Product Reviews 99
For the last two or so years, diapers have been part of the daily grind, just as that extra cup of coffee probably has. One of the most distinct memories I have from the early years of mothering my three children is the sheer amount of diapers! For a brief moment in history, we even had all three in diapers at one time. Whether you use cloth diapers or disposable, diapers are no mom’s favourite element of child rearing, of that I’m sure. Given that nobody enjoys diapering, the idea of potty training should have us leaping for joy, right? Maybe, but likely no. Potty training is a whole new world and can be intimidating for any parent, whether you’re a first time mom, or having your third go at it. When are they ready? How on earth to go about it? And is there really a difference between boys, girls, and age? Here are my thoughts.
When is your child ready for potty training?
There’s no perfect age, but there is a window
This is a varying season and is unique for every child, so don’t worry too much if you have friend’s whose children are already trained, or in the process, before your child is there. Generally, children potty train between age two and three and a half, and typically girls potty train more quickly. That said, even in my own family each of my three were unique, so don’t stress if your child isn’t ready yet, or push it if you’re not personally ready to commit to training him.
Awareness of their body
For potty training to work, your child needs to be aware of her body and what’s happening. This often happens with children as young as 12-18 months, but alone it doesn’t mean they’re ready. You can teach your children this when you believe they’re going in their diaper, and telling them what’s happening. This is especially easy when toddlers are going number two, as their bodies tend to react more and they usually pause from playing for that brief moment. If they’re vocal otherwise, but aren’t saying they’re going, you can tell them casually, “Looks like you’re ready to go poop!” or ask, “are you going poo-poo?”. Help your child connect what’s happening with the words (whichever words your family chooses to use for these bathroom activities!). It’s a good sign that your child is beginning to care when you hear them announce that they’re going in their diaper. Listen for “pee pee!” and “poo poo!” – it’s a great marker of readiness, even if it’s not the most polite conversation!
Mobility and ability
This is a main reason why toddlers before age two don’t tend to potty train successfully – potty training requires mobility! Is your child able to quickly get to a potty, even if it’s in the other room, before having an accident? Is your child able to pull up and down their own underwear and pants? Speech isn’t absolutely necessary for successful potty training, but as I mentioned above, it helps a great deal. I found that my children were stronger in their physical abilities and speech closer to age three, which made potty training them then, a lot easier.
Get them on board
Once you’ve determined your child is ready to potty train, you need to get them on board. Talk to them about wearing diapers and ask them if they’d rather use the potty just like mom and dad use the toilet. Most kids get really excited about the idea of underwear and being “grown up”, but if your child resists, don’t push it. Revisit in a week or two, and try to keep it a light conversation.
How to potty train your child
Clear your schedule
Potty training usually takes a couple of days, minimum, so it’s important to clear your schedule. I didn’t venture out with my potty training kids until I’d seen a degree of success at home first. Of course, accidents happen, but they discourage your child (and you!), so planning a grocery shopping trip the day after you begin probably isn’t a good idea.
Practice makes perfect, so you need a lot of opportunities for your child to learn, which means a lot of liquids. My kids weren’t ferocious drinkers beyond water at each meal, so I had to ease up on my no-juice rule when potty training. A bit of fruit juice in their water bottle had them guzzling away, which lead to a lot of practice! Just be extra diligent about tooth brushing on those days. Once they’ve drank a lot, they’ll soon be peeing every ten minutes or so. The first several times, your child will probably wet themselves wherever they are, but as soon as you see it happening, rush them to their potty and have them finish there. If they’re already finished, still carry them to their potty and gently remind them “this is where we go pee!”. Keep the liquids coming and they’ll continue the learning process.
Consistency and Calm
The key is to be as consistent as possible, and never lose your cool. This is why it’s so important to clear your schedule, because that first day is a continuous loop of your child drinking, going pee, and you taking them to their potty. I think my first child had over fifteen accidents before she made it to the potty to finish a pee that she began on the floor, but it was sweet progress when it happened! Every time they have an accident and don’t make it to the potty, be consistent with your reminder, “this is where we go pee!” or “we go pee on the potty”.
