Baby/Toddler stuff

Sleep Training a Toddler

So we got ourself into a bit of a predicament! May 2019 we went on holiday, the single bed wasn’t in a safe room for Dot- so she slept with us. On our return home we stayed with co-sleeping for ease, but now we really need to regain our bed and bedtime sanity.

Fortunately I met Rebecca from Sleepytime Sleep recently- and she agreed to work with us to get Dorothea to sleep in the own room. (Rebecca kindly gifted this programme to us- so posts related to this on social media will be marked as an AD)

We were totally ‘stuck in a rut’ and didn’t know how to start the process of moving Dot back to her own room, we’re totally used to the routine (of almost nothing routine) of all going to bed together, and part of both of us loved the evening tickles and cuddles. BUT Dorothea is not a delicate 3 year old- she’s a chunky tall girl, and likes to sleep limbs akimbo!

Meaning mine and Daddy’s sleep has suffered massive negative effects; waking up with bad necks/backs from contorting ourselves around her, getting woken up by kicks, face strokes and often a finger up the nostril!

Rebecca’s process begins with a quick 15 minute call – to discuss current issues and end goals, she briefly spoke me though how her process works and gave lots of reassurance that our issue is resolvable with a little work. She then emailed me a comprehensive questionnaire to complete: this covered everything from Dots daytime routine, bedtime and naptimes, her personality and what sleep supports she has.

A few days after I’d completed the questionnaire Rebecca sent the sleep plan, and arranged a zoom call to talk through it. Although the personalised plan looked like a whopper of a document: it was easy to understand and follow. The plan talks you through what to do day by day, with a proposed bedtime and attached routine; the plan changes every three days, to eventually mean you can put your child to bed awake and they’ll settle to sleep independently (sounded like the dream)

Rebecca gave me loads of tips to help get Dorothea, and her room ready for a new way of bedtime. I gave her room a big clean and tidy, decluttering also, to make the room relaxing and less distracting. We bought Dot a ‘gro clock’ which is blue for bedtime, and turns yellow when its time to get up, a set up some dimmable lights and also made up a ‘sleepy spray’ with essential oils.

Night 1

I explained to Dot throughout the day that she’d be sleeping in her own room tonight. We had a busy day, to ensure she was tired and avoided the dreaded nap. Dinner at 5.30, bath at 6.30, jigsaw with Nanna post bath and then up-to bed.

Surprisingly no crying at all- I followed Rebeccas advice to a tee, and Dot was asleep by 8.04.

The next day Rebecca checked in with us to see how we got on; like myself she was pleasantly surprised with how well it went.

Night 2

Dot now knew the process, was happy to jump in bed and have her stories- she was asleep by 7.40pm! so different to her bouncing on our bed til 9pm. That night we did have 2 wake ups, but she quickly settled. And she woke up at 7.45- her clock goes yellow at 7.15.

Looking back at our sleep diary; it seems that Dot is now always asleep within 20 minutes of getting into bed. Having a night of no wake ups is now common place: and if she does wake up and call out to us, she usually settles herself, or we can settle her within a couple of minute’s.

Part way into the plan we made a last minute decision to take a trip away to the coast, because I was nervous about how this would affect Dots sleeping I asked Rebecca if we could have a chat. She advised me to stick to the plan as closely as possible, mimicking bedtime and routines such as stories and sleep spray. Our trip away landed on nights 13, 14 and 15 of the plan- I was worried as she had such busy days she ended up having short naps in the car (unusual for her), but I was pleasantly surprised when Dot reacted well to the same routine, only playing us up a little bit, and we managed to have full nights sleep with no early wake ups!

The week after our trip away I returned to work for the first time in 4 months (due to shielding from COVID). This meant leaving Dot with grandparents, when she had been used to having me at home so much; I was therefore again wary that this may affect her sleep routine as she had become a little clingy. That week she went to bed pretty well, but we noticed a little increase in nighttime wake ups.

We have now completed a full 3 weeks of using the Sleepytime sleep plan. Dot now loves her room and bed, and never complains at bedtime. She is pretty much always fast asleep by 8pm, meaning that me and Daddy can watch a movie or share a bottle of wine. We rarely have nighttime wake ups, but if we do they are quickly resolved. So in turn me and Daddy are also sleeping much better.

