Welcome to the Hickstionary, a landing spot for all things H family.
I'm Heidi. He's Rusty. And together we have our beautiful babe, Beckett and a furry menace, Dakota.
I mostly use this space to brag about how awesome the kid is, whine about how naughty the dog is & share an occasional deep thought.
Thanks for hanging out with us as we figure out this [blessed] life!

If you are looking for my photography blog (where words don't tend to fall out of my mouth nearly as freely), visit {captured by} heidi.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

running tips from a barely runner.

I hate running. Really I do. Except each day I force myself to go out and do it, I like it a little more. And when I'm running with my friends, I start to really like it. And I really do feel better after it's done (even if I'm saying I hate it just ten minutes before that).

I'm not good at it. I'm slow. I don't go far. And I always have to start the couch to 5k over after not running for awhile.

So I'm totally the last person that should be dishing out 'running tips.'


If you're like me (you hate running and you consider it exercise just running up the stairs to fulfill that salted chocolate caramel craving), these tips might be a good starting point. (And my 'actual runner' friends can skip right over this post or maybe leave your own expert tips in the comments below. Just don't laugh at how pathetic I am.) :)

Here's what works for me:

1. Find two running buddies. Or ten. I find I'm a lot better at sticking to it if I have someone holding me accountable or someone counting on me. I read once you should have at least two running buddies. One that's better and faster than you, one that's not. All of mine are better/faster than me and that seems to work okay too. (If you need someone slower than you, I'm your girl!) Having a running buddy doesn't mean you don't ever run by yourself but it is handy to have someone with you for longer runs or  when you're doing a new run for the first time. ie. in week 5 of the couch to 5k, you go from doing short intervals of running to a 20 minute solid run. My friend Jen meets me for that one and doesn't let me look at the clock. My running buddies can talk to me for an entire run but don't ask me questions (I have breathing to focus on). I love it but not everyone does. Find what works for you.

2. Find the right shoe (and socks). You don't have to spend a lot of money on shoes to find good shoes. I went to Kyle's Bikes to find my shoes. They do a free gait analysis for you and pull out shoes for you to try on that are best for your foot. My sales guy got to know what I liked and didn't like and helped me find the perfect shoe for me (I'm a pain of a customer but he was awesome). I was expecting to spend over $100 and walked out just $60 (or so?) later. He didn't try to get me to spend more money and didn't give me any sale pitches. He was great. (He did talk to me about socks though and I walked out with these socks by Brooks. The tab and fabric are amazing. I hate running in anything else now!) Related: a good sports bra helps too. I found this especially important when I was breastfeeding or pregnant. This Underarmour one is my favorite. I only have one but it was worth the investment to me.

3. Start slow. Unless your name rhymes with usty icks, you probably shouldn't just go run a 5k without building up to it. That dude is always in shape and it doesn't phase him. If you're more like me and try that, you might die on the side of the road. There are some great apps for Couch to 5K programs that make it super easy to go out and run. They start by having you run 60 seconds, walking 90 seconds and you build up from there. If you struggle and want to redo a day or two, you can do that too. There's no pressure to start out running far or fast, just run.

4. Reward yourself. For me, I need an incentive to keep doing something I don't particularly love. When I started running, I truly hated it. I also hated that I didn't have any running clothes that I loved. I remedied both by treating myself to new running clothes each time I accomplished a goal. New running shoes, socks, shorts, tanks, etc were all treats along different week marks for me. You don't have to spend a lot of money on these things. Some of my favorite running clothes are from Old Navy (on sale, of course).

5. Get a race on the schedule. This totally motivates me to not give up. I need a date that I have to finish the couch to 5k by so I keep going every day. I make plans with friends to go to it as well so I know people are counting on me. It keeps me from quitting.

6. Do your research. There are all sorts of tips for making your run easier and making sure you're doing it right. Breathing/posture/etc play a huge part in your run; make sure you aren't wasting extra energy by doing it wrong. (It's seriously hard for me to keep my arms in the right position when I run so I need to remind myself of that rule often when I run.) Search for blogs/articles by real runners and you'll find all sorts of great tips.

7. Be okay with being disappointed. Last week sucked. It was windy and Monday and Wednesday were ROUGH days for me. I whined to my friend about it and she encouraged me by telling me her and her husband both had tough runs those days too. They are in way better shape than me and run way more. So knowing I wasn't the only one struggling on a bad weather day made me feel better. She's good at reminding me that everyone has tough running days and to work though it.

