6 Simple Steps to Potty Train your Toddler

I was asked via email recently some tips on potty training. As I wrote my response I thought “you know… I cant recall if over the years I did a post about this, but I should!” So I sat down after sending that email and decided to write out a post on my tips to potty training.

Before we dig in. A small disclaimer. I AM NO EXPERT but I am a mom of 4 boys, 3 of which all potty trained either slightly before age 2 or right after age 2. All of which trained rather quickly and by using the same methods.

So, my ability to train must not be to terrible :)

Caleb my 1st born was 26 mo when he trained. I swore Id never have more than 1 kid in diapers at a time. Taite my 2nd born was born right when Caleb got trained. Perfect timing. :-D Taite trained unusually early at 21 months old. However, he seemed to do everything early . From walking, talking to sleeping in a big boy bed by 16 mo. So it was at no surprised he completed that milestone early as well [Taite, btw is the one featured in the images on this post – He’s now 8 year old]. Owen I forget his exact age but it was over age 2… possibly closer to age 3. He could have trained earlier but I kept putting it off since I was busy with two other kids.

Before you start training your tot. One thing to be aware of is knowing if they are ready. I have found that when my toddlers start staying dry for hours… that they are ready. Also some of the time, they will show interest in sitting on a toilet. Some of my kids did this but not all. The “staying dry” though for me is the real evidence and if your toddler can go an hour without peeing in his diaper, you better believe he can go an hour in underwear.

So lets get started….

6 Simple Steps to Potty Training your Toddler:

6 Simple Steps to Potty Training your Toddler

1. Schedule in some time.

– I always found that setting aside a week to train was always best. You don’t want to have a hectic week and expect to train your child in the midst of school plays, field trips and work. You want to plan on tackling this when you know you can be home for a good majority of the time.

2. Go ahead and ditch the diapers.

– When you want to begin. Ditch the diapers “almost” completely. By this I mean, while lil man or lil lady is awake, he or she should not be in a diaper. DO NOT BUY PULL UPS! They are a waste of money and do nothing more than what a diaper could. The only diapers you will want to use are during “nap time” and “bed time.” That portion of the training comes later.

3. Take your tot shopping for some big boy undies or panties.

– Let your cutie pick out their choice of undies. This will make them feel involved and special… and also, who would deny their favorite Thomas the Train underwear. It is just one more encouraging way to get them on board. If your kid could careless what the undies look like, I do recommend these. They are thicker and help catch some of the pee in the case of an accident.

4. Buy a toddler toilet seat. NOT a potty.

– This is a matter of personal preference here… I at one point had one of those cute potty seats that sat beside the “normal” toilet… and while those are cute and seem to make sense… to me, they did nothing but stink, result in my having to clean one more toilet and created fear in my child when it came to “normal toilets.” So to me, starting out your tot with a “potty seat” that sits onto a “NORMAL” Potty, is the way to go. You can find these anywhere. Walmart sells them as well as amazon. There are lots of choices. If you have a boy, I would suggest one with a tiny “pee shield.” Here is one that has it. The only time I would ever use a “porta” style potty, is in the car. :) For the car I do keep a Baby Bjorn Potty available for those training periods. :)

5. Buy some reward treats to encourage sitting often.


– When I begin training I always try to make going to the potty fun. I try to never make it seem like a punishment… and one way to do this was to always offer a treat when they went. Our drug of choice was gummy bears :) – but you could use M&M’s or whatever candy you would like. Don’t make the reward a strawberry tho. I mean really, this is potty training. Give that kid some sugar, or something hah… When my tot would sit, even if he didn’t pee, I would give him a gummy bear. I would then tell him if he wanted to get “TWO” gummy bears, he’d have to pee. If he wanted “THREE” gummy bears, he’d have to poop. You better believe when they did poop and I handed them 3 gummy bears, they got super excited.

