Book Review: Cat & Nat’s Mom Truths

The other day I watched my four-year-old have a complete meltdown because the dog looked at him. Yup, the dog looked at him. His freak out caused my two-year-old to throw his cup (which broke and leaked everywhere) across the playroom crashing into the wall causing another wave of crocodile tears. These are the real moments of motherhood – raw, ridiculous, and ruthless.

I took to social media that day not to share this wild mishap, but an adorable photo of my kids reenacting the entire production of Baby Shark. Like many of us, I slapped a filter on life and gave you what you wanted to see – a fantasy-land of parenting. Let’s be honest, we need more reality in focus, because motherhood is a wonderful, yet extremely messy experience.

I recently got my hands on a copy of Cat & Nat’s Mom Truths – Embarrassing Stories and Brutally Honest Advice on the Extremely Real Struggle of Motherhood, by dynamic duo Catherine “Cat” Belknap and Natalie “Nat” Telfer. Cat and Nat give it to you straight in this hilarious collection of REAL motherhood anecdotes. This journey from pregnancy to toddlerdom will leave you rolling on the floor in laughter.

Cat and Nat’s Mom Truths

From tips on what you should actually pack in your hospital bag to the realities of Instagram myths on to tips of how to avoid post-partum sex, they give it all to you. With all of these knee-slapping realities, Cat and Nat provide you with the reassurance that you are doing a GREAT job. Motherhood is hard and there is no right way to do it. “There is only your way.”

To be honest, I have been dealing with some personal “mom guilt.” There is no reason for it. I have decided I need to feel guilty, constantly questioning if I’m doing enough for my kids, if working is ruining my children’s lives, if the tone I had with my toddler will negatively impact him for the rest of his life…you know normal thoughts (she said with sarcasm). When I dove head first into this book, I didn’t realize how much it would put me in check. I’m no longer sweating the small stuff. I love my kids, they love me, and well hell, that’s enough! So, Cat and Nat – thank you! Thank you for sharing these truths in a captivating and entertaining way. I can look at myself and say, “you are mom enough!”

Grab your favorite drink (black coffee for me), your favorite treat, shed the mom guilt, and indulge in this delightfully raw capture of what motherhood is REALLY like. Now available for purchase, get your copy of Cat & Nat’s Mom Truths today! >> Cat & Nat’s Mom Truths <<

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GET YOUR COPY OF CAT & NAT’S MOM TRUTHS TODAY

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Why? – Strange Things Toddlers Do

I was introduced to the world of professional wrestling, WWF (World Wrestling Federation – later) at a very young age by my uncle (shout out to Uncle P!). I was the first grader walking around demonstrating the signature moves of D-Generation X, in particular, Triple H (Hunter Hearst Helmsley). If you have no clue, YouTube it and you’ll see the amazingness that is this mid-90s to early 2000s group. My adoration for the athleticism and performance of these individuals often left my teachers and parents saying – “Why?”

“Hannah why are you pretending to jackknife [XYZ person]?” My answer would always be, “Why not?”

Now that I have two kids and one has discovered his true toddler sass, I hear the phrase “why not?” on loop. Also, as a boy mom, I hear this more often than most – at least I’m assuming mothers and fathers of boys are always walking around looking puzzled because their son(s) has decided to do something crazy.

Along with questioning my children’s (keep in mind they are three and one) need to have an impromptu wrestling match like that of the classic Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant from Wrestlemania III in the middle of the living room (YouTube it), my list of “why” based moments is extensive.

Here are the top ten most recent reasons I’ve had to say “why?” and slowly shake my head in confusion.

  1. Mom – Why did you aim your penis at your face when you went to the potty?
    Three-year-old – Because the pee wanted to go up!
  2. Mom – Why are you chewing on the baby teether?
    Three-year-old – Because the baby teether is for people not babies!
  3. Mom – Why are you licking the wall?
    Three-year-old – Because I needed to mom!
  4. Mom – *Gives son a new toy* Where are you going?
    Three-year-old – To hide it!
    Mom – Why?
    Three-year-old – Because the worms will get it!!
  5. Mom – Why did you flip over the play kitchen?
    Three-year-old – Because the whale shark was coming, and he wanted popcorn!
  6. Mom – Why are you rubbing petroleum jelly all over your face?
    Three-year-old – Because I can’t breathe! *He thought it was vapor rub*
  7. Mom – Why is your play grill in your bed?
    Three-year-old – My blanket was cold!
  8. Mom – Why are you standing on the coffee table?
    Three-year-old – Because I need to dance!
  9. Mom – Why are you screaming at the drain?
    Three-year-old – The orca won’t stop yelling!
  10. Mom – Why are you not wearing underwear?
    Three-year-old – He needs to breathe!

