This must be what they mean by mostly potty trained.

Day 15: All is well in the potty front. Now, it is all about the post potty activities. Hand washing was fairly consistent in the beginning, almost a point of pride for BB. Now, after mastering the peeing on his own.without me having to follow behind him every time, my lack of hand washing reminders has resulted in a kid who doesn't wash his hands after using the potty.

I took for granted all the steps it takes to actually go potty. Wiping, pulling up undies and pants, washing hands. So focused on getting the bodily waste into the potty and quickly getting out of the bathroom, I did all these other things for him.

Day 16: Why doesn't Daniel Tiger's song about potty stick? "Flush and WASH and be on your way." For the love of PBS, please wash your hands after going potty. And try to do it without turning the entire bathroom into your personal water park and using a whole bottle of soap in a day.

This is my fault. I am so busy nursing a 2 month old, the toddler is running amok.

Day 17: Apparently, it's become very difficult to pull up undies, shorts, pants or really anything worn on the bottom. And going potty is much better with company so mommy needs to come and sit too.

This child has developed the potty habits of the most high maintenance diva.

Day 18: How potty trained do kids have to be before attending school? BB starts at his magical Montessori school in a month and though we've come so far it seems we still have so far to go. I imagine his teacher isn't going to want to hear him yelling about how someone needs to wipe his butt. He's just not very good at it yet. 

Don't even get me started on pulling up his own undies and pants. It's reckoning day. I must pay for my decision to potty training pants-less and later only in undies.

Day 19: Turns out bribery works for this too. We practice pulling undies and pants down and then pulling them back up individually over and over again, like a drill, each time he successfully does it he gets a treat. Usually one of his 5 daily gummy vitamins. 

Unfortunately, I have now created a child that will pull his pants down when he wants candy. 

Day 20: No voluntary pants dropping today. We even went for a walk where BB said he needed to go potty and he was able to hold it until we got home. He's wiping when reminded and washing most of the time, though he needs the occasional reminder. I think we're at the end of the chronicles. 

And now that I've said that, I'm sure we're going to have a regression. I'm just going to stop here.

If you're just catching up, here is Part 1 and Part 2 of the Potty Training Chronicles.

What did your potty training journey look like?
Can we potty train in less than two weeks? Let's see.

Day 8: Daddy forgot to put a diaper on BB last night during the bedtime routine. BB woke up dry and asked to go to the potty first thing in the morning! Kid, you don't need to ask. Go as often as you want as long as you make it in the potty. Tell me when you're done and you'll get a prize.

Except it turns out toddlers have an aiming problem in the morning and urine shot clear across the bathroom. No one told BB he needed to aim his penis downward and it seems we've just been very lucky up until this point.

Day 9: I haven't left the house in fear of an outside accident. Yes, I could put him in a diaper for security but what if he goes in the diaper and then regresses? But I am getting stir crazy and my mom needs my help.

Off we go. To my mom's, to shopping, to a restaurant. He asked to go potty 6 times and did not go in his diaper at all. He even came home and pooped in his potty! Is it finally coming together? Can we stop going pants-less at home and start learning how to wear undies?

Day 10: Every morning is now met with a, "Let's go to the potty!" And a child who refuses to take off his nighttime diaper to go. Most days, it's a small amount of urine and then actual pee in the potty. Today, a full diaper of urine and complete disinterest in using the potty.

I feel like we are doing the Electric Slide of progress. (Readers, are you old enough to know what the Electric Slide is?)

Day 11: Dry diaper on wake up, a a cheerful request to use the potty right upon wake up. Can every day be like today?

BB is still freaking out about bowel movements. He will sit on his potty when feeling like he needs to pee but from the time he gets the tummy feeling to actually "producing" anything can be as long as half an hour because he's afraid of releasing.

I sit down and go myself and explain, "Mommy and daddy poop in the toilet too. I know it feels weird and is a little scary right now but there is nothing to be scared of." This is met with my sweet boy looking me in the eye and demanding, "Wipe. My. Butt."

