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 Amazon.com 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.

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.

    saturday Summaries

    Saturday Summaries: Baseball Week

    Growing up, I always thought I would have two daughters. I have a sister and I am female. Let’s set aside the gender norm conversations for another day (I am actually happy to have them, but as this is only our second post together, I thought I’d keep it light hearted and topical for now), and let me tell you that we were the girliest of girls. My mom would send us outside to play and I would climb a tree, sit in it, and read Little House on the Prairie or Anne of Green Gables or Little Women. My sister wouldn’t even bother climbing the tree. She’d just sit there on the ground with Baby Sitters Club. We loved dressing our Barbies and doing crafts with glitter, painting our fingernails and dreaming about the families we’d have.

    So, of course, I have two boys. Despite presenting a varied range of toys (I know we’re not talking about this, but I had to), my eldest son, at 3, loves construction trucks and Paw Patrol. My youngest, at almost 1, loves balls.

    All this to say that on one of our morning walks earlier this summer, my oldest son asked if we could do a “baseball week” for one of the “Mommy Camp” themes I’ve been running. So here I am, the mom who knows not a thing about baseball, hosting a baseball week for my son. And we had a great time!

    It started with some most excellent books:

    Randy Riley’s Really Big Hit (Not pictured.) This was the runaway hit of the week. Hands down, read it twice in one sitting and five times in one day, hit. You might say: the “home run”… Too much? Anyway, this book is about a kid who is not the best at sports but who is totally the best at math and science. When he hears about a meteor headed straight toward his home town, he takes things into his own hands and creates a plan bigger than baseball. My kid was hooked. Your kid might be too. Check this one out.

    Bats at the Ballgame was a close runner up. One evening a crowd of bats gathers to…watch batty batters strike each other out. It’s a different perspective on the game (quite literally, as bats hang upside down to watch it) that my toddler found totally entertaining.

    Clorinda Plays Baseball was such an unexpectedly fun book! We loved seeing how Clorinda the cow made it to the Bosstown Red Hats and discovering whether she achieved her dream. I found this one on a Pinterest book list. It was inclusive and interesting. I’m kicking myself for not writing down a quote from the book about how “anyone can play baseball, even a cow.” Now the book’s back at the library–! Well, check it out and see. It’s a darling story! We laughed and laughed.

    Curious George Plays Baseball has been a hit for a while; we’ve checked it out before. We love that monkey.

    In true toddler fashion, my child wouldn’t let me read or even open Dino Baseball. Who knows? Something offended him. But I was number three on a waitlist so some kiddos must love it!

    Goodnight, Baseball (also not pictured) was another hit–it goes through a kid’s visit to a baseball game with his dad and is satisfyingly detailed. It was, as you’d expect, a good bedtime story for a boy whose recently been to a game with his dad. My kid loved it.

    We did some fun baseball activities. Most of these were directly copied from or inspired by this list of preschool baseball trays by Smarte Parte.

    (Left to right, top to bottom): ordering baseballs large to small, baseball sensory tray (with a Japanese eraser set), baseball snack, baseball lacing card (made by me, there’s also a mitt here), 3D baseball hanging (this turned out so cool), homemade baseball puzzle from this awesome collection, Red Sox hat we created with a freezer paper stencil, baseball playdough tray.

    And with that, I leave you to… “play ball!” (It was too much, wasn’t it?)

    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.