8. But don't stay disappointed. Go to your running buddies for encouragement (see #1 and #7). Find (or make) an inspiration board on pinterest. Just don't give up and keep moving forward.

You can totally do this!! 

Monday, April 14, 2014

i'm gonna miss this

Some days as I lay B down for nap, I can't imagine ever working outside of the home while he is little because of everything I would miss.

Like today (after we had the Bible app reading to us for background noise), he went looking for something. When I asked him what he was doing he said, "I no find Saul's donkey." (No find = can't find.)

Or this face in the mirror after saying "Nice to meet you" to the nice old man in the mirror before realizing it was just B. :) And the giggles that followed. (Who knew little boys giggled so much?)

Or when he was quizzing me on colors at the library today. When I got it right he said, "Yellow. RIGHT! Good job, mom."

And our pirate/captain hook sword fight in the kitchen today. (He let me win.)

And when he randomly belts out, "Bless the LOOOOOAAAAAD oh my SOOOOUUUL!" (Load = Lord.... we're working on that..) :)

I laid him down for nap and really couldn't imagine missing out on this stage.

Ten minutes later, I hear him yelling "Poop, mom. Poop!" into the monitor.

I go to change him and we have the 'we only go potty on the toilet, not in the diaper' talk to which he replies, (first sweetly) "Sorry" then (not so sweetly*) "NOT SORRY!!!"

These are the days.** :)

*By 'not so sweetly' I mean it sounded like a demon had taken over the little dude's body. A loud, creepy, mean demon. Yikes.

**I still totally love staying home with the little dude. It's seriously the best.***

***I support all moms. Stay at home moms. Work at home moms. Working moms. You all rock.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

make it a good day.

We got a silhouette and I've been getting my monies worth by using it every. single. night. These are two of my latest ditties. Feel free to print them off if you need the reminder in your life too. ;)

Friday, April 11, 2014

except i hate running.

Once upon  a time, I went out for cross country. My cross country stint didn't last long. My friends and I were in it for the social aspect and we skipped most of our runs until the coach found out. Once she found out, she loaded us up and dropped us off out of town, forcing us to run back.

We hitch hiked.

Because I hate running.

The last few years, I've decided to start running again (literally- I have to start over every year after not running all winter) and last year I (finally) successfully ran multiple 5ks without walking. It made me feel like an actual runner. A super, incredibly slow and whiney runner. But a runner.

This year, as I started. My thought pattern was pretty much the same as it has been the last two years: 'I hate running. Why am I doing this? This is horrible. I'm pretty sure I'm gonna die.'

Because I hate running.

(I should note... I ran a couple times indoors this winter and had zero of those thoughts. I actually felt great and surprised out how easy it was to start this year. I'm not an indoor runner though and when I restarted this 'spring' I started outside. It was cold. And windy. And I hate the cold and wind. More than I hate running.)

I realized I should probably stop doing something that I hate so much so I quit decided to fill in the blank:

I love running because......

Because nothing. I hate running.

(Seriously that was my first thought.)

(Okay, Heidi. You can come up with SOMETHING....)

Because... it forces me to do laundry. (I only have two pairs of running socks and three sports bras I love.)

That was all I could come up with that night. But it was a start.

After my Week 1, Day 3 run (it was a lot easier than the first two), I filled in the blank again. I actually came up with a few more this time and thought I should write them down to remind me the next time I'm complaining about how much I hate running.

I love (okay, love is a strong word... let's maybe go with tolerate) running because:

-It's (kind of) free and you can do it (almost) anywhere. (This week I ran laps around the playground while B played.)

-It's social. I love the uninterrupted time of chit chat with running buddies it affords me. And the 5ks are fun too. (Midnight Madness in Ames is one of our faves!)

-It makes me feel strong. (When I was consistently running every other day, my leg muscles were amazing.)

-I just like being able to say I can. (When I actually can just go out and run a 5k, it's a great feeling. Five years ago I don't think I ever would have thought I could do that. But now I know I can. I totally feel like it's an accomplishment.)

-Compared to other workouts, it doesn't require much planning out/thinking. You don't have to have a plan (though it helps) or think much about (in fact, I've found it's better if I DONT think about it and just do it). You just go do it. I hated sitting down to make a workout plan and thinking about arms days, legs days, etc. (I know I probably should still do that anyway but I hate it more than I hate running so I don't.)