Day 12: We sporadically give BB his iPad to watch Kids Netflix while sitting on the potty waiting for his bowel movements. It seems to take some of the stress off. I mean, it works for adults, why not kids?

Today, he sat with the iPad for at least an hour. 

"Have you pooped?," I would ask. 

"No, I haven't," he would yell back. I am starting to think he is using potty for free screen time. Not unlike his mother.

Finally, I am assuming after his movie was over, he yelled, "Mommy, I pooped!" I dutifully came in to wipe his butt. That is my lot in life.

Day 13: I am hesitant to declare any victories. It seems that the moment I am relieved about any aspect of potty training it is snatched away from me so I can feel the void of unrealized goals.

Day 14: He is in undies everyday now unless he is going to bed or we are leaving the house. He asks to go potty when we are out of the house and comes home with a dry Pull-Up. He goes pee in the potty without asking for any reward. He just goes and does it and goes on about his business like a functioning, dare I say it, potty trained child. He goes to poop in his potty, demanding his iPad when he's going to go and finishes relatively quickly. I am still wiping his butt and pulling up his pants.

But we're not done yet. Please go here to read Part 3 of the Potty Training Chronicles. Or, if you missed it, here is Part 1.
This is it, we started our potty training journey. The journey I was afraid would be harder than diapers and would involve turning my car into a makeshift toddler porta-potty and numerous poop in the pants in public incidents.  As though motherhood hadn't already turned me into a hermit.

Here's how it went.

Weeks before: Let's watch all potty videos and read 3 potty bedtime books every day. The speaker at MommyCon said this would work.

This is getting repetitious. I don't know how long I can feign enthusiasm for the kids in these books. 
A week before: "Can I go potty?" BB asks almost every night after reading one or more of the potty books. Apparently this child will urinate on cue for Jelly Beans. Goodness, the potty books actually work. I think it's time to order some Pull-Ups and potty training supplies.

The day before: Today is the day. There are covers on all the upholstery. BB is going to go pants-less and we are going to get him on the potty.

"NOOOOOO!!!! Put my diaper on! Put my diaper on!" I have been met with screaming protest.

No, today is not the day. We will start tomorrow when mommy has less of a headache. For the record, I rarely had headaches before having kids.

Day 1: Bribing with candy is super effective. No pants, no diaper, no problem. No pee accidents but a false sense of security is quickly dashed by a panicked scream followed by a trail a poop from the hallway all the way to right in front of the potty. And an understandably freaked out little boy who has only ever pooped in a diaper his whole life.
I have gross underestimated how terrifying bowel movements can be by blocking the experience out with reading materials and electronics all these years.

Day 2: Another day of no pee accidents. My kid is so smart, he learned how to pee in the potty on day one. All that preparation really paid off there, supermom.

And today the poop didn't end up all the way down the hall. It didn't end up in the potty either. Just right in front.
Note to self: Lock all the doors to the bedrooms so BB is only in rooms where he can't hide and poop somewhere inconspicuous. I heard about a kid who pooped in his toy box.

Day 3: Turns out locking the doors is unnecessary because no matter what room he is in the urge to poop will always be announced with the high pitched screams of, "I have to go potty" and the preemptive "WIPE MY BUTT." But guess who went in his poop is in potty today? Well aside from mommy and daddy, BB did! And he got a chocolate treat for it. I could actually see the light bulb go off in his head when he realized he wasn't just getting a single paltry gummy bear or jelly bean, he was getting the good stuff.

The irony of trading a toddler poop for chocolate is not lost on me.

Day 4: Today is going to be the day. This kid is going to have no accidents. He even woke up dry so we might not even need nighttime diapers. I worried about potty training for nothing.

Except today was a complete regression. The urge to pee struck BB while he was playing and though he knew he had to go, now announcing any need to pee or poop with the chant, "INEEDTOGOPOTTY! INEEDTOGOPOTTY!" He refused to go to the potty and peed right on the living room floor.

