FAQ Friday: Getting Out Of the House

I’ve had a busy holiday full of potty training consulting over here! It’s been exciting to hear about the little daily successes adding up to INDEPENDENCE for our toddler and preschool friends.

As the “newly potty trained” move from Blocks One and Two into Block Three, parents want to set them up for success on the go, and I’ve been fielding quite a few questions about GETTING OUT OF THE HOUSE and TRAVEL POTTIES.

First of all, read Jamie’s post on traveling. The “travel diaper” is ideal for those really traveling, such as on a plane or for longer car rides (I’d say longer than 20-30 minutes, especially if you’re commuting on a major highway that you can’t get off and on quickly). You may only have a few seconds to get your kid out of the car seat and onto the potty once you hear that quiet little voice whisper “potty?” from the back seat.

Now that your diaper bag is a little lighter without those diapers, here’s what I’d put in it:

1. Change of Clothes. Look, accidents happen. Take a deep breath, dust it off. It’s OK. You both are learning how long is too long to go without a potty break. For the newly potty trained, take a couple changes of clothes and a bag to put wet stuff in.

2. Your choice of on-the-go potty accessories. Here are a few things that I’ve found helpful to have in my own bag. But this is totally personal preference. If you want to just let your child sit on the public potty and then really really wash his or her hands well, knock yourself out. I’ve been there too.

  • Clorox/Lysol/Bleach wipes. You can wipe off the seat and the handle for flushing (and the walls? just kidding, mostly).
  • Potty covers. This depends on your sense of wasting paper. They are giant, but they do cover everything. Good for those little tiny potty trainers who really do need to touch the potty for balance (older or bigger kids can push their hands together and touch their elbows to their knees in a “squat type” position). Here’s an example from Amazon, but if you search you can find all types.
  • Flushable wipes. Maybe not always so flushable, be willing to throw in the trash, but good for having because that single ply public paper isn’t always the best.
  • Sticky note to cover the sensor on automatic toilets. You can also use your hand, but do cover it. It’s really startling to have that toilet go off, especially for a kid using a public toilet for the first time. It can set you back.

3. Travel potty*. Again, this comes down to personal preference and situation. If you travel primarily by car your options are much wider than if you’re walking everywhere and have to fit everything in your stroller (in which case, you might first try out the red solo cup trick).

  • You can just use the little potty you’ve been using for potty training at home and put it in the back of your car. You should also take something to clean it. I like dog poop bags and a container of wipes. Easy peasy. (By the way, this is my very favorite little potty. Easy to clean, simple, sized right.) Or, you can buy a travel potty.
  • I used a closeable potty that can be slipped into the bottom of the stroller with my own child (though I can’t find the exact one, this looks comparable). And I liked it. I still recommend cleaning it after each use rather than closing it and driving somewhere else. That seal can seal in some disgusting smell. You can have them sit on it in the trunk of the car, beside the car on the ground, on the floorboard of your car, or in the front seat. Put something under it like a towel or a chuck (mentioned in Jamie’s travel article) if you set it in your car, since there is a splash risk.
  • Many parents like this potty because it has a bag attached that you can just throw away. But you have to remember to have bags because there’s no back up in the seat. It looks like you can store it in your bag and use it on public potties too. But then maybe have your bleach wipes to wipe it after…
  • There are some other options that parents have found useful that I don’t have direct experience with, such as this foldable seat cover. I haven’t used it but there are a lot of reviews there…

*I’ve had a client who insisted on taking her own closeable travel potty into the public restroom. Her kid would sit on it instead of the big public toilet, she’d empty it, close it up, and move on without the kid touching anything else in the bathroom. FOR ME, it seemed like a lot to haul around but she was very happy for this solution, especially since her kiddo was only 20 months, so the smaller size was useful. So that’s an option, too, particularly for the more squeamish among us.

And now, RELAX. Be ready to pull over when your kiddo asks, but be calm. You have a plan. It’s just like when you added pants. Maybe you had an accident? So, you took the pants back off. It’s all learning. You are learning to work together, to travel together, and you are learning what works for you now with your newly independent pottier. Send me a message or comment on this post if you have some advice for me or a product that you love. I am always looking to learn!


