Is My Toddler Ready for Potty Training

Is My Toddler Ready for Potty Training
By Elliot Totah, Contributor and co-founder of Tot on the Pot

There are two words that will send a chill down the spine of any parent who has a toddler: Potty Training. Almost immediately, the questions start pouring in: How should I do it? How long does it take? Is there a best method? What should I buy? Do I have to? Really though, do I have to?

All of these questions touch on relevant issues that every parent will have to consider (well, all except for the last two…). But before answering any of them, there’s one basic piece of information that all parents will need: When do I start potty training my child?

I wish I could tell you that there was a simple
answer to this one but the reality is that it differs for each child. Lots of different factors play in to the equation: your child’s gender, how quickly they develop, whether they have older siblings, etc. The good news is that there are several great tools out there to help gauge your child’s readiness. The first place you should turn is BabyCenter’s Potty Training Readiness Checklist. Answering the questions posed in this article will give you a good idea as to whether your child is ready to take the plunge into the wide world of the potty. Another good resource is the questionnaire provided by Parents.com.

Run through the links and if they both point you in the same direction, then start planning accordingly. Simultaneously, make sure you, as a parent, are ready. Potty training works best when parents/caregivers are positive and supportive throughout. Particularly since potty training can take months, make sure you have the patience and the peace of mind to be your toddler’s cheerleader and motivator through their highs and lows. Now, before you proceed any further, it’s very important that you understand the following: Potty Training your child earlier will not increase their chances of getting into Harvard, becoming a Hollywood star or winning the lottery. Too many parents err on the side of trying to potty train their children too early. More and more research suggests that even if kids are successfully potty trained before the age of 2, they face an increased chance of complications later on like UTIs, bedwetting and chronic constipation. The basic reason is that kids who learn how to hold their pee/poop will usually end up over-holding it. I mean, who wants to stop playing, watching TV, building a fort, being a princess or emptying out the kitchen cabinets for the 15th time in 3 hours when the alternative is pooping? When it comes to potty training—like so many other aspects of parenting—don’t be too quick to have your children grow up. Let them be little. Or as we say at Tot on the Pot, cherish every minute with your children…even the crappy ones.

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About Tot on the Pot: Tot on the Pot is a new, Pediatrician-recommended potty training system that utilizes rhymes, activities and fun to inform, incentivize and reward your toddler out of a diaper and onto the toilet. Our system includes the Tot on the Pot Book, a Tot doll which comes in a variety of genders and skin colors, the Tot’s very own potty and the Activity Reward cards. Tot on the Pot is set for release in mid-2017. Sign up to receive product launch updates and early bird specials at www.totonthepot.com today.

10 Easy Indoor Toddler Crafts and Activities

10 Easy Indoor Toddler Crafts and Activities
By Paige Goodwin, Contributor

Maybe you just had a baby or maybe it’s starting to get cold outside, but nothing seems more daunting than having to keep a toddler inside — and entertained — especially if your child seems to move between games and activities quickly. Even as a seasoned nanny, I was constantly trying to figure out how to keep the kids busy when I couldn’t take them outdoors. Here are some of my favorite crafts that you can make at home:

1. Toddler-Safe Play-Dough
Sometimes even the parents and caregivers with lighting reflexes can’t stop a toddler from putting things in their mouth. Making your own play dough out of ingredients in your cupboard ensures that even if your little one gets a bite of this fun dough, all you have to worry about is a salty aftertaste. Kidspot has a great No-Cook Playdough Recipe that is reusable and has 5 ingredients you already have in your pantry.

Supplies:
– 1 cup water
– 3 cups flour
– 1 cup salt
– 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
– food coloring
1. Mix together the salt and flour. Add in oil and mix.
2. Mix together food coloring and water.
3. Add in water slowly, mixing until you get the right consistency.
4. Have your toddler knead the dough while you’re mixing.
5. Store in an airtight bag or container.

2. Shaving Cream Sensory Buckets
There’s something about sensory activities that toddlers love, and shaving cream attracts small kids like magnets. Especially on cold, wintry days, your toddler will love playing with fake “snow”, and all you need is a can of shaving cream sitting around. If your child is unsure of playing with it, include a few waterproof toys in a large plastic mixing bowl or storage tub. The best part? Clean-up requires just a quick rinse with water and both yours and your toddler’s hands will smell great and be silky smooth!