I’m so pleased we decided to bite the bullet and speak to sleepytime sleep, its honestly changed our life loads. Although for the first week its quite challenging to adjust to the changes, you quickly find your way and start to appreciate the extra hours in the day.

Dorothea has also shown great changes; with her improved sleep she wakes a much happier girl, less moody tantrums and actually says when she tired and wants to go to bed.

 

Rebecca at Sleepytime sleep offers free 15min calls: so if you are stuck in a rut too, then drop her a message.

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Baby/Toddler stuff, Milestones

Potty training

People say potty training is one of the most stressful parts of parenthood; so no wonder why I’ve been putting it off!

Dot is nearly 3.5years- so yes we are ‘late’ to the game I think. But our potty training journey actually started years ago! The summer after she was 1 Dot was regularly using the potty and doing a poo, but wees have always been elusive- at the end of that summer she suddenly lost interest.

I vowed not to start again until I thought she was ready; I thought she’d suddenly show an interest, but that didn’t happen. So on her turning 3 I thought I’d start to get the wheels in motion, toilet seats were purchased for each loo (Peppa Pig- in the hope of encouraging her), we slowly started to encourage her to use the loo- starting with morning, bath time and bedtime- but no luck and no interest.

As lockdown started I had every intention to start again and really ‘train’ her- but again I never really found the motivation.

But then one night I decided the next day was it- no more nappies!

That morning after removing Dots bedtime nappy I told her she’d be wearing pants (after all we’d been talking about pants/potties/potty books/songs for ages) …..

MELTDOWN

It lasted about an hour- with her screaming ‘ no thank you Mummy’ (she’s very polite) crying, shutting herself in her room and begging ‘put a nappy on please’. After that she calmed and I just let her wander nude (obviously at home and with summer weather) – soon afterwards she asked for pants.

Since then every morning she asks for her nappy off and to pick out some new pants and get dressed.

Our biggest surprise of potty training has been how quickly Dorothea was happy to leave the house with her ‘big girl’ pants on. Initially our plan was to only potty train at home- and wear pull ups when out, but Dot was super keen and kept with pants from day one.

I’ve been reassuring Dot about accidents; saying they are all part of learning- and if she has an accident she doesn’t get too upset.

It’s totally annoying; but we ask Dot is she needs the toilet every 20 mins, after the first few days you’ll start noticing cues. Dots cues are asking what’s happens if I have an accident’ and doing a little leg cross dance- we then get her to sit on the potty every 5-10 mins until she wees.

Dot loves her cheerleaders! Her grandparents know she’s potty training, encourage her and celebrate her successes. She therefore likes to excitedly FaceTime them when she does a wee or to show them her new pants. Toddlers just love yo be good at something and receive praise.

Tips for potty training a 3 year old:

  • Get loads of pants! Toddlers love being picky/having a choice. We have about 15 pairs- H&M, peacocks and next offer good choice. It’s less pressure to wash everyday too.
  • Dot prefers the mi potty as it’s taller than most (probably very relevant to those training older toddlers) and she says is comfier and shuns the others.
  • Aqua wipes are great for accidents, potty wipe outs and bottom wiping.
  • Get a stock of leggings- supermarket or preloved. In the early days we’d get through 3/4 a day.
  • I can imagine warmer weather is much easier to train in, nudity and the garden have been big helpers.
  • Reward charts and giving your child a goal seems to work really well (Dot really wanted the Ben and Holly castle)
  • Patience – toddlers are very trying- and using the potty can be delaying tactics for all sorts- keep ya cool mama.
  • After a week everything seems to smell of pee! If you have carpets then a stock of carpet freshener (make your own with baking soda and essential oils) is great- and maybe plan to hire a carpet cleaner when the job is done. (We have a vax so I’m planning a blitz when we get her dry)

So as a finish writing this blog we have been potty training for two weeks; we’ve been accident free for 6 days. I’m so proud of Dot and she’s proud of herself.

We still put bed Dot to bed in nappy pants; often in the morning she is dry anyway, and has already asked me when she can wear nappies to bed.

Wishing anyone luck starting potty training.