Potty Training Week Two

I’ve got a few take-aways from the last two weeks of potty training my first born son.

1. He was ready, and eager, and he is making this extremely easy.

2. Bare bottom is by far the best way through this thing. All tile/concrete floors in the house helps too, although we have had very few accidents.

In fact, when he is bare bottom, he gets to the potty in time, of his own accord, nearly 100% of the time. In fact, I can’t think of a bare bottom accident he’s had yet.

When he is wearing something on his bottom, whether undies or shorts, or diaper, or whatever, he’s only getting to the potty about 50% of the time, or perhaps slightly less. So we’re still sticking with bare bottom when we’re at home, most of the time.

The exception to this, is when we are out running errands.  He has been out of the house now for multiple three hour stretches of time, and will consent to “trying” to go (sitting on a public toilet), but hasn’t gone in one yet, and hasn’t had an accident while we’re out yet either. He goes right before we leave, and as soon as we get back. I’ve heard this is common, since kids may find big potties in foreign restrooms to be intimidating and noisy.

He’s getting pee in the potty almost every time, and poopy in the potty about half the time.  He has this hysterical stricken look on his face when he realizes he is pooping in his undies and it is too late.  “Mommy! I’m going poopy! Coming out!”  It makes me want to laugh, but so far I have managed not to.

We went swimming a few days ago at the neighbor’s pool, and Jax peed at least three times out on the deck of the pool (which I hosed off).  I explained to him that it was okay to pee outside sometimes.

I should have been slightly more specific, because the next day, we were about to go on a bike ride, and were outside all ready to go, pumping air in the bike tires, and he suddenly informed me he was peeing. I could see it soaking his undies and shorts, and running down his legs onto his shoes.  I reminded him that he needed to pee in the potty, and now he was wet and I would need to go clean him.  He replied cheerfully, “Mommy, it’s okay to pee outside!”

Um. I should clarify. “Well, it’s okay to pee when we are swimming.  It’s not okay to pee outside when we are wearing undies and clothes.”

I was also a bit nervous the first week, about the irregularity of his pooping.  For at least a year now, he has pooped two to four times per day, in his diaper.  Always in the morning before about nine a.m., usually again in the morning, and in the afternoon sometime.  Occasionally twice in the afternoon, but not always.

When we were potty training, he didn’t poop at all the first day.  Then he pooped once in his diaper at bedtime.  The second day he pooped a tiny bit outside, accident.  Nothing else.  The third day, he finally pooped in his potty in the afternoon some time.  On the fourth day, I think one poopy accident and one poopy in the potty.  On the fifth day, he pooped twice in the potty, and one accident, and one of the potty times, Benjamin was in charge and said it just kept coming out, and he couldn’t believe that much poop could be in such a tiny body.  My guess is, it was all the back up from the prior days, that he had been holding back.

This week, he’s been a bit closer to his normal schedule, and has been making it to the potty about half the time for poopy.  I’ll take what I can get, (haha), and am particularly grateful to see him returning to his regular pattern.  That seems to mean he isn’t holding it in anymore, and has figured out how it feels and how to manage it, when he remembers.

He is consenting to wear diapers for nap time (cloth) and night time (disposable).  I have zero worry about that issue, and won’t worry about it at all for at least a year from now.  If he starts turning up dry, great.

Here’s the products I’ve tried in this process, and my thoughts on them:

Summer Infant Potty Chair

We got the plain white so it would match the adult bathroom toilet.  I like having a potty chair because:

1. I can use the adult toilet at the same time as Jax. This seems to encourage him. Plus since I’m pregnant, I have to use the toilet nearly as much as a toddler, so the timing works out nicely.

2. It’s at his height and his level. It’s extremely easy for him to get on / off all by himself. The first week, he practically entertained himself all week, spending massive amounts of time, of his own accord, sitting on the potty reading books. He still will often go potty, then not want to get off just yet. He will sit for ten minutes or more reading his books, very comfortable on the potty, before he’s ready to get up.

Because we cloth diapered, we still have a diaper sprayer attached to our toilet.  Once he goes in the potty, I lift out the insert, dump it into the big toilet, and give it a quick spray with the diaper sprayer.

We have this Bum Genius diaper sprayer (love it) and this generic one (it’s okay – relies on white sticky foam stuff to hang the sprayer on the toilet, and it always falls down, not cool).

