Monday, November 30, 2009

The Brazelton Way -- T. Berry Brazelton, M.D. Toilet Training Method

Reprimands and Punishments Do Not Work

"When parents are unable to wait, and they impose toilet training as their idea, the child will feel this as an invasion." Dr T. Berry Brazelton

Two weeks ago we started discussing potty training methods, click here to see one past article.
Today we will discuss Dr. T. Berry Brazelton's calm and positive approach to child rearing. His book series, The Brazelton Way tackles toilet training. Here is an excerpt of Toilet Training: The Brazelton Way:

Toilet Learning: The Child's Role
We don't always realize what we are asking of small children when we ask them to give in to toilet training. First, they must feel a bowel movement coming on. Then, they've got to hold onto their bowel movement, get where we tell them to go, sit down — and do it. Then, flush. After all that, they'll have to watch it disappear forever. They'll never see that part of themselves again!

Many years ago, a very large toilet, big enough for big children to climb in and all the way through, was constructed at the Children's Museum in Boston. They couldn't wait to see where their bowel movements had been going. Children 9, 10, and 11 years old lined up for blocks to try to find out where their "productions" had gone. They were still wondering, even at these ages.

The late Fred Rogers once asked a famous astronaut, Buzz Aldrin, to appear on his children's television show, Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood. He invited his guest to answer all of the children's questions. One little boy said to the astronaut: "Do you get scared when you go up in space?" Mr. Aldrin bravely replied, "Well, I used to, but I don't anymore." A little girl asked, "Does your mommy get scared when you go up in space?" The astronaut answered, "Yep. She still does. Every time I come back to Earth, she's grateful." Then a 4-year-old boy had his turn: "What happens to your poop in space?" The astronaut turned beet red, shuffled around, and was unable to answer. The next question came as a relief.

Observations like these have helped me understand just how much we're asking of children in these formative years when they begin toilet training. We need to initiate the process with utmost respect for the child — and for his ultimate decision to comply. Training a small child to use the toilet must be taken in steps that respect his willingness to cooperate. Parents also need to feel comfortable discussing these issues, and recognizing feelings about toilet training left over from their own childhood.

In the 1960s I introduced A Child Oriented Approach to Toilet Training to my patients and their parents. They (and I) were ready. The incidence of toilet training failures was rising in our country (including toddlers who smeared their stools, children who were holding back on bowel movements, causing severe constipation, and older children with continued bedwetting). Back then it was common to employ rather rigid practices, pushing 1- and 2-year-olds to be trained. Parents tried to respond to a child's body's signals by rushing him to the toilet, well before he was aware enough of these signals to be an active participant. If he complied, he was rewarded. If he didn't, he was reprimanded or punished.

It didn't work. Parents were trained in the method, but children were resistant. At this time in England, a rigid approach to toilet training was widespread: It was reported that 15 percent of 18-year-olds who were inducted into the service there were still wetting the bed. The other symptoms among children — withholding bowel movements, soiling, smearing stools — were also all too common. Many of these symptoms seemed to result from the child's resistance and resentment.

Parental anxiety and the resulting pressure on children seemed to be interfering with the child's motivation for toilet training. It seemed to me that without the child's motivation, toilet training was often a lost cause. Soon my goal became to protect parents from feeling pressured so that together we could learn how to let their children lead us to their own readiness.

Tomorrow: How Dr. Brazelton studied 1,190 families to potty train by waiting until the child showed signs of readiness.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Child Sense by Priscilla Dunstan

Weekly Trip to the Library for In-Home Childcare Providers

Priscilla Dunstan developed both Dunstan Baby Language and authored the book Child Sense.

According to the Australian child-development expert, every child falls into one of four sense-based categories for experiencing, interpreting and relating to the world: tactile; auditory; visual; and taste-and-smell.

She includes simple-to-use checklists and evaluation tools help caregivers identify a child’s primary sense orientation (and their own) so that they can better understand that child’ s behavior, ranging from sleeping and feeding problems through stubbornness, temper tantrums, fear and hurt feelings. For example, while a tactile two-year-old prefers to eat with her hands, a visual three-year old insists on lining up all his plastic dinosaurs just so, and a taste/smell five-year-old is naturally hypersensitive and emotional, each presents a different challenge to his or her parents.

Ms. Dunstan’s advice is to customize parenting to the unique needs of the child, with some practical solutions and communication strategies just to get through the day at first, and then the week, and eventually most early childhood milestones. The process appears to take time and involve everyone in the family with a lot of trial, error and dedicated effort, but it may be just right for frustrated parents who are struggling with calming and encouraging their infants, toddlers, and preschoolers.

Dunstan Baby Language DVD Give-Away

a href="">Dunstan Baby Language will give 10 free DVDs to the 10 nannies and au pairs that answer the questions that are listed below. Visit the Dunstan Baby Language web site by clicking here or read our brief explanation of the method by clicking here.

Answer These Questions:

1. How do babies benefit from Dunstan Baby Language?

2. In what three ways could a nanny benefit by learning Dunstan Baby Language?

Remember to email your answers to: and to learn more about Dunstan Baby Language visit their web site at:

Friday, November 27, 2009

Black Friday Give-Away

Win a Free Dunstan Baby Language DVD

Dunstan Baby Language is generously offering a free DVD to five nannies or au pairs. They will select the five best answers for two questions that are listed below.

All you have to do is visit the Dunstan Baby Langauge web site by clicking here or read our brief explanation of the method by clicking here. Then email your answers to the following questions to:

Answer These Questions:

1. How do babies benefit from Dunstan Baby Language?

2. In what three ways could a nanny benefit by learning Dunstan Baby Language?

3. Please include your full name and email address so we can contact you if you win and we will send you the complimentary DVD.

Remember to email your answers to: and to learn more about Dunstan Baby Language visit their web site at:

Thursday, November 26, 2009

An Au Pair Thanksgiving

Why a Japanese Au Pair Loved an American Thanksgiving
By Nanami

Last year I came to America from Japan to work as an au pair for a family with two girls in Morristown, NJ. It was a difficult adjustment. Not only was there a language barrier, but I owned just a few non-Western clothes and I was not used to the American diet. In fact, the first dinner I ate in America was a half of one slice of pizza and my stomach was full. Today I can easily fit three slices (why I have gained nearly 15 pounds since coming to America).

The American family that hired me lives in a large home with more toys than I have ever seen in one place, even in a toy store in Japan. The girls’ closets were filled with clothes, some they had never worn before they had outgrown the outfits. The family with only four members had two refrigerators packed with food.

In Japan, my three sisters and I shared one bed in a small room. The home in America had extra rooms for guests, a room just for playing piano, two for the kids to play, one room for each parent to use as an office, another for movie watching, one for doing laundry, and so on.

The selection of food at the grocery store was overwhelming. I still do not understand why Americans won’t eat a bruised piece of fruit or need so many brands of the same product (for example, just think of how brands of toilet paper there are to choose from). It is also shocking how much perfectly good food the family I work for throws away.

I had to learn how to make pancakes, cheesy scrambled eggs, French toast, bacon, and waffles for the girls’ breakfast. All I have ever had for breakfast in Japan is Miso soup. On a great morning we might add rice to the soup. Yet, even with so many breakfast choices the girls in America would complain. And it is the complaining and whining by the children who have so much that has been the hardest adjustment of becoming an au pair working in America.

