Sunday, September 14, 2014

Why I Waited to Potty Train My Toddler

By Rachael

I potty trained my youngest child in a day or two. It took little effort, and she’s only had a few accidents. I’m not a super mom, nor is my daughter a potty training prodigy. They key was waiting until she was almost 3 years old.

In the process, I came across a few people who were surprised Abigail was not already trained, from friends to child care workers at churches we visited while on vacation this past summer. With more families beginning the potty training process as young as age 1, and many beginning around the time children turn 2, I can understand why our family appeared to go against the current.

A little reading on the potty.
I did try to train Abigail earlier, but shortly before she was 2 ½, she suddenly decided she wanted nothing to do with using the toilet. She cried and protested and ran when I tried to fetch her to sit on the potty. My husband and I figured it wasn’t worth the fight, so we pulled back. She began wearing diapers again instead of pull-ups, and I only occasionally sat her on the potty.  

I have heard the statement, “If you begin potty training your child at age 2, they’ll be fully trained at age 3. If you begin at age 3, they’ll be trained at age 3.” 

This adage held true for both of my daughters. I began potty training my oldest when she was about 28 months, but she didn’t have consistent success until eight months later, around her third birthday. It was a long process, as fellow blogger Katie has admitted. For our family, early training simply lengthened the time it took to complete potty training, and there were many more accidents, messes, and control battles. Early training did not translate to early success for us.

Science backs up our family’s delayed approach. Some research shows that training kids too early can cause problems related to chronic holding of urine and bowels. There is evidence that later training actually benefits kids, leading to fewer cases of wetting or constipation. Even Dr. Sears acknowledges that toilet training is a complex process, and the child must be ready in order to be successful. He also takes some pressure off parents by pointing out that early training does not make someone a “better” mother. 

So I didn’t really bother with potty training Abigail all summer. In August, when she was about 2 and a half months from her third birthday, I was ready to do some intensive potty training. We were done with our busy season of summer travel, and my teacher husband and my older daughter headed back to school. Abigail and I had lots of uninterrupted time at home to focus on the potty. 

During that first day of school when all was quiet at home, I pulled out a collection of tiny pairs of Hello Kitty and Minnie Mouse undies. The prospect of wearing real underwear was enough to motivate Abigail. She put on that underwear and hardly looked back.

She had a few accidents during the first few days, but she was pretty much potty trained from the moment she put on her big girl underwear. We’re waiting for her to be consistently dry at night, which is normal. Still, I was astonished at how little effort her training required on my part. Who imagined potty training could be easy? It’s one undertaking that definitely can be worth the wait. 

Rachael is associate editor for Mumbling Mommy. She previously worked as a newspaper editor and has a bachelor's degree in English and writing from Indiana Wesleyan University. When she’s not busy with her husband and two daughters, you’ll find her gardening, cooking, singing with ladies from church, or reading Charlotte Bronte novels. You can contact her by e-mailing

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Saturday, September 13, 2014

50 Things to Love about Life: Words

By Katie
I'm counting down to the birth of my third child by revisiting an blog series I wrote for my first child over six years ago. I'm looking again at the "50 Things to Love about Life" that I wrote for my first daughter -- though I only got to 25 because she was born early. My plan is to update my thoughts on my original pieces and hopefully add those remaining 25.
Today's contribution...

Saturday, March 29, 2008

#46 -- Words

Whether you speak them, sing them or write them -- words will make up your world. You may chose your words carefully, or just let them fly -- or hopefully learn the best times to use a little of both styles. Regardless, the power of your words will be immeasurable. Use them. Use them wisely.

You will hear or read other people's words and say, "I wish I could speak/write like that." And people will remember conversations with you where your words impressed, hurt or changed them.

The truth is that actions won't always speak louder than words. Sometimes there will be nothing that you can do to help a situation, but choose a few inspiring words. Other times, you will be at a loss for words, and these are times to just let them go -- because maybe nothing that you could say will help.

And from your first word (hopefully "mama"??) to whatever will be your last, what you have to say will be important. Find the strength in the mundane conversations of everyday life, and write your voice fearlessly.


Saturday, September 13, 2014

#46 -- Words
You will enter this world surrounded by words. As you start to develop your own sounds, you will have the small voices of four siblings to mimic. That may translate into some inappropriate things coming out of your little mouth but perhaps some profound, beautiful words will result too.
Your name means "little poet" but even if you never jot down a single poetic line, your life will have so much meaning. So use your life, your words to the fullest.
      Katie Parsons is a freelance writer who lives with her four children, husband and the sound of the ocean nearby. Before she was a freelance writer, she worked in news media in Chicago, Orlando and Shelbyville, Indiana. Before that, she earned a Creative Writing degree from Ball State University. Katie is writing a memoir about the time when she was single and pregnant. She owns a content creation company and you can contact her by emailing her at

Read the rest of the "50 Things to Love About Life" series update here.
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Thursday, September 11, 2014

50 Things to Love About Life: Pets (Someday)

By Katie
With my third child on the way, I decided to revisit a blog series I started when I was just shy of two months before my first baby was due. The topic? All the things to love about life. I wondered: In the 6.5 years since I first wrote these, how have my views changed?
So I'm reposting these original writings, along with my updated thoughts. Today's entry...
My "child" Goldie, circa 2008


Friday, March 28, 2008

#47 -- Animals

Will you be a dog person, or a cat person? Or maybe a lizard (ew) or bird person?

