Potty Training the toddler at 2 years old

Potty training at 2 years old: Rewards and Reinforcement; encouraging the toddler to use the potty

I’m the “number one” engine

So we’ve been attempting to “potty train” the toddler. By potty train I mean buy a potty and hope he sits on it. I’ve not actually developed any formal training schedule. Anyway, some time ago I bought a basic plastic potty. He didn’t like it and only sat on it once or twice I think. Maybe it was too uncomfortable and uninteresting. We upgraded a few weeks ago to an all singing fancy Thomas the Tank Engine potty which is colourful, has a picture of Thomas on the inside and also (apparently) plays a song or noise when he (eventually) deposits something in it!

 

And now something (slightly) more psychological about potty training and shaping behaviours:

So far my attempts have been to encourage him to sit on it for a start. He’s done this. I had to bribe him with promise of a biscuit if he sat on it because he was slightly dubious of the thing (despite it being Thomas related, and even then he kind of thought it was just a new toy). We then upgraded to him sitting on it with no trousers (pants) or nappy, usually after a bath as this is sometimes when he does a wee and has no nappy on anyway. He’s done that too. I’ve promised him chocolate if he does a wee or poo. You could class this as reinforcement I suppose, rather than bribe! Note though, maybe offering food as a consequence isn’t always the best answer but hey ho I’m into new territory here with the potty so I’m winging it. If you want to set up some less food related rewards and consequences schedule there’s some great behaviour charts here for “things I need to work on” (useful for general behaviours and issues) and their potty training section here. The potty training reward coupons look great and i’m going to print some off to give to the toddler appropriately. Yes, suppose I could have done a sticker reward chart too to encourage repetition of potty sitting and eventually wee/poo related behaviour on the potty.
So last night, he apparently did a very small wee in the potty!! Unfortunately, nobody noticed and he didn’t say that he’d done anything . The darned potty is supposed to play a song to alert us to this fact but I think it was too small an amount so it didn’t set the song button off. Fingers crossed he’ll do it again soon though so we can celebrate! Yeah, let’s all celebrate successful weeing!!

 

Potty training at 2 years old: Coupons, Rewards and Reinforcement; encouraging the toddler to use the potty

Reward “coupon”

**update the next day: he did a really small wee in the potty tonight! He had chocolate and a special “coupon” as a reward (pictured, from freeprintablebehaviorcharts.com) Hopefully the coupon is a bit more tangible and longer lasting than the chocolate; he can see it and it will act as a reminder, encouragement and reward for the behaviour.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I think the “newborn” (well, 12 week old baby) is teething!

Is my newborn teething? Signs and symptoms of teething. 12 week old baby chewing on his hand

Chewing on his hand

So i’ve got it into my head that maybe the “newborn” is teething; he’s actually now 12 weeks old and probably not newborn any more, though.

I thought this from around 10 or 11 weeks. Why? Well he’s chewing on his hands a lot and this behaviour has increased in the last few days. He’s slightly more drooly but that could just be from the increased sucking and chewing on back of his hand. I think that i’ve seen something that could be teeth under his gum, but i’m not 100% sure. My first-born, now nearly aged 2, got his first tooth around 4.5 months, and never looked back sprouting all his teeth apart from the back molars by the time he was one (here’s a link to all the teething posts from the first time around).
Of course, it might not be teething at all, afterall it feels a bit early. I’m looking carefully around the space his bottom front teeth would be as they are apparently the first to come in according to sources such as the NHS on teething symptoms and how babies’ teeth emerge.

Teething symptoms

Some teeth grow with no pain or discomfort at all. At other times you may notice that the gum is sore and red where the tooth is coming through, or that one cheek is flushed. Your baby may dribble, gnaw and chew a lot, or just be fretful.

(NHS; link above)

 

As their teeth erupt, some babies may become fussy,  sleepless and irritable, lose their appetite or drool more than usual. Diarrhea, rashes and fever are not normal for a teething baby. Prior to tooth eruption, the gingiva [baby-brain does not know what this is] may appear bluish and swollen as a result of a transient hematoma. In rare cases, an eruption cyst develops. The tooth will eventually rupture this watery sac as it pushes through the gums….

