As some of you read in Friday’s The Oklahoman, I pleaded with readers to give me advice on how to potty-train a stubborn almost-3-year-old boy. I received many responses – some from moms, dads and even grandparents. I even had a few offer to train him for me. As tempting as that was, I thought it was probably best I tackle it myself.
Here are some good ideas I received from readers:
1. Cheerios. This was an overwhelmingly popular method. Teach the little guy to “aim” and sink the round O’s and it’s almost as fun as Duck Hunt and Battleship.
2. Rewards. Gumball machines, dollar store toys, getting to go with adults on errands because they’re “big kids,” and countless others. Most parents are big on using positive reinforcement – lots of reassurance, compliments and even dancing. Yes, dancing.
3. Timers. Set it for every 20 or 3o minutes minutes and have them sit on the potty. Eventually they’ll get conditioned to go as soon as they hear the timer go off.
4. “Naked and $75.” Let him go around the house without a diaper for a few days to get him to want to use the potty. The $75 is to have your carpets cleaned when he’s done. A few parents really endorsed the “naked” method and putting a portable potty in rooms where the kids are most comfortable (living room, play room, etc.) and maybe using lots of juice to help things move along.
5. Just wait. I got some helpful feedback from parents who were concerned that I was maybe sending the wrong signal to my son by making him use the potty. They suggested waiting until he was ready in his own time and finding a day care who accepted that. One parent said this is his decision, one of the few a toddler has. Another said parents who haven’t had success potty-training their kids shouldn’t feel like failures, that patience is key.
Well, I have big news for my fellow parents. My son is now potty-trained! What seemed like an impossibility Friday afternoon is now a very real accomplishment for my little man. I was all set to get a huge box of Cheerios and kitchen timer after work when my son had a bad “accident” in a public place and I had to rush home with him. We got home, I sat him on the potty once more, gave him some juice and waited for a miracle. It happened. Not just once, but all weekend. I have never been so happy to be woken up at 6:30 a.m. by my son who wants to go potty and stayed dry all night. I never thought this day would come. No more Pull-Ups, no more diapers. What a change.
So I thank our readers for their wonderful responses and ideas. In the end, my son did it in his own time and on his own terms … although the two glassfuls of juice did help him find his own time a bit quicker. It just happened to be the same day as my very public plea (but maybe he planned it that way all along).
I’m at my wit’s end. I am here to solicit advice from anyone and everyone who has had to potty-train a toddler.
My son is near impossible to potty train. I thought I could just back off for a while and he’d get it eventually but his day care center is closing the end of June and for me to place him in a new day care’s 3-year-old class, he needs to be able to use the potty.
Here is what I’ve already tried:
1. Briberies. I’m talking candy, chocolate, cupcakes, Hot Wheels cars and stickers.
2. Big boy pants. He’ll go to the bathroom in them and still want to keep them on. It’s disastrous. Pull-ups don’t help either. He treats them like diapers, even the cold-alert kind.
3. Sitting him on the potty for extended periods of time, hoping he’ll have to go eventually. He’s sat on there for an hour and finally when I take him off, he goes right on the floor.
4. Trying all kinds of ‘equipment.‘ We have the Sesame Street potty seat. The SpongeBob stepstool. The potty chart. We have it all.
5. Making sure he knows all his friends use the potty. He knows, sees them go, and doesn’t care in the least.
6. Giving him things to do on the potty. He’s had books, toys, made a racetrack around the potty rim, had me sit and sing ‘Wheels on the Bus’ on end, played the guitar and eventually unraveled a brand new roll of toilet paper and put it all in the toilet. That was fun to clean up.
What else can I do?
-Erica Smith, Copy Editor
Please tell me it’s not possible.
We all know about the terrible twos. They are notorious for being difficult. The sudden independence, the tirades and tantrums, the battle of wills that a 2-year-old always wins. So why is everyone telling me 3 is worse?
Because there may be some truth to it. Over the past few months, as my son inches closer to the 3-year mark, he has become … well, difficult. He seems more intent on doing things his way. Forget what Mom tells him to do. Sometimes it’s like he even outright ignores me. And the demands … “get it now!” or “I said I want a hot dog!” or “No! I won’t go to school today!” What suddenly happened to my always perfectly sweet and innocent baby?