If I make pancakes and the girls don't feel like eating pancakes on that particular morning their mother simply throws out the pancakes and will make another meal. It is still upsetting to me that children can be offered such lavish meals, only to complain and then turn-them-down. I think of my clear Miso soup that I typically drink each morning in Japan, and I never even thought to complain.

Coming from such a modest life, to the American culture was difficult mostly because the children are so ungrateful. They seem to lack thankfulness. Having to listen to the two privileged girls whine and complain, despite having so much is very difficult. They have so much: nutrition, material possessions, love and nurturing -- but they always want more. They always compare themselves to each other and then to their friends.

That is why I was so pleasantly surprised about celebrating my first Thanksgiving in the United States of America! What a great way to be thankful. Family and friends come together without sharing any material gifts –- just a lot of food. Unlike the American birthdays or Christmas that I have witnessed in America, during Thanksgiving week the girls' negative attitude changed due to the hard work of their mother. Their mother made an effort to have her children focus on their blessings and on others instead of just themselves.

Here are some of the activities the mother did with the girls to prepare, celebrate, and conclude Thanksgiving week:

1. For a week before Thanksgiving she took the girls to donate ten frozen turkeys and all the side dishes to a local food bank for ten complete Thanksgiving dinners for those that might not be able to afford the meal that year.

2. Each night before bed for that week leading up to Thanksgiving she helped the girls list reasons why they are thankful for each guest they had invited to Thanksgiving dinner. They made lovely cards and listed on the cards the reasons they are thankful for the person. Then, during the meal, they asked everyone at the table to voice at least three things they are thankful for as well.

3. The week of Thanksgiving she also helped her children clear out their playroom and closets to donate old toys and clothes to the Salvation Army.

4. Then, on Thanksgiving day the family invited a few elderly guests to join their extended family for dinner. The seniors were members of their church who have children or other family living far away.

I just loved that each guest brought a dish to share at the Thanksgiving dinner. I loved that the mother asked everyone to say what they are thankful for. I loved that we packed up food for each guest to bring home with them after dinner.

I was also pleasantly surprised that on the day after Thanksgiving (which is known as America’s busiest shopping day of the year) the mother took me with the girls shopping to make holiday care packages for American soldiers. The packages included soap, razors, toothbrushes, and travel-sized toiletries. But the most fun was packing cards and games (like crossword puzzles) and books and magazines for the soldiers.

I am thankful the family opened their hearts, home, and minds and invited me into their home. The mother bought me American style clothes to help me fit in, I gained nearly 15-pounds (I just love French fries and pizza), and have made friends with a great family. I hope I will be able to come to America to visit them again and someday they can me in Japan.

Most of all, I loved Thanksgiving. I hope all nannies and au pairs reading this will incorporate some of the activities my Host Mom did with her girls for Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Pilgrim Hat & Pilgrim Bonnet

There is still a little time to squeeze in a last arts and craft project for the kids this Thanksgiving.

A Girl's Pilgrim Bonnet:

Age Guideline: 5 Years and Up
Time Required: 15 minutes (Does not include drying time)
The above age and time guidelines are estimates. This project can be modified to suit other ages and may take more or less time depending on your circumstances.

Materials Needed:

  • 12 x 18 Piece of White Paper
  • White Ribbon
  • Stapler
  • Scissors

Fold the piece of paper in half the long way, then unfold it so you can see the crease. Now fold up one side of the paper so the edge is even with the crease (folded up along the dotted line on the image). On the other side of the crease, cut two slits, evenly spaced as shown in the image, going almost all the way to the center crease.

Now poke a hole on each end of the folded half of the paper portrayed by the dots on the image. Cut 2 pieces of ribbon, about 15-inches long, and tie one end of each ribbon to the hole you poked. The folded section will be the front/brim area of the hat and the ribbons can be tied under the chin or left hanging at the side of the head.

Notice the "+" I made on the 3 'flaps' created by the slits you cut in the other half of the paper? The 2 outside flaps are brought together under the middle flap - imagine lining up all the +'s in the image. Staple these 3 together and this will form your finished bonnet!

Pilgrim Hat for Boys
Materials Needed:

  • * Paper Plate
  • * Glue
  • * Construction Paper
Instructions: Paint the paper plate black. Once the paint is dry, cut out the center of the paper plate. Leave the outside rim about 2 inches thick. Cut a piece of black construction paper to approximately 8 inches by 8 inches. Tape this into the circle you cut out of the paper plate so as much as possible sticks out through the top of the plate. Cut a 2 inch by 8 inch piece of white paper and glue it on the black paper where it meets the paper plate. Cut a rectangle shape out of yellow construction paper and glue it to the middle of the white strip as a buckle.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thanksgiving Votives

This simple votive candle idea makes a nice little gift or a creative way to use some of the leaves you collect during an Autumn nature walk. You could also create a few to sit on your dinner table during your Thanksgiving Dinner to add a little something special to the setting. Plus, it’s a nice little craft that older kids will be proud to use on the Thanksgiving dinner table.

You Will Need:
  1. A small drinking glass or votive holder (a baby food jar would also work well).
  2. Real or silk fall leaves
  3. Glue
  4. Raffia
  5. A votive candle
If you there are no more autumn leaves left to collect here is a way to make autumn leaves from coffee filter:

1. Cut leaf shapes out of basket-type coffee filters.
2. Fill an ice cube tray with water and then put a few drops of food coloring in each of the sections (orange, red, yellow, and brown). Make each section a different color.
3. Flatten out each of your pre-cut filter leaves and use an eyedropper to make designs on them. Each color will spread and run into the other colors.

This is a lot of fun for the kids and is a good lesson for what happens when you mix colors. Let the filters dry completely and don’t forget to put down some newspaper or your table will likely be stained.

Then you can use these pretty leaves for the Thanksgiving votive below or you can tape them to windows, or in a pretty Thanksgiving display.

To Make the Votive:

1. If you’re using silk leaves, peel the cloth off of the plastic veins. That will give you a flat leaf to work with.
2. Glue the leaves (real, silk, or coffee filter from above) around the outside of the votive holder, glass, or baby food jar. You can arrange the leaves in any way you want.
3. Take a couple of strands of raffia and tie them in a bow around the middle of the votive holder, over the top of the leaves.
4. Drop in a candle and you’re done! Take a look at how pretty it looks when it’s lit. Although this picture doesn’t do it justice, it looks really pretty with the candle light peaking through the colored leaves.

NOTE: You can pick up tons of small drinking classes, votive holders, and small jars at thrift stores, Goodwill, or the Salvation Army. Craft from Kids Craft Magazine

CPSC Crib Recall

Infant Entrapment and Suffocation Prompts Stork Craft to Recall More Than 2.1 Million Drop-Side Cribs

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), in cooperation with Stork Craft Manufacturing Inc., of British Columbia, Canada, today announced the voluntary recall of more than 2.1 million Stork Craft drop-side cribs, including about 147,000 Stork Craft drop-side cribs with the Fisher-Price logo.

The recall involves approximately 1,213,000 units distributed in the United States and 968,000 units distributed in Canada.

