Potty Training Lessons

I originally had this master plan to start potty training Sadie at 20 months (around October). I read countless blogs about what I’d need and bought supplies at the store. Then we finalized our holiday plans which included two 13 hour-long car trips and I thought to myself “Hmm, 13 hours in a car with a newly potty-trained toddler?” …And I decided to postpone our potty adventures until after the holidays in January.

In that 3 month span, I started to set Sadie on the toilet each night before bath and my Mother-in-Law (who watches her while I work) was putting Sadie on the toilet whenever she needed to do a BM. Sadie started to take an interest in the potty. Eventually she learned the words “potty” and “B” (for BM) and would tell us when she needed to go! She started being able to keep her diapers dry. By the time we got to January, she had half of the process down and the step we needed to take was moving from diapers to big girl underwear.

Here are some of the things I learned when switching to underwear:

  • Even with a child who already can go to the bathroom on the toilet, on that first day you still need to start by taking them to the potty every 15 minutes. Then, you can slowly lengthen the time in between trips. The sensation of wearing underwear is different and they need to learn they can’t even let a little bit out (like they might have before in diapers). It took me about 6 accidents to figure this out.
  • Setting aside a few days to work out the kinks at home really helps them build confidence. Then trying a very short outing (to a place where you know where the bathroom is) is a good test to see if they can (a) make it without an accident (b) tell you when they need to go in public.
  • Character underwear is awesome because it’s something they’re proud/excited to wear and you can celebrate things like “You kept Elsa dry!” It’s a great motivator.
  • When accidents happen, say “Oops, you had an accident!” and let them feel the underwear is wet (and then promptly wash their hands) so they can understand what happened.
  • Watch their fluid intake and look for signs they need to go (dancing around, touching down there, trying to go off in a corner by themselves, etc.)
  • As they get more proficient, keep asking if they need to go (especially when you suspect they might need to) but if they say “no,” trust their judgment. They like being able to own the process – or maybe this is just Sadie!
  • When they do say they need to go, drop everything and take them right away!
  • If they say they need to go several times and nothing comes out each time, either (1) they’re working through a BM, (2) they want to play with something in the bathroom, or (3) they’re avoiding something outside of the bathroom.
  • Be consistent on your policy for picking up toys on the way to the bathroom. I let Sadie bring one toy and they can “watch her go” on the bathroom floor. I don’t let her hold toys on the toilet because a couple have fallen in.

I’m sure I’m missing things, but these are the lessons that jump out to me. What have you learned with potty training? To those of you about to start: Good luck! I hope this helps. 

Homemade Sesame Street Birthday Invitations

My daughter’s second birthday is coming up and I can’t believe it! She loves everything Sesame Street right now, so I am excitedly planning a Sesame Street birthday party that I hope she’ll love. To keep with my theme, I sent out homemade Sesame Street invitations.

I ordered invitations last year which seemed like a huge waste of money for such a small party (~8 people). Plus, this activity let me get more creative and personalize them for Sadie!

Here is how to make the invitations:

For 10 invitations, you will need –

5 sheets of colored paper (could be stripes, polka-dots, balloons, sesame street characters, etc.)

10 white cards

10 envelopes (that fit the white cards

2 sheets each of yellow, green, red, and blue cardstock

1 pair of scissors

1 dark pen (or a printer if you choose to print)

1 white paint pen

Double-sided tape

4 cut-outs (you will need to make) for outline of card, back of street sign, front rectangle on street sign, and front semi-circle on street sign

1 circular cutter (not pictured)

Step 1. Trace your cut-out on the multi-colored paper and cut it out.

Step 2. Tape your multi-colored cut-out onto your white card stock paper.

Step 3. Trace the large street sign cut-out on yellow paper and cut it out. Trace the two smaller street sign cut-outs on green paper and cut them out. Cut out red and blue circles with your circle cutter.

Step 4. Use the white paint pen to write on your street sign and circle cut-outs. Set aside to dry.

Step 5. Write (or print out) your invitation wording.

Step 6. Tape your street sign together and then tape to the top of the card. Tape circle cut-outs to the back of your card.

Happy mailing!

Spa Trips & Different Rules

My husband and I recently came back from a wonderful trip to Nemacolin Woodlands Resort! We mainly went for the spa and the highly-rated restaurants, but definitely want go back for the winter or summer activities once our daughter, Sadie, is a little older. The property is just outside of Pittsburgh, PA and it is stunning. I recommend paying it a visit and here are a few reasons why:

  1. Amazing spa: We went for 2 days of treatments and left feeling so relaxed and replenished. My favorite treatments were the facial (part of the woodlands classic package) and the hot stone shirodhara. The facial was so relaxing I drifted into sleep, and my face was glowing afterwards. The hot stone shirodhara really helped work through some muscle pain & tightness I’d been feeling (and it also felt so good!) In both cases, the masseuse was great about asking and understanding my personal needs, which I really appreciated.
  2. Delicious food: The restaurants did not disappoint. Although the décor was very understated, the meals went above and beyond my expectations. Every dish not only tasted exquisite, but looked beautiful when served!ny5
  3. Spectacular service: We stayed in the Chateau where we had a butler (which in itself was awesome and made me realize I need a butler everyday) but the service was fantastic anywhere we went on the resort. We felt very welcomed and waited-on the entire time we were there.
  4. Magnificent surroundings: The landscape and architecture on the property are beautiful. The Chateau displays art throughout the halls and attempts to push the limit on how many chandeliers you can have per square inch. ny6

There are also a wide variety of family activities and kid-friendly restaurants/areas, which is why we hope to return with Sadie. (There’s even pet care for those interested!)

Sadie and our dog, Wally, stayed with my in-laws in Philadelphia while we were away. Using our experience from Adult Week, we learned FaceTiming a couple hours before bedtime was best so Sadie wouldn’t miss us before going to sleep.

My in-laws have watched Sadie and Wally several times now. Even though they have different rules than I do, the little ones fare well in their care and are happy and healthy when I return. There were only a couple new things Sadie and Wally picked up that I had to teach them not to do with me; as long as I was consistent and firm, they picked up on my rules vs. my in-law’s rules pretty quickly.

We stayed at my in-law’s house for a couple days after our spa trip. I found when my MIL and I were together with the little ones, establishing who was in charge at that time reduced confusion on what the rules were and who would take the lead should chaos ensue. Since we were at her house, I handed over the reins a little more and I think it worked well.

Overall, it was a positive way to bring in the New Year and I hope you had a great holiday too!