I have never been more proud of my choice to put hardwood floors throughout the house like I am today.

Day 5: My spirit is broken today. BB peed right in front of the potty after refusing to take off his pants to go pee. He then pooped in his pants when he refused to take his pants off again. I explain to BB that he will not be able to attend Montessori School (known to him as Animal School because of the tortoise, hens, bunnies, cockatiel, reptiles and turtles at the school) unless he uses the potty for pee and poop. They only take children who don't have accidents.

This seemed to sink in. We'll see tomorrow.

Day 6: BB is back to no pee accidents. After ever potty visit he says, "I want to go to Montessori School and see the animals." Ok, kid. One day at a time. You haven't even had a bowel movement yet.

Day 7: I have spent the past week obsessed with where this little human does his doody. It is all I can talk about so everyone has loads of advice. Like, "Let him choose his own undies," "Put a potty in every room," and "Use cheerios in the potty."

Why doesn't anyone recommend a cocktail and a room to cry in?

For Part 2, please click here

Leading up to potty training, I started to think diapers would be easier than constantly having to monitor my 2.5 year old son's bowel movements. After everything I had heard and read, it seemed possible that I would ruin the process and my kid would be in diapers until he left for college. After about a week of potty training, we're down to one accident a day and very little frustration thanks to tips from fellow moms and the items we used below.

1. Potty Chair. We started out trying to use a toilet seat with steps over our existing toilet with to see if we could get away without using a potty at all. This was a bad idea because in the beginning my son needed to be able to immediately sit down when he needed to pee. Any delay, like needing to climb steps, was a deterrent.

BB uses the Summer Infant Lil' Loo Potty because it has a front barrier than helps to prevent spraying outside the potty when sitting down. It's also very easy to empty and clean. There are various color options for the bowl which is fine but in whatever potty, avoid buying a white bowl as white plastic stains easily and can quickly become unsightly.

2. Floor Cleaner. Floor messes are inevitable when potty training. The first day without a diaper, BB pooped in the hallway. Something about pooping without a diaper is completely terrifying for some children and BB yelled in fear while poop came out of his butt and I tried to usher him to the potty while attempting to avoid stepping in poop myself. The result was streaks of poop down BB's legs and multiple piles from the hallway to right in front of the potty. Welcome to potty training and the unending fear of bodily fluids.

We currently use Hoover FloorMate Deluxe Hard Floor Cleaner and haven't put it away in case of any other accidents. The FloorMate is excellent because clean water comes out of one reservoir, sprayed on the ground and scrubbed in by rotating brushes then sucked back up into a separate reservoir. There's no pushing around dirty water and the brushes can easily be removed and washed or replaced, which is so important when cleaning up feces off the floor. We just make sure to pick up and wipe any messes before running the FloorMate so everything is extra clean.

3. Disinfecting Wipes: As mentioned above, we clean and wipe up messes before running the FloorMate but when dealing with an infant and a toddler by myself, I don't always have the ability to immediately use the Hoover so I make sure to use disinfecting wipes when cleaning up floor messes. We also use the wipes on the potty since messes intevitabily end up on more parts of it, not just the bowl.  Seventh Generation Disinfecting Multi-Surface Wipes are good especially on surfaces that end up touching skin later.

4. Potty Training Videos: Leading up to attempting to potty train, we switched over all of BB's entertainment to potty related content. Daniel Tiger's potty episode, Agent Oso's potty episode. If the show had a potty episode, BB watched it. Netflix and Hulu made this easy (House Mix Blog has a list in their Potty Training 101 post) but without subscriptions to those services, YouTube or purchasing a DVD will work just as well.  Elmo's Potty Time Video is a good one. 

We sing, "When you have to go potty go right away," from Daniel Tiger's potty training episode, whenever BB seems to be reluctant to go potty and obviously needs to. BB now says, "I go right away, just like Prince Wednesday!" That Daniel Tiger really knows how to motivate kids.