Set them up to succeed
There are a few things you can do to help your child have the very best shot at potty training. Always have the potty nearby at the beginning. If they switch rooms, bring the potty to them and keep it close. We used the Baby Bjorn Potty Chair and loved it. If your home is on two stories, consider one for upstairs and another for the main floor. Also, I found having them in pants tended to complicate things, so we potty trained them in just underwear, or their birthday suit. Definitely avoid complicated bottoms with buttons and zippers at first. We also helped our kids with wiping for the first while, and focused on them learning to use the potty without over-complicating the process for them. In time, definitely teach them to clean up after themselves, but for the start, keep it simple. Lastly, tackle potty training in a potty first and don’t worry just yet about the toilet (which is higher, larger, and more difficult).
When your child has their first successful trip to the potty, it’s a big deal! Celebrate accordingly with praise, hugs, encouraging words, and some sort of treat (stickers, chocolate chips, etc). After that, plan some sort of reward for their first full day without any accidents. Never punish them for having an accident, but instead celebrate and reward when they’re dry.
Potty training is a messy endeavour, and it can mean a few very long days, but the results are huge! Giving your child that independence and watching them grow up pulls at your heart strings, but it’s also so rewarding. Good luck!
Emily is a Montreal-based writer and blogger, but most importantly, a mom of three littles (age five and under). She geeks out over cloth diapers, lattes, and will do just about anything to travel. You can find her on Instagram @emmorrice where she profusely overgrams pictures of her meals, kids and city.
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As a family of five, we have used our stroller almost every day for the past seven years, and I foresee us continuing to use it for at least another year or two. In the past we have relied upon our larger triple stroller for our Irish triplets, but as our kids are growing up, a quality, lightweight, convenience stroller is just the ticket. We recently test drove Maxi-Cosi’s new Kaia Stroller, and found it met all of our needs and more!
To start with, the Kaia is a beautiful stroller. I know we should only be concerned with the specs and safety (and of course, I’ll get to that!), but I had to start off here – you will love the look of this modern, sleek stroller. I love neutrals, so the special edition Sparkling Grey won be over immediately! Other cosmetic features that you’ll love are the huge under basket (the largest I’ve ever see on a compact stroller) and cup holder. With the nice weather finally here, I like to leave the house with my kids in the morning and not come home until dinner time, so having small features like this are a huge help.
There’s so much to love about the Maxi-Cosi Kaia. It folds up super easily and takes up very little space, It’s adaptable with an infant car seat, and suitable for kids all the way up to 50lbs. This little gem is the only stroller you’ll ever need, from birth until they’re out-running you!
As a tall mom, I have had such trouble finding strollers with handles tall enough as not to leave me hunching over and a frame that allow for my long stride. I’ve also heard this complaint from most dad’s I know! Yet this compact stroller sports higher handles and is shaped perfectly for a long stride. If you’re a petite mom, this won’t bother you at all, but for taller folks it’s a game changer.
Much lighter than my triple stroller, the Kaia comes in a 19lbs. Even though it’s lightweight it’s a very stable, solid stroller, unlike some compact and umbrella strollers on the market. For this next stage of life for us, with our babies growing up and always on the go, this stroller is a terrific option! It is strong enough to accommodate heavy usage (we rarely drive and use our stroller almost daily) and heavy kids! Our youngest still has 15lbs of wiggle room before she’ll outgrow the Kaia and even our older kids can use it if they get tired while we’re out. This is a reliable, affordable, and beautiful stroller! High five, Maxi-Cosi!
With all the learning and new discoveries happening in the first year of your child’s life (for both you and baby), the best thing you can do is find the greatest time savers, parenting hacks and pro-tips to make things just a little easier on yourself. Mealtimes can be stressful as it is without having to worry about the dietary restrictions of an infant, so finding the best time and sanity savers for feeding baby was high on my priority list.
