Why We Didn’t Use a Potty to Potty Train

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We are potty training veterans. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that we are potty training experts because there are many different methods to achieving potty training success, but I think it’s fair to say that we are veterans. We are the parents of 7 children but we have potty trained far more than that number because for eight years, we were foster parents, caring for many babies and toddlers. At one point, we had four in diapers at one time!

Why We Didn't Use a Potty to Potty TrainImage Copyright: / 123RF Stock Photo

When our oldest was two, I decided it was time to potty train him. I bought a potty, got cute books to read to him about going on the potty, even borrowed a video from the library with a catchy song and toddlers marching around with potties on their heads and making it seem fun to go on the potty. I had read a book that recommended staying home for the first two weeks of training and so I did. I put the potty in the living room and everything became focused on this mission.

It was marginally successful, but when we moved the potty into the bathroom after those two weeks, regression happened. I tried all the tricks: charts, rewards, going shopping together for “big boy underwear”, Fruit Loops in the toilet to make aiming more fun, offering lots of water, using a timer…but we didn’t have much success. He wasn’t ready.

I learnt an important lesson in potty training my first…wait until they are really ready. Eventually, our oldest did get trained, but it was a sometimes frustrating and slow process with a lot of accidents and re-starts.

When our second was ready to potty train, (and this time, I waited until he was really ready), we pulled out the potty and got to work on “Mission Underpants”. I was much more relaxed about the process the second time around which helped, but I also discovered something new. You don’t need a potty to potty train. Our second son expressed a strong dislike of the potty because his big brother and dad used the toilet and he wanted to too.

I had never enjoyed having to clean the potty or having to bring it out with us, so I was very happy to bring a stool into the bathroom and let him use the regular toilet.

Our third round at toilet training, it was three kids at one time! I obviously needed to streamline the process, so we got rid of the potty altogether and from day one, used a step stool and taught them to use the toilet.

You can perhaps call it the lazy parent’s version of potty training!

Benefits of Not Using a Potty:

  • Training on the toilet eliminates having regression occur when it’s time to transition them from the potty to the toilet.
  • There is less to clean.
  • There are toilets everywhere you go.
  • They like feeling like they are a “big kid”.
  • Toddlers want to emulate mom or dad so this allows them another way to do just that.
  • No more tripping over the potty seat in the middle of the night!

I’m not going to claim that I have all the answers when it comes to potty training. Each child is different and there are many books out there with great suggestions and proven results (I hear really good things about this one, but it was written after my kids were trained already so I can’t give a personal testimonial).

Potty Train in a Weekend

I’m simply advocating that you save yourself some time and headache and skip a step in the process by beginning your child’s toilet training right on the toilet.

I have heard that there are some children who are afraid of the toilet so there would have to be some adaptations made such as a potty seat that fits on the toilet or allowing them to help in choosing the step stool to make them feel more comfortable. None of the kids that we trained using the toilet had any fear about it. They all did have older siblings though which I think does a lot to normalize using the toilet.

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What to do With All Those Single Socks

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Do you have a pile of single socks because their pairs were eaten by the dryer or got lost or got a hole in them? I certainly do!

I pay the kids 10 cents a pair to find matches for them. They are surprisingly motivated by this so sometimes, the level goes down, but inevitably, the pile grows again and the basket I keep them in threatens to spill over. I used to go through them and find the ones that I haven’t seen the matches for in the longest time and throw them out. It always made me feel like I was wasting perfectly good socks to do that though, so I’ve come up with some other uses for them and now, none go to waste!

Do you have piles of unmatched socks? These household helps, crafts, games and activities are great ways for them not to go to waste!Image Copyright: / 123RF Stock Photo

Here are some ideas of what you can do with socks that have holes in them or don’t have a match:

-use them for rags.

-slip a sock onto the bottom of bottles of oil so that they don’t leave rings in your pantry.

-fill with rice and tie to make a homemade stress ball.

-use an elastic to secure a sock onto a yardstick or broom handle and use it to dust hard to reach places like ceiling fans and high ledges.

-put ice or ice packs in them.

-stop drafts by filling socks with other socks, rice or a filler and use them under doorways.

-wear them mismatched since that’s the style anyway!

-use them to make sock buns.

-turn it into an aromatherapy pillow.

-make an adorable no sew snake sock stuffie.

-make play donuts using men’s socks.

-do a fun math activity and play Socks in the Box.

-sew a sock monkey. Or take it up a notch and make a superhero sock monkey.

-make a hobby horse worthy of giving as a gift.

-make a bubble snake. These are really fun for the summer months!

Ideas for Old or Mismatched Socks

-sew an animal baby rattle.

-make puppets. Here’s a few examples: fox puppet, Olaf puppet, adorable and simple horse puppet, sock monsters, and silly sock puppets.