-It's a great way to spend time outdoors.

Typically by the end of the summer, I'll be able to remember some other things about running. I just wanted this list to get me started.

Because for someone that hates running (me), starting is the hardest part.

Any newbie (or not) runners out there that want to start a 'remote running club' with me? I feel like it's hard to meet up with too many of my runner friends since we don't live super close but it'd be fun to have a (private of course) facebook group where we all checked in and held each other accountable, planned 5k outings together and even... meet up for runs. Let me know if you want to join me! And if you haven't ran for 10 years.. you can join too. In fact, you totally should join. Seriously. Go download the Couch to 5K app and get going!!! :)

Saturday, March 22, 2014

malory and shawn

We got to spend last week in Arizona with family to celebrate 'aunt Mal's' (R's sister) wedding! It was beautiful weather and an awesome time with family. I was super honored to get to stand up next to my sister-in-law as she married her best friend. Being a bridesmaid also meant I was able to relax and focus on the bride without worrying about taking too many pictures. Awesome for having a great time but a bummer for the pictures I have to share with you cause it's pretty choppy. These pictures don't tell the full story of the day but Nia (the awesome photographer and a great friend of a friend whom I adore) got some awesome shots and we'll get to see those later. In the meantime, here's a few shots I was able to get in between hanging out with the bride and worrying about a certain ring bearer making it down the aisle. Thanks for an awesome time, Mr. & Mrs. Smith. We are so happy for you guys and love you so much!!

P.S. Ring Bearer #2 did surprisingly well strutting down the aisle and even sat quiet and (mostly) still in the front for the entire wedding. Whew! (We wont discuss how he did for pics though.....) ;)

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

the post i wanted to title what not to say

I had a post titled 'what not to say' saved as a draft in blogger for quite awhile. I wanted to share with you a list of things not to say when someone is grieving/depressed/sick/going through a rough time. I probably would have topped the list with never tell someone who miscarried to be thankful for their other children. Because they aren't spare tires. But I didn't.

Instead. I want to share with you how to love on someone that needs it. Because my friends have done an awesome job of just that.

Some awesome ways we have felt loved on during these past 14 months:

1. Listen to them. Bring them salted caramel hot chocolate and just let them talk. Even if they've told you the story before, let them tell it again. It's part of the healing process.

2. Send them a card. It's okay to not know what to say. You don't have to say anything. Just let them know you are thinking of them. A lot of people told me they were sorry, they loved me, they ached with me or just that they didn't know what to say. All of those were the perfect thing to say because they let me know they were thinking of me and hurting with me. As much as I was hurt by some of the rude things people said to me, I was just as hurt by people I thought were my friends that blew me off.

3. Send them a surprise. I seemed to have happy mail arrive at just the right times. Each piece of happy mail was a total God thing and just when I needed it the most. Jewelry with Avery's (and Beckett's) initials, an ornament with Avery's name on it, a tiny memorial blanket, flowers, target gift card, candy, cookies, donuts, finger nail polish, clothes, jewelry, etc- special treats my friends knew I would love- all were so special to me. I felt so spoiled and loved.

4. Bring them a meal. Avery's labor was much more intense than Beckett's (not the delivery, just the labor). It took a toll on my body. Pair that with the post miscarriage infection and the too sick and tired and bummed to get out of bed feeling and the thought of making dinner for my family was daunting some nights. Each and every meal was so appreciated by me but it was also a great way for people to love on my boys.

5. Do something nice for dad (and any older siblings too). R reminds me- what happens to me, happens to him. It's easy for me to forget that so I know everyone else does too. It's been a tough 14 months for all of us and though my boys have been troopers, I know they've needed the pick me ups just as much as I have.

6. Send them $150 anonymously. Okay I'm totally kidding, you don't have to do that. But someone did for us. They sent us a card and $150 cash in the mail. They said it was their Christmas money and they wanted to bless us with it. It was simply signed, 'a friend' and the post mark was smudged so we don't even know what state it was from. I was stunned. I couldn't believe that anyone would do something so nice for us. It was a completely radical way to love on us. I felt like it was a total God thing and it gave me so much hope for good things to come. I sat on it for quite awhile, not sure how to spend it. I ended up using a little of it to buy a set of stacking rings (with Avery & Beckett's names) then held on to the rest. I considered buying something for our home that I could look at and remember her by. I considered using it towards her $600 dr bill. In the end, I got on facebook and clicked every single page asking for money that night and started donating away. Avery's memory gave to people fighting cancer, a family that lost their home, a woman whose husband had been killed, a lady that had suffered domestic assault, and more. It wasn't much for each page but it was a lot. I hope each of those people that we were able to love on with Avery's money felt just as loved as we did and I hope it gave them the same peace and hope that it gave us.