So, here’s what I know, he watches too much Octonauts (which I secretly love), he’s extremely tactile, and he has a strong understanding of his body. With this said, all I can say is “WHY????”

What is something your kids have done or said that left you at a loss? Let me know in the comments below.

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4 Ways to Teach Your Kids Patience

What is it they always say – patience is a virtue?

I am the first to admit, my patience level is nearly nonexistent. While it has improved over the years, especially with the addition of children (God bless my kids for bringing me down a notch), I am always keeping myself in check. I’m like the Energizer Bunny always on the move and in a hurry, so don’t get in my way.

I am slowly starting to see my lack of patience in my children. Could it be my unfavorable characteristic is now reflected on them or general toddlerdom? We may never know, but what I do know is that I am constantly working towards self-improvement and providing my kids with the tools they need to be patient individuals.

Here are four ways to promote patience –

  1. Parents Practicing Patience – I’ve already admitted my faults, but we should lead by example as parents. My kids are my driving force to actively show what it means to be a mindful and patient person. If mommy can do it, they can do it too!
  2. Slow and Steady – I don’t know if this can be said for all toddlers, but my boys are always on the go. A moment of Zen is very rare and achieved when they are asleep at the end of the day. A great way to establish mindfulness and patience is to introduce activities like coloring, building with Legos, or baking cookies. We want to slow down the soul and enjoy the outcome of taking our time to complete the task at hand.
  3. Celebrate – What kid doesn’t love praise? When our kids practice patience let’s acknowledge them with a job well done. While we should tackle moments of impatience, complimenting them is of the upmost importance. A reward doesn’t hurt either. We have a mindfulness chart at home where my son fills the chart (with stickers) every time he shows patience. When all 12 slots are filled, he can then select a prize from the treasure chest.
  4. Start the Clock – A trick my parents used when I was a youngster – the egg timer. I have found my oldest responds well to the clock. He will sit there and wait for it to ding before he moves to the next activity. “We are going to park in five minutes,” “You can watch your iPad for two more minutes,” or “we will be home in 10 minutes,” are all examples of establishing expectations through time. It eases anxiety and helps when the anticipation of what’s to come.

The two most powerful warriors are patience and time. – Leo Tolstoy

Do you or your kids struggle with mindfulness? How do you address patience? Let me know in the comments below.

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Bye Bye Bad Dreams

My three-year-old started waking up in the middle of the night claiming pink monsters were going to attack, his dinosaur bopped him on the head, and some other creature under his bed was determined to take him down. It’s normal for the imagination to kick in and warp the blissful reality of dreamland, but when it started to impact everyone’s sleep, something needed to be done.

The other night, our son was inconsolable. He abruptly busted into our room sobbing crocodile sized tears. He was so upset and unable to formulate his thoughts and tell us what was wrong. My husband took him back to his room and eventually fell asleep on the floor holding his hand. Yes, it was a sweet moment between father and son, but we didn’t want to establish this as the norm.

As parents we have the power to embellish – transform any household object into a magical token or make bold claims like vegetables give us super powers. Just like our children, so much is possible when it comes to the imagination. When the nightmares started to plague his dreams, my imagination took over. Here is the story about a little boy – the bad dream buster.

Before he lays his head to sleep, the little boy grabs his green magic stone (i.e. flattened marble his mom found when cleaning out her jewelry box). He gives it a kiss and whispers the word “lucky” into the stone. He gently places the stone in a mystical container (also known as a pill box) and carefully places it under his pillow. The fluffy bunny that occupies his bed, watches over the magic stone as the little boy goes to sleep.

He then grabs his magic elixir (one cup of warm water mixed with a few drops of lavender essential oil in a spray bottle) known to many toddlers as “monster spray.” He lightly sprays his bed, royal subjects (i.e. stuffed animals), and royal throws (blankets) with the magic potion. If a monster catches one whiff of the elixir he is banished from the kingdom FOREVER! The little boy was very generous in his distribution of the “monster spray.” He likes to cover his bases.