3. Bathtub Painting
Toddlers and paint normally means nightmarish clean-ups, but bathtub painting is a great alternative. If you have bath tub paint laying around, you can put it to good use (and if you don’t, try Kojo Design’s Make Your Own Bath Paint that requires 4 common household ingredients). If you’re worried about getting food coloring out of clothing, you can always do bathtub painting while your child is already in the tub, or get a few more uses out of the bathing suits that won’t fit next season. The paint requires just a spray down with water for clean-up!

Supplies for a baby-food jar of paint:
– 1/4 cup of shampoo/body wash
– 1/4 cup corn starch
– 1-2 tablespoons of water
– 3-4 drops food coloring
1. Mix together the shampoo, corn starch and food coloring (one color only).
2. Add in the water a little at a time until you reach the right consistency. It should be thin enough to easily pick up with a paintbrush, but not too runny.

4. Cloud Dough
I know, I know, I put play-dough at the top of this list, but cloud dough is its own magical experience. PBS Parents has a two-ingredient Cloud Dough Exploration recipe that takes about five minutes to whip up and is easy enough for older toddlers to help make. Cloud dough is super fun to put into molds, and is a great way to put those beach toys to use in the off-season. You may want to double the recipe so you can play alongside your toddler!

Supplies:
– 4 cups flour
– 1/2 cup oil (if your child tends to put things in their mouth, use vegetable oil. If not, using baby oil makes the dough smell wonderful!)
1. Mix together using your hands until it holds together when squeezed. This should take a few minutes.

5. Paint with Pudding
Adding food coloring to pudding was an old trick I learned from a mom with a toddler and a little one in a high chair. By mixing together vanilla pudding and a few drops of food coloring, her toddler was able to paint a plastic place mat while the baby painted the high chair tray. Little ones can snack away while they make their creations!

6. Popsicle Stick Family Dolls
This activity is especially fun for children who enjoy drawing pictures of family members, or it could even help a child get more used to a new little family member, be it a sibling or cousin. For small hands, you can buy wooden craft spoons from Michael’s that allow for more room to draw on faces. Wrap the popsicle stick with fabric or felt and glue it on for outfits, and glue on yarn for hair. This is especially fun around the holidays, when your toddler is thinking about seeing relatives (and, for extra fun moments, you can show grandparents, aunts, uncles and even your neighbor down the street the doll your child made of them!).

7. Snowy “Cosmic” Sun Catchers
I don’t know about you, but I am constantly amassing plastic containers with lids. If your family goes through large containers of yogurt, hummus or even baby food, you can use the leftover lid to make gorgeous art to cheer up your windows. The neat thing about this sun catcher is that it has a milky look to it — perfect for a winter window sill.

Supplies:
– a plastic container lid (think yogurt, hummus, cool whip, etc.)
– Elmer’s glue
– Food coloring
– Toothpicks
– Hole Punch
– String
1. Fill your selected lid with elmer’s glue so that it touches all the surfaces. Make sure to pour enough that the sun catcher will be thick — you’ll be peeling it from the lid when it’s dry so the thicker, the sturdier.
2. Drop a single drop of food coloring into the glue for smaller lids, two of each color for larger ones. Space the drops apart so they’ll have space to bleed into the glue as they dry.
3. Have your little one drag a toothpick to swirl the colors together. Remember, the colors will bleed as they dry, so less is more here.
4. Let the lid dry (it may take a few days depending on how the thick the layer of glue was, but it’ll start to peel from the edges when it’s ready). Peel it from the lid and punch a hole at the top. Tie string and hang it up near a window.

For the original post, check out Babble Dabble Do.

8. Glitter Bottle
A big trend online is the “Calm-Down Jar”, a jar filled with glitter that moms use as a timer for when kids need a moment alone, or even a tool to help small children meditate. The truth is, the bottles are beautiful and mesmerizing — I made one this past summer with the girl I nannied and when it wasn’t in use, she kept it on the kitchen windowsill (and when sunlight would stream through the glitter, it made the countertops sparkle!).