6. Plan to use a timer.

– Now this is really the method portion of “Steps” in training. For me, the key was finding out how long my child could go between peeing. You will not know exactly how long until you start. A good “general start time” to go by though is 20 minutes. So lets say your child wakes up. That morning is the day you want to start training. So get super excited, smile a lot and tell your little one “Today we get to wear our big boy undies! First thing we have to do though is try to go potty.” I would then let them sit on the potty for just a moment. Ask if they have to pee… make a “psssss….” sound and if they went great, if not, its okay too. I would then set a timer for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, put your toddler onto the potty. Making again a big deal about it and getting super excited. Say things like “Its time to go potty. Lets see if we can pee pee.” and then make the same “pssss….” sound. I find the sound effects help btw, but those are obviously optional. :) If your child went pee, awesome! Re-set the timer for 20 minutes again. If after 20 minutes your child doesn’t pee… that is fine too. What I would do in these instances is just set the timer for an additional 15 minutes or so. Then after that time, Id put him on the potty again. So 35 minutes had passed. If he went, great, if not. Again, just add on some more time. Eventually what happens is you get a general idea as to how long a time period your kid can go without peeing. I remember my children being able to go 45 minutes from the get go. You obviously will want to factor in how much they drink too. :) If they drink a lot of juice or water… then take that into consideration and take them sooner.

Potty Training without TearsThat really is about it.

For me this timer method worked really well.

The gummy bears never failed me :) and always encouraged my kids. Most of my children would train within a week or so. Once they grasp the concepts of peeing and pooping on the potty, that is when I started letting them go through nap time with out a diaper. The night time “wetting” thing is also something you may not be able to “surpass” initially with potty training. I have found that with boys especially, it can take YEARS for them to go through the night without wetting. In fact some Doctors say its totally normal for a boy to wet their bed to age 10 without much concern. Crazy huh?

Hopefully this list was helpful to those reading.

Potty Training as scary as it seems to “new moms” – trust me, its not that bad.

Just stay positive.

Encouraging to those lil tots.

… and try to make it fun.

& one last tip. Allowing your kid to go pantless is a good idea the 1st few days. [Not naked, pantless. Finding a pile of poo on the floor isnt ideal, so undies will at least keep from this happening – pantless, good, naked, not so much.] If its winter, turn up the heat if possible. When you start training any child, there will be accidents and a good many to begin with. Its totally normal and begins to familiarize them with what is going on. So don’t sweat a few puddles haha… just maybe place some towels on your sofa and prepare a bit for the idea of this happening… cause, well, it will. :)

& below is a list of a few extra’s I like to have for training “outside” the home.

(totally optional)

- Undies that snap down the side. This way if they have a poo accident while out, you aren’t ripping underwear off with scissors or slidding poo down their leg as you attempt to salvage a pair of underwear. (keeping it real) So underwear that snap down the side are nice to have for outings. This ETSY shop had a lot of cute ones.

- A wet bag to put any soiled clothes in. Accidents will happen… having a washable wet bag is nice to have handy for those times. I have found ours invaluable!

- Foldable Potty Seat if your little one is skittish with big potty usage… but will use the toddler seat that sit on top of a normal toilet at home – yet while out refuses any toilet sitting without a “seat.” They do have FOLDABLE potty seats you can take with you. We did have to use one of these for Caleb, who was super skittish with toilets after a scare at an air port when a toilet automatically flushed on him. :-\

& I think, finally that is all. HAHA. I plan to start training Reed very soon. He is ready. I just keep putting it off. I plan to order some of the trainers above for him (at the etsy shop). I will for sure let you all know how I like those if you want.

Happy Training!

Homeschooling. Means far more than just academics

After about 3 solid days of sunshine here in Georgia. We are faced with a very dreary and wet day. I suppose after 60’s for 3 days, it was only due time for the temps to drop and us to get back to the reality of what Winter should be like.

Today was one of those days we had very little school work to do. So despite being stuck inside all day, besides a few spelling test, seat work and a dab of computer work. My boys were free to do as they pleased.

Homeschool is far more than academicsMid morning they began to get a bit antsy unable to go out, so I thought it was the perfect day to let them jump on our pillows. This is something I have allowed my children to do for years now. It is a bit messs but way easier to clean up than a floor full of legos.

So they jumped.

Laughed.

Played.

Giggled.

… and for a good while, had such fun being silly and listening to worship music in the background.

I decided as they played that I would set up my video camera and record them playing. I knew it be fun to look back on. As they played I couldn’t help but think how awesome it was that they were even home to do this.


[I’ll place the video at the end]

I have had my share of days… months… years, where I questioned our home schooling the boys.

I had many moments of non-escapable thoughts of “is this worth it?” “am I doing more harm than good?” “would I be a better mom if they were gone some…” “public school would probably do them good…” and so forth.