If you are anything like your Mom, "big" cousin Katelynn, you are going to have a love and compassion for the animals placed in your care.

Sometimes you will want company, but will be too tired to entertain another "human." That will be the time you will want someone to just be there, and love you for whatever mood you are in, or where you are in your life.

I wish you many long years with pets that you love, and a sympathetic voice for those who can not speak for themselves.
J..J. -- One of grandma's three dogs who are 
our honorary pets who visit, then go home

Thursday, September 11, 2014

#47 Animals
My first entry with this title was written by a true new parent who had only owned dogs and thought that bought me some parenting experience. I still have a lot of compassion for animals, but we've established a "no pets" policy in our house -- at least for a few more years. No dogs. No cats (your dad is allergic). No fish. No lizards (except for the occasional gecko that runs through the front door and then hides out in the house for a few days). You have four older siblings and for our family right now, five little things to care for is MORE than enough.
Perhaps a life without pets will be okay with you, like your brother Ferris and sister Emilia. Maybe you will stop to pet every dog, cat, fish and lizard that crosses your path, like your sisters London and Erinn. There is a lot to love about our animal friends -- your mom just can't handle them living with us (for now).
      Katie Parsons is a freelance writer who lives with her four children, husband and the sound of the ocean nearby. Before she was a freelance writer, she worked in news media in Chicago, Orlando and Shelbyville, Indiana. Before that, she earned a Creative Writing degree from Ball State University. Katie is writing a memoir about the time when she was single and pregnant. She owns a content creation company and you can contact her by emailing her at

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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Practical Moving Tips from a Mom Who Just Did It

Some families, for one reason or another, move around often. Packing becomes second nature to them. I am confident that if you ask one of those families for advice, they will have a detailed plan on the easiest way to do it. I am not the mom in one of those families. My daughters have all been raised in the same home until about three weeks ago. The only form of packing I knew how to do was for vacation.

For the detailed packing lists, you’ll want to check out Pinterest. You can find supply lists and labeling tricks and more. For the rest of you, though, I am just a mom. I didn’t hire movers. I didn’t have help. It was just our little family of five getting every possession we own ready to move to a new house. We weren't moving very far but it wasn't as simple as moving down the street or anything. I’m a stay-at-home mom with three young kids and it was summer break. Here are my practical (as in not OCD, because that unfortunately doesn't fly well with kids) moving tips while they are still fresh on my mind:
  1. Pack around the kids first. Pack YOUR stuff instead of their stuff. Pack up closets, the basement, seasonal clothes, the kitchen, the bathroom, whatever you can think of that won’t impact your kids’ day-to-day lives.
  2. Pack their toys while they are sleeping. If you are packing things right in front of them, they will notice and immediately want to play with the items even if they haven’t seen them for months. Pack a box each night to slowly tackle their toys and, chances are, they won’t notice.
  3. Get stern. Near the end of our packing days as our closing date quickly approached, my kids weren't even playing with the toys still left out for them. All they wanted to do was use packed boxes as their own personal jungle gym, so I had to get a little mean. Our new rule became: You play with a box, I pack a toy. It only took about 10 toys for them to get the hint. And hey, that was 10 less toys I had to pack at the last minute.
  4. Get older kids involved. Keeping your kids comfortable during a move is a bit tricky. In some cases, all they’ve ever known is their room looking this way. Help them transition by asking them to pick five things from off their wall or shelves or from their toy box or closet to pack each night. As it gets closer, increase the number and be supportive. This way if that giraffe picture is the thing that really makes them feel like they are at home (even if you've never known this fact before) they can make the decision to keep it hanging until the last of their things get packed.
  5. Label boxes in the order that they need to be unpacked. You can do this with a physical number system, letters or even just marking boxes with an X that contain things you won’t need right away. Just make sure you have a system that you understand. I’d love to say that here I am after being in our new house for several weeks, totally unpacked, but that’s just not true. I am giving myself as long to unpack as it took me to pack up. I do still have kids to take care of all day, you know? But the first night we were here, I knew which boxes had our toys, which ones had our kitchen gear, which one had our soaps and which one had our towels.
Moving is no easy task for anyone involved. Remember to be patient with your kids. Have open conversations about how they feel. Think about the range of emotions you are going through and assume they are experiencing at least double. Find ways to get them excited about their new home and always remember that a house is just a house; the family inside is what matters and makes the home.

Heather C. owns and writes for Our Magical Chaos, a blog about the lessons she learns from her kids and parenting. She is newly trained in taking each day at a time and embracing the twists life throws at her. Being a parent is what she knows best. Our Magical Chaos features stories, product reviews, and tips for parents just trying to make it through. You can “like” the blog on Facebook and read more from Heather on her website. Heather also specializes in parenting girls, all things twins, and is a health food nut. In her spare time, she tackles a bit of crocheting, loves reality TV and enjoys a good run or bike ride.

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