Potty Training Forum Open in November


We will have a month long Potty Training Forum opening on November 5th!

Who: Me (a certified Oh Crap! Potty Training Expert), You (parents of toddlers), Other parents just like you with Potty Questions

What: Have you read Jamie Glowacki’s Oh Crap! potty Training book and are excited to get started? Want a little more support? Have you started but hit a bump? Have more questions about potty training your specific kid or need some more guidance? Work with me in a Facebook forum where you’ll get one on one support from me. I’ll read and respond to your posts at least once a day (usually in the evening) and you’ll have access to and benefit from seeing the posts of others working through their potty training experience as well.

When: November 5-December 7.

Where: Your sofa. Or maybe computer room? Bed? Wherever you are comfortable.

The cost will be $60—comment here or send an email with any questions to I’ll accept payment through PayPal or Venmo and will grant access to the forum on November 1.* I’m excited to get to know you and your kids and get to work together!

Give yourself one more thing to be thankful for this season: no more diapers! Save some of your diaper money for Christmas gifts!

*Space is limited to ensure everyone gets adequate time and attention. Sign up today!


FAQ Friday: Why the “Oh Crap” Method?

When it comes to potty training, there are a lot of methods out there. When my son was a small toddler, if I gave any thought at all to potty training it was that I would do it “later.” You know, when he seemed “ready.”

One morning I was visiting with a Mommy friend who had multiple children close in age. I was telling her a cute story involving my son and the potty. “Oh, she said, is he interested?” He was eighteen months old. “Well,” I said, “I don’t know…”

She leaned over to me and said, with some urgency, “Do it now, before he decides it’s not fun.” She looked over at her almost 4-year-old. “I waited with him and it is a battle. I wish I’d done it when he was curious. Me not being ready isn’t the same as him not being ready,” she said.

And that is the key, the thing that caught me — Me not being ready is the not the same as him not being ready.

So I searched and searched and searched and began to, well, freak out a little. As much as I’d like to say otherwise, the truth is I am an uptight parent. I want to do things right. But what is right when there are so many methods out there?

And then I found the book Oh Crap! Potty Training. There are almost 1,000 reviews of this book on and it has 4.5 stars. It is a trusted method, recommended by preschool teachers and parent to parent. It really is the best.

And here’s why I love it and why so many others do to–there is no “trick” to it. There is no insistence on a certain time frame or pressure to do things exactly right. Sure, there are a few “must do’s” and “never do’s,” but for the most part, you follow a plan and focus on your own child. It is child-centered and child-based. Individualized. The trick, as Jamie says, is you, the parent, and the knowledge you have about your child.

That speaks to my special education heart. I so enjoyed “Block 1,” watching and focusing on my son and learning about him as I let him lead. The rest followed on our own pace.

I also know that sometimes parents can get so focused that we get stuck, or so worried about getting things perfect that we get frozen, or just so generally confused that we feel lost. Everything we do as parents, especially parents of young children, feels very high stakes. So, sometimes, we need someone to talk to about it. To cheer us on.

I believe in this method and I believe in you. I come to this work hoping to help and cheer on what you are doing right, with some tips and advice from Jamie’s very solid methods behind us. That’s why I choose to do this, and that’s why I chose the Oh Crap! Method. I hope you also find a step into parenting these little individuals that works best for you.


Toddler Tuesday: Virtual Book Club for Kids

This isn’t a feature or anything. This is one desperate Mommy sharing for others. Sometimes it’s good to let others do the work for you.

Last year, when I had a baby and a toddler, I joined the Facebook group page for the FREE Weekly Virtual Book Club for Kids. It is ah-mazing. I’m telling you: follow that link, like the page, send them your email and ENJOY all the activities with your kids. There’s a new format this year and it is even better–they send you five activities linked with the book and then you do one each day. There are some genius Mommas on that page posting their activities too. They are simple, they are fun, and they help you out. Did I mention they are TOTALLY FREE?

So I’m giving them a little plug because they are my help this year. But really this post is just to say, maybe try doing something “extra.” You can go nuts on Pinterest. You know this. Find a favorite book and look for a “preschool activity.” Make a sensory bin out of old dried beans and dollar store pumpkins. Let them smear $1 shaving cream all over your shower and then wash it off. Have them stir up those cheap pouch muffins and scoop them into a pan.

