Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Potty Training-A full version

I felt like I gave a very brief summary of potty training adventureland. It was comparable to asking a cook for the recipe and they tell you the ingredients, but forget to tell you all the "little" things they add to the recipe to make it so darn good. I will always call the person later and say "That didn't taste like yours." To which they reply, "Did you run around the house three times with the cake before putting it in the oven?" Nope. You forgot to tell me that little secret of yours. Always essential to the success of the recipe. That would have been helpful YESTERDAY.

So, to provide a more detailed potty training how-to at our house.

A. Understanding the Age
1. I DO NOT stress about potty training. My motto "I have never seen a ten-year-old not potty trained." We will get there. I usually start around 2 1/2 for my girls. My mother has told me boys take longer and are harder. So, if I had little boys I would be resigned that we probably wouldn't start until later unless I thought they were ready. It definitely is one battle I will NOT battle.

B. I begin when the baby is 18 months or so talking toilet.

1. I have no intention of training them at that time, but I will say "Where does "DoDo" go? In the potty?" I ask that almost every time we change their diaper.
2. When I am getting ready to put the child in the bath, I always sit them on the potty first to get them use to the idea. "Do you want to go potty?" For example, I do this with Clairvaux (18 months) now. She thinks it is great because I will call the older kids in to see her. We all cheer. I think this has helped alleviate fear of the toilet. They are so use to sitting there "for fun" that when it comes time to train nobody is freaking out.

C. Assembly Utensils

1. Potty Seat: I LOVE the style that fits onto our normal toilet. I loathe potty chairs. I tried that once and cleaning the chair after each use made no sense to me. I love that we can travel with the little seat and that it is an easy transition to just sitting on the normal toilet.

2. Step Stool: This is essential to begin an important lesson I didn't learn until the last few. Teach them from the beginning the whole process.

a. move stool to toilet and pull down your pants
b. get on the stool
c. turn around and sit down
d. scoot back
e. use the restroom
f. wipe (this is up for discretion as I wipe our children for a while to eliminate the obvious.)
g. pull up your underwear
h. flush
i. wash hands
j. turn off the light

When we first started training, I would just sit them on the toilet, but this became terribly inconvenient with every day living especially when they really needed to go and needed my help to just get on the toilet.
Vianney will say "I need to go potty." I now respond "You know what to do." She can go in the restroom and get herself on the toilet.

3. Treats
1. I buy two kinds. One for wet and one for the big job.

2. This little trick has worked great for motivation. If Vianney goes potty, EVERYBODY gets a treat. If she goes, I will call out into the living room "Vianney went potty!" Everyone comes rushing in and I have her hand out the treat to them (which she quite loves.) They all tell her "Congratulations!" John told me he likes this trick best because you see all of them ask her all day if she needs to go just because THEY want candy. Good Peer Pressure.

4. Character Undies
It has never worked for me to put them in pull-ups to train them during the day. It feels like a diaper. If they have an accident (BM) I usually throw away that pair of underwear. I look at it like diapers for just a little while. I will say "Don't get your Dora's dirty." My mother-in-law taught me this little trick. She told me to pick someone that the child knows i.e. the doctor and tell them "Dr. McNeely said you can't go in your underwear anymore." Lillie stopped wetting the bed literally that night. I couldn't believe it. I tell this to Vianney and know she understands what I am saying.

5. Books for the child to look at while waiting. Often, the child just needs to sit there for a little bit, but I need to go to something else so if I give them a book they will just eventually go.

D. The Actual Method

1. I wait until John has a couple days off so at least one of can be devoted to her for the first couple days. They have to be watched at all times so they don't sneak away and go.

2. The first three days I set the timer for 15 minutes. When it beeps, I take them into the restroom and start our routine as listed above.

3. Usually, they don't go at first because they are so use to standing and going. With lots of liquids, it is inevitable.

4. If the child goes before 15 minutes, I shorten the timer time to every 10 minutes until I can read there bladder size. Some have a bladder the size of a watermelon and others the size of a grapenut. You will have to watch your child. I mean LITERALLY watch them for the first couple days so you can run them into the bathroom if they start going.

5. For me, if the child isn't making any improvement after 2-3 days, I STOP. I will try again in a couple months.

6. If they are making headway, I eventually wean from the every 15 minute routine and just starting asking them often "Do you need to go potty?"

E. DO-DO Protocol:

1. This is usually the hardest part for most.

2. DO NOT, I REPEAT, DO NOT LET THEM SNEAK OFF TO DO THEIR DUTY. Urine must come out, but the bowel movement can usually be held by them until A) naptime B)when you aren't looking. They will watch. This is a whole new territory for them. Sitting and going versus the old habit of standing and going. I will not them out of my view.

