rosefox: Steven's three guardians all ruffle his hair together as he grins (parenting)
Rose Fox ([personal profile] rosefox) wrote2017-06-22 12:15 am

"In over my head"

Dear fellow caregivers for toddlers: I would love advice on two distinct things.

1) What makes a good potty? The number of variations is overwhelming. We want something pretty simple, I think: looks like a toilet, no branded characters, doesn't play music, sits on the floor, is basically a bucket with a seat. In the more distant future we'll need one that folds up or goes over the toilet seat or something, for when we're on the road, but right now this is just for Kit to examine and contemplate and get used to the idea of.

2) Like most 18-month-olds, Kit is full of energy. Unlike most 18-month-olds, Kit can barely walk unassisted and can't run or jump. They've only just started climbing around on the most low-level playground equipment and are very uncertain; they can get up five steps to the top of the baby slide but haven't yet sorted out how to slide down it. When they can't burn off all that energy, they get very agitated and fussy. How do we help them get something like vigorous exercise on the weekends? So far my only idea is to take their walker wagon to the park so they can toddle along at a fairly fast clip for longer distances than our apartment allows—there's a good smoothly paved straightaway there—but that's a pain because the sidewalk between here and there is very uneven and narrow, so I'd have to figure out some way to carry the (heavy, bulky, non-folding) wagon while pushing Kit in the stroller, and that may surpass my own physical limitations. Maybe a lightweight folding medical-style walker? Is that a ridiculous expense for a kid who probably won't need it anymore by the end of the summer? And what do we do when it's not park weather? The nearest real play space for kids is the Brooklyn Children's Museum and it's kind of a haul from here—two buses, and you have to fold the stroller on the bus. They can only crawl around our apartment for so long.

EDIT: We did have a great dance party to the B-52s on Sunday—their pure sincerity is a perfect match for toddler sincerity, plus a good beat—so I should remember that's an option for indoor days. Friends on Twitter and elsewhere also suggested walking while holding Kit's hands/arms; playing follow-the-leader movement games ("Stretch WAAAAAY up high! Now bend WAAAAAY down low!") or doing movement to songs; setting up a tumbling mat and big foam blocks to climb on if we can get some that fit Kit's room (need to measure the open floor space); getting a cheap flimsy lightweight doll stroller to use as a walker in the park.

I'd really appreciate any suggestions on either or both fronts!
the_rck: (Default)

[personal profile] the_rck 2017-06-22 04:53 am (UTC)(link)
My younger brother had a hollow plastic thing with a handle on the back. It had four wheels and was just heavy enough to be stable. I can't remember if it was a wagon or some sort of car/truck. Mainly, I remember the handle and that it was yellow and orange.

My daughter refused potty training until I took her diapers away on her fourth birthday (I'd warned her in advance). At that point, she already had the necessary control. She just didn't see why she should bother.
yatima: (Default)

[personal profile] yatima 2017-06-22 04:54 am (UTC)(link)
1. Babybjorn smart potty! So simple and good.

2. Time to start baby swim lessons?
sartorias: (Default)

[personal profile] sartorias 2017-06-22 05:44 pm (UTC)(link)
Beat me to both suggestions!

Also, if you have room, an indoor gym. (Our living room was taken up by one for two years, when it was far too hot to let smalls play safely outside, for months on end.)
tiger_spot: (Default)

[personal profile] tiger_spot 2017-06-22 05:23 am (UTC)(link)
We got the Summer brand potty (, because all the reviews on the Baby Bjorn brand were like "this is the best potty in the world! it's so awesome!" and all the reviews on the Summer were like "this is exactly like the Baby Bjorn but it's so much cheaper!"

Exercise thoughts:

Have you tried a parent/tot swim class? Or is there a wading pool nearby? Water is very tiring!

Can you arrange things in the apartment to encourage standing/walking? Set up the drums on a low table or something?

Have you got a nice long hallway? You can also set up a crawling obstacle course, with chairs to go under and couch cushions to climb over and whatnot. That's fun.