7. Pray for them. And let them know it. My most favorite thing the month of January was daily texts from friends letting me know they were praying for me. Those prayers got me through a lot of hard days. When I was crazy hormonal and puking my guts out in pain, those prayer texts came at just the right time. (And emails and facebook messages, etc.)

8. Give them grace. Chances are they are already beating themselves up for not being a better friend, for not sending a thank you, or for just being...... whatever it is they are feeling. Forgive them for hiding away and being anti-social. Forgive them for not sending out a timely thank you note. Chances are they are more appreciative for you than they know how to tell you. Give them grace.

9. Love them. Just do.

My counselor asked me how I would describe December 23rd in my life. 'Was it just a blip on the roadmap of life or what was it to you?' he asked. I sat and thought about it for awhile before I realized it was a blessing. Maybe not December 23rd per say, but everything leading up to and everything following has shown us just how much God loves us. God gives. God takes away. And He gives. Our friends have shown us in a very tangible way, God's love for us. He's used them to bless us, to love us. He's used this to strengthen relationships, to soften our hearts. He's blessed us beyond measure and He is good.

Psalm 147:3

Thanks for loving on us, friends.

Sidenote: I found/have been sent some interesting posts related to this. I'm posting them here in case I need them (hopefully not) in the future:
-Why Miscarriage Matters
-36 Things To Do For Those in Grief
-What not to say

And then there's this:
-The Truth Behind Love You Forever

Monday, February 24, 2014

Getting Started With Oils

Disclaimer: This is another crazy oil lady post. I get a lot of the same questions about the oils and it's easiest for me to post the answers and send people to my blog. I know not everyone is interested (but you seriously should be!) so you can skip this post and come back another day. I'll try to have a cute B update or something more fun next time. :) 

Be sure to check out my 'intro to oils' and 'that time i replaced my prescription pain meds with oils' posts too. 

Earlier this year, I asked my friend Kelsey if she would host a class to teach me and some friends about oils. I knew pretty much nothing but at this exhausted and highly medicated stage in my life, I was super interested in learning more. We scheduled a class for my friends but I couldn't wait so I went ahead and ordered the premium starter kit (still not knowing much more than I had googled). When the box arrived I was excited but completely lost on where to begin. And to be honest, I didn't feel like there was a whole lot of info in the box to help me out. I went to google again and read a ton of blogger's experiences and thought I would share what worked for me.

I skimmed the product guide for the oils in the kit to see what they were used for. Some that stood out to me: Purification (deodorizes and neutralizes the air), Peppermint (ease pain & tension), Lemon (pick-me-up, energy booster, boosts body's natural defenses), Thieves (kills bacteria, defends & protects), & PanAway (to use on injuries and muscle tension).

I decided to start slow. 

I started by diffusing purification. I made the mistake of turning it on and forgetting about it. Multiple times. It doesn't hurt anything but it wastes your oil so don't do that. :) I learned my lesson and after that I only filled it halfway to the fill line with half the amount of oil. Note: In the oils facebook group, many have said they use only half the recommended number of drops for diffusing. That's another way to stretch your oils. Purification cleans the air and makes everyone think you've spent all day cleaning your house because it smells so good. (The YL diffuser has replaced the scentsy in our house.) By starting with diffusing purification, you're starting with a clean, fresh slate. :) It didn't take long (maybe a week) before I realized I was dragging the diffuser all over the house. I purchased an inexpensive back up one on amazon. It works okay but not as good as the YL one. I keep it for small area's like B's bedroom or the bathrooms.

After that, I diffused Thieves (you can diffuse them at the same time but I was interested in seeing how each smelled/worked on it's own to start with). We had a lot of visitors in and out of our house the previous weekend and I wanted to kill any germs that may have been lingering around. I now diffuse this most days I have clients coming in an effort to not share any bugs that may be forming in our house or theirs.

Once I fell in love with the diffuser, I made a list of ailments/concerns I wanted to tackle. Then, I google searched 'Young Living oils for .......' and filled in the blank. I started slow by only putting the oils on my feet (to start, I used peace & calming to help me sleep). I talk more about what I started with in my intro post.

