As a mother of two children – one who is potty trained and the other who isn’t, I understand that potty training is a huge milestone in the developmental process of children, and often causes a significant amount of stress for both the child and their parents. Here are some tips:
- The range for normal potty training is between 2-5 years old.
- Rather than stressing about potty training children based upon their age, it is important to take into consideration their developmental stage and readiness for potty training.
- Some signs of readiness for potty training are: 1. the child can stay dry for periods of 2-3 hours at a time 2. the child shows interest in the potty or imitates the parent or another child 3.the child can follow simple commands such as pulling their pants down, wiping, flushing the toilet, and washing their hands.
- There are many methods of potty training, each with advantages and disadvantages. Each child and family will respond to different strategies.
- One thing to keep in mind is that potty training can often be a long process, up to several months, and it is important to not stress about it too much.
- When parents become stressed about potty training, this can carry over to the child and make potty training more difficult.
- Once you feel that your child is ready for potty training, start off by slowly introducing the subject to them through books and discussions. Your public library may have books for you and your child about potty training.
- It may also be helpful to purchase a potty chair for your child or allow them to pick out their own potty chair.
- Start off by having your child sit on the potty chair with their clothes on several times per day, maybe while you are using the bathroom, getting them used to the idea of sitting on the potty.
- Then transition to having them sit on the potty without their diaper on and trying to go potty at the same time each day.
- Once your child is able to go on the potty, begin making frequent trips to the bathroom, but do not punish them if they cannot go or if they have accidents.
- Accidents are very common during potty training and should be expected for a while. Children tend to respond well to praise, so it is important to praise them each time that they are able to go in the potty.
- Physical rewards such as stickers or candy are often offered, but are not always necessary. Words can go a long way, depending upon the child.
- Once your child is dry consistently during the day, it still can be common for them to experience accidents, especially during times of stress or if they are too busy playing.
- The birth of a sibling can often be a stressful time for children and some children may regress in potty training after a new sibling arrives.
- Children don’t always stop wetting the bed at the same time that they are potty trained during the day. They can wet the bed for several months, up to years, after potty training.
For more information and resources on this topic, visit chw.org. Good luck!
~ Heidi Vanderpool, APN, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin Urology Clinic
Kids today are busier than ever. Between play dates, karate lessons, soccer practice, homework and dreaded household chores, children often have more than their fair share of pressures. Dealing with divorcing parents can make life even harder.
Parents often fear their children will be harmed because of a divorce. The good news? Research shows that children with divorced parents can lead the same happy lives that children with married parents lead.
By following a few communication “dos” and “don’ts,” you can help yourself, your former partner and most importantly, your children, adjust to a new lifestyle with greater ease.
- Use “I” statements. Instead of saying, “You make me feel uncomfortable,” try saying, “I feel uncomfortable.” Using “I” statements is an effective way to communicate without triggering conflict with your former partner.
- Compromise with your ex-partner whenever possible. Even after a divorce, there still are a lot of issues that couples must work through, especially when children are involved. Parents must learn how to compromise to reach a solution that will best benefit their children. If parents don’t compromise, conflict is bound to happen.
- Tell the people who care for your children about your divorce. During the early stages of divorce, it is common to see physical and emotional changes in kids. Tell teachers, doctors and babysitters about the divorce so they can help support your children.
- Give your children permission to love both parents. Children need to know it is OK to talk about the fun time they had with Mom over the weekend without feeling like they are hurting Dad.
- Say bad things about your ex-partner. Saying things like, “He is so selfish,” or “She just can’t manage her money,” sends strong messages to children. If you insult someone that your children love, they likely will take this message personally.
- Discuss finances with your children. Money issues continue to be a leading cause of marital issues for many couples. During divorce, talks surrounding money can grow even more heated. It is important to keep money issues strictly between you and your former partner.
- Use your child as a source of support. Many children are wise beyond their years. As a parent you must remember that they still are children. Kids should never have to stand in as a counselor for mom or dad.
The bottom line is that your children have two parents who love them dearly. While you may not be able to see eye-to-eye with your former partner, it is critical that you come together to do what is right for life’s greatest gift – your child.
Sandy Stetzer is a visitation program supervisor for Children’s Service Society of Wisconsin.
Halloween is the time of year I insist on two rules – be creative and be safe. The kids and I start exploring different ideas in August. We talk about what they dressed up as in past years and what they are really into this year. Then, we have a reality check and focus on what we can make without sewing.
This year, my son is completely wrapped around “Star Wars: the Clone Wars” and begged to be Captain Rex. I know my creative limitations and his expectations, so despite my …Continue reading →
The autumn months bring pumpkin picking and lots of other fun family activities, but also an increase in illnesses and visits to the doctor. As a doctor and a dad, I know the importance of making the most of every trip to the pediatrician’s office. Here are a few of my favorite tips for making the most of your child’s visit to the doctor.
- Tell your doctor about any change in your family’s health history. Cases of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and cancer are examples of things your doctor should know.
- Tell the doctor if someone else has seen your child for an illness or injury, such as emergency room or urgent care visits or a specialist.
- Bring a list of all the medications your child is taking. This should include over-the-counter medications, vitamins and herbal supplements, as well as prescription medication.
- If your child is sick, write down when the symptoms began and what the symptoms are. This is even more important if your child has a chronic or long-standing illness.
The more detail you can offer your child’s doctor, the better he or she will be able to diagnose and treat your child.
Ask questions. At regular check-ups:
- Ask what you might need to know about caring for your child between this visit and the next one. Make sure you know when the next visit should take place.
- Ask what changes your child might go through before your next visit such as growth, development and feeding stages. Your doctor can provide helpful nutritional and safety advice no matter your child’s age.
