

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Master bedroom sneak peak

So it may actually be awhile before you get to see the reveal but I might as well get you excited right? As I'm sure everyone in the blogosphere is as excited about my bedroom as I am!  

Over the past 5 years I've slowly accumulated things and picked out things to make each room the way I want it- except the master bedroom. I'm not sure why, just now getting around to it I guess. 

This is the painting that is my inspiration. I love the colors! 

So here is one sneak peak:
Up cycled an old picture frame- painted it the color I wanted and added some snazzy canvas fabric from Hobby Lobby. 

I plan on DIYing the curtains, refurbing a goodwill kitchen chair, sewing some pillows, buying some lamps and picture frames, and finding something fab for the wall above the headboard. Any ideas? 

Sunday, May 4, 2014

"Eggs! More eggs!"

So this year we were so excited about Easter because it would be the first time to hide eggs for Bryce and for him to really understand the whole Easter basket thing. I stuffed his basket with stuff from the dollar section of target. I splurged and bought him an Easter sippy cup. I re-used a basket we had around the house and tied some tulle to it. I also made a basket for Scott! It was a complete surprise to him and he really loved it! I also just used a basket we already had and taped a bow to it. 

That morning Bryce woke up early and wanted to go into the living room to play. I told him to go out there. He came running back to our bed screaming "Eggs! Treats! Open treats Momma!" He spent a good 20 mins opening all his eggs in his basket. I put little packages of Sixlets in his eggs. The Sixlets were perfect for a 2 year old because they are small and easily chewable.

We got dressed for church and then headed outside so B could "hunt" eggs. He keep saying "Red egg!" and then running to the next egg and saying "A yellow egg! A green egg!"


Overall, we had a wonderful Easter. We had 2 delicious Easter Dinners with both sides of the family and we went to visit Grandma in the hospital. Bryce was just so excited over his Easter basket, he wouldn't let go of it. He STILL (2 weeks later) is carrying his plastic eggs around! I think Easter is slowly becoming one of my favorite holidays!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Ring The Alarm! Bryce's Firetruck Birthday Party

So I really really tried to not go overboard this year on the birthday party. I really tried to make what I could and buy the rest without stressing myself out and spending a load of cash. Here is a guide to how I did all!

1. Venue

Bryce is obsessed with firetrucks, so this years theme wasn't hard to decide on. I called the Fire Captain and found out that you can't have birthday parties at the station but you can schedule a tour. I even got to pick my date, time, and which station I wanted! Even better? Its free! There is private neighborhood playground with a pavilion directly next to the station I wanted, so it was a double win! We don't have membership in that neighborhood, but my in-laws do, so it was easy to get.

2. Invitations

Last year I made them by hand. Yes by hand. Spent several hours designing them on the computer, printing, cutting and mounting. I've got toddler now, so Etsy was my best friend. I easily found a design I loved and a price I loved even better! $12 for a digital copy that I could print and mass produce as I please. A friend of mine actually printed them professionally for me, however you can print them at Walgreens on photo paper for next to nothing.

3. Decorations

I made most of the decorations myself. I really love making stuff so it didn't bother me one bit!

 I made a simple banner out of scrapbook paper and stickers and hung it up with string and tape. I bought all of it at Hobby Lobby for 50% off. I just cut a triangle out about the size I wanted. I traced that triangle on all the paper and cut them out. Then I made more triangles in the secondary color but just made the top length 1 inch shorter so that they ended up 1/2 inch from the edge of the bigger triangle all the way around. I mounted them together with scotch tape. Then I added the red glitter stickers. I taped them on some thread and then hung them up on the fence with some tape. It was incredibly easy! from start to finish it prob took less than hour to make.
I recycled some tissue paper pom poms that I made for my brother's 21st birthday and hung them up in the pavillion and added some table cloths to cover the the graffitied tables. It just spiffed things up a touch. I actually still had the roll of red plastic table cloths left over from last years party! Good investment!
For the gift table, I bought a table runner from Oriental Trading online. It didn't really need a table runner, but it matched and I thought it was cute and it was like 3 dollars.

4. Party Favors
I bought the red gift bags and most of its contents from from Oriental Trading. There is stuff is so cheap you can't go wrong. Well maybe you can. On the website the firemen rubber ducks that I purchased, looked so cute! When they came they looked like a 2 year had hand painted them. I was going to return them, but I realized they were so cheap it wasn't worth my time and the hassle than to return them so I passed them out anyways. I bought some other cheap crap at Party City to put in there too. I put some orange tissue paper in the tops so it would look like flames. I wanted to dress up the bags with fire badges with the kids names on them, but I was trying to be as simple as possible.

5.  Food
Now the food is where you can really blow your budget! I picked fire themed food that was also kid friendly. I even tried to pic something diet friendly!
yellow and fireman napkins - Oriental Trading
plates- Kroger
yellow dishes- Goodwill (my new love affair)
red chip bowl- my mommas house
tiered food server- Target (it is white- I taped yellow ribbon to it)
I made the labels for the food myself. I'm in love with the chalkboard cut outs that I found at Hobby Lobby! Seriously guys, the package had a bunch (sorry I can't remember how many maybe 20?) for like $3. They are perfect for parties and weddings! The best part is you can mount them on anything you want (in this case left over scrapbook paper from the banner). I bet you could use a wet paper towel to erase them and keep re-using them too!
The fireman poles were a huge hit!!! Kids and adults loved them! They were so easy to make! If you are willing to fork over some extra money you can buy pre-cut fruit at Kroger and then most of the work is done for you. I bought things that I could easily  just pop on there. They only thing I had to cut was the strawberries. I bought the skewers in the pots and pans section at Kroger.

yellow snack cups- Hobby Lobby
If you wanted to dress up the water bottles you can add some festive ribbon on personalized labels.
Ok so Target has those dollar bins in the front of the store. Here recently they have been carrying a brand called Paper and Dots which I am absolutely obsessed with! That jar was $1! I bought a bunch of them to use around the house! I just added some ribbon that I had left over from my brother's party. The paper straws came from Oriental Trading. They had the cheapest deal on paper straws. I was going for a Dalmatian spot look. The punch in the background is one giant thing of Hawaiian punch mixed with 2 liters sprite. Several people loved it and asked what concoction it was. It is my go-to party punch.
6. The party!
The firemen were so awesome! They showed us around the fire station and then to garage to check out the trucks. They made it interesting for the adults too! We had so much fun! My Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, Cousin's kids, friends, kids from school, coworkers, grandparents, family friends, all came out to celebrate!