CPSC urges parents and caregivers to immediately stop using the recalled cribs, wait for the free repair kit, and do not attempt to fix the cribs without the kit. They should find an alternative, safe sleeping environment for their baby. Consumers should contact Stork Craft to receive a free repair kit that converts the drop-side on these cribs to a fixed side.

The cribs’ drop-side plastic hardware can break, deform, or parts can become missing. In addition, the drop-side can be installed upside-down, which can result in broken or disengaged plastic parts. All of these problems can cause the drop-side to detach in one or more corners. When the drop-side detaches, it creates space between the drop-side and the crib mattress. The bodies of infants and toddlers can become entrapped in the space which can lead to suffocation. Complete detachment of drop-sides can lead to falls from the crib.

CPSC, Health Canada, and Stork Craft are aware of 110 incidents of drop-side detachment; 67 incidents occurred in the United States and 43 in Canada. The incidents include 15 entrapments; 12 in the U.S. and three in Canada. Four of the entrapments resulted in suffocation: a 7-month-old in Gouverneur, N.Y.; a 7-month-old in New Iberia, La.; a 6-month-old in Summersville, W.Va.; and a 9-month-old in Bronx, N.Y. Included in these incidents are 20 falls from cribs; 12 in the U.S. and eight in Canada. Fall injuries ranged from concussion to bumps and bruises. The cribs involved in these incidents had plastic drop-side hardware that had broken, missing, or deformed claws, connectors, tracks, or flexible tab stops; loose or missing metal spring clips; stripped screws; and/or drop-sides installed upside-down.

This recall involves Stork Craft drop-side cribs and Stork Craft drop-side cribs with the Fisher-Price logo. This recall does not involve any cribs that do not have a drop-side. This recall does not involve any cribs with metal rod drop-side hardware. It involves only those cribs with plastic trigger and one-hand-system drop-side hardware.

This recall includes Stork Craft cribs with manufacturing and distribution dates between January 1993 and October 2009. This recall also includes Stork Craft cribs with the Fisher-Price logo that have manufacturing dates between October 1997 and December 2004. The Stork Craft cribs with the Fisher-Price logo were first sold in the U.S. in July 1998 and in Canada in September 1998. The cribs were sold in various styles and finishes. The manufacture date, model number, crib name, country of origin, and the firm’s name, address, and contact information are located on the assembly instruction sheet attached to the mattress support board. The firm’s insignia “storkcraft baby” or “storkling” is inscribed on the drop-side teething rail of some cribs. In Stork Craft cribs that contain the “Fisher-Price” logo, this logo can be found on the crib’s teething rail, in the manufacturer’s instructions, on the assembly instruction sheet attached to the mattress support board, and on the end panels of the Twinkle-Twinkle and Crystal crib models.

Major retailers in the United States and Canada sold the recalled cribs including BJ’s Wholesale Club, J.C. Penney, Kmart, Meijer, Sears, USA Baby, and Wal-Mart stores and online at,,,, and from January 1993 through October 2009 for between $100 and $400.

For additional information, contact Stork Craft toll-free at (877) 274-0277 anytime to order the free repair kit, or log on to

Important Message from CPSC:
CPSC would like to remind parents not to use any crib with missing, broken, or loose parts. Make sure to tighten hardware from time to time to keep the crib sturdy. When using a drop-side crib, parents should check to make sure the drop-side or any other moving part operates smoothly. Always check all sides and corners of the crib for disengagement. Any disengagement can create a gap and entrap a child. In addition, do not try to repair any side of the crib, especially with tape, wire or rope.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Thankful Book Craft for In-Home Childcare Providers

Make a Thanksgiving keepsake for the child that truly embodies the spirit of thankfulness. You can purchase a small scrapbook or use Thanksgiving stickers and make this a really simple project. But for those of us on a budget, a homemade Thankful Book is quick, simple, and fun.

What You Will Need:

• A holiday picture
• Crayons
• Several sheets of paper
• Stapler
• Pen or marker

The easiest way to make it is by printing out pages from enchanted learning, click here to visit that site. One page reads, "I am thankful for my family," then have the child draw a picture of his family. On the next page it reads, "I am thankful for my friends," then have the child draw a picture of her friends. You can even take this further by having them draw pictures of what they are thankful for.

If you prefer:
1. Print out a holiday picture and let the child color it.
2. On the sheets of paper, ask the child what they are thankful for like listed above.
3. Write down each thing they are thankful for on a separate piece of paper.
4. Assemble all the sheets with the holiday picture on top and staple it along the side like a book.

There are so many variations of how you can do this book and make it a meaningful activity for the child.

What do you do with your charge's to help prepare for Thanksgiving?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Top Ten Lists About Potty Training

Summing Up Potty Training
for Nannies and Au Pairs

To summarize the advice from all the potty training methods we discussed this week here is our Top Ten Lists about potty training.

Top 10 Things to Do During Potty Training:
1. Be patient.
2. Praise and reward the child to reinforce success.
3. Follow the parents’ choice of potty training method. You can certainly suggest ideas but don’t force your style on the parents, you must respect their choices of how to potty train their child.
4. Read children's books and watch DVDs about potty about potty training with the child.
5. Let the child be in control of when they are ready to go to the potty.
6. Be prepared for many accidents.
7. Bring extra clothes and wipes whenever you go out in case of accidents.
8. Watch for “I got to go” signs of squirming or touching privates to get them to potty in time.
9. Dress the toddler in clothes that are easy to take off and put on during potty training.
10. Have a portable potty that will travel.

Top 10 Reasons Why You Should Not Start Potty Training:
1. When there is a lot of change or stress in a child's life it is best to wait before starting a new stage of development, like potty training.
2. Do not start potty training when a child is ill or recovering from illness.
3. The child has just started attending new school or childcare setting.
4. There is a new addition to the family, or will be in a couple of months.
5. While the family is on vacation.
6. The family has just moved to a new location.
7. Holiday seasons are within that time frame.
8. There is lack of stability in the home, such as arguments, sibling problems, divorce, and so on.
9. The child is not physically ready or you will be setting yourself up for failure.
10. The child is not psychologically or developmentally ready to potty train.

Top 10 Things to Not Do While Potty Training:
1. Allow the child to sense your frustration.
2. Yell at the child.
3. Expect them to be perfect.
4. Push the child to perform.
5. Focus on the negative.
6. Compare the child to anyone else’s experience.
7. Punish the child for accidents.
8. Nag or tease a child, ever.
9. Never force a child to sit on a potty. Let them be in control or it will become a negative experience.
10. Never start potty training during stressful times such as the holiday season, after just moving into a new home, or just adding a newborn to the family.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Thanksgiving Books and DVDs for Children

Weekly Trip to the Library for Nannies and Au Pairs

Thanksgiving is an American holiday rich in history and traditions, and these Thanksgiving books and DVDs are wonderful tools to teach children about the spirit of thankfulness while introducing them to the formation of our nation.

Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful and truly happy with our many blessings. While it is common for young children to want more, it is so important for them to be grateful for what they already have, and to remember others who are less fortunate. Thanksgiving books provide the perfect opportunity to read together and reflect upon this valuable life lesson.