Play areas that are indoors for inclement weather can be found in some McDonald's and other restaurants, many malls, free-standing for-pay locations with intimidating names like "The Jungle" ( or "Pump It Up" ( -- I'm honestly not sure how you find these besides being invited to someone's birthday party, but maybe google something like "party place" or "play space" -- which are aimed at older kids but may have perfectly good toddler areas, the VERY BEST airports... possibly something like a YMCA or JCC? Our local YMCA has a childcare room which is set up like a daycare, with some rocking horse and pushcar type gross motor activities, and the JCC has a very nice indoor pool. (I have never actually taken advantage of either of these things, but they exist!)
conuly: (Default)

[personal profile] conuly 2017-06-22 08:29 am (UTC)(link)
Now, I don't remember - do the NYC parks department free swim classes for kids start at 18 months or at two years? They're two or three days a week during the summer, which is better than paying for the Y. But you have to have somebody home to take the kid in the mornings.
conuly: (Default)

[personal profile] conuly 2017-06-22 08:27 am (UTC)(link)
The nearest real play space for kids is the Brooklyn Children's Museum and it's kind of a haul from here—two buses, and you have to fold the stroller on the bus.

Are you near a train line? Even if it takes longer, it might be easier to take the train to the CMOM than two buses to the Brooklyn Children's Museum. (Then again, I speak as somebody who wore the 18 month old in a wrap, which seemed at the time much easier than lugging a stroller. If you can't do that, your calculations may be different.)

And what do we do when it's not park weather?

If it's rainy, put on a bathing suit. Voila, you've now turned the day back into park weather.

If it's chilly, put on a coat. Voila, park weather.

If it's in the triple digits out there - fuck it, this is not park weather. Stay inside where it's air conditioned! I'm trying to remember what we did at 18 months if trapped inside. I think it involved a lot of storytime and dance time.
Edited 2017-06-22 08:30 (UTC)
tiger_spot: (Default)

[personal profile] tiger_spot 2017-06-22 02:50 pm (UTC)(link)
And if it's rainy _and_ cool, wear this!

I love it sooooo muuuuch.
mactavish: (Default)

[personal profile] mactavish 2017-06-23 05:52 pm (UTC)(link)
we have that same one!
gingicat: drawing of me based on wedding photo (Default)

[personal profile] gingicat 2017-06-22 09:10 am (UTC)(link)
We had this:

Ultimately, what got boychik to walk unassisted was "hey, nifty new-to-me person is over there!" And then the jig was up, so to speak. We knew he could walk without holding hands, but *he* didn't know that until he did it.

You can encourage Kit to go down the slide on their belly, feet first. It's a lot less intimidating than looking down.
gingicat: drawing of me based on wedding photo (Default)

[personal profile] gingicat 2017-06-23 09:13 am (UTC)(link)
We only used it outside, to encourage walking longer distances.
adjectivegail: (facepalm)

[personal profile] adjectivegail 2017-06-22 09:37 am (UTC)(link)
In terms of getting them used to the idea of a potty, I'm not sure that which potty is so important (except, as you say, I'd agree with avoiding lights, music, etc!) so much as talking about it a lot. We borrowed a lot of books from the library and he wanted us to read them over and over and over again: (and but A has always been extremely boy-identified - he still loves the pirate book)

The only thing I'd say is think about how Kit moves. Are they stable in the squat position? I've seen a potty before that was duck-shaped, had a big duck head at the front with handles to hold on to. They might prefer something like that.

When A was in daycare, they had a tiny little mini supermarket trolley. It was A's favourite thing to hold on to while he was practising walking, and he could go much further while using it than walking unassisted. Do you have anything similar that Kit could use, and maybe take shorter walks straight out of the apartment without bringing the stroller at all? Even if it's only one block each way, and then if they get tired it's easier to get them home again?
caudelac: (Default)

[personal profile] caudelac 2017-06-23 03:46 am (UTC)(link)
baby signing time is great! I didn't know those folks made potty videos- now I need to get.
ailbhe: (Default)

[personal profile] ailbhe 2017-06-22 09:59 am (UTC)(link)
A single piece of molded plastic you can wash under a tap with one hand. For toilets - I absolutely loved but never had the two pieces toilet seats with smaller hole for toddlers. Also the ladder type step with built in toilet seat.

Soft-play centers are good for indoor play. They tend to be in huge warehouses surrounded by bulk plumbing wholesalers here.