-make an Olaf snowman.

-make them into sock animals. The fuzzy owl is so cute!

-put on some music and do some sock mopping with your kids.

-make a sock pumpkin craft in the fall.

-play sock snowballs just for fun.

-make sock stuffed toys.

-craft with socks.

What about you? What do you do with your old or mismatched socks?

Why I Take Soaps and Shampoos from Hotels

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You know those little lotions and soaps in hotels? The tiny shampoos and conditioners? Well, here is where I confess that I am one of the people that take those with me. I pack them in my suitcase and bring them home and I don’t even feel badly about it.

Why I Take Soaps and Shampoos from Hotels

I could try to justify it by saying that those items are factored into the price of the room rate that I just paid (and they may well be) or that “everyone else does it” (though I don’t believe that’s true), but I don’t take them for either of those reasons.

Some of you may remember the episode on “Friends” where Ross took everything that wasn’t nailed down in the hotel room because he felt that the price of the rooms were outrageous and needed to get his money’s worth.

Unlike Ross, I don’t take more than the toiletry items and I don’t do it to try to get my money’s worth!

I have been taking travel sized toiletries from hotels for years, almost two decades in fact.

I take hotel soaps and shampoos because I collect them for my local Women’s Shelter and when I have bags full of them, I drop them off. They are always in need of these items.

When I was in high school, a friend of mine had to live there with her mom and siblings when they were escaping an abusive situation. I found out that the shelter was always happy to accept donations of toiletries because when the women had healed from their physical wounds and had begun healing from their emotional wounds and were starting again, they had nothing. The Women’s Shelter would help them to find an apartment where they could live with their kids and try to start a new life, but they had little to no money and usually, had only come to the shelter with the clothes on their backs.

In our community, there is a place where they can get clothing to get started but simple things like soap and lotion and shampoo became luxury items for them.

The shelter prefers donations of the small sizes because if they receive a donation of a large bottle of shampoo, they then either can only give it to one woman or they have to purchase smaller containers to split it up and the money for that would have to come out of their already tight budget.

So I take the little bottles from hotels when I am staying there. I have friends who bring me the little containers from their travels. Some of their husbands have even started collecting them for me on their business trips. Over the years, I can’t count the number of bags I have given to the shelter.

And maybe it’s wrong. Maybe the cost of hotel rooms has risen for everyone because of it. Maybe not.

But I like to imagine that out there, there are some women who, when they were attempting to have a fresh start in life after being in an abusive relationship, smiled at being able to have fresh smelling soap, felt feminine again at being able to put lotion on their skin, and built some confidence at being able to have clean hair. I like to think that this small thing has mattered.

Just as a small note, the shelter I donate to will only take unopened toiletries.

One last suggestion about hotel toiletries. They are the perfect size to be placed into blessing bags for those who are homeless. Just saying!

Easy Button Hair Tie and Sock Bun

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My girls, particularly the older two are obsessed with sewing and designing. Miss Optimism, who is the oldest, can take a tablecloth and turn it into a pleated skirt in less than an hour!

Granola Girl is just starting to express an interest and only hand sews at this point, but she is the one who came up with this cute idea. No jeans in the house were safe at that point as she wanted to make them for all of her friends!

Easy Button Hair Tie and Sock Bun (includes a video on how to make a sock bun)

This button hair tie couldn’t be easier to make. All that is needed is an old pair of jeans, some thread and a few buttons.

Cut off a strip of fabric from the jeans and sew three (or more) brightly coloured buttons onto it. That’s it. You now have a cute hair tie.

easy button hair tie

This also is great practise for sewing buttons!

The sock bun is a bit more complicated to explain, so I have enlisted the help of Granola Girl and Miss Optimism to make a short video demonstrating exactly how to make a sock bun.

Sock buns are the perfect use for mismatched socks or socks that have holes in them and would otherwise be thrown out. Just cut the toe end of the sock off and roll it up from the other side to create the sock bun.

Make a simple ponytail in the hair and slip the sock bun onto the ponytail. Spread the hair overtop and secure with another hair elastic. Gather the remaining hair and wrap around, securing with bobby pins. All that is left at this point is to wrap the button hair tie around the sock bun to cover the stray pieces and give it a finished look. You can tuck the ends underneath or leave them out.

Since this project uses old jeans, preferably ones that are ripped or stained that might otherwise end up in the trash and old socks, the only cost is the buttons and thread so this is a very frugal activity as well as a small lesson in re-using.

button hair ties

My girls have been proudly wearing them everywhere. Granola Girl says she feels like Rapunzel because when her hair is in the sock bun, it looks like she has so much hair!

If you are looking for other easy crafts, you may be interested in following my Kids’ Activities board on Pinterest.

Follow Sharla Kostelyk’s board Kids’ Activities on Pinterest.