5. Diaper Sprayer: This is something I have leftover from cloth diapering. It's a diaper sprayer that attaches to the toilet to wash solid waste off diapers but works very well in cleaning up poopy accident and cleaning out poop in the potty bowl. We have a Bum Genius sprayer, which I couldn't find on Amazon anymore but this  Bumworks Cloth Diaper Toilet Sprayer Kit looks identical to the BG model.

6. Treats: My little loves him some candy so nothing was more motivating to him than getting a sweet treat for potty success. We do one treat for pee and three treats for poop since he has such a hard time going Number 2. These Yummy Earth Organics Gummy Bears are pretty effective without a lot of the less than ideal ingredients of other candies.

7. Cheerios: Other mamas suggested Cheerios when BB was having a problem getting motivated or keeping his spray in the bowl. Apparently, using Cheerios in the toilet bowl and encouraging the child to aim at the little Os is a way to make going potty fun.

8. Baby Wipes: It is not fun trying to use toilet paper to clean a toddler's butt after he successfully poops in the toilet. Nothing is faster than wipes to quickly wipe a kid who just wants to get out of the bathroom to get back and play. We use HUGGIES Simply Clean Unscented Soft Baby Wipes since they are mild enough for cleaning faces also.

9. Stickers: After BB has brushed his teeth for the night, or on days when he's had a lot of sugar, we give him stickers instead of candy. These Fun Express Zoo Animal Sticker Roll  are a quick dispense way to give stickers for a potty prize.

10. Undies: One of the most motivating things for many toddlers to successfully potty train is the desire to wear undies in the pattern they like. I picked these Yanzi6 Baby Toddler Kids Boys Boxer Brief undies because they felt more like shorts instead of the regular briefs which sometimes feel like cloth diapers. That way, BB was conscious that he was not wearing something he was familiar with peeing or pooping in.

11. Potty Training Books: In addition to the potty related videos, we read nothing but potty books at bedtime until BB was potty training. It helped familiarize him with the process and allowed us to explain each step and really get excited about starting the training.  Potty by Leslie Patricelli is a favorite with many moms because it allows for a lot of ad libbing to go along with the very clear pictures.

Do you have any potty training tips?

I'm lucky that my breastfeeding relationship with my second child came easily. With my first, hundreds of dollars were spent on galactogogues supplements, pumping supplies, formula for supplementation, lactation consultants, antibiotics and doctors appointments to fight mastitis. Breastfeeding used to bring me to tears. Now with ET, my second child, he latched immediately, my milk came in quickly and he had no weight loss issues. It was everything I dreamed breastfeeding should be.

I learned a lot my last go around and though I wouldn't recommend the products I used for breastfeeding my first son for all breastfeeding mamas, the following 9 products are pretty awesome for all breastfeeding mamas.

1. New Chapter Perfect Postnatal Vitamin. I took New Chapter Prenatals during my pregnancy because they were the only ones that didn't give me a stomachache. These Postnatals are awesome in the same way and include lactation support. Perfect for postpartum recovery.

2. Leading Lady Nursing Sleep Bra. Turns out there are two kinds of great bras for nursing, the most comfortable and easy to use being sleep bras. They don't do much in terms of support or nipple hiding but they make up for it by being easy to pull down in the middle of the night while trying to feed a screaming baby.

3. Now Foods Acidophilus Capsules. Thrush is a real challenge for many breastfeeding women. It's a fungal infection that presents in the form of breast pain that can make the strongest of women quit. One of the ways to prevent thrush before it starts it by taking acidophilus or any effective probiotic that will keep the fungus at bay.

4. Milkmakers It's a Mix - Oatmeal Chocolate Chip. Even without supply issues, these cookies are so delicious I looked forward to eating them during my pregnancy. After trying many lactation cookie recipes myself, I found they either were not as effective as this mix or not as tasty as Milkmakers.  Plus, the mix makes fresh cookie making so easy my toddler can help me. In return, he expects some of the cookies though.