Thanksgiving books also educate children about the history behind this beautiful holiday. The characters and events in Thanksgiving books provide children with important historical background which will be explored at several levels of their school Social Studies curriculum.

Thanksgiving is for Giving Thanks
By Margaret Sutherland

Sure, Thanksgiving is about pilgrims and history-and turkey, of course! But, most importantly, it's a holiday all about everything that we are thankful for. Cheerful, colorful illustrations accompany the simple text in this celebration of family, friends, and the holiday that brings them all together.

P is for Pilgrim a Thanksgiving Alphabet
By Carol Crane

From the lives of our early settlers, who established the foundations for American freedoms and ideals, to today's celebrations, P is for Pilgrim colorfully examines the history and lore of Thanksgiving. Educators will find the inclusion of the Core Democratic Values of valuable use for the classroom while kids of all ages will enjoy the bright, engaging illustrations and fascinating sidebar text.

Thanks for Thanksgiving
By Julie Markes

At Thanksgiving time, children express their gratitude for the people and things in their lives. From the turkey on the table to warm, cozy cuddles, life is full of small things and bigger pleasures. But what is most important is being able to share them with family! Julie Markes reminds kids and adults alike about the little details that make each day enjoyable, while Doris Barrette's beautiful and striking illustrations bring her thoughtful words to life.

Winnie the Pooh -- Seasons of Giving
A collection of Winnie the Pooh's memorable holiday adventures, as Winnie, Piglet, and Tigger set out to find the right ingredients for Winter, Rabbit learns how to manage a complicated Thanksgiving dinner, and everyone gets a special visit from a new friend. Featuring a number of delightful songs for singing along.

Mouse on the Mayflower
This is a Thanksgiving tale that begins with the ship Mayflower being caught up in a big storm. A church mouse named William tells the story from a mouses viewpoint. He begins with the decision by the pilgrims preacher to move to America, and the packing of the Mayflower. A disaster at sea threatens to sink the ship, but William the pilgrim mouse has an idea to save the ship. The pilgrims land safely and write the Mayflower Compact. They begin to build their new colony and church, but it is already Fall and they do not have enough food stored. The winter is so harsh and food so limited that many pilgrims do not live through the winter. The pilgrims learn to plant crops in the Spring, and in the Fall celebrate with a big feast, the first Thanksgiving. William also scuttles a plan to blame the Indians for an attack on the pilgrims.

An Old Fashioned Thanksgiving
DVD by Sony

Based on the beloved story by Little Women author Louisa May Alcott, director Graeme Campbell's holiday-themed family drama tells the tale of a headstrong teenager who seeks to rescue her family from financial ruin by writing to her long lost grandmother, a wealthy New York socialite. Mathilda Bassett is a quick-witted young writer who just lost her father in an untimely tragedy, and now her mother is struggling just to make ends meet. Though she has never met her grandmother Isabella, Mathilda secretly puts pen to paper in a desperate bid to keep her family afloat financially. By Jason Buchanan, All Movie Guide.
Don't forget to stop by next Saturday for another weekly trip to the library for nannies and au pairs.

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Azrin Foxx One Day Toilet Training Method

Potty Training Method Seven (7)

You will see a similarity between Dr. Phil’s potty training method we discussed yesterday and the Azrin and Foxx method of toilet training. Dr. Phil incorporated their ideas into his potty training method.

The Azrin and Foxx potty training method is studied and has been proven successful, although much preparation is needed by the caregiver. Plus, caregivers should read the book before using the method, so it may take more than one day to potty train the child as the title suggests.

In their book Toilet Training in Less Than a Day Azrin and Foxx also emphasize the importance of timing. Not all kids are ready for their approach. In their book, the authors specify that kids should be 20-months or older, and they should meet several developmental criteria.

In particular, kids should be able to:
• sit up by themselves
• walk
• stay dry for a couple of hours at a time
• imitate
• recognize a full bladder
• point to body parts that you name
• retrieve objects for you, and
• follow simple instructions like “put the doll on the potty.”

There are medical and emotional criteria, too. Parents should also avoid these toilet training techniques if children are ill, constipated, or uncooperative. As you read the summary below keep in mind that this is not a substitute for reading their book.
  • Conduct training in one room.
  • Eliminate or minimize all interruptions and distractions, e.g., toys.
  • Have a ready supply of child's favorite drinks, snacks, and treats.
  • Use a potty chair designed so a child can easily remove the pot from the chair and replace it.
  • Have a doll that wets to demonstrate to the child the urination process.
  • Make up a list of the persons and characters (real or fictional) the child admires to use to praise the child and indicate how pleased they will be to hear of the child's success.
  • Have at least eight pairs of training pants large enough for the child to easily lower and raise.
  • Have child wear a short T-shirt that will not interfere with lowering and raising training pants. Teach child to grasp pants in the middle of the back, palm facing backward, and mid-front for easier lowering and raising.
  • Provide immediate, varied (juices, edibles, treats, hugs, etc.), positive reinforcement at every instance of correct toileting skill, e.g., approaching potty, grasping pants, sitting on potty, etc.
  • Do not reinforce non-toileting acts.

When There are Accidents:

Verbal reprimand, omit reinforcement, have child change wet pants to dry ones by herself, conduct 10 rapid “positive practice” sessions as follows:

1. Use the doll that wets to imitate the processes of toileting and teach specific actions. Manually guide child through the proper actions, then let the child guide the doll through the process.

2. When the doll urinates in the potty, teach the child to remove the pot, empty it into the toilet, flush and return the pot to the chair. Once this is learned, begin training child.

3. Teach the child to check and identify dry pants from wet pants. Reward/praise dry pants. Perform checks every three to five minutes and keep track using a training reminder sheet.

4. Give child as much to drink as desired to create a strong, frequent desire to toilet (at least 8oz/hr). Use as a positive reinforcement.

5. Instruct child to walk to the potty, lower pants, sit down quietly for several minutes, stand up, and raise pants. Watch to see if urination begins and praise/ reward immediately.

6. After urination takes place, have the child wipe him or herself, and empty and replace pot as in number two above.

7. Increased number of trials: give prompted potty trials every 15 minutes in the beginning, decrease frequency as child acquires skill.

8. Conduct “dry pants” checks every five minutes, have child do it as well.

9. At first, have child sit on the potty about 10 minutes; after two to three successful tries at urinating into the potty and much praise, the child will begin to understand and prompting and sit time can be reduced.

10. Gradually change from directing child to “go potty” to asking child if she has to “go potty” to general questions such as, “Where do you go potty?” and “Are your pants dry?” Once the child goes potty after a general question, only comment on dry pants.

11. As the child acquires skills and performs actions correctly, give approval only at the end of an action rather than during it. Eventually reduce to praising only dry pants.

12. For next several days, do dry pants checks at meals, naps, and bedtimes and praise each time pants are dry. If there is an accident, reprimand the child, have the child change by himself, and perform more practice sessions. No reminders to toilet are given.

These methods are found in Potty Train Your Child in Just One Day: Proven Secrets of the Potty Pro by Teri Crane which outlines a three-step program that includes role playing with a doll, practice runs with the child, and a “potty party."

Azrin and Foxx’s techniques can also be found in Narmin Parpia’s Potty Training in One Day: A Guide for Today's Parents.