I realized I could make the oils last longer with a carrier oil (and make them not as strong for my son and husband with sensitive skin) so I purchased several jars of coconut oil to have on hand. (I ended up giving most of those away so I need to make another trip to get more. I've heard you can get a great deal on it at Costco. I've purchased it at Trader Joe's and Target but most health markets will have it.) My friend mixes her coconut oil and essential oils together and stores them in glass baby food jars so she doesn't have to mix each time she's ready to use it.

To help make application easier and in another effort to not waste oil, I purchased a set of the roll-on lids. They come in a small clear pouch which I then put my travel sized bottles in to carry in my purse.  SAVE THE 5ML BOTTLES THAT COME IN YOUR STARTER KIT! You can refill them later on and they are the perfect 'to go' size. These are the ones I put my roll-on lids on.

To build on my collection, I purchased DiGize (it's good to have on hand for stomach bugs and other digestive issues that strike when you don't have time to wait for shipping) and RC (good for respiratory issues- R had been battling a cough). I've heard those are two of the most common ones to start with after the starter kit.

Once I realized I was googling something everyday, I purchased the Reference Guide For Essential Oils. (It's currently super pricey- twice what I paid for mine. I'm not sure why but I know someone that may be able to get it cheaper for you if you're interested.) I started a tab system (green for H, red for R, blue for B) for our most common issues. I found there is a ton of super helpful info on how to use the oils there- where to put them, how to apply them, what to use and when, etc. I loaned it to a friend for two days and was missing it the first night. We use it way more than I realized we did.

I also purchased a life factory glass water bottle so that I could easily add oils to my water (you shouldn't use the oils with plastic- they draw out toxins?). I mostly use lemon but will occasionally do peppermint as well.

So far, that's what has worked for me. I don't have a great storage system for my oils yet (though that's whats currently on my mind).

If you want to get started with the oils, check out this post for my intro to oils. If you're interested in a class to learn more, let me know! I'd love to help you out!

If you want your own 24% discount and the premium starter kit you can sign up to be a wholesale member (and distributor) by:

1. Go to the signup page: https://www.youngliving.com/signup/
2. Select 'wholesale member'
3. In sponsor ID and enroller ID enter: 1618387
4. Under Step 2, choose the Premium Starter Kit ($150).  (There's also an option for Essential Rewards. I chose to skip that because I have no plans of selling YL to make money but if it's something you are interested in, I can try to help you find out more about it.)

Sunday, February 23, 2014

That Time Oils Replaced My Prescription Pain Meds

Trying not to go TMI on you, the last couple months have not been fun. And by 'not fun' I mean, super sucky. Because that's the nicest thing I can come up with to say.

Long story short, after I miscarried (two months ago, today), I got sick. I called the OB office with the classic signs of infection and was told it was likely the nasty stomach bug that has been making the rounds. That happened two more times. After one of the craziest years to date, my immune system was shot and it was possible I was just sick. But I suspected it was something more. With my abdominal pain holding steady at a 10, I went to my regular doctor and was sent to Mercy. We later found out I had a post miscarriage infection that had caused PID.

Not fun.

I was given antibiotics, nausea medicine and pain meds. Lots of pain meds. But they weren't helping.

Finally, R asked if I had been using the oils. (Crazy that it took him to remind me, right?) To be honest, I was kind of thinking if prescription pain meds couldn't work, oils probably wouldn't either. But it couldn't hurt and he was offering a foot massage with them so of course I said lets try it! Looking up what to use and where in the handy reference guide, we massaged frankincense onto my abdomen, feet and around my right ankle. Ten minutes later I was in shock when I realized I wasn't in pain for the first time in weeks. I was literally pain free. Everywhere. I did this morning and night for a couple days and was feeling great. I started thinking maybe it was just that the antibiotics had started working and maybe it was just a coincidence on the timing so I took a morning off of the oils. By lunch time I was doubled over in pain again. Ten minutes after the next application, I was fine. I know I said before that I was on board, but after this I'm really convinced!

Hopefully you aren't currently on pain meds for anything but chances are you've had a headache, trouble sleeping, cramps, cuts, scrapes, bruises, stress or one of a million other ailments this month. There's an oil for that!

If you're interested in learning more, check out my intro to oils post (info on how to sign up will be there). I'll also be posting this week about getting started with oils. If you're interested in a crash course, let me know- I'd love to show you more and have you try them out for yourself!