Last summer, I posted a few of the “weekly themes” I carefully planned and then did with my kiddos. When things heat up at school time, it is so nice to just check the VBC list, “order” the book from the library online so it’s ready to pick up when we can get there, and then quickly set up the activity.

I can’t speak for you. Why do *I* need activities?

1) My children need a focus or they trash the house.

2) Sometimes it’s easy to get lost in the day to day and forget about the larger rhythms of seasons and stories, which are critically important to children’s development. Pre-made and curated activities by early childhood educators will help fulfill this need. My older child is in preschool, yes, and he gets this there, but I also love doing these activities with him, which leads me to…

3) It’s fun! One of the reasons I love Potty Training is that this age is so amazing! They are endlessly interesting and endlessly creative and endlessly full of energy. Watching little brains work is one of my greatest joys in life. Doing activities with your little one will let you see their mind at work–it is a gift to you! As Jamie Glowacki says in THE BOOK about those first few days of potty training: putting down your phone and focusing on your child will blow you away. You will be amazed by what they do. Doing an activity with your child is a special time that you can focus on each other.

4) Give them a time you’re not disciplining. This is hard. Parenting is hard. So much of the day, good lord, we are trying to keep them from hurting themselves, from hurting each other, from destroying the house… …just trying to keep them alive. Pick something simple. Pick something fun. Be joyful together.

5) My children need a focus or they trash the house.


Toddler Tuesday: Water!

So, Texas. It’s hot! It’s a good time to potty train. Hello, naked days.

It’s also a good time to do water things. Toddlers love water. And, if you’re stuck at home potty training, mess is nothing right? What’s one more rinse off? If you’ve seen any of my Saturday Summaries, you’ve seen that my kids like to get messy*.

Here are some things I’d do if I were potty training this week. Because an accident on the grass sure beats an accident on the carpet. Keep the little potty nearby, turn on your watching eyes, and put up your phone. Have fun with your child!

Create a “small world” in a plastic box or water table. Give them a few scoops of dirt, some plastic animal figures, and some water. If you have little plastic trees or grass, all the better. If you have an outside with sand or trees–your kids are going to have a fantastic mess. Yay!

Fill up the water table. Dye the water with food coloring. Give them some cups with different colors of food coloring. Pull out all your bath toys–they’re different outside. Don’t have a water table? What about a plastic shoebox? My kids love blowing bubbles into the water.

Freeze anything you can. Freeze their animal toys in water. Freeze their cars in water. Freeze their LEGO people in water. Freeze some dinosaurs. Freeze them in ice cube trays. Freeze them individually in paper cups. Freeze everything together in one giant block of ice in your mixing bowl. This is an incredible hit with most kids I’ve met. Give them a bowl of warm water and some ladles, droppers or turkey baster, and a spoon to use as a chisel.

*I am aware that toddlers are a notoriously finicky bunch. Many do not like to get messy. Perhaps they would enjoy the “cleaning version” of this activity–give them messy things for them to scrub and clean. Messy cars and trucks, messy animal toys, messy pots and pans. Give them a bowl of soapy water and a variety of sponges and toothbrushes and dish scrubbers and let them do their thing. Have them dry off some toys you’ve washed.

Get to know your child as she gets to know herself. Potty training (and toddlerdom, of course) is about developing a individuality separate from her parents. How cool is that?


Monday Memes

Happy new week! We all woke up super early and ready to start off our week with crankiness enthusiasm! Hope this post can bring a smile to some other Monday Mommies.

This headline from 2013 still feels current.

And I thought I’d end with something a little not-as-silly. Sometimes it’s good to remind myself how short the days are. We won’t always be needed so intensely.


Saturday Summaries: Dinosaur Week

I was inspired by Rainy Day Mum’s Storybook Summer to do a dinosaur theme for mom camp last week. She has great ideas and activities for free!

My kid has not been naturally “into dinosaurs.” He wasn’t excited about dinosaur week. But once we got started with the activities and books he has been absorbed in it all and fascinated by them all. I showed him the nonfiction dinosaur shelf at our local library and he was so excited he wanted to bring every single book home to learn more. Success!