Supplies:
– an empty, clean water bottle, preferably with smooth sides (bumpy sides distort the effect a little)
– a tube of glitter glue, which can be found in the kids’ section of art stores
– fine glitter (you can also add in sequins, thick glitter, pony beads or any other little trinkets that can float)
– hot water
– funnel
– super glue or hot glue
1. Put enough hot water in a bowl to fill the bottle with about a half inch left at the top.
2. Dump the entire bottle of glitter glue into the water and stir until the glue and water are mixed (if the water is cold, the glue will stay clumpy).
3. Let the water mixture cool a bit before having your toddler help you mix the fine glitter and optional sequins, thick glitter, etc., into the bowl. The more you add, the more glittery (and fun!) the bottle will be. Also, the thicker the mixture, the longer the bottle takes to “settle” after you shake it. The girl I made this with enjoyed watching the larger sequins flutter through the thin glitter.
4. Pour the glitter liquid through the funnel into your bottle and super/hot glue the lid on.
5. Let your toddler give the bottle a good shake.

9. Apple and Grape Cars
If you have a toddler, you know that as much as you try to get them to stop playing with their food, there’s only so much you can do. If you indulge them a little and make toy cars out of their lunch, you might get them to sit down long enough at the table for you to eat a little something, too.
Supplies:
– Apple slices
– grapes cut in half
– toothpicks
– fruit leather
1. Use a toothpick as an axle and attach grapes to the flat side of an apple slice to make cars.
2. Let your toddler drive them around on strips of fruit leather ‘roads’. You can also draw a road on a paper plate or even a large sheet of paper and let them drive their snack around!

10. Ocean Bottle
If your toddler enjoyed the glitter bottle, this bottle actually shows colors mixing and is gorgeous to boot! An ocean bottle will bring a little bit of summer to you, even in the cold winter. It takes less than five minutes to make and requires only things in your pantry.

Supplies:
– water
– yellow cooking oil (think light olive oil, vegetable, canola)
– blue food coloring
– a plastic bottle with a lid
– hot glue
1. Fill your bottle with water until it’s about a third of the way full.
2. Add a few drops of blue food coloring. Put the lid on the bottle temporarily and let your toddler shake it to mix the color.
3. Open the bottle back up, and fill the rest of the way with the cooking oil. If you are worried about the seal of the bottle’s lid, go ahead and glue it on now.
4. Have your toddler flip the bottle upside down and watch the oil rise to the top. It’ll mix with the blue food coloring and give a gorgeous greenish hue.

For the original post, check out Happy Hooligans

Deaf-Friendly Games for a Children's Party

Deaf-Friendly Games for a Children’s Party
Contributor, Our Friends at Wooden Toy Shop

While its natural to worry about all the children feeling included in a kids party, there really is no need to worry if you throwing a party with a deaf child in attendance. There are loads of great games that all children, and quite a few adults, will enjoy. Here are some of our favorite party games and tips for throwing an inclusive children’s party. These games are ones you will probably already know, but with fun twists to make them more inclusive and even more fun!

Deaf-friendly games for a childrens party

For more information about the Wooden Toy Shop, check them out at www.woodentoyshop.co.uk

NEWS POST- Chuck E. Cheese's Testing Sensory Friendly Place for Families with Special Needs Children

NEWS ALERT– We are happy to announce that our friends at Chuck E. Cheese are partnering with the Center for Autism and Related Disorders to lead the way in providing families with autistic and special needs children with a fun and safe place to play.

Beginning Sunday, January 8, 2017, ALL Chuck
E. Cheese’s locations in New England, New York and New Jersey will open from 9-11am to offer sensory-sensitive places. This will then continue to take place on the first sunday of every month starting in February. The participating locations will do the following to make the experience as easy and fun for children and their parents:
– Less crowds and noise
– Dimmed lights
– No show, music or radio playing
– No Chuck E. mascot or any characters visible
– Food and games are offered but parents are permitted to bring snacks for their children if needed due to dietary restrictions, gluten allergies etc.
– Staff are extra flexible with “the rules” during this time, i.e. running, playing a game incorrectly (as long as everyone is SAFE as safety is always a priority)

