About a year ago, I was walking out of the grocery store and noticed an elderly woman putting groceries in her car. Instinctively, I walked up to her and offered to put her shopping cart away for her. She was pleasantly surprised and more than happy to receive my help.
After I put her cart away, I got in my car, looked over at my daughter and came to a touching realization…
My mother NEVER explicitly said to me, “Whenever you see an elderly person putting away their groceries, assist them by offering to put away their shopping cart.” Instead, I learned the art of compassion and empathy through my mother’s actions.
As I gazed into my daughter’s eyes, I silently prayed, “God, please let me be the kind of mother who teaches my daughter the most valuable life lessons through my actions, not just my words.” If I impart half as many values within my girls as my mom instilled within her children, I know they will turn out just fine. ❤
Whenever I found out I was pregnant with baby #2 while our first daughter was only 13 months, one of the first thoughts that came to mind (after the joy and excitement of course) was, “Oh my! I’m going to have two kiddos in diapers!” Well, with my husband’s work schedule, I knew that one of the things I could tackle that could potentially help relieve some stress from having two little munchkins was potty training our eldest girl.
There were glimmers of hope because Gianna was already verbalizing what was happening in the world of poo poos and pee pees at about 17 months. This was a sign that she was ready. Regardless if your child has verbalized his/her diaper experiences, I strongly believe that with the right tools and attitude on the side of the parents, your child can and will be potty trained with very little drama. I am happy to say that Gianna got the potty thing down by her 2nd birthday. Don’t get me wrong; she still has accidents on occasion, but overall, she is using the potty for #1 and #2, both during the day and at night. Here are my tips to get your child on the potty training path to success:
1. Be patient. Go into this potty training experience, with the full understanding that it will take some time. How much time? Who knows? Just stay focused on what the goal is and that is to teach your child a life skill. While your child may take 2 steps forward and 5 steps back at times, try not to get frustrated and definitely don’t let your child see you getting frustrated! Just take a deep breath and rest assured that your child will not be in diapers forever, unless there is some sort of medical issue (my thoughts and prayers to parents/children dealing with such a situation).
2. Be consistent. You cannot be on a potty roll one day, taking your child to the potty every 30 min. etc., and not even mention potty time the next. You are setting an example for your child so if it’s not important to you, then it won’t be important to him/her. Be sure to always talk about the potty. Every time you change your child’s diaper, encourage your child by saying things like, “Next time, you are going to put the poo poos in the potty, not in your diaper!”
3. Make it fun. Ain’t no shame to my game! Whenever I first started potty training Gianna, I gave her bath toys to play with and even had my iPad playing potty songs/videos/stories from You Tube! I sang and danced with her. I also modeled potty time for her by letting her in the bathroom with me whenever I would go. I talked her through everything I was doing (I know. I know. TMI! LOL) and she even sat down on her potty too – sometimes with her pants still on, but at least she was pretending to go! I did the tried and true sticker chart and gave her one sticker for poo poos and one sticker for pee pees so she could only get up to two stickers at a time. Once the chart was full, I treated her to a book at the bookstore, but you can do whatever reward you like. Also, after each time she went to the potty and used it, not only did she get to put her sticker(s) on the chart, but she also did a dance to Dora the Explorer’s song “We did it!”
4. Don’t give up. There will be times when you think, “My child is never going to learn how to use the potty!” But no worries! He or she will become a pro in their own time. Please do your child and yourself a favor and do not compare your kiddo to someone else, not even mine! Yes, Gianna may be potty trained by age 2, but I also know some parents who had their child trained at 18 months and others who had their child trained at 3 years old. This is not a one size fits all experience! Don’t put pressure on your child to perform on your time table. Just provide your child with the learning opportunity and experiences needed to ultimately accomplish the task.
Here are some more tips:
- Before you start putting your child on the potty, monitor/track your child’s potty schedule (time he/she does #1 and #2) for about 3 days, taking note of when he/she goes. Then by day 4, start putting your child on the potty around those times. Some hot times are before and after meals, as soon as your child gets up in the morning and right before your child goes to bed for nap time and bedtime.
- Do not have your child stay on the potty longer than 10 minutes at a time.
- Read books to your child about going to the potty. I took Gianna to the bookstore and had her choose her own potty book. There are a ton of children’s books about potty time!
With most parents working full time jobs outside of the home, many parents find themselves struggling to squeeze in some quality time with their children. Nowadays, even your kids’ schedule(s) can be hectic – from soccer practice, to piano lessons and so much more. All the hustle and bustle leaves the average family with only getting about an hour of downtime a day!
Don’t feel guilty because you work outside of the home! I have been on both sides of this issue, first with my full time teaching job and now as a work-from-home mom. As my dear friend and child therapist, Leigh Ann Hrutkay said on my podcast, the goal is quality over quantity!
Good Morning America recently revealed some excellent ways to ensure that you are getting some quality time in with your child(ren):
1. Put all cell phones, tablets and other technology away!
2. Engage in meaningful conversations. Ask “why” questions as opposed to “what” questions. For example, “Why is science your favorite subject?”
3. Play a board game together.
4. Do a craft project together.
5. Do chores together, like folding laundry.
As a teacher, I will add one more; read to your children! 😉
Whatever you choose to do, make sure you are fully in the moment. Our children deserve our full attention during these special moments. 🙂
For more on this, click on the following link: http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/video/make-time-kids-25201785