We also find their techniques in Dr. Phil’s potty training techniques which we discussed yesterday.

Have you been successful using Azrin and Foxx's techniques? Do you have any potty training tips to share with nannies and au pairs?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Dr. Phil Potty Train in One Day Method

Potty Training Method Six (6)

The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests waiting until two-years of age to potty train. Click here to see the development chart. Dr. Phil encourages caregivers to demonstrate, or use a pee pee doll to demonstrate, the process of "going potty." Use the child's favorite fictional character or superhero as motivation in this process.

Before starting you will need a pee pee dolly, a potty chair, and big kid underwear (not diapers), and lots of liquid for the doll and child to drink.

Step 1: Teach a doll that wets how to go potty. Your child will learn by teaching the doll how to go potty. Have your child name the doll and give it something to drink. Then walk the doll to the potty chair with your child. Pull the dolls big kid underwear down and watch the doll go potty together.

Step 2: Next throw the doll a potty party! Make it a big blowout with party hats, horns, and celebrate. Give lots of attention to the doll so that the child understands that going potty is a good thing. Let the child know that when he goes potty, he will have a potty party too. Not only that, the child gets to call his favorite fictional character or superhero to report the good news!

Step 3: Get rid of the diapers. At the beginning of the process you placed big kid doll underwear on the child's doll. Now it's time to take away the diapers and put big kid underwear on the child.

Step 4: Give the child plenty of fluids to drink. The sooner she has to go potty the sooner you can begin potty training.

Step 5: Ask the child if he needs to go potty. If the child says, "No,"that's okay. If the child has an accident in her underwear, don't scold her. You want this to be a positive experience. Instead, take your child to the potty and pull his underwear down, and have him sit down. Do this ten times. This builds muscle memory and the child will eventually go.

Step 6: Let the celebration begin! When the child successfully goes potty have a potty party. Most importantly, the child can now call her favorite superhero and tell the hero about what she just did! Enlist the help of a friend or relative to play the hero and take the phone call. When the child has an accident, simply take him to the bathroom ten times in a row as you did before. This will continue to build muscle memory. And don't forget to keep up the positive reinforcement.

Have you tried this method of potty training? How did it work for you?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Elimination Communication

Potty Training Method Five (5)

The terms elimination communication and natural infant hygiene were coined by Ingrid Bauer and are used interchangeably in her book, Diaper Free! The Gentle Wisdome of Natural Infant Hygiene.

Ms. Bauer traveled to India and Africa, where she noticed that most mothers would carry their diaper-less babies, yet she saw no elimination "accidents" as would be expected in industrialized countries where babies wear diapers almost continuously from birth. Subsequently, she raised her own children with minimal use of diapers, and eventually began to share her approach with other mothers and caregivers.

The elimination communication potty training method does not use diapers. The caregiver simply offers the infant a potty (small portable receptacles) whenever the baby exhibits signs that she needs to go to the bathroom. Signs differ for each child but caregivers closely observe the infants so they can spot the signs, such as squirming, fussing, passing gas, crying, a look of concentration, or by following a timetable such as, ten minutes after every feeding. Those that use the method remind us that caregivers check for soiled diapers already. Caregivers already look for signs for when an infant is hungry or tired so why not include elimination to the list?

Elimination communication training can begin as early as birth but can also start in later infancy or during the toddler years.

Children who use diapers get used to eliminating in a diaper. They need to learn how to use the toilet. Diapers keep waste close to the body and may lead to diaper rashes. Children are also exposed to the chemicals in diaper detergents or disposable diapers. While elimination communication requires some work at the beginning, it pays off when the child learns how to use the toilet readily.

The Elimination Communication Steps:

  1. Pick a day when you won’t leave the house and remove the baby’s diaper. Keep activities limited and to perhaps on or two rooms without carpet and mop near by!
  2. Place the baby on the floor or play with the toddler and watch for potty signs.
  3. When you notice these signs sit the baby on the toilet or holding them over the toilet and make the “pssss” or “ssshhh” sound. They might pee or potty right then or perhaps not but continue this process, repeating it until she uses the toilet.
  4. Children often will pee on a floor if the signal has been missed by the caregiver.

Some prefer this method because it is cheaper than buying diapers and is environmentally friendly since disposable diapers are not biodegradable. It is also a natural extension of attachment parenting.

Would you work for parents that want you to use the elimination communication potty training method?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Infant Potty Training

Potty Training Method Four (4)
Infant Potty Training

Working as a nanny you have probably used many of the toilet training methods listed over the past few days. But, most nannies have never heard of Infant Potty Training.

Author Laurie Boucke's book,Infant Potty Training, reports a surge in interest in gentle, natural methods of potty training used for centuries in Asia and Africa. Mothers in many societies around the world use relatively few diapers. Their approach is baby-led, simple, natural, logical, good for the environment, frugal, and an enhancement to bonding and communication.

She explains that in India, children start around one-month-old and usually finish before their babies walk. Of course, at that age babies still need some assistance, but mothers there don’t consider this a big deal.

The author says attentive parents usually discover that their infants are instinctively aware of “going.” They attempt to communicate, but we don’t watch and listen since no one has taught us how to do so. Instead, we train babies to use a diaper as their toilet, and they have to unlearn this behavior later. Granted, some unlearn the diaper quickly, but many do not and continue using diapers for years.

She suggests spending a little time observing the baby over the course of a few days to get a feel for when she needs to go in relation to sleeping and meals. For example, does the infant urinate every 20 minutes for three times after nursing? With infants, the baby will be lying down as you observe the timing. If you start later with a mobile baby or toddler, you can still watch for the child’s elimination timing. Then either make a mental note of the timing and patterns or keep a potty log for a few days.

Next, start to offer the potty at likely times while using one or more cues. This will help create an association between your cues and “going.” For example, use a watery sound such as “sssss” or any words you want. Infants quickly make the association. Toddlers tend to take longer as they need to unlearn some things first.There are many different ways a baby can communicate the need to go, including body language (twisting and grimacing), vocalizations (grunting or a special whimper), imploring looks, pointing, sign language, and eventually words. Some babies may give obvious signals for one kind of elimination but not the other. In situations where your infant’s signals are not clear, you may need to rely on timing, patterns, intuition or a combination of these.

In her book, Infant Potty Basics, Laurie Boucke lists Benefits of Infant Potty Training as:

-- Enhances bonding through closeness, natural communication and loving patience.
-- Responds to infants' natural elimination communication and timing.
-- Taps into first window of learning (sensitivity period) for toilet learning.
-- Keeps babies in touch with their own bodies.
-- Helps environment by conserving/saving trees, water, petroleum and landfill space.
-- Cuts diaper use.
-- Allows babies to achieve good control by 12-15 months.
-- Lets babies complete potty training at a relatively young age (around 24-months).
-- Frees babies from diapers and all negative associations (bulk between legs, chemicals, etc.)
-- Reduces risk of urinary tract infections.
-- Avoids/eliminates enuresis (bed wetting).
-- Prevents diaper rash.
-- Provides hygienic respect for babies by freeing them from their waste.
-- Eliminates embarrassing "accidents" for toddlers.
-- Allows fathers or other close, trusted ones to bond and communicate with babies.
-- Yields big savings on diapers and laundry costs.