Participating Locations:

NEW ENGLAND
Attleboro – 287 S. Washington St., Attleboro, MA 02703
Burlington – Ten Wall St. (HWY. 95/3A), Burlington, MA 01803
Danvers – 139 Endicott St., Danvers, MA 01923
Everett – 29 Mystic View Rd., Everett, MA 02149
Leominster – 100 Commercial Rd Ste. 68, Leominster, MA 01453
Lowell – 209 Plain St., Lowell, MA 01852
Manchester, CT – 82 Buckland St., Manchester, CT 06042
Manchester, NH – 1525 S Willow I-93, Manchester, NH 03103
Methuen – 90 Pleasant Valley Rd., Methuen, MA 01844
Natick – 801 Worcester, Natick, MA 01760
Newington, CT – 3075 Berlin Turnpike, Newington, CT 06111
Newington, NH – 30 Fox Run Rd., Newington, NH 03801
North Dartmouth – 412-418 State Road 6, North Dartmouth, MA 02747
Orange – 82 Boston Post Rd., Orange, CT 06477
Springfield – 1716 Boston Rd., Springfield, MA 01129
Warwick – 650 Bald Hill Rd., Warwick, RI 02886
Waterbury – 650 Wolcott St., Waterbury, CT 06705
Worchester – 50 Southwest Cutoff, Worcester, MA 01604

NEW YORK
Albany – 601 Troy Schenectady Rd., Latham, NY 12110
Amherst – 4990 Harlem Rd., Amherst, NY 14226
Bronx – 700 Exterior Street, Bronx, NY 10451
Bronx – 1816 Gun Hill Rd, Bronx, NY 10469
Brooklyn – 139 Flatbush Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11217
Flushing – 40-24 College Pt Blvd., Flushing, NY 11354
Greece – 3130 West Ridge Rd., Rochester, NY 14626
Hamburg – 4408 Milestrip Rd., Buffalo, NY 14219
Harlem – 280 St. Nicholas Ave, 2nd floor, Harlem, NY 10027
Hempstead – 162 Fulton Ave., Hempstead, NY 11550
Hicksville * – 11-15 Hanover Pl., Hicksville, NY 11801
Middletown – 8 Orange Plaza Lane, Middletown, NY 10940
Nanuet – 250 West Route 59, Nanuet NY 10954
New Hartford – 4631 Commercial Dr., Hartford NY 13413
Patchogue – 121 Sunrise Hwy., Patchogue, NY 11772
Poughkeepsie – 1895 South Rd., Poughkeepsie, NY 12601
Queens – 3419 48th St, Long Island City, NY 11101
Rochester – 1000 Hylan Rd. Suite 20, Rochester, NY 14623
Staten Island – 1775-P South Ave, Staten Island, NY 10314
Syracuse – 3023 Erie Blvd., Syracuse, NY 13224
Vestal – 3901 Vestal Parkway E., Vestal, NY 13850
West Islip – 155 Sunrise Hwy., West Islip, NY 11795

*The Hicksville, NY location will begin the program on Sunday, Feb. 5 (not Jan. 8)

NEW JERSEY
Brick – 28 Brick Plaza, Bricktown, NJ 08723
Bridgewater – 600 Promenade Blvd., Bridgewater, NJ 08807
Cherry Hill – 2100 Route 38 Suite 4, Cherry Hill, NJ 08002
Deptford – 301 N. Almonesson Rd., Deptford, NJ 08096
Edison – 1120 Route 1 North, Edison, NJ 08817
Hanover – 145 Route 10, East Hanover, NJ 07936
Jersey City – 701 Route 440 #383, Jersey City, NJ 07304
Mays Landing – 4215 Black Horse Pike, Mays Landing, NJ 08330
Middletown – 1107 Route 35, Middletown, NJ 07748
N. Bergen – 8101 Tonelle Ave., North Bergen, NJ 07047
Paramus – 275 Route 4 West, Paramus, NJ 07652
Union – 1660 Route 22 East, Union, NJ 07083
Wayne – 1639 Route 23 South, Wayne, NJ 07470
West Windsor – 520 Nassau Park Blvd., West Windsor, NJ 08540