Monday, February 17, 2014

snow day

If you know R, you know he's not a fan of the snow or cold. Mostly likely because he's spent every winter of his life inside a basketball gym. I used to love the snow but I'm finding the longer I'm married to R, the more I'm disliking the snow too. (Sad, I know!) So last year, it wasn't a huge surprise when B did NOT like the white stuff ('ick') when we officially introduced him. And this year, with it being a bajillion degrees below zero all winter, we hadn't really thought to take him back out in it. So you'll have to forgive me when I tell you I'm pretty sure today was B's first day ever of wearing snow pants. That's crazy, isn't it? That may be hard to believe but it shouldn't be hard to believe when I tell you we had to actually talk him into going outside at all. We enticed him by letting him know he could help shovel if he went out. Our little helper boy was sold and decided to go check things out. (He did shovel for quite awhile and loved it. Once the shoveling was done and it was time to play, he wasn't a huge fan. Though he did love the 10 second sled rides with Choe.) :) Happy Snow Day!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

how not to potty train your toddler

Friends without potty training toddlers... feel free to skip right over this post. Seriously. You'll probably think less of me if you read it so just keep scrolling. ;)

I feel like any post about potty training needs that disclaimer. Another disclaimer: This is totally not a brag post. It's just a topic I get asked A LOT about and wanted to have all the info in one place. There's a lot of info & commentary here. Feel free to skip to the bold points. Disclaimer #3: I hesitate to even put his ages for each part on here. The age thing will vary hugely by each child. The most important thing isn't paying attention to their age, but their signs of readiness. Lot's of kids are potty trained by 18 months or before so don't feel like it's too early to start. Lots of other kids aren't potty trained till closer to four so don't be discouraged either. Also, not a disclaimer but I feel like this is where I should ask for your prayers that this post does not jinx us and ensure that we have days of accidents ahead. It's totally okay to pray about that, right? :)

how not to potty train your toddler:

B.K. (that's before kids) I'm not sure I ever used the word 'poop' in public. Now it seems to be a weekly, if not daily, topic of conversation. It may be the thing that surprised me the most about parenthood.

But I'm jumping WAY ahead...

The other day, I posted this pic on instagram and explained why B was still going to the no pants party (more on that later) even though he was potty trained. That comment ensued no less than 15 messages about his potty training experience so I figured it'd be easiest to blog about it.

He started potty training himself around 18 months. We bought him a potty chair super early because I'd heard its good to just always have it around so they are used to it and it's there in case they show interest. (I always heard you should sit them on it with their diaper on when you could tell they were having a bowel movement. B is a sneaky pooper so we didn't do much of that.) He would occasionally check it out and often want to sit on it. This shot (around 17 months) was one of the first times he sat on it for awhile. He grabbed the book all on his own. How do they know these things?

So around that time, he decided he wanted to start going on the potty. I was so NOT ready to potty train (yes, I should just kick myself for that thought now). We let him go when he wanted to but didn't jump on the potty training bandwagon just yet. MISTAKE #1 we didn't follow the rule: WHEN THEY ARE READY TO TRAIN, GO FOR IT. And don't just go for it. Go all in. I know this rule too so I have no excuse for breaking it. But in my defense, I'd had my gallbladder out not long before this and was just lazy. Eh.

So occasionally he'd go on the potty (and almost always after waking up in the am, before and after nap, before bath time and before bed- those are prime time potty times! take advantage of them!). At this point he was sitting down and using the 'point it down' method. I worked the two year old daycare circuit  for four years and the method worked there so why mess with a good thing? It worked super awesome great until... his friend screamed, 'eww gross yuck' at the potty while he was sitting on it. And he almost fell in. MISTAKE #2 we didn't do: IF YOU'RE NOT USING A POTTY CHAIR, STICK THEM ON THE POTTY BACKWARDS. Again. Another tried and true rule I know. It gives them stability, it keeps the (boys') pee in the potty. And they don't get the living daylights scared out of them by almost falling in. Aye yi yi. This is where our potty training took a screeching halt.