Small Potty Seat

I was not a fan of this item. Perhaps some other ones are better, but I didn’t like this one.

1. Even with a stool, it was really hard for Jax to get up and down from the big potty.

2. When he would sit down, his penis would get stuck on TOP of the little blue cup that is supposed to prevent overspray.

3. We also have what I think are currently standard size home toilets, which have a deep oval bowl shape.  This appears that it might better fit the toilet size we had growing up, which was smaller and rounder.  So it slides back and forth (front to back) across the toilet seat oval, leaving several inches of toilet exposed on either side as it slides.  This makes it feel insecure to a small child.  It couldn’t actually fall in, but it does slide around as they are trying to get on and off.

4. With this particular one, the plastic on the inside of the blue cup is textured with little plastic slats / lines. It’s hard to clean inside there.  No bueno.

5. As an adult who uses the toilet frequently, and shares the same bathroom as my toddler, I just don’t want to be putting this thing on and off the toilet all day long. On for me; off for him, all day.

Jax seemed willing to use it, but it was honestly just too hard for him to climb up by himself and get situated properly in it himself with it sliding all over.  Being able to “do it myself” is pretty key for the toddler age, so to me, that’s a big obstacle.

City Threads Underwear

3-Pack Boy's Brief - Fun Boy - Size 2T

LOVE these. They are super, super soft. Like I want some in my size soft.  There is no separate waistband or leg band, so it’s just one lovely soft fabric all the way around.  The fit is really nice.  Not too snug on little boy parts, but fitted around the waist and legs to keep any lumps from falling out of their own accord.  They also have a nice shape to them, that looks more like a “boy short” style panties I own, than what normal men’s or boy’s briefs.  His little tush looks ridiculously adorable in them.  I’d show you a photo, but it’s the internet.

According to reviews, the fabric and elastic also stay strong and true to color (minimal fading), after many washes.  I wish you could buy the prints separately, as I think Jax would love the music print and the vehicle print, but that’s a small gripe. I went with solid colors so when he’s ready to move up to the next size, I can get the stripes or something to help tell the difference when they are packed up for future kids (since the price of these makes them a bit of an investment).

I started out with a single three-pack to see if we liked them, then ordered nine more, so we have a total of twelve.  If he wears undies all day, rather than bare bottom, he is going through 3-4 pairs per day, so I can get through 2-3 days before washing them.  With the single pack, I was washing them every evening.  He doesn’t have that many accidents if he is bare bottom, but if he wears undies all day, he has more accidents, so we go through more undies.

I’ve been storing the dirty undies in the same wet bag we use for our cloth diapers, and washing the nap time cloth diapers along with the undies, every 2-3 days (separate from normal laundry).

The little sewed scoop along the side does feel like a little slit, but upon inspection, the flap of fabric underneath is sewn shut.  Jax is wearing size 2T and it fits him perfectly.

I also tried three different kinds of cloth pull-ups.  EcoPosh, Blueberry, and Super Undies.  (versus / comparison).  I bought one of each kind from a cloth diaper store local to me, because they accept returns for gently used items, so I can return the ones that don’t work out for us.

The EcoPosh was the softest inside and out, and claims to have a waterproof PUL layer in the middle from recycled water bottles. Cool.  The medium fit Jax fine, and I liked the feel of them. He hasn’t had an accident in them, so I can’t tell how waterproof they are.  That’s kind of the key factor, because if they won’t hold a single pee accident, they aren’t any better than just wearing undies (since the undies hold poop accidents just fine).

The Blueberry were also soft inside and out, and were Jax’s favorite because of the cute prints.  The medium also fit him fine.  He has had one pee accident while wearing these, and the trainer pant and his shorts were soaked through.  Either that or he sat down in water.  I’d be willing to test them once more to be sure, because he seemed to think he had sat in water, not that he had peed (though they smelled like pee).  If they don’t hold a pee accident, they’re not worth using in my opinion.

The Super Undies were my least favorite. The fabric was all polyester, and seemed more scratchy.  They have little snaps that would allow you to open them up like a diaper, instead of only sliding them up/down the legs. This would be a bonus in the case of a messy poop accident, you wouldn’t drag the poop down their legs while taking off the trainer pants – you could unsnap it just like a cloth diaper.  They have a little pocket on the inside, like many cloth diapers do, so if you’re familiar with pocket diapers and have inserts for them, you make like these trainers.  You can slip some of the pocket inserts you already own, into the trainer pant, for extra absorption.  I didn’t like the pocket however, because the fabric, without anything in it, tended to hang down, getting caught on or under his penis as we tried to put the undies up.

