Tuesday, October 18, 2011

5x7 Folded Card

Thanks Much Blush Thank You Card
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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Yom Kippur & Jonah

Since it is traditional to read the book of Jonah on Yom Kippur, I took this opportunity to teach my daughter the story of Jonah along with talking about Yom Kippur. Amazingly, the bubble balls are still hydrated, so we added Jonah & the Big Fish to them! She enjoyed playing with Jonah in there! In addition, I filled the "whale" with items that begin with our letter this week, E. 
 Also for letter E, we made adorable elephant out of our handprints, which I found here. 

My daughter loved putting "dot" stickers (like for pricing garage sale items) on an elephant and eggs, so we will definitely do that for other letters. You can print the "Do-A-Dot" ABC pages from www.homeschoolcreations.com by clicking here. 

I found this great lesson on Jonah here (scroll down until you see "The Lesson.") I printed that out and simplified it for my little one, and also printed and cut out the emotion faces that go with it, so as I read she had to find the correct emotion to go with the story. It was great, and held her attention so well that we did it twice during the week! For review, I also had her glue the faces onto a sheet of paper while we talked about how Jonah felt and why. 

 Since our theme for the week was "prayer," I checked out from the library the book, "Prayer for a Child" by Rachel Field.
It was cute, and my daughter loved it. I wanted to read it because I found some printables to go along with it here. Most of them were beyond a two year old, but I used the word cards, so as we read, she could point out what the little girl was praying about. She has asked to read that book again many times, so I recommend it! Also for prayer, I used a page out of the FFOZ booklet, Thank You for the Food, which has all of the blessings before meals. I cut out the pictures so she could match them up and glue them on and then we also added on some real dry food items to remember that G-d made all food, and that we are to thank Him for it. (You can use a cheerio for a "bagel" and goldfish crackers for "fish", etc.)

Because my daughter would have a hard time understanding what Yom Kippur is all about, I chose to talk about repentance (saying you're sorry to G-d), and His forgiveness (one of His attributes we are learning about.) Those themes are found in the story of Jonah. Our Torah verse for the week was Jonah 2:3 "Out of my distress (trouble), I called to Adonai, and He answered me." Lastly, we did a few worksheets on the number 5...

 ...and learned a new Hebrew word beginning with dalet: dag, which means "fish." It was a fun and meaningful week, and a great reminder of G-d's forgiveness on Yom Kippur. Now we are preparing for the rejoicing of Sukkot!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Rock, Paper, Scissors, Parashah Ha'azinu!

*Pertaining to Parashah Ha'Azinu (Deuteronomy 32:1-32:52) 

With Yom Teruah (Rosh Hashanah) this week, we had an abbreviated preschool week, but it was fun. To learn about the holy day, we made a cardboard shofar and glued on the picture of Moshe declaring "Ha'azinu" and the stars and moon from the weekly coloring pages here on aish.com. Also using the coloring page for the verse that compares the teaching to rain ("May my teaching fall like rain"), we glued the Torah raindrops to a  rainstick craft found here.
We decorated it with puffy fabric paint for raindrops. 

Also for Yom Teruah, we made our own apples and honey plate. I improvised upon an idea found in the back of the book "Apples & Honey"." I simply cut out a red apple from posterboard and glued it onto a paper plate, used foam leaves and brown cardstock for stem, and cut down a yogurt cup and wrapped it in cardstock for the honey dish. The Hebrew word for honey, davash, was cut out from the aish.com Rosh Hashanah coloring pages found here.

Our Torah verse this week was taken from Deuteronomy 32:3 & 4: "Come, declare the greatness of our G-d! The Rock! His work is perfect!" We painted a couple rocks (from my Dead Sea collection) and made a holder for them that said "The L-rd is my Rock!" from Psalm 18:2. The craft idea is here.I simply used a disposable coffee cup bottom for the holder. These cute little rocks have become one of my daughter's favorite toys! She carries them around the house. :)

Thanks to a couple shows on Nick Jr. my little girl loves dinosaurs, so this week for the letter D, we made "dinosaur fossils/footprints" which I found on one of my favorite homeschooling websites, www.icanteachmychild.com. You can see her instructions here. This was a lot of fun, and since they contain only coffee, salt, and flour, the fossils are really easy to make. The fossils smell like dirt and old coffee, but I wouldn't give them to little ones who would try to eat them (they kind of look like cookies!) We only have one plastic dinosaur, so we used other animals as well. After they were dried out, we tried to match the animals to their footprints. 