5. Traditional Medicinals Mother's Milk Tea. This tea isn't necessary for anyone who has oversupply or adequate supply. It's not particularly tasty.  But, it is easy to find in stores and around the witching hour/evening time when it seems my milk supply wanes and baby gets a little fussier than normal, I find taking the time to drink this tea helps. Either because having a hot cup of uncaffienated tea relaxes me and in turn relaxes him or because it's actually boosting my supply instantaneously, the effect is enough for me to keep drinking it.

6. Zulu Core Glass Water Bottle with Quick-Cap Lid. I cannot say enough good things about a bottle that seals but has a one hand open. This particular bottle is my go to while nursing because I can just pop it open, drink and close again and not worry about spills or having to have two free hands to open a screw top bottle. A+ design.

7. Amorini Silver Nipple Soothers. I bought these at MommyCon last year and, though the price was steep, they are worth every single penny. It seems that the first weeks of breastfeeding for almost every mom are filled with some kind of nipple pain or soreness, regardless of our prior experience. Wearing these silver nipple soothers stopped the pain between feedings by keeping my nipples moisturized and healing quickly. Wearing them under clothes prevented additional chaffing that can occur just from wearing a bra or top in the first postpartum weeks. Just an amazing product I had no idea about while breastfeeding my first.

8. Band Bamboo Women's Seamless Padded Nursing Bra. Though nursing sleep bras are the most comfortable, we all have to leave the house which means a little more support and nipple coverage is necessary for those of us who are a little more modest. This bra easily unclips for quick nursing but provides lots of support when the cups are clipped in place. Also, it doesn't have underwire. Every time I used an underwire bra outside of the house, especially if I was separated from my nursing child, I got mastitis. That didn't happen when I used seamless bras without underwire so my advice is NO UNDERWIRE.

9. Lansinoh HPA Lanolin for Breastfeeding Mothers. This is an industry standard. They even give it away at my hospital. It's for quick relief and healing, especially when nipples are particularly dry or cracked.

Though this product isn't on my top 9 products, I thought it might be nice to do a giveaway for my awesome little community of blog readers. Since there's not a lot of you, odds are high for anyone who enters to win. Without further ado, enter below for a chance to win a Kiinde Twist Breastfeeding Essentials Kit. I have two to giveaway. Giveaway closes June 3, 2016 at 12am. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

**This Giveaway is closed. Congrats to Karin and Liz!**

What's your biggest breastfeeding challenge?

*Please note this post contains affiliate links. If you like this blog, following the links to buy these products will result in a tiny commission being paid to me. Thanks for your support!
We have a soon to be threenager. He's willful, defiant and knows just the right tone of voice to shatter my last bit of patience. My husband and I agreed to back each other up in every arena including discipline but our toddler's ability to act like a tiny dictator left us without a game plan, searching for answers, so when we were offered a class that promised to teach us "how to de-escalate conflicts and get through to our child when he's upset," I signed us up.

Imagine what this face sounds like. I need some parenting guidance!
The class was offered with the new Montessori school BB will be attending starting in the summer. All the teachers at his school will attend the same classes that are offered to the parents so that the method is applied at home and at school. The Director of the Montessori really prioritizes the "village" that raises a child so these classes are part of the school's ongoing efforts to create a community between the teachers, parents and children.

Led by Mary Menninger, a Life Coach with a Master's degree in Spiritual Psychology, and Vanessa Wenninger, an elementary school teacher and Life Coach, the class was based on the book Raising An Emotionally Intelligent Child The Heart of Parenting by John Gottman*.

For anyone who knows my husband, the idea that he willingly chose to take a class from a Spiritual Psychologist was surprising given his aversion to anything that sounds New Agey. Lucky for me, he doesn't read fliers so he had no idea but when the class started with a couple of visualizations/guided meditations, I thought for sure he was going to check out. Lucky for us he didn't. All the parent attendees in our class came as couples which was very surprising to our teachers because it seems not many dads attend their sessions.