In the end, I may not keep any of them.  He’s doing so well in underwear, and if the trainers leak with a heavy pee accident, they’re not doing me any favors.  I might as well tote spare undies and shorts around instead.  If they WOULD hold something, it would be worth owning two or three of them, for errands or car rides, where I worry about pee soaking his car seat.

I’m just not a fan of disposables in general, other than for overnight sleeping and vacations, so I doubt I will even buy a single package of disposable pull ups.

We also have these Apple Cheeks swim diapers in the bright blue color.

We are using cloth swim diapers this summer, to help with any poopy accidents in the water.  They are a tad bit small for him, because I bought them the first summer he was alive, but they still fit well enough to keep me from buying anything else this year.  In past summers, I discovered I preferred disposable swim diapers, because one poopy mess in the cloth swim diaper, and there you are without diapers (since I only own two of the cloth swim diapers).  But with a potty trained kiddo, I now prefer the cloth swim diaper. It gives him an extra soft layer between his body and swim trunks, and helps me feel safe that no floaters are going to slip out.

We are also still using our cloth wipes to clean him after a poopy.  It cleans so much gentler and easier than toilet paper.  He can’t wipe himself yet anyway, so if I’m cleaning him, I’d rather it be with a flannel, wet cloth wipe.

– For the toddler.  I already reviewed potty training books for the adult in my prior post.

The first week, Jax wanted the potty books read to him over and over.  Part of it was because they were new stories, which he likes.  Part of it was because it was indeed teaching, or illustrating for him, this new journey he was on.

Here’s the potty books we’ve read, either that we own at home, or that we’ve borrowed from the library.

Pirate Potty.
No likey.  A decent storyline book if you have a toddler who likes pirate stuff, or are bored with the obvious process books and want to read a story instead.  I just wasn’t a fan of the story or the anime-style illustrations, and didn’t like the bazillion skull and crossbones decorating every single page.  It has a little cut out sticker chart and stickers, that you can remove from the book, if you want a pre-made sticker chart option for potty rewards.

The Prince and the Potty
This is a storyline book, and we like it a lot.  A little prince doesn’t want to use the potty (I change the words so instead of him refusing, he is just unsure because he doesn’t know how yet).  A wise man (with a crystal globe / ball, meh), suggests to the parents they get the prince a puppy.  They travel the kingdom and find one. At the castle, the puppy makes “puddles” all over.  The queen wants the puppy to do his business on little scraps of cloth, which he tears up.  He eventually gets it, and they all shout “Hooray for the puppy!”, and the puppy and the prince get little food treats.  The prince then realizes he needs to go, and he uses his own potty (he stands, whereas all the other books I mention show boys sitting, which is the best posture for toddlers until they figure it out later).  He uses it, and they cheer “Hooray for the prince” and throw a huge party with food and fiddlers.

I find it odd they would teach the puppy to pee on fabric scraps all over the castle, instead of outside, where every dog I know of, goes potty.  But it doesn’t take away from the enjoyment of the story, and the nice change of having a potty book with a story line rather than a functional process.

Prince of the Potty
This is an obvious process or “how to” potty book of sorts. It also shows the boy noticing that Daddy uses the potty, or wears underwear, and Grandpa, and his friend do so as well.  We change the words to “my cousin, Griffin” instead of “my friend, Max”, because Jax’s cousin just potty trained a couple months ago and Jax has been very intrigued.  This book also emphasizes hand washing.

It’s pleasant to read and Jax likes it.  It comes in a boy version or girl version. I imagine the difference is it compares the child’s thoughts about Mommy using the potty, and Grandma using the potty, etc.

This is another obvious process book.  It’s a board book, and cute illustrations that show a naked baby posed in ways you can’t tell the gender, so it’s good for boy or girl.  It also shows the cat using a litter box, and the dog peeing on a tree outside in the grass.

It also manages to tell the story without using any words like “pee” or “poop”.  Some of the other books don’t have great reviews because people want to use different words, or don’t like the direct reference or something.  My opinion is 1. If you’re going to potty train a kid, you’re going to have to figure out words you want to use for body parts and for bodily functions.  2. If you don’t like the words of a book, change them as you read the story, to words you are comfortable with.  We do this all the time, with lots of books.