Finally, the little boy seeks out the keeper of light (also known as his Miffy night light). She turns even the darkest corners of the kingdom bright with his warm glow. With the flick of a switch, she casts a beam of light around his room, ridding it of any monsters who may be lurking.

Once the little boy feels that he has successfully demolished all the baddies, he softly closes his eyes and enters dreamland. Legend states, he starts to dream of adventures on board the Octopod with Captain Barnacle and the rest of the Octonauts (*cue dramatic music).

What a story, would you believe me if I said it was true, minus some of the colorful additions? This may seem like an entire production, but it works, for right now. He has full ownership of his nighttime routine, which I believe helps eliminate some of those pre-bedtime anxieties.

What are some tricks you use to help your kids go to sleep? Let me know in the comments below.

Sweet dreams!

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Parenting Through Disney Songs

Fun fact about me, I have never met a Disney movie I didn’t like. What’s even stronger than my love for animated magic is the fantastic songs that accompany each featured filmed. You will often catch me singing along with the Disney Spotify channel at the top of my lungs while driving in the car, cooking in the kitchen, or working from my desk. Lucky for me, my oldest son is just as obsessed.

As we were belting our best rendition of You’re Welcome from Moana, it hit me, most Disney songs have a lyric(s) that reflect the life of a parent. Here are 10 Disney lyrics that capture what it’s really like to be a parent.

  1. Colors of the Wind (Pocahontas) – You think you own whatever land you land on. I think it’s a known fact that toddlers think they own everything. We are just here for their enjoyment and to be at their beck and call. In response to their incessant sass I say, if you listen to me You’ll learn things you never knew, you never knew.
  2. Un Poco Loco (Coco) – I’ll count it as a blessing that I’m only un poco loco. You know the moment when your kids flip from acting the fool to becoming the sweetest children on the planet? You look into their cherub-like faces and think “thank goodness you’re cute and only make me a little crazy (un poco loco).”
  3. I’ll Make a Man Out of You (Mulan) – Heed my every order and you might survive. This one is for all the boy moms out there [represent]. Boys may be less drama than girls, but it’s harder to keep them alive. When it looks like your son is about to fling his body off the swing set or headbutt his sibling, repeat the wise words of Li Shang.
  4. I Just Can’t Wait to Be King (Lion King) – I think it’s time that you and I arrange a heart to heart. When your kids are on the verge of going to time out, but you want to play nice cop, so you take a note from Zazu’s playbook. It’s either a heart to heart or the time out chair my friend.
  5. Almost There (The Princess and the Frog) – There’s been trials and tribulations. You know I’ve had my share. But I’ve climbed the mountain, I’ve crossed the river, and I’m almost there. When you’re talking to your parent friends about potty training. If you’ve ever seen a war movie and the main character is hobbling out of the trenches, that’s what potty training looks like for a parent. We’ve seen things we can’t come back from.
  6. Let it Go (Frozen) – Let it go (go, go, go, go, go, go, go, go, go, go, go, go). When my kids are having a “moment,” I often meet and exceed their volume with Queen Elsa’s anthem. Not only does it mute their complaints, it redirects their feelings and puts them into a state of confusion – they are confused as to why mom is actin’ the fool. I’m willing to assume that role if it stops the craziness.
  7. You’ve Got a Friend in Me (Toy Story) – You got troubles, and I got them too. There isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for you. We stick together, we can see it through, ‘cause you’ve got a friend in me. As baby brother bites his leg, I keep reminding my oldest he will be your best friend one day. You are born into a friendship with your siblings, but it’s one that will last a lifetime.
  8. You’ll Be in my Heart (Tarzan) – For one so small, you seem so strong. My arms will hold you, keep you safe and warm. This bond between us can’t be broken. I mean…this song just violently yanks at the heartstrings. I think the moment I became a mom and held my son in my arms, life truly began. There is something so special between a mother and a son. My boys are my world.
  9. Be Prepared (Lion King) – Yes, our teeth and ambitions are bared. Be prepared! This applies to both parent and child during one of the most excruciating moments in their life…teething. Have you seen the YouTube video where they time lapse a child’s teeth coming in? Search it; it’s absolutely horrifying. As you frantically search for the perfect solution to ease your child’s achy gums, maintain determination and prepare to get through it together, because neither of you will be sleeping.
  10. What’s This? (The Nightmare Before Christmas) – What’s this? What’s this? There’s something very wrong. What’s this? The age-old question of is it chocolate or is it poop can be summed up with the simple phrase – what’s this? Dare you even try to figure it out. Only the bravest of souls try to crack the mystery. Are you one of those people?

