How I Finally Got My Kids Potty Trained!

I know they say all kids progress at different rates, but I never thought my two kids would be so different with their potty training.  I’m not sure if it was first child vs. second child, girl vs. boy, my parenting style being different with them, or just their different personalities.  I’ve had friends whose kids were opposite mine; mine being the girl was easier and the boy more difficult.  The same goes for the first child vs. second child situation; opposite of mine.

My daughter is my first born.  I decided to try and potty train her about a month before my son was born.  She was two and a half.  She also had to transition to a “big girl bed” as well, so I could have the crib for my son.  I was worried about so many changes for her, but she made it through them all like a champ!  I was very prepared for potty training, as I read almost every book at Borders on the subject.  I planned out everything, and it worked liked clockwork.  Here is what I did:

1.  Got her ready for “Potty Weekend!”  We talked about it, read child-aged books about it, and had a countdown.

2.  When Potty Weekend arrived, we stayed home all weekend.  I started by giving her “Baby Alive.”  We showed her how the doll worked, and she understood when you drink something it will make you need to pee.

3.  Every hour we had her put her doll on the potty to pee, and then she would try and pee too!  When she was successful, she would then pick out  a sticker from the basket for her potty chart we had up in the bathroom.  Every 10 stickers she earned, she could pick out a small prize.  She was so excited about this, and she tried so hard!  Her favorite thing to earn was a new pair of big girl underwear (she wanted nothing to do with pull-ups).

4.  She had a few accidents, but she was pretty much trained in about two weeks (with pee that is).  She wore diapers to bed for a while at night, but otherwise she did quite well.  Pictures below of my daughter around age two and a half.

I thought potty training was pretty easy, and I wondered why some of my friends were having such problems with their kids. Now I know! My son was the complete opposite.  He didn’t care much about earning stickers, he didn’t care about accidents, and he just fought it every step of the way.  We talked to our pediatrician about it constantly, and she said he will do it when he’s ready.  It seemed the more we pushed, the worse it got.  We finally did back off completely, and now (knock on wood) he has finally decided to do it on his own!!!  He turned 4 in March, and we are so happy he finally wants to go on the potty.  He was “pee potty trained” for a long while, but now he is doing everything on the potty.  Thankfully…….he finally potty trained himself!

Potty training can be easy, and it can be difficult.  I guess each child does have their own way of going about things.  My only advice to you is to be patient, try things that make your child excited about potty training, and make it a positive experience for them the best you can (even if you are completely frustrated).  They will get there sometime!

*  How are your experiences with potty training kids?  Any advice to offer others?

Kristin Wheeler

The Difference Between Nice and Good

My daughters are sweethearts. They are both thoughtful and kind to others. I am so proud of them.  One of the things I’ve tried to teach them is to be nice to others. A motto I say to them is “You don’t have to like everyone but you need to respect everyone.”  I truly believe in this motto, but I started wondering if it needed more clarification.

Both daughters have had trouble with difficult “friends.”  Both girls continued to deal with these “friend’s” behaviors without doing anything back. That’s what we’ve been taught, right? Turn the other cheek?  Well I think there needs to be a balance between “being nice” and “being a good person.”

To be nice to others seems to be at times a  pleasing behavior.  My girls didn’t want to hurt the other person’s feelings (even though other kids were hurting theirs).  Somehow being nice meant –to my kids –that other people were first.  Is that really what I wanted to teach them? That the other persons feelings were more important that theirs? That they had to be “nice girls” no matter what?  No, I want them to believe that while it’s important to respect others, it’s also important to respect themselves.

A nice person will act a certain way in order to not hurt someone’s feelings or make them uncomfortable.  As a result, sometimes “nice people” can be fake because they are more concerned with appearances than the truth.  Additionally, sometimes people who “act” nice don’t always even have  good intentions.  So being “nice” maybe isn’t always so nice.

Now, being a good person means to me that your intentions are good.  You look for and act toward the greater good. Your intentions are to not only help yourself but also others in the process.   However, sometimes being good also means doing what is not popular.  Sometimes doing what is right is unsettling and upsetting to others. Hence, sometimes being good you can’t be “nice” and please everyone.

Sometimes you need to say “No” and sometimes you even need to raise your voice.  When my one daughter’s “friend” would cry when she didn’t get what she wanted, my daughter would give in and do what her friend wanted.  It seemed to me that my daughter was being emotionally blackmailed. My daughter just thought that letting her friend cry wasn’t nice.

I still want my girls to be nice, but not at the expense of doing what’s right.  We certainly should try doing and being good in a respectful way. However, I clarified with them that  our first priority should be to be good (do what’s right- including, at times, standing up for themselves) and our secondary goal should be to be nice (act in order to please others and not hurt their feelings).

So how about we say…It’s nice to be good and good to be nice, but sometimes being nice is not good and sometimes being good you need to not be nice.

Utimately I hope my girls learn that we can’t always gage what we should do by how we think others will respond.  We need to listen to our internal compass and be true to ourselves. That being said, I realize that no matter what I do I can’t always protect them from some things in this world. I  can guide them, but sometimes they need to explore the path on their own. Sometimes that means getting hurt.  Hopefully they will learn from each experience and grow from it.

What do you think? Do you think there is a difference between being good and being nice?

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