Monday, February 6, 2012

Potty Products, Overload!

While online searching for a potty training seat to go over the big potty, I came across an Eco Friendly Bamboo seat. Tell me why you'd buy anything bamboo other than your cutting boards and maybe some place mats?! I'm amazed at how many products are out there and am curious if any of them actually work.

Something that makes me laugh is when I click on someone's website who is trying to sell their potty training product and they really rip into the other products out there. One such product that really gets to be the "bum" of everyone's harsh criticism are "Pull-Up's". The jury is still in session on this one for me. I hear a lot of mixed advice when it comes to the magical underpants-diaper.

For now, I'll skip the bamboo toilet seat and the lot; however, I can take some idea from this all-natural product in my approach to having a diaper-free household: I'm going to take an "all-natural" approach in the sense that I'm going to train Lauren in the way I assume my parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc. were trained. I can't imagine that my grandma bought a $40 peeing dolly or a $34 hippo shaped little potty. I'm not even sure she did a sticker chart, but I'm not opposed to the sticker method...if only stickers meant something important to Lauren. So far, chips and pieces of candy cane do the trick!

I'm sure my grandparents (and relatives) used a no-nonsense, "this is what you do so you're gonna do it," approach. Or maybe the old, "no one else in nursery class wears diapers, you don't want to be the only stinky toddler, do you?" method. Either way, I'm planning on saving my money until I need a last resort. Even then, I might have to spend my earned pennies on a one-time only drinking binge to keep my sanity.

Friday, February 3, 2012

All Aboard! Let's Get this Potty Training on the Right Tracks!

I have decided that now is as good a time as any to start Lauren on the life long habit of peeing and pooping in the potty. As a fairly recent graduate in the field of Psychology, I did what any aspiring behaviorist would do: research. I got several books on the topic and read away.

Potty training is fascinating. There is a lot of advice out there and a lot more methods. For someone who trained a chicken to peck a hole to get food and trained a rat to make it through a maze, I feel very opinionated when it comes to my personal choice of methods.

First a few disclaimers: I, in no way, shape, or form believe my way will be the best practiced out there, nor do I think that the methods I am against are bad for everyone. If someone wants to wait till their kid "is ready" and "interested", by all means, good luck. I would hope those same friends would review my method and wish me luck as well!

Secondly, I, in no way, shape, or form think that I am an expert on this topic or feel superior to my friends' kids who are not potty trained; although, if this actually works, I will be one VERY HAPPY and PROUD Mama!

Thirdly, I document this only because after holding her own head up, feeding herself, and walking, potty training is the next monumental occasion. And also, in case my 3 sisters and the other 2 people who read my blog need any ideas for their kids, voila! They have a reference!

So, without further hesitation, I give you my method thus far in the preparation to potty train my 21-month old! Might I add, I would like to call it "Potty Learning". You train your kid to share. You train them to clean their room. They learn to use the potty. It is not a cool little trick they do or have the choice of doing. It is a sanitary, life long habit that they HAVE to do. Someone just needs to teach them. {Easily argued? Yes. Really just a manner of semantics? Of course. But it makes me feel better!}

First, I had to expand her vocabulary from "Scrooge saw the ghost" and "I don't know where it is" to things like, "Pee pee goes in the potty" and "poo poo goes in the potty". Next, the concept of wet and dry had to be learned. Which, for me, meant one thing: she was GOING to have an accident in her new big girl underwear. After that, she pretty much got the idea.

[Side note: the diaper industry has a lot of explaining to do! Did you know that they put chemicals in their products so the child does not even know they are wet??? Kids are never uncomfortable! Why would they stop to go in the toilet when they don't know the difference. On top of that, the longer we wait to train, the more they have learned to go in their pants. That is why before disposable diapers, the average age to potty train was before 12 months. It's called "infant training". Look it up. There's some good dirt on the disposable diaper and why kids are potty trained later and later in life.]

Secondly, I came to terms with the fact that my method will take several months, lots of preparation, no overnight solution, no potty trained in a day, and there will be accidents. It took Lauren about a month to really feel comfortable walking by herself. Add another two months to conquer stairs. I'm hoping she'll get the whole potty thing down by her 2nd birthday...which gives me a 4 month window to ease her into big girlhood.

1) Talk about the potty all the time.
2) Put up pictures of potty.
3) Pat bum area and say "dry" or "wet" (if she's wet)
4) Bare bums are not only cute, they make for a quick and easy getaway...for pee into the toilet!
5) If your kid is stubborn, and naughty, use that against them. Lauren is really possesive right now. One time I sat on her little potty and said, "MY POTTY!!!" She got so mad, she literally pushed me off, told me it was her potty, and sat down. I left for 2 minutes, came back, and she was swishing her pee with her her potty. (Note: Have them help you with clean-up when there are accidents.) (Another note: I'm not a big fan of bribery, nor am I of manipulation. That being said, sometimes with a toddler you need a little help from our friends, "Candy", "Sticker", and "The Sting". Just get out of the habit AS SOON AS your kid gets the concept of the potty. If you take any advice from my affinity for psychology, let it be that!)
6) Poop. I haven't gotten that far, so we'll just say TBA.

Lauren has had quite a few successes. Way more accidents. No matter how you slice it, you'll always be way more excited each time there is a success. That's all they need. Don't say anything when there are accidents. They'll get it.
Positive Reinforcement: giving (adding) hugs, kisses, praise for using the potty.
Negative Reinforcement (tricky concept): no hugs, no kisses, no praise for pee pee on the carpet--aka, taking away the praise; this is not to be confused with punishment. There should be no punishment besides having them help you clean up a mess.

That's all I have thus far. My method includes using the potty 1-3 times a day. I'll slowly add more times until she gets it on her own or is asking me to use the potty. So far, she'll tell me when she's peed on the couch or carpet. In my eyes, a step in a direction (I think the RIGHT direction, but at least a step in the direction towards the potty!)

I'll give updates as this will be quite an excursion we are embarking on!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Smart Phones, too smart?

I got a really cool gift for Christmas this year. Well, I actually got several really cool gifts this year. The tops: automatic soap dispenser, shoe shopping and lunch with my sisters from my dad (coolest gift ever!), car phone charger, True Religion jeans (yes!), and lo and behold: and iPhone 4s!

I should start, however, by disclaiming that I never had interest in getting a smart phone for several reasons. The most becoming reason being it is a huge responsibility. We're going from being a girl who never spent more than $60 out of pocket on an up-for-renewal upgrade, to being the proud (and nervous) owner of a new $300 phone that does everything but shave her legs.

Don't get me wrong, smart phones are A-MAZ-ING! But there is so much more responsibility owning a phone that costs more than all the counter appliances in my kitchen combined (excluding my kitchenaid mixer...another great present from my mother-in-law!)

For the first week I was so nervous with my new phone. I stored it in a ziplock bag as to not get any incriminating crumbs or lint left behind in my coat pocket. After the initial shock of owning the iPhone, I settled in to learning all that the phone can do. And it can do a lot. As my friend Samm demonstrated, Siri can guide you in "where can I stash a body?" (I know, but it was really funny at the time. Siri came up with some interesting solutions.)

The other thing I learned, is pressing the middle button does not end a call. You have to touch on the touch screen, the "END" button. So, a friend got to hear me sing an extended sing-along session with my almost-two year old.

Well, there you have it. The smart phones today are! You just have to learn all the ins and outs [and basic functions] to be a savvy smart phone owner!

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