I battled those thoughts and more, yearly. Especially my first few years of home schooling. Especially those years I added a new child to the mix… or we moved. Or I had to adjust to my husbands horrible job hours. There are to many times to count, where I felt defeated and lonely. Days where I would be surrounded by cranky kids who didn’t want to do their school work and a tired me, who wanted nothing more than to be done with it.

Homeschooling was exhausting!

I remember resenting moms who were able to just put their kids in public school and be done with it. I envied the alone time.

It seems like in the last year or so though. I have hit a new season in home schooling.

A season of thankfulness.

Grace.

Humbling moments…

and feelings of such blessing, as I sit and watch my boys learn.

Homeschool is far more than academicsI will be the first to raise my hand and bow to the awesomeness and hard work public school teachers put in. I have many friends who are public school teachers and I know the blood, sweat and tears they pour into their jobs. They like cops are very under appreciated. I for one would never want to teach a classroom full of kids that were not my own. At least I have the authority to discipline mine. :) So those new to my blog, must know. I am never ever downing public schools on this blog and I am never ever unappreciative of the work that goes into being a public school teacher. Nor do I think less of any parent who chooses differently. Homeschooling IS NOT a fit for every family and that is completely okay and right.

… but can I just say.

Home Schooling my boys has been nothing but a blessing.

We’ve had our bumps… but compared to the good we’ve experienced, its been worth ever single trial along the way.

My initial reason to home school back in the day was because I felt I needed to as a Pastors wife. My husband believed in home schooling after he had some very bad life changing experiences in public school as a young boy… I did it, because I wanted to not only please Travis but because I truly wasn’t ready to ship off my kids to a school for a good majority of the day. Caleb was so little still to me… I just didn’t want him to go… and selfishly I knew if I homeschooled him, he’d be with me more.

As my oldest son is now 10… in the 4th grade. Growing and maturing into an amazing young man. I am realizing in a new way, the importance in our family for home schooling.

I get so tired of hearing from people downing on home schoolings…

Saying they will be unsocial.

Weird.

Nerdy.

Unable to adapt to society.

What a load of crap. :-D

My boys are amazingly social.

Bright.

Out going.

Nerdy at times :) – but who isn’t!

Well rounded.

Independent thinkers.

Homeschool is far more than academics… and they do all of it without the peer pressure daily from kids around them.

I love their desire to please their mother/father.

… rather than their peer.

I find peace in knowing they are not being exposed to pornography on the school bus or learning the latest inappropriate jokes and lingo from the lunch room.

I can find moments of Praise in being able to speak truth into my boys on what scripture teaches… and what the Bible says… without worrying about offending someone or breaking a religious rule.

“These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.” ~ Deuteronomy 6:6-9

Freedom in creating our own schedule and learning as we go. May it be in our school room, on the road or with friends.

Home schooling is SO MUCH MORE than just Academics.

In 8 years. Caleb will be an adult.

18…

I will be 38 years old… (Same age as my husband is today)… and I will then send my son off to college (hopefully).

8 years.

Thats it.

I hear so often the dread of teen years… and while I am not there… but oh so close. My prayer is to break that mold too… and to enjoy my boys for all they are. In the brokeness and in the praise.

So in the moments of silly games.

Choosing to Home school?

Jumping on pillows.

Dancing.

Laughing.

Tickles and Play.

I can cherish each moment, knowing all my boys see. All my boys do… and praying for them daily, to become all that God desires them to be.

No one can tell you what to do in regards to schooling your children.

… but can I encourage you. From one tired mom to another :) – that its worth it.

Why Homeschool?


Every single moment.

Being Boys

Life as a Boy MomThere have been very few people in my life, that I have come across, who just very much dislike me and my family. I don’t say that in any way to brag… I think over all we are fairly likable people. I try to be kind and generous as much as I can with those I meet. There was a time and place in our journey moving around, that one of our neighbors from the get go was negative and cold to our family. She spoke to us maybe twice… One of those times she was asking us to move our trampoline over a foot… because it was “on her yard.” As if that foot mattered? and as if we knew (After all we had only been there a day or two…). There were not many pleasant encounters sadly and it really puzzled me as to why.

She had two children and we never saw them.