(pg 116; Gugwad, S., Bommanavar, S., & Garud, S. (2012) Teething: A Relook. Int J Dent Case Reports, 2(5):115-120)
baby newborn teething 12 weeks chewing on hand

Baby with tooth

So how long do I have to wait and see if it is a tooth, or not?

Tooth eruption takes place during an 8-day window that includes 4 days before tooth eruption, the day of eruption and the 3 subsequent days

(Markman, 2009, cited in Memarpour, 2015)
Read more on “tooth eruption and teething in children” here
Other references:

 

Mission: Find a double buggy for baby and toddler – the shopping continues

The quest continues: Mission double buggy for newborn baby and toddler. Reviews of tandems and side by sides. Mission Double Buggy – the quest continues
Had an epic journey to one of those mega-out-of-town-style-baby-stores. Involved two buses, a newborn(ish) and a toddler. Toddler was rather unhappy on the way home because he’d only had 1/2 hour nap. Parents were rather unhappy on account of lack of food and the whole experience. Anyway, looked at some double buggies. Here’s what I found…

 

  • Mission to find a double buggy for newborn and toddler: some buggies have weight limit of 15kg per child!

    Beware: For the lighter child only!

    Lot’s of them don’t take children heavier than 15kg (apparent average weight of a 3 year old) and as mentioned before my 22.5 month old is approaching 14.5kg so this rules out many buggy options. I was really disappointed that the Baby Jogger City Mini Twin Pushchair (pictured) has the 15kg limit because it was recommended to me plus I see it everywhere so it must be a popular choice.
  • I wasn’t the only crazy parent to take a tape measure out buggy shopping with me. I was measuring the width of a buggy and some bloke who was also looking at the buggy whipped his tape measure out and did it for me.
  • Shop staff don’t really know how to fold/unfold all the models and umm and arred a bit so not sure I have 100% confidence in what they said

 

From the buggies that accommodated the heavier child:

The iCandy - Mission to find a double buggy for newborn and toddler review

The iCandy

The iCandy:
Pros: The size attracted me. It manoeuvred well; it was smooth and easy to turn with my giant toddler perched on the top seat. It wasn’t too long (which can happen when you have two tandem seats) or wide.
Cons: BUT, when I tried to tip the pram as though I was going over a kerb or getting onto a bus it was quite an effort because the toddler was weighing down the front of the pram. Lowering the handle bar only made this more difficult. Puts me off a bit.
 It folds nice and small but unfortunately you have to take BOTH seats off to fold the frame. So is this a one handed easy fold? – basically, no. I’m not sure I can take two seats off whilst grappling two small children. Other disadvantage is it’s pricey. You not only have to BUY THE SECOND SEAT, but have to buy the adaptor to fit it on AND a carry cot for a newborn because the main seat does not lie flat enough. A bit cheeky.

 

The Mountain Buggy Duet

The Mountain Buggy Duet 2.5 - Mission to find a double buggy for newborn and toddler review

The Mountain Buggy Duet 2.5

I’d had my eye on this from doing a thorough search online. It seemed great on the whole. The seat looked a little snug perhaps for the toddler but I measured it and it was a similar width to other seat units so I don’t know why. It folded very simply but is fairly large compared to the tandems when folded. I’d read reviews that it can pull to the side of the heavier child but I didn’t find this too much (although I could definitely feel where the heavier child was) and it was possible to turn and push with one hand (wouldn’t say it was 100% smooth and easy to do this though; my single buggy is definitely better at one handed turning). All in all, fairly liking this option.
It’s slim! – I lined my current single buggy up and the mountain buggy wasn’t that much wider (pictured).
The Mountain Buggy Duet 2.5 - folded and width - Mission to find a double buggy for newborn and toddler review

Mountain buggy duet folded and look how slim it is!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Phil & Teds 

Phil and Teds "Vibe" - Baby and Toddler seating positions - Mission to find a double buggy/stroller/psuchair review. Baby-Brain.co.uk