With hundreds of whimsical songs, there is bound to be one that fits every moment of parenthood. What song would you use to define your current state of parenting? Let me know in the comments below.

Celebrate Diversity – All Are Welcome – Book Review

As parents we have a very important job – to raise the world’s future. The way we decide to raise our kids now will leave a lasting impression for years to come. With the current political climate, the need to create a loving, accepting, and kind environment is more important than ever.

I was raised by two parents who provided me with tools to learn, love, and grow. I’ve kept a lot of my parent’s techniques within my own parenting artillery, but I’ve also tapped into my natural childrearing abilities. I know they are just in the beginning of their lives, but I feel my kids are on the right path to being decent human beings, and it has a lot to do with my how I’ve embraced my role as mom.

My three-year-old has been an empathetic soul from day one. He is always tapping into other’s feelings and providing comfort to those in need. It melts my heart when I hear from his teacher’s that he embraces others with ease. However, like many children, he has started to recognize differences between himself and his friends. As he starts to tap into varying cultural, racial, sexual, etc. aspects of other’s, I want him to keep his heart and mind open as well as erase the idea of judgement, because none of us have the right to pass judgement on others.

Sometimes finding a starting point for those conversations can be difficult, but the dynamic duo of Alexandra Penfold and Suzanne Kaufman have created a beautiful children’s book, All Are Welcome, to help navigate dialogues in a fun way. With lovely words and captivating illustrations, All Are Welcome has built of world of curiosity and understanding for my son.

All Are Welcome is a enlightening book that follows a group of young children through their school day “where everyone is welcomed with open arms.” Not only does it show that school is a safe and caring space for everyone, but it highlights kids from various backgrounds. The book shows how they come together to learn from one another. They embrace aspects of life different from their own, such as the celebration of the Lunar New Year, with understanding and appreciation.

When we first sat down to read this book, my son was immediately captivated. Eager to flip through every page, he enjoyed sitting down together as a family with a good book in hand. It was after the initial read that we then read it three more times. During our second, third, and fourth takes of the book, we talked about the dynamics of families (i.e. some kids have two mommies, two daddies, a mommy and a daddy, etc.), what is a hijab, what does it mean if one of our friends is blind or visually impaired, and so much more. The questions flooded in, which is exciting for this mom! I LOVE that he wants to understand and learn more.

Through its continuous displays of encouragement, All Are Welcome highlights the beauty of diversity and lends a helping hand to parents, like me, when it comes to talking to our kids about embracing the wonderful things that make each of us different. I have a feeling we will be reading this book for weeks to come, and that’s alright with me!

To get your copy of All Are Welcome, go to >> www.rhcbooks.com <<

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Mom Review: Now Say This – The Right Words to Solve Every Parenting Dilemma

Parenting [par·ent·ing]: the raising of a child by its parents (Merriam Webster). A simple enough definition, but a loaded word on its own. I don’t know about you, but I am an active consumer of the “parenting book.” What is the best way to raise my child? How should I discipline my child? Should I even discipline my child? These are all questions I ask myself daily.

I have been fortunate enough to have two kids who are innately good, but I can honestly say that my cherub babes have their “moments.” Like many parents understand, those occasional “toddler moments” often leave us wondering if we communicated appropriately and whether we could have diffused the situation in a healthier way.

When I got my hands on a copy of Now Say This – The Right Words to Solve Every Parenting Dilemma, I had no idea the world of difference it would make in my life. As a mom who is continuously growing as a parent while trying to raise two functioning (hopefully) human beings, this book serves as an excellent tool in my parenting artillery.

Co-authors, Heather Turgeon, MFT and Julie Wright, MFT, clearly understand the brain capacity of a parent with small children. Many parenting tip and technique books set an expectation that mom and dad can and should retain 50 + (give or take) steps on how mold the perfect child. Yeah, right! There is no way I can remember a laundry list of steps, let alone what I did five-minutes ago, but Turgeon and Wright make it easy with their three-step approach.