It was a super, crazy long time (okay like a few months) before he was ready to try again. He came home from his friends' house (where he'd watched all his friends pee) and asked to use the potty. (This is huge for kids. If you have friends with potty trained kids who don't mind the audience, let your kid watch.) Ummm YES! Yes, you can! So I took him and he went. The following week was more of the same. We didn't want the potty training bandwagon to leave us behind this time so we jumped on as fast as we could. We started with the no underwear method. For two days he was undressed from the waist down and I set the time for 30 minutes. I took him every 30 minutes and he tried to go. If he didn't go, I'd take him back in 5 minutes. If he did, we'd try again in 30. These times stretched to 40, then 50 and eventually 60 as the day went on but shrunk back down to 30 after prime drinking times. He had lots of success in a short amount of time. We went shopping and picked out special underwear and even a special toy he could have once he pooped on the potty. We didn't make big deals out of accidents but we didn't tell him they were okay either. We just said something like, 'oh yes, you had an accident. next time you need to get to the potty and go in the potty.' For a few weeks, we used the time method while out and about or when friends were over (at that point he wouldn't ask to go in those situations) but otherwise, we relied on him to tell us when he needed to go. There were some accidents during that phase but I really wanted him to learn that he needed to be responsible for telling us when he had to go. After a couple weeks of that, I really wanted to take this to the road. We started putting him in underwear for longer outings too (we'd previously been sticking a diaper on him for these trips which is MISTAKE #3 but thankfully not a mistake we paid for). He got better at asking to go potty in these situations. Since Feb 1st, we've had an outing every single day (I told you I wanted to take this to the streets) and he's really starting to master the telling us when he has to go even if he's playing and having fun. At this point if it's been two hours or more, we stop the fun and have him try to go. (Shortening that time if it's soon after drinks.)

At this point we were using one diaper a day (I put one on him for nap, it'd generally stay dry so I'd reuse it for bedtime- is that gross?) and nearly zero accidents. I felt pretty confident in saying he was 'potty trained.'


We were missing a HUGE piece.

Remember how I said he was afraid to sit on the potty? Well we still hadn't fully gotten over that. He decided it was way better to stand to pee. (I dreaded this at first because we trained all the daycare kids as sitters so this was new territory for me. Once we figured out how to do it in public restrooms,* I'm actually thankful he's a stander and doesn't have a touch a single thing when I take him to the bathroom.) We started using the seat of his potty chair on the big toilet and encouraging him to spend some time sitting on the potty and 'trying' to go. We had his stuffed animals 'go' on the potty. We let him watch as many people go that would let him. MISTAKE #4 WE BRIBED HIM WITH A TOY TO SIT ON THE POTTY. We let him pick out a special toy and told him if he pooped on the potty he could have it. That wasn't working so we started letting him play with it while he was sitting on the potty, 'trying' to go. Well that turned into him wanting to sit on the potty just so he could play with his treasure chest. Doh. We'd never bribed him before and this was new territory for us. We clearly weren't good at it. He was way outsmarting us at this point. He would wait until morning and poop while he still had his nighttime diaper on before we got him out of bed. We weren't cleaning up accidents but he wasn't pooping in the potty either. He probably thought I would forget about worrying about it and I almost did...

Finally, I decided one day he was going to poop on the potty. I was done with the daily dance of asking him to try and yada dada da. I read this article and thought it sounded crazy but I sent it to R and to my surprise he said, yes. Let's do it. So that morning, I watched the monitor for him to wake up and got him out of bed before he asked to get up. I gave him breakfast, some toys and his iPad and stuck him in the bathroom. I explained to him he wasn't coming out until he went poop and shut the door. Then prayed. And prayed. and Prayed. I prayed even more when I saw this image in the monitor (I stuck the monitor in the bathroom so I could keep an eye on him). About 45 minutes in I was sure it was going to be a bust and we were going to miss our playdate. Five minutes after that he came running out saying potty!! I thought he meant he went potty. He didn't. I took him back to the bathroom. Five minutes later. Same thing. Potty!! I began to think maybe he meant he had to go. I took him back and gave him lots of encouragement to go. Shut the door and prayed again. (It's not fun feeling like you are locking your kid in the bathroom but I figured at this point I didn't have much to lose by keeping him in there all morning. Yikes.) Almost an entire hour after we started, I saw him going potty on the monitor! To spare you the details (and the picture I texted to Rusty), we had success! A little bit of a mess. But success! I felt like I'd won an olympic gold medal and B was pretty pumped about it too! He ran off to tell Dakota what he did and was SO proud of himself! We finally started our morning routine and before heading out the door for our playdate, he said, 'Hey! My treasure chest!' I totally got it out and let him have it of course. The next day, he woke up and said, 'poop on potty please.' MISTAKE #5 should probably be something about not locking your kid in the bathroom but it totally worked for us so use your own judgement there. ;)

Wow. That post got long.