The class can be broken down simply like this:

  • Think of an image that symbolizes one's family. Examples from our class included trees, houses, gemstones and crowns. 
  • Think of the characteristics that connect the symbol to one's family. The dad who said a crown in our class used that symbol because it represents strength and history. 
  • Surround that image with goals and objectives for the class. The most common answer in the class was more quality time and patience. 
  • Imagine waking up in the morning and setting the intention to achieve the previously defined goal or objective. One of the attendees suggested something she learned from another class which was to use an object trigger to remind ourselves of our intention throughout the day. For instance, using a doorknob or handle as an object trigger so every time one touches a doorknob, handle, cabinet pull, etc., the objective is reiterated. 
  • Almost all parenting goals can be achieved by consistent conflict resolution with our children. The recommended method of resolution is The "Peace" Process, in quotation marks because it's really the PEC process. 
    • P is for Pay Attention. When there is a meltdown, tantrum or conflict, assess the situation. Figure out the cause of the meltdown. Is it sleepliness, hunger, the need for control, etc. Almost every problematic situation with children are rooted in an unmet need.
    • E is for Express Empathy. Take a moment to empathize with onesself by acknowledging personal feelings of frustration or exhaustion. Then, express empathy to the child by expressing an understanding of how the child feels and asking them to confirm the accuracy of the understanding. This is particularly important because it helps give the child the feelings vocabulary to verbalize their feelings, a key part of emotional intelligence.
    • C is for Creative Solutions. Come up with solutions that incorporate the child's input. This is really child and situation dependent but there were great ideas tossed around by all the parents once we talked through the earlier steps. 
Since this was the introduction class, we didn't really get in depth with the creative solutions aspect and there was definitely more to delve into but given having a newborn and a hectic work schedule, we probably won't be able to make it to another class in the immediate future, unfortunately, but I will be picking up the book.

I cannot recommend taking a class like this or reading a book on Emotional Intelligence enough, especially if your co-parent is willing to do it along side you. I've already seen an increased patience from my husband towards our toddler and more quickly diffused potential tantrum situations with the implementation of the PEC process.

*Please note this is an Amazon Affiliate Link. If you like this post and want to buy the book, I'll get a small commission if you buy through the link I have provided.
What if I told you that the secret to staying recovering one's figure after childbirth, avoiding postpartum depression, having great and amazing quality milk supply and preventing many ailments in one's old age came down to doing the right things during the first month postpartum? What if I told you there was a way to get everyone to wait on your hand and foot after you give birth so all you have to do is focus on recovering and nursing a demanding newborn?

All you have to do is lock yourself up in the house for 30 days, abstain from bathing and follow a slew of other seemingly nonsensical advice. And have a mother or mother-in-law who will yell at you and anyone else that is not helping you adhere to those rules. (Hey, no reward is without a price.)

Interested? Let me tell you about zuoyuezi, also known as the Sitting Month. Most prolific in the Chinese community, though there are other cultures that adhere to similar rules, there are none that take it quite as far. Even in America, Chinese mothers sometimes pay into the 5 figures to be pampered at resorts that specialize in the 30 days after childbirth and all the rules that go with it. Some of us only pay for the food delivery, a major component of the Sitting Month, where a company well versed in Traditional Chinese Medicine, prepares fresh food, formulated for recovery and milk production, and delivers it daily for between $2,000 and $4,000, depending on the type of birth, extras and duration of delivery (as some mamas go as long as 45 days for their zuoyuezi period). Others hire in home mommy's helpers or postpartum doulas experienced in the Sitting Month or get help from their mothers or mothers in law. Some pick and choose the rules they follow.

The month is hard to do. Some of us don't know all the rules. Others of us don't necessarily believe all the rules are logical making it more than difficult to adhere to them. Some of us are in America where some of the rules just sound crazy and unsanitary. But some of us also have moms that worry and would never let up unless we follow those rules.

Having completed the month and following the rules as best I reasonably could, here are my thoughts and adaptations for the Westernized mama.
I am one month old! Now my mommy can bathe, thank goodness!