Seating positions on the Phil & Teds

I think this was the “Vibe”. They also had the navigator at the store.
Pros: it folded down easily and small. It’s slim for a double buggy (65cm wide) compared to side by sides, but the mountain buggy duet is only 63cm wide so this kinds of contradicts my “slimness” point, I suppose. It pushed well, until I put the weights in it (you can get a 12kg and 9kg weight to put in the seats to mimic the weight of a child) and then it took a bit of effort to move.
Cons: As above, didn’t move as well as i’d liked once the weights were in (my toddler was off somewhere else at this point and he’d had enough of buggy shopping). You have to remove the seat to fold it.
I’m not sure I like the seating configuration (pictured) where the newborn appears to go into this “pouch” under the toddler’s seat. His head would be right by my legs. I’d have to be careful not to walk into it. The toddler seat in this configuration also only takes a maximum 15kgs. I’d therefore have to hope he stays around 15kgs until the baby is old enough to move into a toddler seat at the bottom of the pram al-a traditional Phil & Teds style (you can zip the pouch up and it zips up and away under the top seat). Then the toddler seat on the top takes up to 20kgs, the bottom seat 15kgs.
Despite all this – I’m keeping my mind open about Phil & Teds

 

In conclusion:
  • All the double buggies I saw have their pros and cons
  • It’s difficult to weigh up which pros and cons are better/worse and it depends on the combination for each buggy. Looks like I can’t have everything I want
  • Buggy shopping is a pain – I thought I sorted this already with my first buggy!
  • I want to look at the Phil & Teds “Dot”  because this is apparently smaller and lighter than the other models
  • I want to look at the Mountain Buggy +one, which is a tandem style configuration also suitable for newborn + toddler, and later converts for 2 toddlers. I have seen one in a grocery store when I stopped some poor bloke in the aisle to ask him loads of questions about it.

 

The quest continues…

 

 

Newborn eye tracking/following object and visual development

Newborn visual development - how eye tracking develops in the early weeks. Baby-Brain.co.ukBaby eye tracking at nearly 8 weeks – My baby’s brain is developing!…

Here’s a video of the baby tracking an object at nearly 8 weeks old (video on facebook) 
Notice how much smoother it is than a previous video I took aged 5 weeks (also on facebook). His eye movements are less jerky and smoother; this occurs around 6-8 weeks of age and develops further over the coming months.

 

“Visual development progresses rapidly immediately after birth and continues to be fast during the infant’s first year of life…
…In particular, the capability to detect motion direction and to smoothly track moving objects is considered as an important part of the attention mechanisms. Smooth eye-tracking movements are essential for focusing gaze on moving objects. In the newborn infant, eye tracking is mostly saccadic [jerky] but at 6–8 weeks of age, the capacity to track objects begins to develop and smooth pursuit reach a level almost equal to that of an adult at about 4–5 months of age in term infants. The development results in precise smooth pursuit that predictively stays on the moving object…
For development of smooth pursuit, it is necessary that the functioning of the human medial temporal complex area in the cerebral cortex has developed“. (1)

 

(1) Strand-Brodd et al. (2011) – Development of smooth pursuit eye movements in very preterm infants. Acta Paediatr. 2011 Jul; 100(7): 983–991.

 

Mission: Find a double buggy for the newborn baby and toddler!

My quest to find a double buggy has begun…

 

Quest to find a double buggy for a newborn baby and toddler!

Mission, impossible?

 

I have spent hours, no possibly days online looking for double buggy options for a newborn and heavy toddler. I have learnt quite a lot as well; there are “tandems” (one seat behind the other), there are side by sides, and something called a “sit and stand”. Unfortunately, my toddler at 22.5 months is extremely heavy at over 14 kilos and I have discovered that a lot buggy brands have a maximum weight limit per seat of 15 kilos. This seems to rule out many of the the cheaper, slimmer and more dinky looking options. I am therefore left with a few options, and some don’t seem suitable for newborns. Also, some of them are massive monstrosities that I can’t possibly imagine getting around on the bus and train/tube with. I need to test them out properly in-store with the right weight limits, i.e. my toddler and baby sitting in them. Slightly concerned the toddler would make the pram pull to his side given the massive weight difference between him and his brother, or topple it over?!