Also for letter D, I filled the sensory tub with dirt and put some plastic gardening toys in for her to dig in it with. For extra fun, I gave her some sunflower seeds to "plant" and some plastic bugs (which she did not like). It was great, but don't make the mistake of closing the tub up with all of that in there in humid weather! When I opened it again, it was growing something nasty. I don't know what it was, but it wasn't sunflowers! The sensory tub has been a real trial and error experience for me, but it is disinfected and ready for something else! :)

Our Hebrew letter this week was gimel, which my daughter knows from the dreidel game! I used the Hebrew word for camel, gamal, on the akhlah.com worksheet here and glued it onto a brown piece of cardstock and we made a desert scene for the camel. The camel picture was from a coloring book, and we glued on Styrofoam packing material painted brown. Thanks to a friend in Florida, I also had some sand to glue on under the camel's feet! 

Additional activities included painting with Q-tips and mixing primary colors to see what colors we could make, which was fascinating to my two-year old! We also made camel paint footprints with small plastic camels, and did worksheet for number four.
Hope you had a blessed Yom Teruah! 

Saturday, September 24, 2011

the Torah in your heart... (Parashah Nitzavim-Vayeilech)

Pertaining to Parashah Nitzavim (Deuteronomy 29:9-30:20) 
and Vayeilech (Deuteronomy 31:1-20)

This seemed like a busy week for us in Torah school. To start off, we learned "The Listening Song" which we will continue to sing. (It's from an educational e-book I downloaded from Scholastic's Teacher Express website.) Since our theme was counting this week, we also sang "Alice the Camel (has 5 humps)" and "Five Little Monkeys." To learn numbers and counting, we played "Egg Carton Shake" which I read about here but I tweaked it by simply using numbers in each egg compartment, so when we shook the button into one, we learned what number it was. In the future, I also will try to get her to put the correct amount of pony beads into the numbers that we know so far, but she was much more interested in just shaking the beads in the carton to see where they ended up! :)

We also completed "Dora's Counting Activity Book," which you can print free here from nickjr.com. I was actually surprised at how well she did with these pages, which included counting particular items in a picture and circling them. She loved it because it had Dora on it, of course! Also, for counting, and specifically this week we focused on the number three, she completed this number three worksheet

We did several activities for the letter C, including making a cute caterpillar using pom-poms and a popsicle stick "branch" for him to sit on and gluing pony bead circles onto the letter C. For developing motor skills, we have started "practicing cutting" with scissors, which my daughter finds both fascinating and frustrating at the same time! We used the "What's in the Grass?" worksheet and the same website also has many others for learning to cut. Our sensory activity this week (the bubble balls are still sitting in the tub) was the "C" Bag, which was simply a brown paper sack I filled with items that begin with C. I had her close her eyes and take one out at a time so we could sing each one to the tune of "Farmer in the Dell" (i.e. "Car starts with C, car starts with C, the letter C, car starts with C") She really enjoyed it, so we did it more than once and I will use it for future letters as well. 

Our Torah verse this week was from Deuteronomy 30:14:  "[G-d's] word is very close to you -- in your mouth, even in your heart; therefore, you can do it!" We talked about having the Torah in your heart and used the parashah coloring pages from Nitzavim-Vayeilech from aish.com and also one from next week's Ha'azinu, depicting a child learning Torah. We made a collage using the Torah, the child studying, and the stars, etc. and also circled his mouth and glued on his heart to illustrate the verse as we talked about it.

This week, we also began spending a little more time on our Hebrew letter, bet. We have been using the printable pages from www.akhlah.com for each letter, but this week we cut the bet out and put it on a cutout I had of a school, because the worksheets have three words that start with bet, and the words were: beit sefer (school), beit (house), and boker (morning). On the other side of the school, we glued this house worksheet and glued the Hebrew word for house over the English, and also made a sun out of scrap paper for "morning". She drowned the poor thing with glue, so it was fun for her! She also tried to say the Hebrew words, so as we go on, I will incorporate more of this for the Hebrew vocabulary.

We also began our "13 Things I Know About G-d" lesson, making our sun craft, which I mentioned here if you have not read that post yet, and talking about G-d's attribute of LOVE. I found a cute family portrait picture that I made a cardstock frame for. I asked my daughter who G-d loved in the picture, and let her put a heart stamp next to each one, and circle them, even the puppy! ;) We also wrote the verse, "G-d is Love" from 1 John 4:8. This picture will go on on "school wall" along with the "13 Things I know About G-d" sun, so that we can add our other projects as we cover His other attributes.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Milk, honey, and bubble balls...