Would you be willing to try Infant Potty Training?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Dr. Spock's Method of Potty Training for Nannies and Au Pairs

Potty Training Method Three (3)

The third method of potty training we will discuss is the Dr. Benjamin Spock method of potty training. This method is similar to both the Child-Orientated potty training method and Dr. Sears method in potty training in that they all encourage caregivers not to force children to use the toilet.

Dr. Spock explains that most children are ready to potty train between 2 and 2.5 years of age. He recommends waiting until a child is ready, so that the child will learn without being forced, and the process will be more relaxed and pleasant with fewer power struggles. Dr. Spock believes the child must decide to gain control of bowel and bladder to be more grown-up. Caregivers must trust the child's desire and be patient.

Once training begins, caregivers must be consistent and convey the expectation that the child will toilet as older people do by praising and encouraging success, and avoiding criticism and anger in the event of accidents and refusal.

Before starting to potty train a child allow the child into the bathroom with other family members without the pressure to perform. Teach the child to wash her hands afterwards. Talk about what is happening so the child learns the words and also that going to the toilet is a straight forward fact of life and not dirty, shameful, secret, or mysterious. Avoid commenting on how smelly or messy "poop" is so the child does not confuse criticism of evacuation with criticism of himself.

First Dr. Spock suggests having small plastic child-size potty chair with the urine guard removed (boys and girls should learn to eliminate in the sitting position), a step stool, a small bar of soap so the child can learn hand washing, and books or toys near the potty to entertain the child.

1. Get the child used to the potty chair. Have the child sit on the potty fully clothed for as long or short as child chooses.

2. Once the child has accepted the seat, suggest the child use it for bowel movements the way the parents do.

3. Let the child leave the seat whenever the child chooses so he does not associate using the potty with punishment or imprisonment. They ought to think of it as a voluntary act carried out with pride; do not urge or pressure the child if the child is unwilling.

4. If movement occurs in diaper, show the child how to deposit it in the potty and say that is where she will do it soon, too. Do not empty the potty into the toilet and flush it while the child is watching.

5. Once the child shows interest, take the child to the potty two to three times per day, especially if signals of impending elimination are detected.

6. Praise the child for being dry for long periods just like "parent or favorite character." Do not over-praise, as this age group does not like to be too compliant.

7. When the child appears ready to be more independent, remove all lower clothing and place the potty nearby explaining to the child that she can use it whenever they need to by herself. Caregivers may give occasional reminders.

8. Put the child back in diapers if the child resists or has an accident.

9. Children usually achieve bowel and bladder control at the same time. Once this control is obtained, switch the child to training pants.

Do not scold the child for the occasional accident. Boys will learn to stand and pee sooner or later by imitating friends and family. Once control is achieved, teach proper wiping and hand washing Teach the child to wipe from front to back; the caregivers may have to complete the job at first.
Buy the book below.

Tomorrow: Laurie Boucke’s Early Start Potty Training.

What potty training techniques have worked for you?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Dr. Sears Potty Training Method for Nannies and Au Pairs

Potty Training Method Two (2)

Last week we started discussing potty training. We will discuss seven popular potty training methods with nannies. On Friday, we described the Child-Orientated Potty Training Method. Saturday we listed some children's books to read to children as they prepare to use they potty. Today, we will describe potty training as discussed by Dr. Jim Sears.

Dr. Jim Sears shared his potty training tips for working moms on television series, The Doctors. The first thing caregivers need to do is to watch for signs of readiness. Dr. Sears mentions that the child must be physiologically ready to potty train and have the motor skills, cognitive skills, and social skills to potty train.

Physiological Readiness for Potty Training Include:
1. Child's awareness of the need to go demonstrated by squatting, grunting, or hiding when the child feels need to eliminate.
2. The child has no bowel movements through the night.
3. The diaper is dry for longer periods of time including after long naps and/or in the morning.
4. The child can urinate a lot at one time rather than a little bit through out the day.
5. There is some regularity of bowel movements.

Motor Skills Needed for Potty Training Include:
1. Being able to dress and undress herself.
2. Being able to pull his underpants up and down.
3. Being able to pull her pants up and down.

The Cognitive Skills Needed for Potty Training Include:
1. Child is able to understand your explanations and follow commands.
2. Child is able to plan, has a good memory, and able to problem solve.

Emotional and Social Awareness for Potty Training:
1. Child saying comments like “I can do it!”
2. Child desires parents and caregiver approval.
3. Child imitates others.

Dr. Sears also recommends using potty chairs, potty training pants, and potty training dolls.

He explains most of the potty training problems such as potty training resistance, potty training regression, potty fear, and pooping in pants are caused by caregivers that put too much pressure on the child.

Too much pressure on a child can cause bowel movement resistance, which then leads to constipation, which then leads to painful bowel movements.

Dr. Sears says never punish a child that has a potty accident. Since potty training is a developmental milestone like walking. Caregivers would never punish a child for falling when learning to walk, similarly you should never punish a child for having toilet training accidents. He does mention that there is a difference between punishment and consequences for behavior.

In the one-day method of potty training based on Azrin and Foxx's potty training which we will discuss later this week, consequences are used for undesired behaviors and Dr. Sears explains this is not punishment -- it is simply a consequence for certain behaviors.

Stop by tomorrow to learn about Dr. Spock's method for potty training.

Do you have potty training tips for nannies?

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Housekeepers and Nannies Rally for Worker Rights in San Francisco

By Matt O'Biren
Contra Costa Times

SAN FRANCISCO — It was an encounter with a Berkeley homeowner five years ago that made Sylvia Lopez realize how vulnerable she was to the whims of her employers.

"He said I wasn't cleaning quickly enough, so he grabbed me by the arm and forced me out of the house," the 44-year-old Oakland housekeeper said. "To do a good job, you can't go that fast."

Lopez was one of a few hundred house cleaners and nannies from the Bay Area and across the country meeting in San Francisco and Oakland this weekend for the National Domestic Worker Congress.

Organizers hope the gathering will be the West Coast launchpad for a national movement and a statewide legislative campaign next year.

"It's an industry that has much higher rates of abuse than other sectors," said organizer Andrea Mercado of Oakland-based Mujeres Unidas y Activas (United and Active Women). "Domestic workers are excluded from a lot of labor laws. They don't have a right to organize a union, they don't have the same right to overtime."

The mostly female workers marched Friday morning through the Mission district of San Francisco and then converged for an hours long meeting at the Women's Building.

"It can be a dignified job, but not everyone treats you that way," said Lopez, joined by her two children.

"They definitely made a lot of sacrifices to get here," said Mercado, who said many of the women find it difficult to leave family and the homes where they work for such an event. "They'll be sharing their work, the situations they face, the abuses they face on the job."

The congress continues today at Laney College in Oakland, and has workshops that include lessons on nontoxic cleaning products and discussions of self-esteem on the job.

In California, organizers are looking to follow the campaign that has fought for five years to get a Domestic Workers Bill of Rights on the books in New York.

"Domestic workers are the invisible force that makes other work possible," said former Manhattan nanny Patricia Francois, one of the veterans of the New York campaign. The Trinidadian immigrant said she sued her employer after suffering physical abuse.