 

What I need:
  • Something suitable for newborn that lies flat or takes carry cot attachment – but converts into toddler seat later
  • A toddler seat that takes over 15kg with room for him to grow for at least another year
  • Not too wide or long so that we’d fit through regular doorways, shop aisles, onto a bus, train, other transport
  • Easy and quick fold (some doubles you have to remove the 2nd seat before you fold it, which will be difficult with a baby and toddler to keep an eye on, plus ain’t nobody got time for that either)
  • Good steering and manoeuvrability so I can get around shops, on and off public transport, have a free hand for holding umbrella, shopping basket, toddler’s hand for when he wants to get out and walk

 

In my quest I’ve gone as far as taking discreet photos of double buggies whilst out in the playground (as in the main picture above) and running after random people in the supermarket to ask them questions about their buggies! I was in the store the other day and saw a bloke go past pushing a certain double buggy i’ve had my eye on online. I said to my toddler – “is that a mountain buggy +one I just saw go past?!” in an unnecessarily over-excited tone… why yes it was, so I cornered the poor bloke and started to ask him loads of questions about his buggy. Embarrassingly, whilst talking to him, a woman who i’d already queried over her double buggy about 20 minutes previously on the walk to the store also walked past us during this conversation and could see I was still at it.
The quest continues…

 

 

Happy Halloween 2015!

Yep, it’s Halloween. Not sure if you’re supposed to wish others a “happy” one, but may it be filled with chocolate and fun, or not, if that’s what you prefer! Personally, I’ve forgotten to buy any sweets or treats so hoping no one comes knocking tonight (otherwise they’ll be presented with an old orange or even an old mince pie, if they’re lucky. I’ve got a few of those knocking around)!
Suppose I had better get prepared for the years to come; lots of trick or treating ahead for the *children*!

 

Happy Halloween 2015 from Baby-Brain.co.uk. Babies, Psychology, Motherhood

Little Lovely was amazed by the size of this pumpkin we saw outside a shop

Preparing the toddler for a new baby

Tips on how to prepare toddler for a new baby sibling - a psychologist's perspective. baby-brain.co.uk

Here’s looking at you, kid

How can you prepare a toddler or older child for a major change to their environment, family, view of the world and their place within all of this?

 

So the new baby arrived about 4 weeks ago. My first born (21 months at time of arrival) appears to have taken this well. He has been quite interested in the baby and wants to give him lots of kisses. He has occasionally been a bit possessive over things such as the bouncy chair that we set up for the baby. The toddler did not want baby to sit in it at all and got quite upset. Well, I suppose the chair did actually belong to the toddler in the first instance! Anyway, this made me think about how we prepared the toddler for this massive change to his life – i.e. that he was not the only child and mummy and daddy would be giving time and attention to someone else.

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Before the new arrival:

We started talking about the baby long before he was due

  • We talked about “the baby” and what was in mummy’s tummy. Toddler often pointed to my tummy and referred to it as the baby. Maybe this change in narrative has set up something around there being something new coming.
  • During pregnancy I started to talk about being “careful” and “gentle” because the toddler was accustomed to climbing over me, being picked up, sitting on me etc. Initially I was feeding toddler (more of a baby earlier on in the pregnancy) and had to adopt different positions as the weight was too much across my stomach and also had to watch out for kicks or pushes to my stomach, so we have both been aware of the “carefulness”.
  • We’ve continued the gentle and carefulness now the new baby has arrived, but as discussed this has been set up now for some time so it’s part of our awareness and behaviour around “the baby”.