In review, here's what worked for us:

1. Jump on the potty bandwagon when your little one shows interest.  Let them watch their friends if they can. The more kids they see on the potty training bandwagon, the better.

2. Have a no pants party** for a couple (or more) days before moving to underwear. Don't waste money on pull-ups. (If they have them on, they'll use them.)

3. Don't ask them if they need to go. Tell them when it's time to try. (We rarely ask B questions about things we want him to do. I hate giving him the option to say no.) ;)

4. Start relying on them early to tell you when it's time. (Accidents will happen. Don't make a big deal but don't say it's okay either.)

5. For the love of all things lovely, don't let them fall in the potty and scar them for life. This will hopefully eliminate some of the 'no potty' drama we experienced.

B is 27 months old today. If you do the math from 18 months (when he first showed interest) to today, that seems like a super long time. Thankfully, we only felt like we were actually 'potty training' for a few of those days so the process really wasn't as painful as it sounds. :)

And finally, as a former 2yo teacher, I feel like I should point out... if you're child goes to daycare, definitely talk to their teacher early on about potty training! Ask about their policy and what they do. It's super helpful for the child to have consistency at school and home.

*My friend taught me to have him stand on my feet. I balance on my heels and raise him up on my toes if needed but most toilets are short enough for him that he can just stand on my feet and go. Genius!

**The no pants party still goes on at our house on occasion. His favorite 'at home' outfit right now is shirt and underwear. I knew it was getting bad when we would go to put pants on and he'd ask where we were going. I knew it was getting REALLY bad when he took his shoes off to get comfy at the basketball game then tried to pull his pants off too (his underwear got caught in the pants and some boy parts were flashed). This could be chalked up under MISTAKE #6. Yikes.

updated: Potty training is a super hot topic. I've gotten tons of emails/facebook messages about this post. I just want to reiterate, it's not about their age. There's a wide range of ages children are potty trained at. 

A couple questions that came up... 

What should a parent do if they don't agree with their daycare's potty training method? I'm not sure. I don't know that we ever had that issue (from a teacher's standpoint) and we obviously don't have that issue from a parent standpoint. I would probably start by asking the teacher the whys and hows for what they do. There's likely a good reason. I would say it's less important to be 'right' or have the 'right' method and more important for your child to have consistency. If it's a huge issue to you, it might be something to ask when choosing a daycare before it becomes an issue. Anyone else have help with this one?

How much praise should be offered? I've heard lots of different views on this one. Some say to heap on the praise and have potty parties. Others say not to make a big deal out of it and just treat it as it's expected of them. We are somewhere in the middle. We let him know we're super excited about it but we don't exactly dance around and cheer for him... (okay we may have done that once or twice too...) ;)

What about bribes? Bribing should be used at your own risk. Everyone has a different theory on this. As a former teacher, I hate the WIIFM (what's in it for me) disease a lot of kids catch so we are very cautious with bribes for B (I'm totally not above bribing though... you know this if you've brought your child to me for pictures). ;) Some people swear by m&m bribes, others are totally against food bribes but okay with stickers and others skip the bribes all together. It's a super personal preference and one I don't feel comfortable giving you an 'answer' for. ;)

Other tips/ideas that people shared... some I had heard of before and some were new to me....

-If the automatic flush in public restrooms scares your child, carry a pack of sticky notes in your purse and cover the sensor with a sticky note. 
-Carry your potty seat in a plastic sack inside a tote bag if your child can't leave home without it. Makes public restrooms easier to master.
-Take a potty chair in the car for long road trips. When your little one has to go, 10 miles to the next restroom stop is too long to hold it. 
-Use a cheerio for a target for little boys (we don't do this one but I've heard a lot of people like it. I'm afraid my child would try to dig the cheerio out of the toilet and eat it...). ;) 
-Let daddy do the training with the boys. (Daddy definitely was a part of our process but it would be hard for him to take a few days off to do it by himself during basketball season. For us a team approach worked best.)
-Read a book or watch a video about potty training before you start. 

Most of all, I would encourage you not to stress over it or give up. Your child will figure it out. If it's not happening right away and becoming stressful for both of you, step away from it and come back to it when they start showing new signs of readiness again. Good luck!!


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