On babycenter.com, one of their experts answers the question “Is there such a thing as the terrible threes?”
Developmental psychologist Susanne Ayers Denhams explains that 2-year-olds are eager to explore and if they come up against a barrier (like Mom) they can react with intense negativity. Their developing identity also has them testing limits and with their growing vocabulary, sometimes they still can’t voice what they want in a way parents will understand.
She goes on to say that 3-year-olds can go through the same trials of growing. Cycling through phases is common (being at peace, getting frustrated or discouraged, going through life changes) so rough patches can really happen at any time. New discoveries can make a child angry and they can start reacting to demands put on them at home and day care. They can lash out if they are aggravated and it’s a common emotion at this age.
She also offers tips on dealing with difficult 3-year-old behaviors and tantrums:
-Stay calm and don’t take it too seriously.
-Encourage your child to put their feelings into words and be patient if he or she can’t do that quite yet.
-Figure out what’s bothering your child and attempt to resolve it.
-If all else fails, and you think it may be a caused by another underlying problem, you may want to consult with a pediatrician for advice.
We’ll see how this works out. Any other advice is welcome here! Let me know how life is with your toddler. Comment below or email me at email@example.com.
My son and I are involved in a program called Parents as Teachers (PAT). Ours is through the Putnam City School District, but this program is available statewide. This is a FREE (yes, free!) program that really has helped shaped the way I teach my son and interact with him, and allows me to focus on areas with him that will get him ahead of the curve once kindergarten starts.
We have a very nice teacher from the school district, who comes over to our house once a month to play and interact with my son. She evaluates where he is as far as learning and development. She charts his progress and gives me tools that are relevant to his age. This program is for any parent of an infant or toddler who wants to give their child the best chance of being ready for school, by taking the opportunity to start learning at home.
Here is a description of the program, from their national website, www.parentsasteachers.org :
Parents as Teachers (PAT) is a parent education and family support program serving families throughout pregnancy until their child enters kindergarten, usually age 5.
Parents are supported by PAT-certified parent educators trained to translate scientific information on early brain development into specific when, what, how and why advice for families. By understanding what to expect during each stage of development, parents can easily capture the teachable moments in everyday life to enhance their child’s language development, intellectual growth, social development and motor skills.
As a Parents as Teachers family, you receive:
-Personal visits during which your parent educator will share age-appropriate child development and parenting information, help you learn to observe your child, and address your parenting concerns.
-Parent group meetings which are opportunities to share information about parenting issues and child development. Parents learn and support each other, observe their children with other children and practice parenting skills.
-Screenings to assess your child’s overall development as well as health, hearing and vision.
-Resource network that links your family to other community services.
The program is offered throughout school districts in Oklahoma. To find the contact for your district, click here.
I can’t recommend this great program enough. This is a resource that is free and its benefits are priceless.
It’s that time of year. The lights, the parties, the festivities, the shopping, the trees, the STRESS of the holidays. Most of us have more to get done than we think we can possibly handle, especially if you add kids into the mix. But are there ways to at least reduce some of the stress this wonderful season brings?
The Oklahoma City-County Health Department offers some valuable tips on simple things you can do to make this season a little easier:
1. Save decorating until a week before the holiday. Save irreplaceable decorations for later years when children are older. My son is two, so I won’t be buying any Swarovski Crystal or Tiffany ornaments this year.
2. Shop ahead, throughout the year, while children are at school or home. Good advice, unless you’re like me and just HAVE to close the mall down on Christmas Eve, just for the fun of it.
3. Limit the number of times children stay with babysitters while you attend events. Not a problem in my house – my babysitter is terminally unavailable.
4. Avoid forcing a frightened child to sit on Santa’s lap. Young children often enjoy stories and pictures but the real thing can be overwhelming. I tried to force my son to sit for a Santa picture last year. All I got was a photo of a distraught toddler with red puffy eyes.