Pertaining to Parashah Ki Tavo: Deuteronomy 26:1-29:8

We are progressing in our weekly preschool, and I am getting more and more organized (hopefully), and definitely more inspired! It has always been my desire to teach my children at home, especially while they are so young, and after spending so much time teaching other people's children before college, it only deepened my desire to do so.  

Along with the weekly trips to the library we try to make for storytime, my daughter is also now signed up for a weekly Music Together class. The week of this parashah was our first class, so we spent a little less time "in school," which is fine. She loves music and this was a great opportunity to have her around a smaller group of children (most of them younger than she is), making music and interacting with one another. It was also a good prenatal workout for me! The large group at the library tend to be more rambunctious and sometimes intimidating to my sweet little girl, so she was more outgoing in the music class, and being around babies is important for a soon-to-be big sister!

Our theme this week was the alphabet, so we sang the ABCs and read "Dr. Suess' ABCs" and "Naughty Little Monkeys." Specifically, we spent time on letter B, which was great because some of my daughter's favorite things begin with B (bubbles, balls, books, etc.) 
She practiced tracing the letter B on these awesome dry-erase cards that Crayola makes, and I was, of course, very impressed with her! (because she's mine!)  :) She has caught on very quickly with "tracing" worksheets, so she also traced circles from a Winnie the Pooh workbook. 

Regarding Parashah Ki Tavo, we talked about G-d giving the Land of Israel to the people, and that it was a good land  "flowing with milk and honey".  We even ate some honey and drank milk. To further illustrate the bounty of the Land, I used a two-page drawing of Israel (copied from FFOZ's children's activity book entitled "We Thank You for the Food!") and had her glue on the species of fruits and grains that grow in Israel ( we used the parashah coloring pages of the Seven Species found here: www.aish.com

 The Torah verse that we read was Deuteronomy 26:15. I also tried to explain the concept of giving G-d a tenth of everything. We used a plastic basket from her play kitchen and gave G-d our "firstfruits" by filling the basket. From a group of ten pieces of play fruit, she picked one for G-d, one (or two) balls out of ten, etc. She ended up giving G-d more than 10 percent, so Baruch Ha Shem! She enjoyed it, and had to show Abba the basket she had for G-d. We also talked about giving a tenth of our money, and how people used to take their crops to the priests in a basket to give them to G-d. As I did last year, I will give her the opportunity to give 10% of the money she receives for her birthday away, either by giving it to someone in need, putting it in our tzedakah box, or buying gifts for her friends with it. The choice is hers. She does this joyously (as should we).
By far, the most fun we had this week was with the "blue bubble balls" that were in the sensory tub. I heard about these "water beads" here and purchased some at Michael's because they looked like fun! They are actually intended for floral arrangements and not for playing with (so don't use them with children who will try to eat them!) Using them as a water substitute, I put plastic boats in the tub and let my daughter play with them. She thought they were amazing, too, and mostly enjoyed running her fingers through them. They do feel really neat! I would recommend them for sensory play (but I made the mistake of leaving a (washed) yogurt container in there overnight that my daughter had been digging in them with, and the next day, she opened and said "I smell something" and lost interest after that. So don't make that mistake, or they will smell a little like spoiled milk! I let them air out, though, and they don't stink anymore.)

Our other lessons included learning the number 2 and the first Hebrew letter, aleph. I found this great video here that we have been watching to learn the aleph-bet song by Debbie Friedman that shows the Hebrew letters. This video: "Aleph Bet Rock" is also good because it includes the final forms of the letters for older children and adults to learn.

What should small children know about G-d?