3. You will start reading their signs of trying to sneak off or concentrating rather intently for longer lengths of time. They will probably cry and avoid the issue, but you must catch the act. Vianney cried the first time and said "I want to wear a diaper." John and I laughed because isn't life like that. Just as things are getting hard yet good, we want to put a diaper back on. I left her alone for a while and she went (which scared her). She did go once in her underwear and I showed it to her which completely disgusted her and probably won't EVER do that again.

4. For the first couple days, I don't put them down for their afternoon nap so we can continue to work on it and they don't a chance to do their big duty because THEY WILL if you give them the chance.

F. Going out to Church or errands, naps, and nighttime

(Make it a habit to put them on the toilet before leaving anywhere, before naptime, and bedtime. At least you can say, I tried to take them.)

1. Depending upon my comfort level, I will put them in a pull-up for the first few weeks for outings and mass.

2. For naps, I will put a pull-up on until they are dry for at least two weeks.

3. Same goes for nighttime. It has to be a good two weeks before I trust them.

G. Troubleshooting

1. I view it a lot like training them to do other things i.e. using the stairs, getting down from their highchair. It usually has to be taught some quickly others a little longer. Just like you wouldn't teach your 4-month-old to walk down stairs, you have to wait until they are ready for that phase to be taught.

2. Often, after 2-3 weeks they will digress for a few day. At first, I just explain that we don't do that. If it continues and I know they are just being stubborn, we will have some sort of discipline suitable for the age. You will know the difference between just "having an accident" while playing and willfully going in their pants. Most probably will have a few accidents while you are out, while they are playing within the first couple months. I just clean it up and re-explain "We do not go potty in our underwear, okay."

3. We always call John at work and the grandparents to let them know "They went potty." Vianney always says "Can I call Papa?"

4. Have your list of prayer intentions to offer up in case it isn't going easy-peasy. Why not save a soul or two in the process??????

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Vianney on the PT

I've been waiting to potty train Vianney until after her surgery. I tried a couple months ago, but she nor I was ready to do the job.

I am so glad we waited. John had the weekend off so we decided to go for it. She caught on right away. We are on day #4 and she has been dry all day and during naps. She also does the big job which is a big deal. She had one accident with the big job and I showed it to her and that was enough to convince her the rest of her life. She was absolutely appalled.

She is our fifth child to potty train within the first day or two so I do feel confident we got the method down in most regards. What advice can I pass on to you?
I guess it probably depends upon your temperament as a mother. I would rather wait until we can teach them in a couple days instead of battling it for months. I always wait until John is home for a couple days so that at least one of us can be dedicated at all times the first few days to taking and teaching her.

The first few days I set the timer for 15 minutes and sit her on the toilet regardless. I give them lots of fluids so they "have" to go and can't hold it. We have our potty treats sitting right by the toilet to motivate.

Once we feel she has the method down and starts telling us on her own, I stop setting the timer. As for the big job, that has always been a little trickier because we laugh that "they own that part of their life." We watch her like a hawk and can tell when it is pending. The first few times is traumatic because they are use to standing instead of sitting down. I gave her books to read and she finally went. Each day gets better and better.

I still put a pull-up on at night, but will work on that next after we have this down. It usually involves just taking them once before we go to bed if they are having trouble staying dry.

I am always grateful when potty training goes smoothly. My mother tells horror stories of potty training. She hated it so I am so grateful God has blessed me with this road so far.

We always laugh seeing their little buns in underwear the first time.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Watching them play

The Happy Family, André Henri Dargelas. French (1828-1906)

I came across this painting today on Pinterest and it reminded me of my girls. Their play is something we've never gotten use to.

They were playing "guys" with the colored pencils.

Friday, January 20, 2012

A little note on being a lady by my grandmother

She is a endless fountain of knowledge and wise advice. From child-rearing, being a wife, running a home, raising multiple children, and the faith life, her advice smacks you like nothing else. I tell her every time we talk to write a book, but she won't. She always says she has nothing to teach. It is just the ways women were back then. Man, if she only knew.

She was such a lady and still is. All woman back then were. The only thing they knew was how to be like Audrey Hepburn. Grace, elegance, and class.

She told me this little gem a while back:

"You girls these days. You march into Church like you are leading your family somewhere. When we were married and raising children, your grandfather led his family into Church and into the pew of his choice. I followed him. That was proper back then. Let him pick. Let him lead his family. It will make him proud."

Such a little thing, but her words as always melted into my heart. I had never given any thought to such an issue before that. We would walk into mass. John and I would look at each other and discuss where we should sit based on the squirrel-of-the-day. After she told me this, I made up my mind to follow him to where ever he wanted to sit. So the next week, he looked at me and I said, "I'll follow you, honey." Don't ask my "Why?" because I don't know why, but I do know that for some reason this is special to him. He is leading us into Church and he is leading us to heaven.

