26 August 2015
With Spring and warmer weather just around the corner, you might be contemplating toilet training your toddler. As a mum of three boys who's been through the toilet training routine twice already, I thought I'd share my experiences so far and some tips with you ...
Is it terrible to admit I can’t really remember too much of our first experience?! My first son (who’s now almost 8) took to toilet training at a bit over age two, and we were greatly helped along him being at childcare a few days a week and surrounded by children of a similar age who were either in the process or already toilet trained. The positive peer pressure worked a treat (lucky me!) Of course there were lots of accidents, forward and backward regressions, tears of frustration (on both our parts) but eventually he got it.
Our second son (now six and a half) was also reasonably straightforward to toilet train. With an older brother to show him how it was done, son number two began to show interest at around two and a half and luckily for us, it was coming into summertime – so we encouraged him to pee outside in the garden with his brother. This was a great tactic which meant he got the gist fairly quickly … except that, due to the way we trained him (“just pee outside whenever you want”) he had a habit of peeing in the garden beds at childcare and didn’t like actually using a toilet for a while!
Interestingly, while both of my older children have day-trained quite quickly, the nights have been a different story. While friends’ children seemed to ‘be dry’ for nights almost as quickly as during the day, that has not been the case in our household and we still have night-time accidents from time to time. Limiting drinks before bedtime, taking them to the toilet before bed and/or waking them during the night to go to the toilet all seem not to make much of a difference, and we’ve learnt just to go with it, not make a big deal about the wet beds (which are becoming fewer and fewer) and celebrate the dry ones.
It seems to make sense to us to toilet train our children during summer, I guess because it’s nice and warm and ideal for letting your kids run around in jocks and a t-shirt while at home to allow for easy toileting access. With this in mind, I’m currently contemplating starting get things moving in a couple of months with our third son, who will be two in September. He loves going with his brothers for a communal toilet visit (stop laughing, if you had three boys this would be happening in your house too) and also likes to pee down the drain at shower-time, so I think he’s got a reasonable idea of how to get started. That said, I think I become more relaxed about this kind of stuff the more children I have, so if it turns out that he's not really into it we'll probably put it on hold for another six months or so before trying again.
If you’re like me and thinking about toilet training, here are my seven top tips :
1) Relax. Don’t stress. Understand that it will probably take time and there will be mess, accidents, regressions and you will just have to go with it.
2) Talk to your friends and family and find out what worked for them – was it star charts, musical potties, sticker rewards … (or in our house, character-themed jocks worked a treat!) Of course, all children are different and you may not need to bribe yours (not my experience - treats, rewards and sometimes even bribes worked just fine for us!)
3) There are loads of toilet training ‘aids’ out there but in our house, a step for little feet to stand on (so they’re higher and closer to the bowl) and a toddler toilet to fit over the big toilet seat (to stop little bottoms from slipping in and with handles to give them something to hold on to) worked well.
4) Buy lots and lots of spares – spare jocks or undies, shorts/pants/skirts that are easy to pull down with no difficult buttons, belts or bows to undo. If you need to leave the house, take lots of spares and a bag to bring any wet clothes back home with you. Close Pop-In Seat Protectors are a fabulous idea – I wish I had known about these with my first two boys! They come in a number of really funky colours and designs that would look great in your backseat. We were lucky enough never to have a wet child car seat, but these give extra protection for car travel with your toilet training toddler.
5) This time ‘round I’ll be stocking up on these Close Pop-In Cloth Training Pants which are a great alternative to disposable training pull-up nappies. They look just like ‘grown up’ pants and have a really soft jersey outer shell, as well as a waterproof later and super-slim absorbent inner panel. I’ve always used cloth nappies with all of my children so it makes sense to me to avoid disposable ‘pull ups’ and give these a go. A friend of mine swears by these and says they can hold an entire wee (impressive!)
6) Engage your ‘village’ – whether it’s childcare, kindy, siblings or wider family who regularly see your toddler – let them know you’re toilet training and encourage them to help you.
7) When going out and about, plan your route and work out where the toilets are along the way. We’ve always found that constantly giving our children the opportunity to use a toilet has worked well (especially if it means getting to use the ‘big boy toilet’ aka urinal with their Dad).
What about you, what’s worked when it’s come to toilet training in your household? We’d love to hear your tips - you can comment below or email us here
About the author: Amanda Hudson is a mum of three who admits she's far from a perfect parent - although she says the more children she has, the better she's getting! She lives in remote South Australia with her young family.