My toddlers pushed the buggy using the shopping basket underneath as a handle. Also door bouncers, sofa cushions on the floor to climb/burrow, vtech plastic walker with bells and whistles but we didn't use batteries, dancing to music, heads shoulders knees and toes etc.
oracne: turtle (Default)

[personal profile] oracne 2017-06-22 12:13 pm (UTC)(link)
Geeklet, now 13, never did crawl or scoot - she did the walking while someone held her hands, until she could walk on her own, at the late end of when kids start to walk. Her little sister went straight to walking as well, but much earlier so she could chase her sister.
mactavish: (Default)

[personal profile] mactavish 2017-06-23 02:33 am (UTC)(link)
For potty chairs I prefer this shape, they're comfy to sit on for a bit, have the "squatty potty" body mechanics:$(KGrHqNHJE4FJy)9ZtvnBSe2hD,pD!~~_32.JPG
This preference has held for 30 years of toilet training.
This was an awesome tool for a long time, for energy expenditure:
We had this exact model but there are others. It's stable enough for a small child to muck around on the bar, too.
mactavish: (Default)

[personal profile] mactavish 2017-06-23 10:52 pm (UTC)(link)
And while I recognize that the trampoline is technically for jumpers, it's got the bar for pulling up and they wiggle and bounce before they get two feet off the surface.
caudelac: (Default)

[personal profile] caudelac 2017-06-23 03:45 am (UTC)(link)
we got the cheap ikea one here:

It has a easy to lift and pour out (and wash) bit, and since ours have penises, the bit in the front that comes up is useful to block when they're sitting and pee (only a concern if it's a concern, of course). But mostly, it's only 10 bucks, and that rocks.
silkensteel: (Default)

[personal profile] silkensteel 2017-06-23 01:29 pm (UTC)(link)
re: potty work. When we needed Runa to get used to using the potty, this video on repeat was so catchy, she would sit for as long as it took while watching and butt-dancing. It's still an occasional baffling earworm for me.

Walk-play time: a small kiddo shopping cart worked for Deb and Mariel. There's a german made trike/handle with belt straps, where the front wheel locks straight so you can wheel Kit until at the park, then Kit can spend time figuring out how the pedals work. Kit is long-bodied, if I remember you saying - so they should be able to reach the pedals, I'm guessing? I've used it when Runa was too small for long walks but too big for baby stroller. Now she puts her toys in it and takes them for strolls around the courtyard.
thekumquat: (Default)

[personal profile] thekumquat 2017-06-24 10:06 pm (UTC)(link)
The best potty is the one you can persuade your child to actually sit on! Whatever you can find locally that might be comfy when Kit is a bit bigger, and maybe one from a dollar store as well.
When Quatlet was nearing 3 I got one of the squishy seat inserts, a plastic firm seat insert, and a chair potty which he chose - the seat inserts were used a few times by Quatling and small guests but still not much, but other parents swear by them.

The Jessie Cat Sing and Sign potty song helped a lot but with Quatlet it was simply bribing him to sit on the potty, which worked once he was dextrous enough to pull trousers up and down.
thekumquat: (Default)

[personal profile] thekumquat 2017-06-24 10:10 pm (UTC)(link)
Do you have a LittleLife backpack? Main value is they act like reins for a bolter child, but they have a handle on the backpack too, to assist a wobbly toddler. Then can go anywhere with stroller and let child walk.
Spacious cafes that are deserted inside are good for letting them crawl or walk, obviously not when they get busy.
metaphortunate: (Default)

[personal profile] metaphortunate 2017-06-25 09:09 pm (UTC)(link)
We went with the Baby Bjorn potty and eventually "toilet trainer" (potty seat). The potty is best at first because the kid can get on it by themself, but you are going to get tired of washing poop out of that thing reeeeal fast, and want them to get on the toilet as soon as they can handle a stepstool.

When you're ready to go out and about, I massively recommend the Potette Plus. It's light (super vital when you go on foot/by public transit), it works on toilets but also by itself, with the bags - the Junebug actually had an emergency pee in ours on our way to your place when we saw you last!

While sadly gendered, the kids did love My Big Boy Potty, and there's a girl version. It is still requested as a bedtime story by the three-year-old despite potty training being a year or so in the past.
elizabear: (Default)

another angle

[personal profile] elizabear 2017-06-26 12:58 am (UTC)(link)
Sorry if I'm coming into this a bit late, but has Kit been evaluated by a pediatrician for motor development and muscle tone? My nephew was not hitting the expected milestones and qualified for Early Intervention sessions that have made an amazing difference in his gross and fine motor skills. If this is something that could help Kit, it's much better to start them as early as you can.
elizabear: (Default)

Re: another angle

[personal profile] elizabear 2017-06-27 04:40 pm (UTC)(link)
Yay! :)
ethelmay: (Default)

[personal profile] ethelmay 2017-06-26 08:02 pm (UTC)(link)
We had the type of potty that comes with a seat that doubles as a toilet seat insert. No sense buying more hunks of plastic than you need to.