And I want him to know "I will follow you!"

Thursday, January 19, 2012

On being a wife-By my dear mother "I wish I would have known"

My father passed away five years ago due to a 10 month battle with cancer. His death was glorious in so many aspects because he came into the Catholic faith 3 weeks before he died. At his funeral, there were 13 priests and the bishop of our diocese. I know this was a gift to my faithful mother who prayed for his conversion for their whole marriage. We laughed that when we die, we will never have so many clergy offering our funeral mass.
My mother has learned many lessons since his death, but the major one learned was about being the wife she wished she would have been. She didn't understand many things about him until he was gone. Her grief over that one aspect was almost unbearable. I asked her today to write a little of her memoirs in regards to her marriage. Her wisdom of 56 years of life, 35 years of marriage and 10 children is nothing to be ignored. I have an entire Rubbermaid container full of her letters and advice written to me. They are treasures. I have kept every single letter.

Below is her advice regarding marriage AFTER his death:

I WISH I HAD KNOWN…by Damaris Niewald

If I could rewind my mothering career, I would have put more energy and emphasis into being a better wife. Our primary vocation is to be a wife first and then a mother. Because of the exhausting demands of small children, most women lose focus on their marriage. Either they overlook their spouse and put him on the bottom of their “to-do” lists or they begin to treat him “as one of the children.” The bond of marriage is stronger than the bond of children because in marriage, “two become one flesh”—one flesh—you are no longer a single person after marriage you become absorbed into your husband.

I wish I had known how a man feels like a failure at work each day, and look to their wives to make them feel like a hero. If he comes home to a wretch, he feels like a failure at work and at home.

I wish I had known that a man is afraid that he can’t be a good provider, good husband, and good father, and that he doesn’t know what to do with his fear. I believe that anger is a sign of fear. I wish I had known that he wasn’t mad at me and that he was only afraid of NOT having the answers to life’s problems or quandaries.

I wish I had known that a man is afraid of NOT measuring up to other men, sometimes his own father and sometimes he’s afraid of NOT being able to measure up to the expectations of his wife. I wish I had known that God leads through the husband—not the wife. And even if the man’s decisions turn out to be disastrous, that a wife’s obedience will be blessed by God.

I wish I had known that the problems in raising children are the devil’s most powerful attacks on a marriage. The devil is after the marriage NOT the child. If he can destroy the marriage, he has captured the whole family in one swoop.

I wish I had appreciated the 1 million unseen, taken for granted acts of service. When they are gone there is a hole. My dear mother said “when you have a team each player has a role that is irreplaceable. When one member of the team is gone the entire team feels the loss.”

I wish I had been a better listener to his daily ups and downs instead of being focused on the woes and workings of my life.

I wish I had been more willing to fulfill his needs instead of trying to fulfill mine.

I wish I had been a better friend. As St. Francis said perfectly, “Master, grant that I may never seek to be consoled, as to consol. To be understood as to understand, to be loved as to love.” I wish that I could have consoled him more, understood him more and loved him more than I expected of him.

Be an excellent wife, you never how long you will have him.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Guest Post-The Common Sense Mama

Please head on over to Jeanne @ The Common Sense Mama. She asked me to guest post on her blog while she was away on a little trip. I wrote "Beginning with the End in Mind" as a perspective that our eyes must always first focus on where we are going and then work backwards. Thank you for sharing your blog with all of us.

I met her via blog world and it is always refreshing to meet women striving to do God's will every day in their vocation.

She and her husband have three little children. Her husband has been deployed four times in which he just got back from his most recent deployment. We pray every night for our military and are so grateful for their service, but as I told her we are also grateful for her service as she must hold down the fort at home while he is away. True sacrifice on both their parts. Thank you for your selfless example and being a beautiful soul.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Night Prayer with Children

About a year ago while saying night prayer with our children and watching them squirm and fidget, I thought of all the wonderful pictures of Jesus, Mary, angels, and saints I had come across.

They really love to color so I started printing off the images that lined up with that days feast day or celebration. What a hit! They still look forward to the coloring pages each evening. John and I pray the rosary while they are coloring the saint page. I have noticed more and more them praying along with us.

We usually begin prayer time listening to the Saint of the Day on You will find a tab at the top that says "Saints" and you will then scroll down to "Saint of the Day" for a brief history lesson on the chosen saint. We've learned a lot from this great program.

I have special markers, colored pencils, pencil sharpener, and crayon holders I pull out just for this. It makes me want to color. I hope to do this soon! So sweet.