Dinosaur in a Digger (not pictured because it is being stored beside the toddler’s bed at all times) The best intro to dinosaur week for my truck loving kid. It’s pretty basic as far as plot but the illustrations are great and it feeds into the toddler need to label. We have really enjoyed naming each dino and truck on each page.

Dinosaur Farm is the book recommendation from Rainy Day Mum. It’s very cute. Nowhere do the words mention that it’s a dinosaur farm but the illustrations make it very clear. We loved the play on this disconnect and, well, there is a page with dinosaur poop…you know it’s a hit.

I Am Not A Dinosaur is a fun introduction to some other prehistoric creatures.

Oh My Oh My Oh Dinosaurs has been a Boynton hit for a long time it our house. In fact, it was a popular early potty time choice for my first child. That popped balloon has inspired a lot of conversation. Easy to read and understand with entertaining, rhyming text.

Dinosaurs Roar is a book of opposites with fun, detailed illustrations. Younger kiddos would really enjoy this one.

How Do Dinosaurs Count to Ten is a member of the How Do Dinosaurs… dynasty that I read from repeatedly as a teacher. Lovely, detailed illustrations of anthropomorphic dinosaurs with the name of each dinosaur on the page–very handy for the toddler who enjoys knowing all the details. We enjoy reading books that spark conversation beyond the words on the page and these definitely do.

This week’s activities:

  • The biggest hit this week by far was the dinosaur sensory table. We did it Monday morning and it was requested every day after, sometimes twice a day. It was a great activity for both my kiddos. The baby loved throwing everything out of the table while the toddler loved getting lost in his own imaginary landscape. The sandbox happened to be nearby and that just added a whole new realm of ways to play. Such a great idea!
  • A challenge for me is coming up with ways to keep my boys involved physically. They need movement and, though I try to run them each morning in the jogging stroller, I am by nature a couch potato. Animal actions are always a hit, like this awesome dinosaur action cube.
  • One of the things my kid has found the most fun of these weeks has been themed food. I think it helps him “buy in” to the theme and, well, it is pretty fun. I followed this stegosaurus breakfast tutorial.
  • We were inspired by this post full of wonderful dinosaur ideas to make fossil cookies. Hint: the stomping you do on the raw dough will bake out, you need to stomp on them which they’re puffy and hot. But I didn’t want to do that with my kid so we had fun doing them before baking and I just stomped a few quickly when they came out. I told a story while we prepped the cookies and we had a good talk about dinosaur footprints and fossils.
  • Rainy Day Mum’s balancing dinosaur was fascinating to make and play with! I can’t believe how many ways the kid thought of to move those legs!
  • Because of our Paw Patrol Obsession, we are majorly into anything x-ray (thank you Marshall!), so I knew this dinosaur X-ray craft would be a hit. I did not know how intensely and carefully my child would pick and lay out each bone. One of the best parts of doing activities like this is being surprised by my child’s intense interest in unexpected things. We added cotton balls for skulls.
  • I bought a package of dinosaur skeletons off of Amazon and we went crazy with them. We’ve buried them in sand and rocks, they joined us to eat muffins for breakfast, they watched my toddler sleep, and they were frozen in ice requiring a rather intense excavation. (This activity from last week continues to be a hit. To make it a little harder, I froze all the dinosaurs together in a big metal bowl. It was a challenge to free them!).
  • Not pictured, but worth doing: build a dinosaur and stomp painting.
  • And we sang We Are The Dinosaurs a whole lot!

We had a great week! To top of off, my child surmised me yesterday. He always responds to the question, “What are you going to be when you grow up” with “a construction worker who drives a forklift.” But yesterday, out of the blue, he said, “after dinosaur week, I’m going to be a paleontologist!” So… we’ll see if that lasts but at least we made an impression.

A note on these “Saturday Summaries”: I plan activities each week to do with my children as part of a strategy to have an orderly, interesting home for our toddlers. I’ve found that planning something fun helps me parent better–when I’m excited and invested in the day, my children are too. This creates an atmosphere of respect and mutual cooperation that carries over to better behavior.