Speaking of Words

There’s tons of debate out there about teaching actual words for children’s body parts, such as penis, or vulva; versus using nick name words that are more cutesy.  My mom taught me and my sisters “front bottom” and “back bottom.”  I used those words with Jax when he was littler, but once he was potty training, I started using the generic “bottom” and the clear “penis.”  Because you have to teach them to point that thing DOWN and you need some kind of word for it.  I think with little girls I would stick with “front bottom” and “back bottom.”  I’m not anti-feminist and against the proper word vulva, but it’s hard to say, and it’s just not used much in our culture, so I think it would be weird to hear a little girl talking about that, whereas penis seems to be talked about more frequently.  I’m just trying to use common sense and practicality here, and not get into funky debates about stuff.

We use “pee” and “poopy”, and we also “toot” instead of “fart,” just because I hate the word “fart”, it sounds so ugly.  His little seat is a “potty” but “potty” can also refer to him going “potty” in his “potty.”

Prior to potty training, when he would see my underwear (if I was changing clothes), I would call them “panties.”  But then I realized I didn’t want him calling his own underwear “panties.”  The kid books we are reading to him all use “underwear,” but one of them uses “undies.”  We have ended up using that word, as it’s short and easy to say, and universally applies to girls or boys.


I started with two of the homemade butter button candies for pee, and two of those plus one piece of chocolate for poopy.  The second week, I reduced the reward to one butter button for pee, and one button plus one piece of chocolate for poopy.  I am also not giving him the reward unless he remembers to ask me for it.  He always remembers for the chocolate, because he loves it so much, but he often forgets for pee.  I don’t offer it unless he asks.  If he keeps remembering, once I feel like he’s regularly being successful, I may try transitioning to non-food reward such as stickers that earn points or something (which was suggested to me by a friend).

I also like these candies by the Lovely company, for on-the-go rewards.  When we were at church on Sunday, he peed in the church potty twice, and was disapponted we didn’t have candy for him.  The Lovely company makes gluten free candies (some, such as the one linked, are also dairy free) that also don’t have food coloring or corn syrup, and are sugar sweetened much less than normal candy.  These fruity ones remind me of a less-sweet but still fruity and chewy Starburst.  I found them at my local Target.

Okay, that was long enough for now!

I’m so grateful for a toddler who has made this first-time-Mommy’s job so easy.  I’m also super grateful that I won’t still be changing his poopy diapers by the time I’m changing Noel’s poopy diapers!  I’m sure Jax will still have some messes by then, but it will be way better than two kiddos with constant diapering (and diaper washing) needs!

Ranch Dressing Recipe – Gluten Free with Yogurt

In our home, we don’t have to be dairy-free, but the dairy items we can tolerate are limited.  Yogurt is one we consume in near-massive quantities.  I substitute it for sour cream, and even cream cheese, in many recipes.  My favorite is Brown Cow Cream Top plain.  It is pasteurized, but not homogenized, which means the lovely cream floats to the top, and you can eat it off the top (yum!) or stir it back into the container for serving.  It is a bit on the runny side, so I also use Greek whole milk yogurt for cooking and substitutions. I haven’t found a Greek yogurt brand that is easily available and non-homogenized (probably Whole Foods sells one, but I rarely go there).

Salad is one of those things we really should be eating daily. I’ve gotten out of the habit, because I’m a bit tired of salad dressing, which is pretty much what makes salad edible.  Salad dressings are one of the grocery store foods that are loaded with more unnecessary ingredients than real food.  The other day I tried finding Catalina dressing (which we love to eat with Taco Salad) that doesn’t have food coloring. I finally found one lone bottle of organic French dressing up on the top shelf.  It was Central Market brand, had only food ingredients, and tasted great. Win.

Ranch dressing is one I always felt guilty about eating, because it just has so many unpleasant ingredients, including buttermilk dairy.  I checked out a bunch of vegan recipes and some yogurt ranch recipes, and finally made my own blend.  It turned out fantastic.  I ate it with raw carrots and raw bell pepper – yum.  I also ate it with homemade french fries and onion rings, which was also fantastic.  I have yet to try it with pizza, ha.  And it’s primarily yogurt, so I’m never gonna feel guilty about eating it again.

My recipe uses Greek yogurt, which yields a thick and creamy sauce suitable for dipping.  For a more runny sauce better for pouring on top of salads, use full fat yogurt that isn’t Greek, or even Bulgarian yogurt, which is even more runny.