But it's not just physical abuse that domestic workers are concerned about, said Antioch housekeeper Maria Hernandez, whose biggest concerns are low pay and wage abuses.
"They know that no laws protect us, so they can do whatever they want," she said.

While domestic workers share many of the same universal labor rights as other American workers, it can be harder to enforce those protections, advocates say. Federal labor investigators can more easily probe a factory than they can someone's house.

The New York campaign sought to get domestic workers benefits that more powerful labor groups won over the decades, such as paid sick leave, personal days, inflation-adjusted wage hikes and more protection from discrimination.

The legislation being proposed by California advocates will include some of the same priorities.

The proposals would ensure that overtime applies to all of the state's domestic workers, while guaranteeing workers the right to cook their own food and get at least five hours of uninterrupted sleep.

As evidence of the vulnerability of the nation's domestic workforce, which is dominated by immigrants, many of them undocumented, organizers have pointed to several egregious cases in the Bay Area. A Walnut Creek homeowner was convicted of forced labor last month after her Peruvian live-in nanny told police about her mistreatment. An Atherton couple was recently ordered to pay back wages for a nanny who worked 14-hour days for them.

Vilma Serralta, the household worker who won that lawsuit, was among those speaking at the conference.

Children's Book About Potty Training

Weekly Trip to the Library for Nannies and Au Pairs

Have You Seen My Potty?
By Mij Kelly

When it's time for potty training, both toddlers and parents will have fun with this book. Told in verse, it's the story of Suzy Sue, who has something very important to do! The truth is, she needs to poop —but someone has snatched her potty away! Kids will laugh at the big, bright color illustrations as they turn each page, and as Mom or Dad reads Suzy Sue's funny story. As each farm animal happily uses the cleanly "poop - pot" found by the cow, Suzy Sue hurriedly asks around the farmyard for her red potty, which has gone missing and which she desperately needs. Fortunately all is well at story's end—and toddlers will be encouraged to use a potty, just like Suzy Sue.

Oh No, Gotta Go 2
By Susan Middleton Elye

After eating a salad at the family picnic, a little girl's determination to last the entire day comes to an end after she realizes that she has no choice but to ask her mother to take her home to use the bathroom, in an amusing tale sprinkled with Spanish words and phases. On her way back from a picnic with her parents, a little girl who did not need to "tinkle" suddenly remembers that there is more than one reason to visit a restroom, in a story that includes some Spanish words and phrases. It is a funny book that mixes Spanish and English, and illustrations that vividly capture the family’s predicament, this companion to Oh No, Gotta Go! is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser.

A Potty for Me! A Lift-the-Flap Instruction Manual
By Karen Katz

Realistic, child-appealing text is paired with interactive gate folds (each page is folded over on itself and that is the 'flap') to describe how a gender-neutral toddler struggles to learn to use the potty, but finally succeeds. With interactive flaps and child-appealing text, the author describes the steps a toddler must go through in learning how to use the potty. Karen Katz has wonderful, colorful and easy illustrations and her wording is so nice and easy to understand for the little mind.

Stop by again next Saturday for another Weekly Trip to the Library.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Child-Orientated Potty Training Method for Nannies and Au Pairs

Potty Training Method One (1)

Yesterday we discussed that nannies and au pairs must follow the potty training method the parents prefer for teaching their child to control their bladder and bowel. There are several popular methods. Over the next week we will discuss the seven most popular potty training methods.

The first method we will describe is the child-orientated potty training method. In this method the child determines when they are ready to be potty trained. By allowing the child to show when she is ready may enable the child to master the acts for herself.

Training must proceed slowly to allow for periods of negativity that are common in this age group. If there is a breakdown at any time during potty training, caregivers are advised to stop and to reassure the child that she is not bad, but will learn when ready.

How to Know a Child is Ready to Start the Child-Orientated Potty Training Method:

  1. Child must be able to sit and walk.

  2. Child must have some understanding of verbal commands.

  3. Child displays psychological readiness such as feeling secure with their caregivers and has a desire to please them.

  4. Parents and caregivers must be ready themselves to deal with outside pressures and anxieties about toilet training, aiming for a relaxed, pressure-free approach.

How to Use the Child-Orientated Potty Training Method:

  1. Around 18-months of age, introduce a potty chair as the child's "own chair." Allow the child to get familiar with it and verbally associate it with the adults' toilet.

  2. Have the child sit on the chair fully clothed when the parent uses the toilet daily. Parents may read or offer treats to the child while he sits but allow the child to leave at will. (Parents may not want their caregivers to go potty in front of their child. Respect their choice of modesty and leave the daily sitting on the toilet alongside the child to immediate family members like the parents or siblings).

  3. After one to two weeks of cooperation, remove the child's diaper and have her sit on the potty. Make no demands nor attempts to do more than sit on the toilet.

  4. When the child is comfortable with the potty and eliminates in his diaper, take the child to the potty, empty the diaper into the toilet, and explain that this is where bowel movements go.

  5. If the child appears to understand, take the child to the potty several times a day.

  6. As interest grows, remove diapers and pants for short periods, place potty nearby and encourage the child to use it at will and independently. Periodic reminders may be given.

  7. If child is progressing then put her into training pants and instruct how to raise and lower the training pants.

  8. After bowel control is obtained, boys can learn to urinate while standing by imitating other males. Nap and night training is left until later if it does not occur simultaneously with daytime control.
Have you tried this method of potty training? Have you found it successful?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Child's Typical Potty Training Development Chart

Use this chart based on the child's developmental skills and not necessarily their chronological age. This chart was developed by the American Academy of Pediatrics for typical healthy children, not for children with developmental delays.

0 - 12 months
1. Begins to associate cause and effect
2. Begins to enjoy praise and approval

12 - 18 months
1. Becomes aware of need to go potty
2. Begins to associate fullness with eliminations that follows
3. Emerging desire to mimic other children's behavior
4. May begin walking
5. May begin communicating verbally
6. Takes pleasure in doing it himself.

18-24 months
1. Early ability to briefly control sphincter muscles
2. Improves ability to picture a goal (using potty) and remember it long enough to complete the act
3. Increased urge toward self mastery
4. Better able to sit still
5. Increased ability to understand verbal explanations
6. Increased desire to please parents and win praise

24-36 months
1. Able to manage simple clothing
2. Improved memory helps child maintain potty routine
3. Takes great pleasure in increasing competence
4. Improved imagination allows for learning through play (dolls, role playing)
5. Gender awareness encourages imitation of same gender parent's bathroom behavior

3-Years and Older
1. Gradually maturing of digestive system eventually leads to decrease of accidents
2. Improved ability to break focus to go to the toilet and to resist distraction while getting there
3. Peer pressure encourages toilet use
4. Enjoys completing sticker charts and earning rewards
Have you ever tried potty training a child too early?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Are You (the Nanny or Au Pair) Ready for Potty Training?

Yesterday, Lynn Wariara started the discussion of potty training. She noted ways to determine if a child is ready to start potty training.

Today she discusses how to know if you (the caregiver) are ready to start potty training the child.