As someone who generally likes to cook and try new recipes as well as control all of the ingredients that my children are eating, I enjoy making my own baby food. With my first child I learned to steam or roast different ingredients and then pour them all into a small, low powered blender to grind them up into a medium suitable for my toothless infant. This worked for me and I began to enjoy coming up with new combinations and seeing what flavour profiles she took to. Four years and another child later, I still enjoy cooking but I find that I have become more of a short order cook and less of a gourmet chef. Balancing the dietary
demands preferences of my toddler along with the meals for both my husband and I and now a solid eating baby was becoming overwhelming and resulted in lots of dishes. And then I was introduced to the Beaba Babycook and mealtimes are forever changed.
One machine that both steams and purees food in the same container, this workhorse has been awarded a permanent spot on my countertop. With the ability to steam fruits, vegetables, meat or fish from raw to fully cooked in 15 minutes while locking in the nutrients and vitamins, my mealtimes have added variety but newfound simplicity. The Babycook model I have is equipped with two large capacity bowls so I am able to cook two completely different meals at one time and then puree them (if I so desire) to the consistency I need. For breakfast I am able to make myself a smoothie on one side while I steam fruits or veggies to mix infant cereal on the other side. I can make plain chicken for my toddler at dinner while I make a three veg puree for my son on the other side. And I am never cleaning more than 4 dishes to prepare it all.
After owning this machine for just a few weeks I have already made dozens of different meals- from simple steamed carrot puree to a three food group mashup, and surprisingly all have been a success. I have found myself getting more adventurous in the kitchen again to explore new tastes and combinations. In case you are looking to try something new, here is one of my favourites that I have made to date.
I heard of a famous NYC chef that would whip roasted bananas into his mashed potatoes to create a side dish that people raved about all over the country. I used this as inspiration for this simple recipe.
Roasted Banana and Sweet Potato Mash
3 bananas in the peel
2 medium sized sweet potatoes, cut into 1/2″ cubes
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place bananas on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper or a non stick backing mat. Cook bananas for 20-25 minutes, until skins turn brown and some of the sticky juices begin to leak out. Allow bananas to cool slightly.
While bananas are cooking in the oven, place chopped sweet potatoes in the Babycook steamer basket. Fill water reservoir to a level 3, close the lid and press the steam button to begin cooking. After 15 minutes or so, the timer will sound and the potatoes are ready. Use the Babycook spatula to tip the steamer basket over into the remaining cooking liquid and puree the potatoes until they are lump free. Peel the cooked bananas open and dump the mushy insides into the sweet potato puree. Stir with the spatula and then blend until both ingredients are smooth and combined. This makes around 6 servings so pour the remainder in an air tight container and store in the fridge, or use the Beaba Multiportions to freeze the leftovers.
Watch as baby delights in this sweet but nutritious treat.
My son loves this combination and I don’t mind sneaking in a few bites myself. The best part is that once it is made, I can reheat the leftovers in the Babycook on another night and not worry about dirtying another pot, inconsistent microwave heating or burning it on the stove. The MultiPortions make it easy to heat one serving at a time and it pops out easily from the silicone tray, meaning I don’t have to thaw it in advance.
The Babycook has certainly changed the way I make food for my children and has made mealtimes much easier and truthfully, a bit more exciting. Using the cooking guidelines in the included recipe book and instruction manual allows you to create your own combinations and when you are feeling less creative you can find a ton of recipes on the Beaba website and around the internet. As your child grows, you can continue to use this to prepare different stage foods and I am looking forward to trying those out in the near future. Finding a time saving gadget that is healthy, is not quickly outgrown and is easy to use is an all around win in my books!
As a part time cloth diaperer, I have been curious to try reusable swim diapers to see how they compare to the convenience of my usual disposable swimmies. I have always disliked that waterlogged, saggy bum look with the disposables (as well as the impact on the landfill) but truthfully didn’t give much thought to a reusable cloth swim diaper (despite being very familiar with cloth diapers of the regular variety). When I was offered the chance to review the AppleCheeks Washable Swim Diaper, I jumped at the chance.
When it arrived in the mail I was struck by how light and thin it was. Would this really protect me from being called out as the ‘Mom Of The Kid Who Fouled In The Pool’? It was so stretchy and soft- not bunchy and scratchy like the multilayered design of my previous disposables. I was eager to put this swim solution to the test so I did what any nervous mom would do- I asked my own mom to come with me! She could hold the baby while I took photos, that way, should anything “escape” from that little diaper, she would be the one holding the guilty party, not me!
