Tag Archives: sleep

Potty Training and Beyond!

Oh, potty training.
I get asked what the American Sign Language sign is for POTTY a lot in my baby sign language classes. Some parents are starting earlier rather than later, with their newborns and babies, like my mom-friend Lindsay Coulter, who writes the Queen of Green blog for the David Suzuki Foundation. Check out her son, Wyn, on the potty at 4 months old!

The sign for POTTY should be added to the conversation whenever babies and kids use the TOILET or POTTY -it’s the same sign for both. The visual cue (sign) as well as your spoken language (word) creates two opportunities for your kids to learn and follow your prompting about potty training. To sign POTTY, make a fist and tuck your thumb underneath your index finger, and then twist your whole hand at the wrist sideways few times.

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Newborns to toddlers, every child needs to be potty trained at some point. I trained both of my two kids at around age 2 1/2. One was easier than the other, but for both it took between 4-6 months until they were diaper free in the daytime.

Nighttime was a different story

Potty training takes patience. Even once my daughter mastered daytime potty training, we went through many, many, many months of nighttime wetness. It seems that little bodies that know how to go to the bathroom during the day don’t necessarily wake up at night to go pee. My son’s body had a long go of it, he was 7 years old before his body was automatically waking up to get himself to the bathroom. So for both kids I spent many nights washing sheets and remaking beds.

In the dark.

While my naked toddler sat on the floor shivering.

My history with nighttime potty training is looooong and wet. And I will admit, it made me quite cranky to change wet sheets in the dark while also trying to soothe my wimpering, shivering, cold child (and avoid the pee myself!).
I thought I was so smart when I started double-making the bed: 1 plastic sheet + 1 fabric sheet + a 2nd plastic sheet + a 2nd fabric sheet. When I got the warbly call from their bedroom that they were wet, I’d pull off the top sheet and plastic sheet, get my kid redressed and back into bed, and throw the wet sheets in the laundry. Not bad, but my genius idea exhausted me; I still had a full set of sheets to wash in the morning, and then re-make the bed each day. Every day. And those plastic sheets were crinkly and made my kids sweat like crazy.

I wish I had been as smart as my friends, Liz and Amanda! They’ve created a brilliant solution: PeapodMats -a soft, terry-cloth mat that doesn’t slip or leak and goes ON TOP OF your child’s sheets. It absorbs and locks in the wetness within its waterproof backing. Yes, that means all you have to do is pull off the mat and throw that in the wash.


Your sheets and mattress stay dry.

No wet sheets, no remaking the bed, only one thing to wash. Simple, soft, and effective. And it doesn’t take away the sensation of being wet on the top, so kids’ bodies still learn that they need to wake up. I love them for nighttime sleeping, and also for daytime playing, strolling, and sitting.



PeapodMats are eco-friendly, washable, waterproof and useful (which I know my friend Lindsay will love)! And Liz and Amanda have given me one to giveaway!

Enter to WIN A PEAPODMAT of your own. Contest ends June 7th, 2014.

More info about Peapodmats and what they’re made of HERE
Photos by Tracy Paterson Photography

Sick Day

So it’s the last week of school before Christmas break, and my kids have been home sick. Poor things, I know. And for me it means three full days being trapped at home with sputtering, wheezing, sneezing little ones who are miserable and bored silly. I have a lengthy to-do list this week, with several important tasks to tick off before relatives start arriving on the weekend and an impending trip to the grandparents’, but what exactly am I doing?

I’m playing balloon volleyball
in the living room, of course!

My kids have never, ever been great sleepers. As babies they would only sleep under perfect conditions -in their cribs in a quiet, dark room. Never would you see me in public with a peacefully dozing newborn! Rather, you’d notice the big red-lined eyes of my baby as she pays close attention to what is happening outside her seat or stroller. My darling baby son was the same way. I’m (mostly) at peace with it now, and over the years I’ve worked hard to create bedtime routines that, for the most part, work. But as all parents know, the gloves come off when kids get sick.

So, in order to ensure my kids get some rest to feel better when they’re sick, I tuck them into bed with books & comics and ply them with soup, smoothies, and healthy snacks as their appetite allows. And if they can’t keep from jumping out of bed, I clear out the furniture for some balloon volleyball to tucker them out! We all end up sweating with efforts to keep the balloon from touching the ground as we pass back and forth around the room. Today, we even made an ad hock centre line with string for passing the balloon over with only 3 hits. Soon they both flopped to the ground (well, me too) and I suggested we all go lie down in our beds.

Do you have ways to cope with your kids at home sick?


I hope your Christmas list is getting tackled, please wish me luck on mine!