Potty Training FAQ, Uncategorized

FAQ Friday: Sitting on the Potty

Has the newness worn off? Not so fun to just sit anymore? Maybe it never was fun for your kid to sit.

Sitting is hard for toddlers. Releasing pee and poop is hard for toddlers. To sit and release…hard.

But there is also nothing more frustrating than to wait with your child and then have an accident on the floor ten minutes later. That is not a set up for a top ten parent moment. We need them to sit and finish.

Now, I hate to say it’s time to “trick” your toddler. But maybe it’s time to manipulate fool be creative. Here are some things that could help.

  1. Do something fun at the end. My kid loved his “potty song,” complete with my dance. I’m telling you, I think he would squeeze something out just to get the dance. As the book says, we don’t want to bribe our kids but celebrating–yes! Celebrate! I clapped and twirled in a circle and sang about pee and poop. Important note: wait until you flush to do this. Do not scare your child with the dance at the moment of release. I did this once as a teacher (sorry kid!) and have since learned to give a silent little clap or a knowing smile and celebrate at the end of the potty routine, with the flush (which, coincidentally can help a kid afraid of the flush…if it’s part of the fun, it might be ok).
  2. Read a book. Seriously, do this. It doesn’t have to be a potty book. I knew a kid majorly into Silly Sally. Her parents read that book so many times on the bathroom floor of their home that once, in public, the mom recited it from memory in a restaurant restroom when the kid was scared to sit on the potty. It worked. She sat and pooped. So…pick a good book and sit for a while.
  3. You go too. There is no real privacy with toddlers, am I right? Pull up their little chair next to your big porcelain throne. You each get a book. You sit. You go. Turn on the water to a drip. You know how it makes you have to use the restroom when your friends go? Toddlers? Same.
  4. Sit where you are. Are you building with legos? Pull that potty up the the LEGO table. Drawing? Rig up a lap table. Playing outside? You can hold that fun stick on the little potty!If your child has trouble sitting, make sure you have a little potty nearby. Don’t throw out the little potty because “he can make it to the big potty.” The little potty is your friend. If your child is having trouble sitting, make it convenient for him rather than convenient for you. (PS: There are some don’ts with this one. Don’t watch tv. You want your child to pay attention to what they’re doing and you want your child to know tv can be stopped and returned to. Think of the end goal–leaving the room at tv time to run to the potty. Also, don’t eat on the potty. Just, nope.)
  5. Count. I’d do this with a kiddo who’s been potty trained a while bit is still having trouble “finishing,” for example, a boy who likes to stand and get it over with but has an accident soon after visiting the potty (read: he didn’t finish). Say, “let’s take a breath and count to ten to be sure it’s allllll gone.” And make it fun! Count in a funny voice. Speed it up or slow it down. Count by halves. You know when they’re done by now.

There are so many fun, creative ways to entertain a toddler–send me your best way!

saturday Summaries, Uncategorized

Saturday Summaries: Superhero Week

This was a request by kiddo too. He’s recently decided he likes superheroes without any exposure from us. Well, why not?

I had a lot of fun finding books for this week. Here they are:

(Not pictured) Dylan the Villain We found this one at Brightly Storytime. This is a delightful book about a kid having to deal with someone performing better at school than he is…except he’s a super villain. Having the story read to us on video was extra fun, too!

10 Rules for Being a Superhero Learn about the requirements for being a superhero with Magna Man (toy) and Lava Boy (his boy) as they go about one day’s activities. I love this sweet story–superheroes without marketing and scariness. Perfect for toddlers and preschoolers.

Cosentino’s Batman and Superman are just great for introducing comic-book style and themes to smaller kids without being over the top. There are villains and the Batman one does mention his parents “losing their lives,” so…think on our screen these if you’re on edge about violence (remember how little kids can’t read the words? 😉 ).

Eliot Jones, Midnight Superhero is about a very quiet boy who has very unquiet adventures at night. It reads very much like an adventure story and my child would say “what happened?!” if I paused while reading. Another very fun book.

Supersister was not a hit with us because we had so many others but it is a great book about a superhero big sister so I’m including it in this list for any of you out there who might be interested.

