Category Archives: Kids

Potty girl!

“Me peed AGAIN, Mama!”
That’s my girl.
One happy mama over here!

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Three Day Potty Training

Yes, I’m serious.

No, it isn’t a gimmick.

No, you don’t have to give me any money to learn about how I potty train.

This is the third time I’ve potty trained. So far, I’ve consistently managed daytime potty training by 2 1/2 years old, and nighttime potty training by 3 years old.

Here’s what you need:

  • a toddler who is showing signs of being ready.
  • potty chair (I use the basic one from Wal-Mart)
  • a gated room with hard floors
  • drinks and salty snacks
  • a timer (I use a free app called Potty Baby)
  • washable toys in the gated room

Pick a room. When we lived in a different house, I used the kitchen because there was a bathroom attached and it was the only hard floor in the entire house. Here, it’s the dining room.

The potty chair and the toys go in the dining room, and a gate gets put across the doorway to keep the accidents on the hard floor. The toddler plays in this room all day for the three days while she is being potty trained.

IMG_20130924_102515Some of the washable toys in the potty-training room

IMG_20130924_102705And a happy little girl in a long shirt with no pants.

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So, here’s what you do.

  • On day 1, make a REALLY BIG DEAL out of not wearing/needing diapers anymore: “Since you’re such a big girl, you don’t need diapers anymore!”
  • Give the toddler lots to drink, and snacks like crackers and watermelon.I allow sweet tea and punch in larger quantities than usual.
  • Sit the toddler on the potty EVERY FIVE MINUTES until she goes once, then every fifteen minutes after that. (Yes, this is a very labor intensive 3 days).
  • You may have to build awareness of elimination. This is why you go COMPLETELY NAKED below the waist. She can directly see what she is doing, as it is happening.
  • If the toddler starts to have an accident, whisk her over to the potty chair before she finishes. Praise her for making it to the potty before finishing.
  • Get SUPER EXCITED every time she goes in the potty!

For the first little while, I give a small piece of candy every time she succeeds in using the potty. This time around, I’m using chocolate chips because I had them on hand. Two chocolate chips for #2, and one chocolate chip for pee.  Eventually the candy is phased out, but it really helps at first to build motivation.

I do still use diapers during naps and at night, until I start to see consistently dry diapers during these times. Then I put a waterproof pad on the bed and try a diaper-free nap!

Oh,  I should probably note that the poor kid isn’t by herself in one room for three days! Her siblings are with her a lot of the time, and I’m in there most of the time too. I sit at the table with my laptop, sewing machine, or a book.

You can read more about the three-day method here.

On Motherhood and Grace

I grew up in Roman Catholic schools and churches, and spent a lot of time in confusing and poorly presented Theology classes.

One thing I do remember learning is that we receive grace through our struggles and tribulations. It didn’t make much sense to me as a 12-year-old, but viewed through the lens of parenthood this teaching becomes much more clear.

As a parent, it is hard to be vain. I barely have time to brush my own hair and swipe on lipstick, let alone spend some quality time with a curling iron. I’m disheveled, but happy. I get more joy out of brushing my girls’ hair than my own.

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As a parent, it is hard to hold grudges. During one particularly good sermon, my pastor said, “Holding grudges doesn’t hurt the person you’re angry with. Grudges hurt the person who is choosing to stay angry.” My kids keep me so busy that I don’t have the energy to hold grudges, even when I am very upset.

As a parent, it is hard to be selfish. As soon as these tiny, wrinkled people came into the world, something changed in my heart. Of course I loved them while I was pregnant, but everything changed when my first baby was laid in my arms. Putting my children first is less of a choice and more of an unconscious instinct. Their needs, desires, and dreams are so much more important than my own selfish desires.

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It is also incredibly difficult to be lazy! I have two kids in diapers and I change an average of 15 diapers per day between the two of them. There are also dishes, laundry, and baths to take care of. Sitting at the computer is a luxury that I can only partake of once all these other things are done.

I do think that parenting has made me a better person, but it hasn’t been conscious decisions so much as just adapting to my life as it changes. Does self-improvement “count” if it is not a conscious change?  I think so. My children help me to spend time wisely, be loving and patient, and to be humble. If that isn’t grace, I don’t know what is.

Frugal Summer Fun: Cloud Dough

It’s already too hot for the kids to be outside during the majority of the day. We’ve hit 113 degrees a few times in the past few weeks. If we want to go outside, we have to do it in the mornings and evenings when it’s cooler. During the day, we play inside, watch movies, draw, and read.

Today, I have been working on a major paper for one of my summer classes, so I needed something the kids would be able to do with minimal supervision.

So, we made cloud dough! After making one batch, the kids seemed to need more, so I made a second batch. I guess it all depends on the size of the container you put it in.

Start with a bowl and 8 cups of flour. I’d suggest white flour over wheat flour because whole wheat flour goes rancid faster.

Add a cup of oil. I also added a citrus blend of essential oil to make it smell nice.

Stir and stir and stir until the lumps become small:

Done! This stuff provides an amazing sensory experience. It’s soft and powdery, yet moldable at the same time.

Silicone cupcake molds, measuring cups, and spoons are all fun with this.

I’d definitely recommend giving this a try! It’s very fun and very cheap – the dough is shelf stable until the oil starts to smell bad. I’ve heard that it will stay fresh in a sealed bag for up to 6 months!