    Recently a friend (and mother of a three year old) asked me how I teach my two-year old about Yeshua. My answer was that at this point, we mostly read her Bible stories about Yeshua and tell her about Him as opportunities arise in daily life. Little ones learn (and believe) what they see, so ultimately everything that she will learn about Yeshua will be from watching us. However, this question stayed close with me and caused me to ponder the question of how to teach her about G-d in her homeschooling in a way she could understand, and that I could build upon as she grows. 
    In my pondering, I thought about what is traditionally called the Shelosh Esrei Middot or the "13 Attributes of G-d's Mercy" as taken from G-d's proclamation to Moshe in Exodus 34:6-9. It proved very helpful both in reminding me who G-d is, and as a guideline to use in teaching my daughter about Him. The Biblical text states:
    "And the L-RD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The L-RD, The L-RD G-d, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, unto the third and to the fourth generation." (KJV)

The following was taken from the website www.hebrew4christians.com in their parashah teaching on this portion of Scripture. "According to traditional interpretations, the thirteen attributes are articulated as follows: 
  1. The L-RD - I, the L-RD, am the merciful Source of life
  2. The L-RD - The repetition of G-d's name indicates that G-d is merciful to a person after he has sinned and shown teshuvah (repentance)
  3. El - G-d the Mighty: G-d is the rightful Judge
  4. Rachum: G-d the compassionate, merciful to the poor and downtrodden
  5. Vechanun: G-d is gracious and generous even to the undeserving
  6. Erech Apayim: G-d is slow to anger and patient in waiting for our repentance;
  7. Verav Chesed: G-d is abundant in kindness to both the righteous and the wicked;
  8. Ve'emet: G-d is truthful and faithful in carrying out promises;
  9. Notzer Chesed La'alafim: G-d extends kindness for a thousand generations, taking into account the merit of our worthy ancestors
  10. Nosei Avon: G-d forgives iniquity, defined in the tradition as wrongful deeds committed with premeditation;
  11. Vafesha: G-d forgives transgression, defined as wrongful deeds committed in a rebellious spirit;
  12. Vechata'ah: G-d forgives sin, those wrongful deeds that were inadvertent;
  13. Venakeh: G-d will cancel all punishment for those who are truly repentant."
 You can read their full teaching here.

Based loosely on these 13 attributes, I came up with the following "13 Things I know About G-d" craft to do with my daughter as an introduction for her: I used a circle traced from a bowl on a paper plate to make the center of our Sun. (I could only come up with either using the Sun or a flower as two possibilities for this because I wanted a center and ways to display the attributes around the edge.) I printed this on yellow card stock, cut it out using the same size circle and glued it to the paper plate, and then also printed the attributes and cut them out (there is a clip-art picture next to each one to help little eyes  visualize the attribute, but they would not paste into this post. Email me at why_b_messianic@yahoo.com and I will gladly send you the original Word document!)

13 things
I know about

is Ruler of the World     

gives us everything we have   

doesn’t get angry easily     

is good to everyone   

keeps His promises   

remembers the good things we do    

is forgiving     

is kind   

is loving    

is holy      

is One     

gives life    

made everything   

 The 13 Attributes were then glued to large Popsicle sticks that we painted yellow and glued around the circle to make "the Sun". (I made it a point to say that the Sun is not G-d, but G-d made the Sun.)

Of course, for very young children, these attributes still need further explanation, and as parents we can use illustrations from our lives to clarify them and also make use of comparisons. In addition, I will make a point to add that "Yeshua is G-d" as we talk about Him, even though that may prove difficult to explain. This week, I introduced the concept that G-d is love, and next week look forward to our theme of "mitzvot & chores," which will lend itself to the "G-d remembers the good things we do" attribute. This will also be a great opportunity to teach what mitzvot are, and that they should be seen as acts of love and obedience and never as trying to earn favor (or salvation) from G-d. We will also learn about rewards & consequences. With Rosh HaShanah approaching, these concepts will be very important for our children to know amidst the popular understanding that our good deeds need to outweigh our bad ones and that we can actually work for salvation.

 I will continue to post on the individual attributes as we expound upon them in weekly parashot, as this will be an evolving (and never-ending) lesson. Children learn a lot through songs as well, so I will be gathering songs that can help teach these attributes. (Please share any that you know!) Because Psalm 145 also mentions several of these attributes, I like to sing the chorus of Shane & Shane's song "Psalm 145," which you can hear by clicking here. 

A book that we have and like is "My Little Golden Book About G-d," which talks about some of G-d's attributes. It also helps little children by making comparisons, such as comparing G-d's love to the strong arms of a daddy's hug or loving kisses from a mother, which makes it much clearer to a child. I will look for other books as well, and appreciate your recommendations. 