21 July 2015
You might have heard that Sustainababy recently celebrated its 5th birthday; that’s right, five years since founder and director Laura launched her eco business.
So much has changed in that time – Sustainababy has educated thousands of people about eco-parenting, showcased tonnes of amazing organic and environmentally-friendly products, shared heaps of our and your eco success (and even failure!) stories, and grown an incredibly active and supportive social media community.
With all of that behind us, perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised Sustainababy has been nominated for the 2015 AusMumpreneur Awards … after all, there’s so many achievements of which Laura should be incredibly proud!
The AusMumpreneur Awards recognise the “best and the brightest in the Australian mumpreneur industry, acknowledging success in business, product development & innovation and amazing service”.
Sustainababy fits pretty well into this description, with 2015 being one of the busiest years ever with the retail store bustling along busily as well as Laura ramping up the eco-education side of things with her very successful greenHOUSE Home Energy Blitz, Home Detox Boot Camp, and various free video video and webinar series’ (all while juggling commitments with her young family and trying to find some ‘me’ time every now and again – phew! I don’t know how she does it).
Last year Sustainababy won bronze in the Eco-Friendly category of the 2014 AusMumpreneur Awards and in 2015, Sustainababy has been nominated in two categories; the Sustainability Award (a judged category recognising businesses’ commitment to sustainable and eco-friendly business practices) and the People’s Choice Influencer Award, which recognises the most popular bloggers and social media influencers. And that’s where you come in – we need your help to make it to the next step in the Influencer Awards.
To help Sustainababy be recognised as an Influencer in this year’s awards, click here . Voting ends Friday 7 August, with finalists announced on Monday 10 August.
Thanks for your support. We'll keep you posted x
25 June 2015
As a mum of three I have many toddler tales, including the time my (then) three year old got into a jar of promite and finger painted the white kitchen cupboards, or when he wedged himself (aged two) so tightly into the basket under my pram I was sure he'd have to stay there forever ...
Let's face it, parenting toddlers is a lot of fun, but can also be confusing, hugely challenging and even occasionally terrifying for all involved (especially when there is nappy cream and carpet in the mix!)
But never fear - we at Sustainababy have partnered with best-selling Australian author and parenting expert Pinky McKay in a fabulous Instagram competition where you could win some expert toddler parenting advice in the form of Pinky's new audio book, Toddler Tactics!
Toddler Tactics is bursting with practical strategies and hassle-free advice for making the toddler years the exhilarating experience they should be, including techniques for dealing with tantrums, mummy meltdowns, walking, talking, weaning and learning, as well as:
• Communicating with your toddler
• Discipline and good manners
• Healthy eating habits
• Solutions for sound sleep
• Creative play ideas
• Toilet teaching
• Family dynamics (including introducing a new baby)
For your chance to win a Toddler Tactics audio book, we want you to share a photo on Instagram of something your toddler is getting up to with the hashtag #toddlertactics and tag @pinkymckay1 and @sustainababy. You'll also need to follow Pinky McKay and Sustainababy on Instagram too.
Just upload your image before 9am Monday 6 July and you'll go into the draw - we'll announce the winner on Wednesday 8 July 2015 here at the Sustainababy blog, as well as on our Instagram page.
We can't wait to see your photos!
27 May 2015
How clean are your floors - do you really care, and does it even matter? Much to a close family member's horror, Amanda Hudson recently discovered that an unexpected bonus of her new floors was that they take a long time to look dirty............
There’s about 650km between my mum and I, so we catch up for a chat on the phone every week or so.
Not long ago the topic turned to floors. We’d recently had the floating floors replaced at our place and mum and dad have just moved into a new house, so we’ve both had the (fun) experience of poring over samples, debating for hours and finally chosing one – fingers crossed – that we hoped we’d be happy with. The conversation went like this:
Mum: “So, are you happy with your new floors?”
Me: “Yep, very happy, they look really good.”
Mum: “How do you go with keeping them clean – how do they wash up? “
Me: “Ummm … well I haven’t actually washed them yet.”
Mum: (silence. I can practically hear crickets as she adds up the weeks since we’ve had them done – about seven at this stage).
Mum: (finally, after what seems an eternity, in a kind of strangled tone) "You haven’t mopped your floors yet?!”
Me: “Well of course I’ve spot cleaned under the highchair and where things have been dropped but no, the colour and style seems very forgiving and I haven’t had to mop them as yet.”
I can’t actually remember what my mum said from here, but I quickly changed the topic as I could feel some well-meaning mum advice coming on and I wasn’t in the mood.