5. Avoid forcing children to welcome unknown relatives with a kiss or by handing them over to be held by a stranger. Allow the child time to warm up. Also good advice, unless you’re my mother ‘Gwennie’ and in that case, there will be no warm up time. Because she said so.
6. If weather permits, encourage outdoor play to release extra energy. OK, we live in Oklahoma. This is not hard. It won’t be cold until at least Febraury.
7. Keep routines as normal as possible. Be sure to expect behavioral changes anytime routines change. I find that this is pretty much a given with a toddler, at any time, in any season, for any reason.
8. When traveling with a young child, allow extra time on the road. Take some familiar objects from home. Establish a routine as close as possible to your regular routine and be assertive with relatives about how you enforce limits with your child. Unless, of course you’re ‘Gwennie’ and under her roof. Then it’s her rules … or else.
9. Limit holiday candy; give healthy treats along with the seasonal goodies. So pumpkin pie counts as a vegetable, right?
Any more tips you’d like to share? Leave your comments here or email me at the address below.
We have a ritual at our house. It involves picking up his toys several times throughout the day. Why? He loves to throw his toys and books across the room.
He’s actually better than he used to be. His tendency to throw is common among some Down Syndrome children. Physical therapists have said he did this because he liked the sensation of throwing and that we should direct his impulse toward acceptable items – bean bags, socks, soft objects – and have him aim them toward a basket.
His aim is really good, too. A pink paper fish with a colorful tail of streamers had hung in a doorway for several years – until this past month when Cade zeroed in on the floating fish and successfully knocked it from its place after several times of pummeling it with balls, cars, pillows and other toys.
We should stop him, and we do, but sometimes we just give out. And it’s these times when we say cade, Cade, CADE! … and then duck when a remote or favorite book comes hurling toward our heads. Unfortunately, sometimes we’re not so quick or we’re oblivious to the incoming plastic missiles.
But we love him. And, our living room will continue to look like a whirlwind just plowed through. (I wonder what my daughters’ friends’ mothers must think about my little pit. – If only they had stopped by three minutes earlier)
We continue to try to correct him and encourage him to restrain from chunking the DVDs, newspapers and toys across the room.
It’s encouraging that he’s better. His throwing habit has evolved into mostly tossing across the floor or carrying toys from one location to another.
And, also promising is his willingness to clean up while he sings the “Clean Up” song.
But don’t be surprised by the socks and toys thrown in our entertainment center, behind the furniture and pushed beneath the couch if you drop by. Oh, and, Duck! — Linda Lynn
Bonnie Harris, author of the new book “Confident Parents, Remarkable Kids: 8 Principles for Raising Kids You’ll Love to Live With (Adams Media, September 2008),” has plenty of tips for parents seeking solutions for morning time struggles between children and parents.
Several are listed in today’s Life section of The Oklahoman. Here are more of Harris’ tips to transform stressful mornings:
1. Decide what the best morning routine is for everyone. Make a chart. If you have a white board, write each agenda item with a box next to it for your child to check off when done.
2. Pick out clothes the night before.
3. Make lunches the night before.
4. Go over the next day’s schedule the night before.
5. Remind children to get backpacks ready before the bedtime routine starts — don’t expect this to be done without reminders unless you have an especially organized child.
6. Establish a rule that anything you have to do concerning homework is done the night before or it doesn’t get done.
7. Get up earlier and get your personal routine done before waking the children.
8. Ease your child awake with a smile and a back rub — unless she uses an alarm clock.
9. If you’re creative, prepare a “fancy” breakfast menu to present to your children when they get up. This can be a once in awhile option.
10. If things are not going smoothly, even silently acknowledge everyone’s agendas.
11. If your child is cranky, validate how hard some mornings are to get going and that you often have the same problem. Each day is different.
12. If there is a particular problem your child is dealing with, acknowledge the problem, and offer help and support without trying to fix it.
Bonnie Harris founded The Parent Guidance Center (now The Family Center) in Peterborough, N.H. in 1990, which is dedicated to parent education and support. She is the director of Connective Parenting and has designed and taught parenting workshops and counseled parents for 20 years. Sign up for her e-newsletter by going online to www.connectiveparenting.com.