- Ask where else you can get good information on parenting, safety and other related topics, such as Internet sites, books and magazines.
- Ask if your child’s immunizations are up to date. If they are not, make a plan to get your child caught up. Getting your child immunized is one of the most important ways to prevent illness and keep your child healthy.
It is helpful to come with questions written down so you don’t forget to ask them. Also, make sure you understand the answers your doctor gives you. Don’t be afraid to ask for more information. It’s our job to help explain things in simple language.
Unfortunately, you may need to wait to see your doctor. Ask front office staff if you can call before your visit to find out if things are running on time. Sometimes a little advanced planning can ease frustration and help visits run on time.
Most importantly, enjoy the time with your pediatrician. The two of you are talking about a most precious and wonderful gift – your child.
Michael Gutzeit, MD, is a pediatrician and chief medical officer at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin
There’s still time this summer to hit the road or take to the skies for a family trip. Whether it’s a short visit to grandma’s house or a trip across the country, traveling with children can be challenging. When embarking on a family trip, consider selecting a destination that’s geared toward children.
Whether you are traveling by car, plane, train or bus, the key to an enjoyable trip with your child is to plan ahead. Advanced planning will ensure a successful, fun vacation and reduce the stress associated with traveling as a family.
Here are some things you can do to ensure you and your children have an enjoyable and memorable experience: …Continue reading →
Kids and teens are fascinated with water, especially after a storm like our area experienced last night. The rush of the waves, the hype from grown-ups and sometimes, the closing of activities, all create excitement.
Understanding this, it is important for the adults to watch out for kids during and after storms. Deciding to go walk across, go swimming or fishing in a river can be very risky. Others may decide to use a raft or inner tube to go whitewater rafting. My advice? Just don’t do it.
Children also tend to go in groups to check out the water. If one child gets caught in a current, another child may try to save him or her. This can result in a double tragedy. If you or your child sees someone who has fallen in the water, call 911. Do not try to save the other person.
As powerful weather continues to hit our area, be careful. Watch your children. Make sure you are present at all times.
- Marlene Melzer-Lange, MD, medical director of Emergency Services at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin
The Emergency Department at Children’s Hospital is a Level 1 Pediatric Trauma Center that treats more than 60,000 children each year.
Each day in emergency rooms nationwide, more than 700 kids are treated for injuries received while riding bikes, skateboards and scooters. Many of these injuries are life-threatening and disabling. Wearing helmets and other protective gear, and following the rules of the road, can help prevent injuries.
I recommend the following tips to assure your child wears a bike helmet:
- When you buy your child’s first bike, buy a helmet, too.
- Make wearing a helmet a rule you enforce.
- Be a role model; always wear a helmet when you ride a bike.
- Let your child personalize the helmet by using stickers to decorate it.
- Praise your child and others for wearing their helmets.
- Help your child realize the head is the most important part of the body.
- Help your child’s school establish and support the rule: “If you ride your bike to school, you must wear a helmet.”
- Make sure the helmet fits properly. If the helmet is too loose, it is not protecting your child’s head.
Do your kids make positive choices when it comes to safety? Each day, they find themselves in many situations where they have to make a choice. The new exhibit, Kohl’s Healthy Kids: It’s Your Move! at Betty Brinn Children’s Museum in Milwaukee makes learning about safety fun.
As kids climb, crawl and move through the exhibit, they’ll have to complete various health-related activities and challenges, including a take-off on the game, Operation. Kids use a stylus to carefully navigate throughout their “days.” Along the way, they’ll be faced with situations in which they must choose the safest way to get out. If they make a bad choice, they’ll get buzzed.
Kohl’s Healthy Kids: It’s Your Move! was developed in partnership with Children’s Hospital and Health System and brought to you by Kohl’s Department Stores. Learn more at bbcmkids.org.
-Colleen Schultz, Children’s Health Education Center.
“You’re lucky you got him here when you did. If you had waited any longer, he could have died.”
I remember Dr. Cohen saying that as if it were yesterday. I can see where we were standing. I can see what I was wearing. I can see my wife crying. And then I remember very vividly his next sentence, “It’s ok. He’s going to be just fine.” Patrick had ruptured his appendix and if it weren’t for Dr. Cohen, the toxins released could have killed him within a few hours.
It happened between the first and second year of the Dave and Carole Miracle Marathon. I remember the first year of the marathon vividly, for a very embarrassing reason. On the morning of the first day of the telethon, I showed up late because I had driven downtown to the old location around 20th and Wisconsin. The hospital hadn’t been at that location for almost 10 years. Here I was, a guy with a 4-year old son who was about to go on the air for three days to raise money for the hospital, and I didn’t even know where it was located.
…Continue reading →
It’s a fact: At least half of kids do not take part in physical activity that promotes long-term health. Here’s another fact: Exercise is an important part of keeping kids healthy. Regular exercise helps kids:
- Manage stress.
- Build a positive self-image.
- Learn in school.
- Keep weight under control.
- Build and keep healthy bones and muscles.
- Get a better night’s sleep.
…Continue reading →
It’s finally here: spring! It’s time to open the windows to let in some fresh air!
But wait, this also is the time of year when you hear news reports about small children falling from windows. In fact, every year, thousands of children fall from open windows causing serious injury or death. This year, there already have been at least two incidences in our area.
Window screens are not enough. They are made to keep bugs outside – they won’t keep children inside. There is an effective device that can help protect children from falling out of windows – window guards. These guards are easy to install and have a release mechanism in case of an emergency.
Remember, no device replaces active parent supervision. Safety items such as window guards are an aide to help busy, overworked parents.
…Continue reading →