Later, recounting this story to Sustainababy founder Laura, got me thinking about good 'ol mother’s guilt. I found myself justifying to her that I did vacuum a couple of times a week and while I probably wouldn’t eat off the floors, they certainly weren’t (noticeably) filthy! Laura knows me well and just laughed along with me, but driving home I began to worry that just like my mum, she was probably quietly horrified at the state of the floors and the kind of mother I am.
So do you know what I did? I took a photo of my loungeroom and texted it to Laura to prove the floors really didn’t look that bad.
Pretty pathetic hey! Why on earth was I so concerned about what someone – a good friend at that – thought of the state of my floors?!
It’s called mother’s guilt, and it’s a useless emotion. In fact, I’d go as far as saying it can be quite harmful.
We all parent differently and have different standards and expectations when it comes to so many things; recent topics among my group of friends have included ironing (or not), lunchboxes, house cleaning, exercise, kids’ sport commitments and what our husbands do around our homes – and of course everyone has a different experience on each of these.
There’s no point worrying about what other people think or feeling guilty for not living up to unachievable standards. In my case, this means I need to make peace with the fact that I have three children under seven and the only time I am going to have clean floors is for about 23 seconds after cleaning them. Plus, a little grot on the floors is good for their immune systems, isn’t it?!
Of course, you know what happened next don’t you? Later that night I was sitting on my couch and with the right light, my floors looked did actually look kind of grotty … so at 9.30pm at night I dusted off my (much ignored mop) and gave them a quick clean.
That was three weeks ago and they still look pretty good to me …
PS – speaking of cleaning, I’ve just signed up for Laura’s Home Detox Boot Camp. I’m a reformed bleach addict and while I’ve accepted that my bathrooms don’t have to reek of chlorine to be clean, I still use way too many chemicals. I can’t wait to learn all about the safe, natural alternatives and it’s not too late if you want to join us, but sign-ups close TONIGHT! Find out more here.
6 May 2015
Mothers don't make mistakes, do they? Of course they do! But there's so much pressure on parents (especially mums) to be 'perfect' that often we're consumed with doing everything right, and forget the value in sometimes getting things a little bit wrong. Julia Jones from Newborn Mothers tells us why it's really OK to make mistakes ... in fact, she says it's an important part of growing into motherhood.
Motherhood is hard. It's probably the hardest thing you'll ever do, but you might not realise that until you are in the thick of it and it's too late to turn back.
That's because our culture tends to gloss over the messy aspects of motherhood and present a somewhat sanitised and angelic portrait of mothers. It can be a shock to get to motherhood and realise that you are still YOU. Imperfect and human - not an angel after all.
It can be even more of a shock to realise that your own mother has just been making-it-up-as-she-goes-along for all these years too!
It can be very tempting to 'rescue' a new mother from her mistakes. "Don't let the baby get over-tired" or "don't create a rod for your own back" or perhaps worst of all "enjoy the moment cause they grow up too fast." AAAAAAAGH!
This is the motherhood equivalent of handing a mother a fish, rather than teaching her how to go fishing.
Mistakes have value!
When you learn by making mistakes (rather than doing what you are told) you don't just learn one solution once. You learn how to trouble shoot with your baby and work as a team and you can apply that process to all future parenting adventures. Right now you might be making mistakes getting your baby to sleep. In a few years you'll be making mistakes trying to get your toddler to eat greens. After that the mistakes will be about getting your kid to tidy his bedroom and so on and so on and so on.
Mistakes help you find your own unique parenting style for your own unique baby. Despite what many baby-care books suggest there is no one-size-fits-all parenting solution. The only way to figure out what works for you and your baby is to try out a few different things, and keep doing whichever one worked.
Most valuable of all, mistakes teach you to forgive.
There is a African proverb "Beware of the naked man that offers you a shirt." Meaning how can you offer something when you need it yourself? How can you love another when you don't love yourself? How can you forgive your baby when you can't forgive yourself?
Make mistakes, forgive yourself, and let them go. Only then you will be able to offer the same kindness and generosity to your baby when she throws a ball in the house and smashes your best vase, or stays out past midnight on a school night.
NOT making mistakes is in fact the biggest mistake you can make. Mistakes have many benefits in learning and growing as a mother. I think it's high time we started admitting our mistakes and embracing our imperfections as part of the teach yourself process of motherhood.
Julia inspires pregnant women to make the six weeks after your baby is born the best six weeks of your life. Get pregnancy, sleep and breastfeeding resources, including a heap of freebies at Newborn Mothers. Be the mum you want to be.