I love that these diapers are available in two different sizes. My son is about 18 lbs, which is at the higher end of size one and the lowest weight of size two. I went with the size two and hoped he wouldn’t have to “grow into it.” When I tried it on him for the first time, I realized that the swim diaper is just as genius as AppleCheeks‘ popular envelope style cloth diaper- with snaps at both the waist and the legs to obtain the ideal fit. As promised, it was perfect and I began to think that this diaper might really have the containment powers it promised. The other thing I immediately noticed was that there were no rub points on the diaper, which is perfect for my babe’s sensitive skin.
Into the pool we went, armed with a diaper and a silent prayer that we would not be responsible for evacuating parent and tot swim. I am happy to report that we swam about for 40 minutes with no incident. About the only thing that did happen was having three (3!) separate moms come up to ask us where we got the diaper and how we liked it. When we completed our dip we headed to the change room to dry off and not only were we lacking that soggy, waterlogged diaper, the diaper was almost dry to the touch immediately after we got out. I expected it to be heavy with the weight of the fabric and moisture, but it was seemingly absent of anything other than my son’s cute little baby bum. He laid happily kicking his legs while I changed him and marvelled at this crazy swim technology.
All in all, my honest review is that I absolutely loved this swim diaper and will continue to use this line for all of our swimming needs, be it beach, pool, or lake! I am wowed by so much more than I thought I would be, so I had to make a Love List:
- The fit- all those snaps give you the best options for the perfect fit at both the waist and the thighs
- The feel- So soft both when it is dry and wet and absolutely no rub points or velcro.
- Lets water flow through instead of soaking it all up- no waterlogged soggy diapers!
- Adorable colours- I tried the Bondi Blue (bright and bold) but it is also available in three other colours- Sail Away, Suddenly Sunny and Breath of Fresh Air– all equally adorable.
- Convenience- Lighter and smaller than a disposable swim diaper and easy to care for/wash
- Doesn’t end up in a landfill
- CANADIAN MADE! I love supporting Canadian products AND AppleCheeks is owned and founded by two amazing female entrepreneurs, which also makes my heart sing a little.
I would really love to give you a balanced review with an accompanying list of cons but I truly found none. These retail for $19.99, so they are completely affordable (much cheaper in the long run over buying bags of disposables) and to sweeten the deal, they are on sale for 15% off for the entire month of March!! Some styles have sold out so hurry if you would like to get one or two for yourself! I have already ordered a second colour and can’t wait to pair these with matching rash guards for the summer. All in all, the maiden voyage went swimmingly and we will never go back to disposable swim diapers again!
Have you heard of Stonz? They’re a great, made in Canada line that I’ve wanted to try forever, and so I got my hands on a pair of the new Toddler Booties! At first the boots are a little weird and take some getting used to as they’re much different than other boots on the market. First off, your toddler can wear their shoes inside if they like, so they’re a much softer boot than the general hard boot you’d find out there. If you do want to use their shoes inside, you need to buy with that in mind. Then they have liners (“linerz”) for warmer winter use and you can remove them for fall and spring. How versatile is that? As you can see I opted for the most exciting colour/pattern around: all black (although they come in 14 different designs).
These ones are “new” in the Stonz line because they have a new waterproof sole on them – it’s more durable and slip resistant than previously and you can RECYCLE THEM when you’re done. I’m a huge fan of that! You can find the new sole on the medium, large or x-large booties. The soles contain something called PLUSfoam so I took a swing by their website to learn a bit more about the product. It’s nice to know I own a product that is made with responsible manufacturing processes in mind, and these are no exception – they claim their products produce no manufacturing waste and zero post-consumer waste. Sounds good to me!
One of the best things is that they’re SUPER lightweight so your kid isn’t lugging around a giant pair of boots that weigh close to what they do. The two drawstrings are great on the boots as they keep them on in two places (and prevent the surprise of arriving at your destination to a toddler in barefeet).
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