While this version of the attributes is meant for very small children, you can tweak it and include all of the 13 attributes for older children, which I plan to do in the future. I think that this is a good starting point for the little ones, though. It is my hope that you find the concept helpful in teaching your children as well. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

finders keepers? (Parashah Teitzei and Preschool Ramblings)

Pertaining to: Parashah Ki Teitzei (Deuteronomy 21:10-25:19)

This was our first week "back to school" with my daughter's Torah school, so this post will be a lot more about my preparations for doing this with her again and less about Parashah Teitzei specifically. In addition, I am learning to do school with her while being (uncomfortably) seven months pregnant and as scatter-brained as ever, so bear with me here! :)

Since she is now almost three, I wanted to make a more structured (and more like "preschool") curriculum for my daughter's Torah year. So I have broken it down into five categories of learning (and sometimes additional ones) in my lesson plans (which are finally beginning to be organized and in a filing crate!) 

As they do in preschool, we have a different "theme" each week, which I attempt to tie into as many lessons as possible. Sometimes that is difficult, though. For instance, this week's theme was "school" because my daughter has never been to school and she needs to know what it is. So we started our "Theme/Reading" category off with talking about what a school is, school rules (listening to the teacher, raising your hand, etc.), and that we were going to start having "school" a few times a week at home. We sit "crisscross applesauce" on the rug during "circle time" in the morning. We start by playing the "Modeh Ani" prayer that is sung on the Oy Baby 2 CD, which I love. I have added a few hand motions to get her attention. We greet each, say a prayer, and I introduce the weekly theme. I try to read a book that has something to do with either the theme or the parashah. This week we read "Llama llama Misses Mama" and I explained that some kids go to school away from home (like the llama). 

On one morning a week (it's Wednesday before storytime at the library for us), either I or my husband introduce a Hebrew letter and learn a few words that begin with that letter. We are also teaching her the alef-bet song by Debbie Friedman which you can hear on YouTube: click here (this video shows the letters as they're being sung). 

As part of the "General" learning category, that's where I put the alphabet, numbers, shapes, etc. Each week is a different letter, from A-Z, and a number, from 1-20. For letter "A" we made an apple tree picture and "ants" using finger prints in paint. I always write the letter on the chalkboard and try to encourage her to trace it as well. I have an alphabet worksheet (from the $ section at Target) that I sometimes give her the worksheets from (but not for every letter, because she would get tired of that!) I also try to find songs pertaining to the theme or the letter. This week we did "The Ants Go Marching," which was also good for getting her moving after circle time because we marched around the rug while it played. 

For "Arts/Crafts" time, we started putting the numbers on our school calendar for the month of September. Using sticky tack, she gets to put up the number for each school day on the calendar (the other dates are already up) and also gets to put up the weather description for the day. She enjoys running to the window to check the weather!  (I purchased the calendar, numbers, and the weather chart at Target for $1 each as well, but you can certainly make your own on poster board or have older children make it.) 

For teaching on "Character/Torah," we usually watch the "G-dcast" videos on YouTube (they're pretty good, but preview them before you share them with your children.) This parashah is found here. For clarity, we focused on the portion of Ki Teitzei that talks about what to do when you find something that doesn't belong to you (Deut. 22:1-2). I also give her a taste of honey (or chocolate, which she likes better) and tell her that the Torah is even sweeter than honey before reciting Psalm 119:103: "How sweet are Your words to my taste! Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth" and then reading a Torah verse that is contained within the parashah. This week, we read Isaiah 54:10: "For the mountains may move and the hills may shake, but G-d's love will never leave you and His covenant of peace will never be shaken,"  making it as understandable as possible and adding hand motions when I can. (This verse turned out to be very appropriate, because we experienced our first little earthquake here in Brooklyn!) 

In explaining the above mentioned portion of Ki Teitzei, I tied it into our "Sensory/Motor Skills" category by using the sensory tub (which I mentioned in Part II of this post) filled with rice. I buried small items in the rice, some belonging to my daughter and some belonging to other members of the family. When she found something that wasn't hers, I told her that the Torah says that we should return it to its owner, which she did. It was a great visual way to explain this to her. 

With the addition of a few worksheets pertaining to the school theme (printed from www.education.com) and a counting worksheet, this was our first week of preschool!

Potty Training in 3 days...well maybe 4 or 5 days...or 3 months... or however long it takes!

So here is our 3 day potty training journey (that I did when my daughter was about 26 or 27 months old) in a nutshell! Let me first say that I was very intimidated by the idea of PT before I started, so don't let that discourage you! A friend of a friend told me about this method and e-book found at www.3daypottytraining.com.