 

Tips on how to prepare toddler for a new baby sibling - Useful books we read - a psychologist's perspective. baby-brain.co.uk

Books we read to prepare toddler for the new arrival

We read books about becoming a big brother and new babies

  • Continuing with the narrative change idea we bought several books written especially for toddlers and young children about welcoming another child into the family. We read books every evening as part of the bedtime routine with the toddler and so it was normal for him to explore books. I’m not sure how much he took in or if he can relate the books to the situation he is now experiencing but i’m hoping:
    • 1) They started to introduce the idea of another child coming, that this is something that happens in families, normalizing the experience and,
    • 2) Gave examples/modelled what other children experienced during this time of change

 

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Once the baby was here:

Keeping the toddler’s routine and schedule the same as usual (or as close to)

Tips on how to prepare toddler for a new baby sibling - keep things consistent - a psychologist's perspective. baby-brain.co.uk

What happens next?

  • Consistency and predictability are important. Keeping things stable and “as normal” were important things for us to do with our toddler once the baby arrived. This meant keeping the same nap routine/times, bedtime and routine, meal times, etc so that the toddler could feel secure and stable in his usual day-to-day activities and that he didn’t experience everything as being “thrown upside down”.
  • If you can’t do practical/physical things as you would usually, social and emotional aspects are also important e.g. the conversations and interactions you have.

 

Tips on how to prepare toddler for a new baby sibling - a psychologist's perspective. baby-brain.co.uk

A new toy for the toddler

We bought a present to the toddler, “from” the new baby

We bought the toddler a present and we said it was from the baby. This had two benefits (or maybe more I haven’t thought about). First, it kept him busy and interested in something immediately after we got home with the baby and were slightly distracted by all things new baby related. Second, hopefully it meant that the toddler was being thought about, kept in mind, cared about and valued. Although, that said, I’m not sure what stage the 21 month old is at developmentally in terms of being aware of himself in other peoples’ minds, theory of mind, etc – but hopefully it meant something to him to receive a present.

 

I’ve spent one-to-one time with the toddler

Tips on how to prepare toddler for a new baby sibling - a psychologist's perspective. baby-brain.co.uk

One-to-one time together: out for chips

Whilst Daddy looks after the newborn for a few hours I’ve taken the toddler out to the playground, the shops, and other activities that we would normally do together (see above about keeping things familiar and consistent). I’ve also done this in the house by just going to play with him by myself while the newborn has a (long) nap and is watched over by Daddy.

 

We’ve shared some activities (toddler + baby)

  • Tips on how to prepare toddler for a new baby sibling - a psychologist's perspective. baby-brain.co.uk

    Toddler involving the baby in his play

    We’ve shared the same play space and toddler has helped show interesting toys to the baby.
  • There’s not that much stuff the newborn can do, but tummy time is one of them. The toddler was very interested in the baby’s tummy time and wanted to practice “rolling over” too (not that the baby can do much of that at this stage!). So I put a blanket down on the floor for the toddler so he could practice rolling, along with the baby (while I made sure the toddler didn’t roll into the baby!).
Tips on how to prepare toddler for a new baby sibling - a psychologist's perspective. baby-brain.co.uk

“Rolling over” together

Some thoughts a few months post baby:

Here’s some other things we did that I found useful when the “new” baby was a few months old:

 

Giving the toddler a role that involved him: this let me get stuff done around the house and hopefully gave the toddler a sense of importance, responsibility and attention:
  • e.g. helping with chores, fetching items (can you get me that nappy from the box), can you put this in the bin for me please? And thanking toddler for his help.
Actively and explicitly displaying to the toddler that sometimes they come first and attending to their needs:
  • e.g. saying things like “Ok baby, i’m going to change toddler’s nappy now and when i’ve finished then I can come to you”

 

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Future ideas:

Things I’m planning to do

  • Buy a double buggy or some system where I can take both of them out. The toddler and I go to different classes and meet with other parents and babies, so I feel it’s important to keep going with that and book us into a few things (we were doing football previously). BUT – I need to be able to get out of the house so double buggy shopping is on the agenda!
  • I have a baby carrier/sling but want a structured “clip and go” variety for ease. I’m feeling I’m going to be slinging the baby a lot, but I need to read reviews and see which one is good in terms of usability, ease and importantly keeping baby in a healthy position!

 

 

 

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