Ms. Wariara explains that successful potty training is not entirely up to the child but up to their caregivers as well. Parents will typically tell nannies and au pairs when and how to proceed with potty training. A nanny or au pair is ready to start potty training when they are willing to be consistent with the parents' style of potty training and to remain calm and patient during the training process.

Nannies and au pairs are must communicate with parents when they think it is the right time to start potty training and how often how to proceed with potty training too. It takes cool, calm, and collected caregivers to help a child learn to use the potty.

Don’t feel pressured by potty training methods that promise, "three days of complete potty training," or "potty training in one week." To be honest, it’s never that easy. These sort of marketing promises put a lot of pressure on the caregiver and child and when not fulfilled, most childcare providers find themselves less motivated and more frustrated when the child is not potty trained as promised.

It is good to rely on one method, but you must go at the child’s pace. It will make things easier for both you and the child.

Potty training takes team effort and consistency. Whichever method of potty training the parents prefer you and the parents must be consistent.

Have you helped parents potty train their children?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Is Your Charge Ready to Start Potty Training? By Lynn Wariara

Potty training takes effort, determination, positive reinforcement, and patience. This is one area of a child’s development that cannot be rushed and must be initiated in a delicate manner. A child must never feel intimidated during the potty training process. Ideally, potty training can be introduced to child that is between the ages of 18 to 36 months. But, if caregivers try to force potty training on a child before the child is ready, they are setting themselves up for failure.

Some signs of potty training readiness include:

  • Staying dry for at least two hours (which indicates a sign of bladder readiness).

  • Regularity in bowel movements which seem predictable. (Most children that show signs of being ready to use the potty. Watch their body language. For example, they might hide somewhere for "privacy." You will also notice a difference in their facial expression as they are going in their diaper).

  • Communicating discomfort when wet or soiled diaper.

Ask yourself:

  • Can the child sit quietly in one position for two to five minutes?

  • Can your charge follow basic instructions?

  • Does the child seem comfortable sitting on the potty chair?

  • Can the child communicate in simple phrases?

  • Does the child seem to show an understanding of putting things where they belong?

Before potty training, it’s important that you prepare the child. Discuss what is about to take place. Let him know of how proud you are of how much he has grown and will be now using the potty. Allow the child to get accustomed to seeing the potty prior to the training. Encourage her to sit on it once in a while. Feel free to rent or buy potty training books and DVDs to prepare the child for potty training.

Lynn Wariara has worked as a nanny since 1992. She is writing a book for parents hiring a nanny and a series of children's books and posts a blog at:

Tomorrow: Are you ready to start potty training?

What clues have you had that a child is ready for potty training?

Monday, November 9, 2009

What should I do if my charge's speech or language appears to be delayed?

Have You Worked with Children with Speech or Language Delays?

Last week we began discussing speech and language development in children. The discussion included baby sign language and Dunstan Baby Language. We also reviewed the book How to Talk to Your Baby by Dorothy Dougherty.

Today we start the most difficult discussion of all -- what if the child you care for has a delayed speech or language development?

The biggest hurdle for a nanny or au pair that believes a child in their care has delayed speech or language development is talking about the topic with the parents. The best scenario is when the parents will already recognize their child's speech is delayed and be willing to tell their caregiver how she can help. The worst scenario would be that the parents become offended or defensive if you bring up the topic. Sometimes the parents simply aren't aware of the speech or language delays. They believe their child is a late bloomer and not delayed in development.

If you are concerned that the parents are unaware of the problem you need to find an appropriate time and manner to talk to the parents about your concerns. Prepare what you want to say. Be sure to reference the November, 2009 Be the Best Nanny Newsletter which lists typical speech and language development milestones in children.

Present the facts and your concerns in a professional and respectful manner. Approach the parents with love and concern for their child, but do not become too emotional. Bring it to the attention of the parents at a time when neither of you is tired. Talk in a polite and helpful manner. Don't blame the parents, instead phrase your comments positively and ask for the parent's help and advice. It will also be easier for the parents to accept your comments if they know that you see their child's good points too. The worst reaction would be to sound aggressive or defensive during the conversation.

Hopefully, the parents will speak to the family doctor. The doctor may decide to refer the parents and child to a speech-language pathologist. A speech-language pathologist is a health professional trained to evaluate and treat people who have speech, language, voice, or swallowing disorders, or hearing impairment that affect their ability to communicate.

The speech-language pathologist will talk to the parents about their child's communication and general development. The pathologist can perform speech and language tests. A hearing test is often included in the evaluation because a hearing problem can affect speech and language development.

Depending upon the test results, the speech-language pathologist may suggest activities for home to stimulate speech and language development. Nannies and au pairs can help perform these activities which may include reading to the child regularly; speaking in short sentences using simple words so that the child can successfully imitate you; or repeating what the child says, using correct grammar or pronunciation. For example, if your child says, "Ball baybo" you can respond with, "Yes, the ball is under the table." This allows you to demonstrate more accurate speech and language without actually "correcting" the child which can eventually make speaking unpleasant for him or her.

The speech-language pathologist may also recommend group or individual therapy or suggest further evaluation by other health professionals such as an audiologist, a health care professional who is trained to identify and measure hearing loss, or a developmental psychologist.

Whenever you suspect a child in your care may be delayed in development you should share your concerns with the parents. Take the time to prepare what you will say. Always speak to the parents in a professional and respectful manner to ensure the child is receiving the best care available.

Have you worked with children with speech or language delays? How was the child treated? How did you talk about it with the parents?

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Weekly Trip to the Library for Nannies and Au Pairs

Book Review of How to Talk to your Baby
By Dorothy Dougherty

In the November, 2009 issue of Be the Best Nanny Newsletter we discuss How to Talk to your Baby
by Dorothy Dougherty.

The book describes how to enhance a baby's language development using a system that incorporates the five proven teaching methods of naming, describing, comparing, explaining, and giving directions.

The book is short and easy to read. Unlike baby sign language and Dunstan Baby Language which take time to learn,
How to Talk to your Baby describes techniques you are probably using instinctively with babies already. During your work day, you should be speaking to the infant constantly and the author gives examples on how to do that.

The book will help you turn the supermarket into a super classroom, will make the playground a learning ground -- and will give children a gift that will prove invaluable throughout life.

Stop by again next Saturday for another Weekly Trip to the Library. If you have a book you would like to recommend for nannies and au pairs contact

Friday, November 6, 2009

Dunstan Baby Labguage

Have nannies and au pairs tried Dunstan Baby Language?

Have you heard about Dunstan Baby Language on Oprah or while attending Nannypalooza this October?

Priscilla Dunstan discovered that every newborn communicates from birth to three months using five distinct sounds that signal hunger, tiredness, need to burp, lower gas, and discomfort. This is regardless of the language their parents speak. It is not a learned language. Rather, it is a natural way for every baby to express their physical needs based on baby’s physical responses, called reflexes.

For example, when a baby is hungry it will start to suck, and as sound is added to the reflex, the ‘word’ for hunger is produced which is, "Neh." These are the baby’s first communications, which occur before actual crying develops. The sooner the ‘word’ for hunger is identified the sooner a parent can respond by feeding, resulting in less crying and less discomfort for baby and for parents and caregivers.

Have you ever studied Dunstan Baby Language?