Even if you don't set up an account and purchase the book, my report will give a good overview of the method to get you started, or you can email me at why_b_messianic@yahoo.com for more info! 

Signs of readiness for this method:

(Author says that 22 months old is her favorite age to start PT, and that it's best to start before 2 and a half)
~Child is able to communicate needs and wants
~Can go to bed without a bottle/sippy cup (no drinks 2-3 hours before bedtime)
~Consistently wakes up dry (which Elli never did before, but she does now)

Preparation: begin now telling the child (in a serious tone) that peeing and pooping in a diaper is yucky (and make them throw away dirty diapers), you will need at least 15-20 pairs of underwear (buy some bigger so you can use them later as well), multiple crib sheets and maybe a mattress protector, lots of treats for the child (fruit snacks, m & ms, whatever they like and don't get often) and drinks (water bottles, juice boxes, and whatever else you let them drink besides milk, make it special. The idea is to get them to drink MORE than usual so that they have more opportunities to learn from), some small toys/presents for going #2 (I wrapped the presents to make it even more exciting), reward stickers & potty charts are good (you can get charts here: http://www.pottytrainingconcepts.com/CTGY/FREE-Potty-Training-Charts.html ), a potty chair or seat that goes on toilet, and 3 days where you can stay at home with the child ALL day and give them 100% of your attention (which means if you have another child, you need someone else to watch that child as much as possible) and a few of you are pregnant and possibly not feeling well, so you probably need help and support no matter what! If your spouse is going to help, make sure they know the method and you both are on the same page before you begin the 3 days.

THE MAIN IDEA of the method is so catch them in the act of going potty in their underwear and running them to the bathroom to finish in the potty EVERYTIME they go, so it takes A LOT of energy at times! :) The point is to show them where NOT TO GO and where TO GO potty. There is NO punishment or negativity involved for accidents (because there will probably be A LOT at first), but you are supposed to remain positive and enthusiastic about every drop that makes it in the potty (which can be difficult at times) and praise them to no end! They get praise, rewards, special drinks and treats for going in the potty... and when they go on the floor, you are supposed to "overreact" to the mess but not talk negatively about the child.

That's the very condensed version of the method, so here's what the 3 days looked like for us:

DAY 1: Wake up (preferably early, so you can shower, etc. before starting the PT) and eat breakfast. Have the child throw away (yes, in the trash) all the diapers that are visible (I kept some because I am not throwing away expensive diapers, but I never intended to use them for Elli. I hid them under her bed in case someone else needs them. I also bought one pack of pull-ups just in case, which is also a no-no according to this method.) So when the diapers are gone, put a pair of underwear on her/him. Show them how to feel to see that the underwear are dry, because you are supposed to give them "pop quizzes" to check for dryness. I didn't do this that often though. Instead of ASKING them if they have to go potty, tell them and remind them to let you know when they have to go potty, so that they have a sense of control over the PT and don't feel coerced. Toddlers loves control! :) And ultimately, they do have control over their bodies so only they can succeed at this. You need to make them feel like it's their idea and their accomplishment. 

Potty training child should wear only underwear and a shirt so that you can see that they’re dry (and socks or leg warmers if needed).  Basically, stay close to him/her, reminding them to tell you when they have to go, and reminding them to keep their underwear dry. You can go about your day playing with them, reading books, watching TV, etc, just as long as you stay with them so you can watch their body language and learn when they’re about to go potty. I jokingly called it “crotch watch” because that’s what I did a lot of to see if it was dry or starting to get wet! Elli began looking at me with a certain look right before she peed, so I knew I had to run her to the bathroom. You will know it when you see it! If they run away and try to hide, chances are they have to go. Follow them! Don’t let them out of your sight.

On the first day, Elli had many accidents (which was expected), but it was easier than I thought it would be. I had to catch her in the act of trying to poop in her underwear and then she finished in the potty (which kind of freaked us both out at first because it's SO much different than doing it in a diaper...) but she was very proud of herself afterward. I gave her a present when she did #2 and other times when she was getting down about it. You have to keep the excitement level up as much as possible. She wet herself during naptime (which you do the same as usual except with no diapers, staying nearby or by monitor so that you can take them to the potty as soon as they wake up ), and was upset about it. The issue that I had with her that got even worse on day 2 was the fact that she would not empty her bladder on the potty, just do a few drops and then 5-10 minutes later, she was wetting herself again, and it was a continuous cycle for about an hour after naptime. This is why she went through SO many pairs of underwear, so be prepared for this. Just keep being consistent, and they will learn not to do that, because there's no way to MAKE them pee and the author says not to force them to stay on the potty for long. That would be like punishment to them. It got very frustrating to me though, and that made her attitude even worse, and she was crying and not wanting to go on the potty, so be careful not to be negative about it, or tell your spouse you need a break so you can focus on the prize and regain your patience! That night, she wet herself, but I just changed her and the sheets and reminded her to stay dry. Also tell them OVER and OVER that big boys/girls use the potty because they loved to be called BIG.