If my kids tried to get out of trouble by using the same excuse that a criminal scam artist used in court this week to plead for leniency in his sentencing, I might double their punishment out of anger at the flawed thinking. Or I might just have to laugh. The excuses he used in federal court sound more like a child’s than a grown-up’s.
In essence, Phillip Levaughn Raglin argued through his attorney that his crimes weren’t as bad as everyone else’s. And those OTHER people aren’t even getting punished, he reasoned, so the judge should be lenient to him. Raglin bilked investors out of about $900,000 by convincing them to buy into his phony company.
Here are the details, described by writer Tony Thornton in The Oklahoman:
Through his attorney, Raglin said that the judge should give him mercy because his crimes are “minimal compared to the ‘financial bandits’ who caused the Wall Street meltdown but who are ‘getting off nearly scot free,’” Thornton wrote.
By what reasoning? Don’t we as parents teach our children that we are accountable for our own actions, no matter what the rest of the world does? That there are standards in place that don’t change?
I don’t care what everyone else did in this case. Yes, the Wall Street fiasco is a mess and there should be some fallout for those involved.
But that doesn’t matter for Raglin, nor would it matter in our house. If an action is wrong, it’s wrong, no matter who else did or didn’t do it or whether they got punished for it or not. I hope my kids learn that lesson now so they don’t have to learn it before a judge in a courtroom.
If my kids tried to use that logic on me, I’d like to believe I would see straight through it. Apparently the federal judge in Muskogee did, too. He sentenced Raglin to 10 years in prison — the maximum — and ordered him to pay more than $1 million in restitution.
Here’s a related “Mom-ism” for thought: “Doing what is right is not always easy but it’s ALWAYS right.”
And ideally that would apply whether everyone else is doing it or not.
For great reading involving this case, check out the court documents (links below):
Defense attorney Robert Ridenour’s arguments for leniency — ” Phillip is supremely confident and optimistic … (and) wants to be recognized and respected for his inteliigence.”
And prosecutor Susan Dickerson Cox’s arguments for the maximum sentence for Raglin: “He is narcissistic, materialistic and arrogant concerning his financial dealings.”
It’s a hard concept to grasp, but seemingly it can be true.
Objectively, I would have to say my 2-year-old son’s demeanor is very mild. He is affectionate and already demonstrates a certain compassion for others, as simple as it is. I have been very lucky that he has never taken out frustration or anger in a physical way – never a biter or a hitter.
These qualities also may make him a target of bullying. In his class, he has a friend who is bigger than him (my son is small for his age), more outspoken and a bit aggressive. I’m going by what I’ve seen myself and what other parents have said. The interaction between the two boys is starting to worry me though, because my son is now reenacting his negative encounters with this child, over and over again.
I’ll pick him up from daycare and about 5 minutes into the ride home, I’ll hear him in the back seat reliving the day’s events. “No No! No push Hunter! Be nice, (child’s name), be nice!” or “No hit Hunter – go time out, (child’s name)!” At first I thought it was an idle situation, but lately this is an everyday occurrence. I’m worried that it can scar him in a way that may, in turn, make him aggressive, or set him up for a lifetime of being a target of bullies.
One thing I can’t really do is talk to this child’s mom. We are friends, and I don’t want to see a friendship go sour over this and there is no real delicate way to bring it up. The daycare teachers are giving the boy time outs so I can’t say they’re not doing their part.
I’m not sure where to go from here. If anyone has suggestions, please let me know. I would love to hear some!
I have tickets to OU’s season-opener this Saturday. First, I am a bit suprised that you have to buy a full-price ticket for a 2-year-old but according to the athletic office “any human being going into the stadium needs a ticket. Even infants.”
Yeah, I guess infants would fall into the “human being” category, although I couldn’t imagine bringing one to a game. But a toddler, well, that may or may not be worse.
I hope I’m not crazy to try this, but maybe he’ll have a blast and we’ll have an extra activity to add to our fall calendar. Has anyone tried it? If so, give me the lowdown and some good tips if you have them.