Here are a few activities we did:

    We made handprint art (not the best kind of art for kid involvement but a lot of fun for Mommy). They do think it’s fun to get painted!
    We were going to rescue tied up superheroes (great link! So many activities, especially for a little older kiddos!) but the boy was so excited just by the paper superheroes (which I printed off of Guinness World Records) that he ended up just carrying those around and having such extensive imaginative play with them that it was worth every little fraction of that ink cartridge.
    We rescued innocent citizens, animals, and cars from ice. I highly highly recommend this activity for your toddler. Any kind of waterplay is a hit and adding an element of high interest pretend play took it over the top. This would be fantastic for potty training. They’re in a plastic bucket, for crying out loud!
    We played an alphabet match game. (Tip: It’s good to not do the whole alphabet with toddlers to keep it fun and not frustrating. Pick a few letters your child knows.)
    We made our own superhero mask. My child decided to be “super sticky man” and directed me to cut out polka dots and one stripe. He placed and glued on the mask we cut from felt and then I stitched it up over quiet time.
  • It was a very fun week. I could tell my child adored having gotten to choose the theme and there is something quite universal about superheroes. I smiled a lot at my little guy celebrating the idea of the very very good.
  • A note on these “Saturday Summaries”: I plan activities each week to do with my children as part of a strategy to have an orderly, interesting home for our toddlers. I’ve found that planning something fun helps me parent better–when I’m excited and invested in the day, my children are too. This creates an atmosphere of respect and mutual cooperation that carries over to better behavior.


    FAQ Friday: Leaving the House

    You’ve gotten through Block One. Your kid can wear pants. Congratulations!

    But maybe your kid goes potty every twenty minutes. Or maybe he needs to pee every time you sit him down. And she really only has about seven seconds to get from “I need to pee” to “I’m peeing.”

    Maybe you live in a suburb and it takes fifteen minutes just to exit your neighborhood.

    You started this potty training thing to free your child for independence and now you are all chained to a little plastic chair sitting on a towel in your living room (tip alert! I can’t believe how often those things splash over!). That doesn’t feel very freeing, does it? Will you ever be able to leave the house again?

    Well. Eventually you’ll have to take him to preschool.

    I kid. Mostly.

    Now you get to enter the next stage of motherhood. This is where you enter every public building and say, “Where is the restroom, please?” Or perhaps, simply, “Potty?! Now!!!” Plan, Mama. It will save you. Here is how I grocery shopped for the first six months of my child’s new potty-trained life. We entered the store. We went to the potty. We shopped the back of the store, then the center of the store, and then the front deli section. My child ate a slice of cheese. Then we went to the potty. Then we checked out. Please, Mama, go potty before you check out. No matter how long you think she can hold it. The fear in your eyes will not speed the cashier when your child whispers, “Mommy, potty?”. You will have to look across at him and say, “Ahem, I’m sorry, but uh… my child had an accident here in the line.” And you and he will look at the puddle. And you will be sorry. So… plan. If in doubt, stop by the potty. As my son and I happily remind each other, “If nothing comes out, nothing comes out.” It’s always better to have tried.

    Or you get to carry your child’s pooper around with you. Actually this is the best. I lugged this thing around for…let’s not talk about it. We might still have it back there in the car. Plan. It’s brilliant. Get the whole big potty. Jamie’s “red solo cup” is perfect for boys until somebody needs to poop. Carry the cup in the door for quick pull overs and the travel potty in the trunk for, well, longer sitting times. Let her get comfy back there. Bring a book too.

    Does this seem silly? Ask yourself, “would I rather look silly reading my child a book in the back of my car in the mall parking lot or would I rather pick poop out of the car seat. Which would you rather? Mama, be not afraid to look silly.

    I also bring an extra roll of my dog poop bags. You know why.

    You can leave the house! Just prep in your mind. Prep in your car. And try to have humor. I spent so much “early potty training” being stressed and trying to get it exactly right. Let that go. It takes time. Before you go to dinner, tell yourself (and maybe your husband…): “We will get up from the table a lot. We will stop on the way there. But we will have tacos.”

    And laugh. How fun is it to be learning new things with your own little person?