The ALP or the Attune, Limit Set, and Problem Solve approach, creates a space of kindness and accountability for both the parent and the child.

  1. Attune: watch, listen, and understand
  2. Limit set: state and hold reasonable limits or state a reality
  3. Problem solve: engage your child in creating solutions

I found this method to be immensely impactful with both my three-year-old and my one-year-old. Even though they are close in age, their ability to communicate is vastly different; however, this approach makes easy to connect with them, in their own way, at their level.

This book not only covers the ALP approach, it also provides proactive tools and application examples to ensure family balance. With a wide-range of presented real-life scenarios, I can tackle many a toddler mishap in a healthy and effective manner. Together my kids and I can find a way to resolve the situation.

If you’re a parent, parent-to-be, teacher, or anyone who works with kids, I strongly encourage you to absorb this insightful information. Within a week, the way my kids and I communicated completely transformed. Rather than feeling frustrated, we were able to walk through the situation(s) together. No more tears from either kid or parent. Just a mom, dad, and two toddlers laughing, smiling, and in complete harmony. Thank you, Turgeon and Wright; you are the true rock stars in my new scope of successful communication.

To learn more about this book and to get your copy of Now Say This – The Right Words to Solve Every Parenting Dilemma, go to Penguin Random House.

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Bye-Bye Bad Dream

For a number of months my toddler was suffering from night terrors. He would wake up every night screaming and crying to the point where he was completely inconsolable. It would take nearly an hour to calm him down and get him back to sleep.

As a parent we want to do everything we can to make our kids feel better. It was breaking my heart to see him fill up with so much fear. During his time of bad dreams I tried everything to ease his soul, and I finally found the best solution for my little guy.

Here are the three steps we use to take down the monsters under the bed.

  1. Tabitha Fink Ninja at Night by Rick Felty – This is quite possibly the best tool in my nightmare destroying tool belt. Tabitha Fink is “a cat with one eye” and she “likes to try things no other cats try.” Tabitha helps her friend Bartholomew Blink the mouse confidentially confront his fears at nighttime by becoming ninjas at night. Along with becoming a night ninja, Bartholomew Blink gains the skills needed to confront his fears of monsters with curly noses, blue bears, trolls in the laundry room, etc. while learning his monsters could be misunderstood and just need a friend to care about them.

You can get your copy of this WONDERFUL book by going to https://www.amazon.com/Tabitha-Fink-Ninja-at-Night/dp/0989912841

  1. Essential Oils – Bye-Bye Bad Dream essential oil roller ball – My coworker is a consultant for Doterra (there are so many brands and everyone has an opinion on which one is better than the next, but this is the brand she uses) and she made a Bye-Bye Bad Dream mix for my little one. Every night before we tuck him into bed, he asks us to “put it on my back please!” What am I to do when I run out of this? I will say, as soon as we started incorporating essential oils into our nightly routine he has been sleeping more peacefully.

Bye-Bye Bad Dream roller ball oils:

– Lavender
– Marjoram
– Juniper Berry
– Cedarwood

*I would consult an essential oil specialist regarding the dilution of the oils. It is very different for child and you need to make sure you are using the right amount. *

  1. Best Buddy – My son is a creature of habit. He likes things a certain way and will, let’s be honest, freak out if something is out of sorts (according to him). My toddler has 5 friends he takes everywhere with him no matter what. He doesn’t have to carry them around, but they need to be within a 20 foot radius. God be with you if he’s friends are out of reach.

Best Friend Entourage:
– Anton – a 40 cent Alligator from Goodwill
– Buddy – a $3 Triceratops from the Target dollar section
– Lion – a Lion given to him by his doctor
– Sven – a McDonald’s keychain of Sven from Frozen that he received as a prize
– Chameleon – a 1997 Beanie Baby an elderly woman gave him in a restaurant (don’t worry we cleaned it)

Can we all agree kids are weird?

So, yes – armed with his 5 friends, he is ready to take on the nighttime “bad guys.” Does your kid(s) have a stuff animal they have to carry around everywhere? Also, how do you successfully detach your kids from their stuffed buddies? This may be a post for the future.

