So – more random tips I have gathered from hard (or embarassing) experience:
Peer Pressure WORKS – part #1: Little kids want to be like big kids – leverage this as needed. WST was slow to transfer from bottles to any other drinking vessel. (seh was slow to transfer from mom’s nipple to bottle too.) We tried LOTS of different types of sippy cup lids – trying to make them as much like her bottle nipples as possible. Then her daycare told us – “solvi drinks just fine from a sippy cup here.” Excited – we asked what kind of cup, only to find that it was, of course, the cheapest, rigid plastic sippy cup spout around. Nothing like her bottles. BUT, everyone in the ‘big kids room’ was using them and WST wanted to be in the big kids room – SO WST happily drink from the same type of cups as the big kids. Whee – peer pressure works!
ALL Sippy/Lidded Cups LEAK – ALL: No matter what the manufacturer says – left on their side on the couch or upside down on the floor, a puddle, however slow, will occur (especially if you sit on them). Some kids skip the sippy cup stage and go stright to regular ‘open’ cups and don’t find this out. [Open cups in general were very exciting for all of us as WST likes to ‘talk with her hands’ while eating regardless of what is in her hands at the time (this is getting better).] Some parents only allow their kids to drink in certain acceptable places – the child drinks, finishes, drink/cup is put away, and child goes on to other things. This is not US. As WST is and has always been a “snacker” – we are constantly worried about whether or not she has had enough calories/fluids. We allow drinking in almost any room, the car, outside, – and while in motion between these places. So cups with lids were a MUST (and still are most of the time). In trying to get WST to give up bottles, we experimented with “leakproof” sippy cups. They were not – not a one. If you allow roaming drinking, you must always be asking yourself (and each other), “Where is her cup?” Especially if it it is something other than water – as it likely cannot be ‘left out’ and needs to be disposed of before she finds it again if it has been ‘forgotten’ for too long.
Physics Works with ‘Straw-Cups’: Straw goes into lid AFTER lid goes on cup – EVERY time! Having read that sippy cups were bad for the teeth, and that ‘straw cups’ were preferable, we patiently moved WST towards using straws. Once she had figured out the suction process, we bought her some “lidded” straw cups (see above for why lids.) Then each of her parents, in turn, had to learn the hard way that physics works – if you put the straw in the lid and then try to snap the lid on a cup full of liquid, liquid will shoot out the straw, making a mess. Each of her parents seems to forget this about once every 1-2 months. Sad isn’t it?
Clothing Cautions for 2-3 Year Olds: Buy overalls, one-piece pajamas, rompers, and even button/snap pants/shorts at your own risk. Toilet training happens at some point between 2-3 years old. It is likely a several month process (if not longer). During that time period, you want clothes to be dead easy to get off. Soft elastic bands on stretch pants are best. Honest. And you want LOTS of them – as accidents WILL happen, and you will go through 2-3 pairs of pants a day at random points. Silly us, we have roughly a dozen pieces of clothing for this age that she will likely never wear – as she will be too big for them by the time she can learn to take them off in time to go potty.
Peer Pressure WORKS – part #2: If your kid wants to be like the other kids, having them in daycare from ages 2-3 will likely ease/speed potty training. WST evinced an interest in ‘going potty’ from an early age – likely because her daycare uses an open-door potty policy. [This is somewhat startling for parents walking in the door – presented with random naked toddler butts etc. without warning.] We got her a potty early as a place to put her when we noticed her straining in the bathtub. She liked it, and used it randomly for about 6 months. We then started a campaign of potty as soon as you wake up. That was going well, until winter, when you have to get naked to pee if you are wearing one piece pajamas (see above cautions). Then we went back to random – although we got “potty before bath” down pretty well. At 2 and a half, we started to try to be more methodical and consistant about “use the potty’ – taking predictable accidents in stride. At 2 and a half, WST decided on a potty boycott at home, and eventually, at school as well. Screams and tears greeted any attempt to put her on a potty at home – she simply siad no at school and stayed with the diaper kids when the others went potty. (Our theory is that she didn’t like accidents and decided that diapers prevented accidents.) After about 2 weeks of this, her daycare teacher said, “Send me extra clothes and panties, I’m ready to potty train her.” With some trepidation (and a star chart at home), we did. One week (ONE WEEK) later, we had only one accident a day and a kid who never protested the potty at all. Now, one month later, I haven’t had an accident in 2 weeks. Wow. Peer pressure/example works, again! Oh, and experienced day care teachers KNOW what they are doing – far more so than 1st-time helicopter parents fumbling around…
Lastly, Old Fashioned Cloth Diapers Never Seem to Become Obsolete: In my newborn post on “basic needs” I recommended cotton cloth diapers as superior burp cloths. Ok, I don’t need them for that anymore. They do, however, seem to come in handy all the time – for spills, faces, hands, bibs, headscarves, awnings, baby doll cothes, “just in case” pads, emergency placements, and even “bases” for playing Pussy-in-the-Corner or Fox and Chickens. I had a dozen originally. I’m down to like 8 or 9. Buy them – you won’t regret it.