I know it is good for them to sit and be, but I also know the rosary can get long for little ones. We want them to associate prayer time with talking and being with God not a time where we are constantly correcting them on their behavior. We now have no problem during prayers. If they finish early, they know to grab a rosary and finish with us on the couch. I know they are paying attention because we will ask for their intentions and prayer requests. John will quiz them about the saint also. This was a perfect fit for us. You can find so many sources on the internet for saint coloring pages. I have also invested in several coloring books of Jesus, Mary, and the Saints if I can't find the saint of the day on-line.

This site contains several images to print off for the different feast days. We also find different images by just searching for the saint of the day.

Waltzing Matilda

Some of my favorite coloring books:

Fenestrae Fidei Coloring Book= I L.O.V.E this coloring book so much I almost don't let them color in it. The book is filled with stain glass windows of the saints and the pictures look so pretty once colored. My favorite!

This series is also great!
Eucharistic Adoration: Coloring Book

Dover Publications is another great resource for unique coloring books.

At the suggestion of a dear priest friend, we've been reading our way through the bible. We use this book for now, but I do hope to invest in this book for each child and read the whole bible in 365 days. Maybe in our Easter baskets this year!

Raising Jerry Lewis

To begin with, this is Jerry a.k.a. Clairvaux. Yes, she is building with Legos and does so often several times a day. I will walk by, see that she has pushed a chair up to the chosen lego counter, and sit and build lego creations. She brings her creations to me and repeats what few words she says, "PrePre." Pretty. She is not quite 18 months old and we are convinced Jerry does this to make us laugh. It is the neck. The bent over neck working always gets me.


I really, really wish I could speak to Jerry Lewis's mother. I have had babies do funny things before, but I have never had a funny baby as in their basic temperament is to be a comedian.
She actually does this face when she is in trouble. She knows we laugh, so she does it.

My college age brother will even call to ask if he can come over to hang out with Clairvaux. She really is a cartoon-character.

Most of her antics need to be experienced in person like her squat walk, her purposeful diaper standoffs that consist of her tapping her finger on the floor for ME to come to her, her appetite that competes with John's own insane food consumption

She practices everyday, several times a day. She will pick her choice book, find her right page, and then "practice" with two fingers often singing something we haven't translated.

Not less than an hour before this, she was freshly bathed, dressed, and hair combed.

My sister claims she is "Stuart" in this video. I can't decide if she is more like Jerry or more like Stuart. Regardless, it is fun to have a funny baby in the family. They are hard to raise, but as my aunt said, "They make great adults."

Please watch this video to understand our Stuart.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Posts on Motherhood and our Earthly Life-My Experiences


The past two weeks I have had the opportunity to discuss with four different mothers in four separate settings the issue of motherhood and being a wife. All four of these women are amazing mothers and wives devoted to their families and trying each day to raise children for heaven and be a good wife yet they are struggling. A few are struggling to the point of having a nervous breakdown. They cannot see what good they are doing and only are able to see their shortcomings. I wish they could see what good they are doing, how trying it is to be a mother everyday, and that the biggest tool the devil uses is DISCOURAGEMENT. He is very sly and uses it well. I tried to reassure them that I've learned when we are struggling most is when we are closest to Christ and our WORK IS MOST PLEASING TO HIM. Backwards in this worldly view, yet true in the Heavenly view. When we are stripped of all comforts be it friendship, confidence, assurance, order, sanity, etc. as He was, we are sharing most intimately in His Passion and THAT IS THE GREATEST GIFT TO HIM.

I am assuming that due to having spoken with four different women in the past two weeks that there are many, many other mothers out there who "aren't doing well" or "barely making it." I felt the need, as an army working together, to encourage, reassure, console, comfort, and pray for all mothers out there raising children to let them know you are doing just fine and more importantly that WHEN YOU ARE struggling, frustrated, having doubts, feeling discouraged, suffering, it is then your efforts are MOST PLEASING TO HIM. Remember, it is backwards on this earth.


Most of the time, He is not calling us to change anything, but to rest in His arms and say, "I accept." That is my New Year's Resolve-to say "I Accept." When I feel the anxiety, questions beginning in my head whatever the issue, I say "I Accept."


I've reposted a few items I've written in the past only in the attempt to let others know you are not alone and your emotions and feelings are spot on. Repeated again, It usually doesn't mean we need to CHANGE anything, JUST CARRY ON saying "I Accept."


Posts below regarding my experiences of motherhood to-date:

Our Newest Gift

The Emotions of a Mother

What We Do In Life, Echoes in Eternity

Adjusting to a New Life in the Home

The Myth of the Supermom

Why Most Families Have Two Children

On being a Wife

My Plan...His Plan

Everything is a Grace