Anyway, here’s my tweaked recipe for Homemade Yogurt-Based Gluten Free Ranch Dressing.

1/2 cup Greek whole milk yogurt (not low fat or fat free)
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 Tbsp parsley
1 tsp dill
1 tsp garlic powder (or granulated is fine too)
1 tsp onion powder
1/4 to 1/2 tsp salt (to taste)

Dump all ingredients into a glass jar and whisk with a fork until blended.

| Filed under cooking and recipes, gluten free

DIY No Cook Gluten Free Playdough Recipe

It has been so cold (for Texas) for so long (for Texas).  It’s the longest, coldest winter here that I can remember.  Since late December, it’s been in the 30-50 range almost constantly. We’ve had perhaps a total of five days where part of the day was around 60, but then it goes right back to being cold again.  We’re used to something more like 2-4 days at a time of that kind of cold, then 2-4 days of something warmer, or a pattern similar to that. I can’t believe how many days I’ve told Jax we can’t play outside because it’s just too cold today.  I know that Northerners will scoff at me, but I’ve lived my life in either Southern California, Phoenix, Arizona, and San Antonio, Texas, with a five-year college stint in Tulsa, Oklahoma (where it actually did snow and ice).  I’m a Southern girl and I’m a wimp about the cold.

We’ve been playing puzzles, coloring, building with blocks, playing with trains, reading books, and any other oddball activities I can think up to keep him entertained and let his brain learn something new.  He is a voracious learner, and I can sometimes see these wheels spinning where he just needs something to do that will give his brain or body something to work on. He starts bouncing off the walls, dumping things out and breaking things in this crazy whirl of energy that is just trying to find a creative outlet.  So I try to give him creative AND productive outlets before something messy or destructive occurs.

So today Jax and I made gluten free playdough.

This is the recipe I tried.

The bad news is I neglected to read the complete instructions and didn’t realize until it was too late that you are supposed to COOK it.  It didn’t occur to me that you would need to cook it since it calls for hot water.  If a recipe calls for hot water, heating up the water should be all the cooking that is required (not for yeast bread, duh, but anyway).  Otherwise the instructions should call for cold water, and heating it on the stove would be the first piece of instruction, because after it’s hot you add the other things into the pan.  But that’s a criticism of the way the recipe is written, not whether or not it is a functional recipe if made properly.

The good news is that it works even without cooking; you just have to adjust the proportions.

It calls for white rice flour, but I used organic brown rice flour because that’s all I had in the house.  Too bad because that makes for some pricey playdough.  It also gives the dough a beige hue that the white rice flour would not have.

I also tried turning some uncooked rice into rice flour in my Cuisinart food processor, and that was a total fail.  It made an awful noise that Jax finally had enough of and told me he was scared, and I let it run for probably 5 minutes straight with next to zero results.  And the food processor got really hot and started smelling funny which isn’t a good sign.

I didn’t measure, but I probably ended up with something like the following.

1 cup white rice flour
1 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup salt
1 cup hot water (I boiled it in a tea kettle, then added a bit of room temp water to bring it below scalding)
1 tsp canola oil
1 Tbsp cream of tartar

I gradually kneaded the flour ingredients, and probably added another Tbsp or two of cornstarch until it was the right consistency.

We were also out of food coloring, so I used my mom’s old cake-decorating frosting colors. They are water base, so it worked just fine.  It takes a bit of kneading to work the dye into the dough, but it’s part of the fun.

Jax played with it for probably an hour, which might be a record for playing with one thing without stopping, other than if he is outside.  So I would call that a win.  I was playing with him part of the time and cooking dinner part of the time, while he stood at a chair by the counter to play up on the counter near me.

I only made two colors – blue and green, so if they got mixed we would still have a pleasant color.  I gave him toothpicks to stab into it, and buttons to press into the sides to make wheels for things.  I shaped a few things for him to play with – a whale, a hat for his little people, a bulldozer, a train, a car.  The vehicles slid across the counter better when I pressed some toothpics flat under their base.  Otherwise they would get stuck on the counter and he was frustrated.  The buttons also became rocks for the bulldozer to push around, and the toothpicks ended up harpooning the whale.

We had fun together.  I’m so grateful for days like these.

Side note, the upper left corner of the photo is my apron.  My mom made Jax and I coordinating aprons to wear when we cook.  We love them.