So when the “evil monkeys throwing fruit at your head” or the “bad guys stealing books from your bookshelf” (actual dreams my toddler has had) come out of the dark, arm your little one with artillery equipped with the tools to take the baddies down!

What do you do to help your little ones sleep peacefully without nightmares at night?

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You Know You’re A Boy Mom If…

A boy mom is a special breed. We are in the trenches 24/7 collecting bugs, battling in lightsaber fights, and catching our children as they fling themselves off anything with some height. It’s a tough and messy job, but we are well equipped to take it on.

It amazes me the things my boys decide to do on a daily basis. Honestly, the depth of my imagination is not large enough to make up the things that my kids do. The way my household works, I should really have my own CBS comedy. We would be breaking all of the sitcom charts.

I thought it would be fun, well, more for you than me, to share some of the crazy things my kids have done; a list of instances that only a boy mom could really appreciate. Here is my list of 7 “you know you’re a boy mom if” situations:

  1. You know you’re a boy mom if you’ve been handed your child’s turd as a present.
  2. You know you’re a boy mom if you’ve been slapped in the back of the head by a LED blue Obi-Wan Kenobi lightsaber.
  3. You know you’re a boy mom if you’ve had to tell your child on multiple occasions that his penis is OK and it is not going anywhere.
  4. You know you’re a boy mom if you’ve learned every type of dinosaur and can recite them while giving your child a piggy back ride roaring at the top of your lungs. Quiz me; I dare you!
  5. You know you’re a boy mom if you’ve had to tell your two-year-old son not to wrestle his six month old brother. You’re going to win dude, I promise!
  6. You know you’re a boy mom if you’ve received a high five from your toddler congratulating you on your ability to poop in the potty (I am a big girl).
  7. You know you’re a boy mom if you’ve told your child to stop licking his boogers, the piece of gum off the floor, or the illustrations of food in his bedtime books.

These are just a few of my boy mom moments. The list could go on and on and on. Perhaps I will create a “you know you’re a boy mom if” list part two. That’s a thought!

What are your parenting moments?

Potty Training a Stubborn Toddler

My parents love to tell the story of when they were potty training me as a child. For an entire year, from age two to three, I flat out refused to use the toilet. It wasn’t that I didn’t know how to, it was the fact that I was being instructed to go to the bathroom against my own will. I was, and I will admit, still am a control freak. The very day I turned three I made the proclamation I was going to start using the potty. All of the time my parents invested in potty training me for a year was resolved in a matter of moments when a control freak toddler decided that she was ready.

Mom and dad, I’m sorry…

Now, I’ve said it before and I will say it again, karma comes full circle. My oldest, my two and half year old, is a certified control freak like his mom. Using the potty is a control issue for him as well.

For a while my son would lose his mind when we would suggest the use of potty. You would have thought his dad and I, his teachers, my parents, etc. were trying to murder him. We collectively felt defeated in our efforts.

IMG_8309

You want me to do what?

After countless months working with my son, we had a breakthrough. We successfully broke my toddler of his control issues pertaining to using the bathroom! We used the process I like to call PIE to achieve our potty training goals.

P is for patience – This part is mostly for the trainer not the trainee. When you get frustrated and your little one chimes in on the frustration they start to feel discouraged and that my friends is the last thing you want to do. Patience will take you very far in the potty training game.

I is for incentives – This is a very polarized issue when it comes to potty training. Listen, my son knows what’s up; he’s no fool. We created a potty treat box that we placed on the counter in front of my son’s potty. The box contains small dinosaurs (his current obsession), stickers (dinosaurs of course), and Dum Dum lollipops (“pops” as they’ve been deemed by my son). He intensely stared at that box while going to the potty. The idea of getting a prize motivated him to use the restroom. After about a week of taking from the potty treat box, he became bored and no longer requires a treat to use the bathroom. He now goes with no demands.

IMG_8516.JPG

E is for encouragement – We make sure our toddler feels proud of using the bathroom successfully. He really responds to praise. There are lots of high-fives passed around. It melts my heart when he runs into the room screaming with a smile on his face “I PEEEEEED!!!” When he has an accident (which are few and far between) we tell him it’s OK and that he’ll make it to the potty next time and to let mommy and daddy know when he needs to go. Encouragement is key!

I’m not claiming this is the answer to potty training your stubborn toddler, but I will say we found success by following these steps! What are your potty training recommendations?