The drama surrounding this particular family is a bit in-depth but not worth really getting into much more than what I just shared. I am always hesitant to write about people who don’t know me well and I don’t know them well… I think there is wisdom in keeping our mouth shut… but I also find wisdom in speaking truth too… and talking about things I believe firmly in. So this is in no way to hate on a woman I don’t know. I truly felt for her… and I know we each have our own brokenness… and if she was still my neighbor, I would have tried to make things better… One thing I remember thinking though, when I observed this woman’s children, was that she never allowed them to play outdoors much. Maybe it was because she didn’t like us.. That very well could have been it. I remember thinking how I would have loved to have her son come out to play with our boys… and use our trampoline or play set… I think children being allowed to play outside is so important… Allowing boys to play. Create. Explore. Is so good for them.

To be boys.

Without every moment worrying about how dirty they may get or “if” they may possibly encounter a bug… or a snake.

Life to me is so much more than rules and perfectly kept children.

Life as a Boy Mom

Life as a Boy MomI wanted so badly for her to realize the freedom in just being… and enjoying the childhood we get to watch our kids live.

Yesterday,

…while my boys played happily and carefree in our creek.


Life as a Boy Mom

Getting messy.

Wet.

Life as a Boy Mom

Dirt and grit under their nails.

Exploring on their own, without me holding their hand every step of the way.

Life as a Boy Mom

I just couldn’t help but feel blessed.

Sounds crazy. In some moments like that you’d think the mom would automatically go to the “oh man… such a mess!” While there are days I can go towards that tendency… I am finding such freedom these days in letting that part of me go a bit more.

They are so much fun to watch and I love even more how “boyish” they are together as brothers…

… it blesses me greatly.

So to the mom who enjoys the monogrammed shirts (no hate, it is cute.). With cuties decked out in perfectly laced shoes, with no dirt on them. Leather jackets or name brand button ups. Let those dudes be dudes… and learn to love it. :-) There is plenty of time for perfecting a look. I don’t believe childhood should consist of perfection in the least.

From one grown up child who grew up digging into a creek with her older brother. I can honestly say my mom allowing me to explore and “be” a kid… did nothing but shape me into one cool dude mom, haha… and I am so thankful for that freedom she gave us.

Life as a Boy Mom

Avoiding the ER using Gentle Healer

How many of you try with all your might to avoid the ER? I for one do. Travis and I have relatively good insurance because of Travis’ job. Being a cop has very few perks but insurance is one of them. However, even with some insurance the cost of going to an ER is never small. Our co-pay for an ER visit alone is $100.00! Ridiculous.

This month Travis had to go to an Urgent Care after stepping on a tooth pick… yup, a tooth pick. That thing pieced into the bottom of his heel (I’ll spare you the images). It went so deep though and broke off that we could not get it out.

…and yes, I said a toothpick. We laughed about it as did the nurses. Even though, it was far from funny to experience.

During that Urgent Care visit at 8pm at night, we spent 7+ hours in a room. Where two doctors attempted to pull that tooth pick out… where they tried using an x-ray to see what was left. The x-ray couldn’t see it though because it was small fragments of wood. We then had to have a CAT SCAN of his heel… and they literally spent like 45 minutes or more digging and cutting into his heel… with countless large needle shots to numb it (ouch!). Lets just say, it didn’t look very comfortable. We didn’t make it home until 4am! It was absolutely ridiculous how long it took… I am just thankful we had a sitter for the kids.

Still. The pain of going there. Waiting. The fee we will be charged… not only for that visit but the deductible for a cat-scan and x-ray. It will not be cheap.

So that happened 2 weeks ago I guess. Well about 5 days ago on Jan 14th (I’m writing this on Monday the 19th), Reed fell. He hit the corner of my desk and split the top of his eye brow open. Lots of blood… lots of crying.

Using the Essential Oil Helichrysum Italicum to heal an open wound.As we looked over the wound we debated for a bit as to what to do. It was deep… and it was spread enough apart that a simple band aid would not have held it together. We also knew it would continue to bleed unless it was sealed some how. With Travis just a couple weeks prior having to spend all that money for his own ER visit… the thought of taking another family member in so close together wasn’t ideal. Obviously in some situations you have to go. There is a need for modern medicine at times… but in this particular situation, I felt like we had another option.

I just knew if we could “pull” that wound together some how and use Gentle Healer on it, that it would do the trick.

So I got some Butterfly Bandaids and was able to pull the boo boo shut. It was a bit of an awkward angle but we made it work. I then applied generously the Essential Oil Gentle Healer. This is a blend of two oils. Helichrysum Italicum and Foraha. Foraha is not quiet an essential oil but it has healing properties of its own. The key ingredient in this blend though is the Helichrysum Italicum. You can purchase that oil in its “NEAT” form… but my wallet just could not afford it neat. So I went with the next best thing and that is the Gentle Healer blend.

This oil has been invaluable in my home. With 4 little boys I am constantly using it to heal up skinned knees, burns, cuts, gashes, etc. It has been one of my favorite oils by far.

I hate I didn’t get progress photos of Reeds wound above healing… but let me tell you…

After just 24 hours his wound was completely closed up.

Within 48 hours there was no need for any more band aids or butterflies.

After 72 hours it was almost not even noticeable.

I took this photo on Dec 19th (just at the 5 day mark) and if you look at his right eye brow (looking at him its the left). You can see clearly how well this has healed. He has almost no scab and it is just a very clean healing sliver of a cut now.

Using Gentle Healer with Helichrysum Italicum to heal up a 2 year old facial laceration

So while this oil is not cheap… it saved us a trip to the ER this time.

It saved us the pain of waiting hours for a Doctor to glue or sew my little mans face shut.

It saved me the drama… and let me tell you, that is worth its weight in gold.

I didn’t have to sit in a germ infested ER room.

I didn’t have to pay a $100 copay.

I didn’t have to go back for a follow up with a Doctor.

Treating this at home could not have been easier and I am just so thankful to have these oils. They truly are amazing.

To end… for kicks.

Check out a photo of Taite. Taite for those new here is my now 8 year old. He is almost identical to my youngest Reed. They favor A LOT. Taite at this age hit the very same spot (opposite brow) and we took him to an ER to have it fixed. During that ER visit they had to bind my child to a bed using linens. They then squeezed his wound together in the most unpleasant manner… and proceeded to glue it shut. They then prescribed him an antibiotic to ward off infection.

I can remember vividly that same type of wound taking weeks to heal on Taite. I remember it getting really scabbed over and gross looking for days… It did not heal quickly.

Scar

So thankful for safety of these crazy boys. :)

I am honestly surprised we don’t have more ER visits. As crazy as they play together, its a wonder.

Thankful for all I am learning about Essential Oils and even more so thankful for Rocky Mountain Oils. Allowing me a place to purchase my oils at cost… with no hidden fees or memberships. All the information I have been able to pull from them any time I have a question as well has been invaluable. So if you’re curious one oil I highly recommend for moms of little ones. It hands down would be Gentle Healer. Save your pennies and get that one! I did and I don’t regret that purchase in the least.

Creek Boys

Life with four boysWe have gotten the nick name by some ;) and are referred to as “the creek boys” :)

It is a nick name I for one think our boys would wear proudly.

One of the things I was looking for when we began our search for our very first “home purchase”, was to find a home with a creek. I know that seems like such a silly thing to put on a “house hunt” list… but for me, it wasn’t. I grew up with my brother around a creek very similar. I have so many amazing memories of him and I exploring the woods.

Building forts.

Playing in the creek, skipping rocks, finding cray fish and so forth.

That creek for me at least, was a haven from the world… I have nothing but great memories from those times there.

I don’t know how long we will live in this house… but for the few years we have so far, having a creek has been nothing but awesome.

Yesterday we decided to let the boys build a small fire pit near their fort. Its within an arms reach or so of the creek, so lots of water nearby to help put out anything. We made it very small to ensure nothing got out of hand and also will only allow them to use it with supervision from our oldest Caleb or myself. It was fun to see them get so excited over a few creek rocks and bricks stacked up.


Life with four boys

Life with four boys

Life with four boys

… and can I just add how amazing Georgia weather was yesterday! Wow. I felt slightly spoiled to enjoy a 60 degree day in January. If you can’t tell one of my boys has a bathing suit on :) – since he was playing in the creek water… and Caleb my oldest doesn’t have shoes on either. It was plenty warm to go shoeless. Tomorrow is suppose to be just as pretty. I’m excited to enjoy the sunshine before more rain heads in.