DAY 2: Although she woke up wet, in many ways she was doing much better on day 2. She was signaling to me that she had to go, or walking towards the potty at this point. There were times that she would run away from the potty and pee on herself though, so stay positive. I noticed that once I became more positive about it, she did too. But I think day 2 was probably the roughest day, wondering if it was going to work or not, wondering why there wasn't more progress... but consistency is the key! On day 2, she also begin to rebel against PT altogether and she tried to run and hide more, whine when I tried to put her on the potty, etc. but there was no turning back. She tested my patience and the boundaries this day to see if I was going to keep it up. Don't give up, just keep going forward and they will see that this is how it will be now. I'm pretty sure she woke up from her nap DRY and telling me that she had to go pee-pee, so that was great! But that was when we had the "holding it in" issue again and she proceeded to go through 17 pairs of underwear the rest of the day!! That was rough, and my patience was wearing VERY thin. I had to get my husband to help and be enthusiastic about it, because I was not! Once she emptied her bladder (finally), it got better and my husband caught her running away to poop, and she went on the potty all the way that time, which was very exciting! We could certainly see the progress that had been made, and I'm sure you will too! She was on her way to being potty-trained!! That night she stayed DRY, and woke me up very early telling me she had to pee!

DAY 3: After waking up dry, we were all very hopeful. On day 3, because of the progress she had made, I tried to give her a little more space and remind her less frequently to stay dry. She was consistently getting up quick or looking at me to say she had to go, or simply running to the potty saying "pee-pee," so we were thrilled. She had few accidents, and was allowing her bladder to empty much better. She was still hesitant to go #2, but I knew when she had to go because she would say that she had to pee, but then do nothing on the potty. This happened several times before she actually pooped. I could tell she was holding her BMs in, as well. (And I think she still is) But I just kept putting her on the potty, and then I read her a couple books while she sat, and she finally pooped! It takes patience, that's for sure! :) Because this is so new to her, seeing her poop in the potty freaks her out and scares her a little, but I'm sure that will pass! On day 3, she napped and stayed DRY, and stayed DRY that night too!

I did not expect this PT method to be miraculous and to take exactly 3 days and then, voila!! So on Day 4, we continued it, but gave her more freedom and didn't remind her so often. By then, she was doing really well on her own in knowing when she had to go, and staying dry. We stayed home that day as well, but took her for a walk in her underwear and she loved it and stayed dry. She was so proud of herself! She had very few accidents, if any. Still hesitant about BMs, I don't think she pooped at all that day. On day 5, she was doing even better (no accidents), so we decided to take her to the store in the car and get her something special to celebrate. I put a pull-up on her, and took her potty seat that goes on the toilet into the store with us. When she acted like she had to go, we went to the bathroom and she went with no problem, and kept the pull-up dry. We bought her a toy and chicken nuggets and came home, she refused to take a nap but stayed dry, and we were like, "wow, I think this method actually works!!" That afternoon, we had been invited to a friend's house to watch football, so we went with her potty seat and she was in a pull-up just in case. Because she didn't take a nap, she fell asleep on the way over and woke up when we got there, not knowing where she was and cranky. She was very whiny and clingy, not like herself at all, and she would not sit on their toilet (on her potty seat) no matter how many times we took her to the bathroom, so she kept wetting herself and that made her even more upset. The pull-ups leaked too, so she wet her pants (and I only brought one extra pair, big mistake) so it wasn't good from a PT perspective, but once we came home that night, she went right back to using her potty like nothing happened. So beware of taking them to unfamiliar places that soon in the PT process. We haven't been to anyone else's house yet, so I don't know if she will continue refusing to use other toilets, but if she does, I am planning to get a travel potty to take along. Whatever works! We have an upcoming trip too, so we will see how that goes! :0

We have now made it through day 6, and I can confidently say that she is potty-trained, even though she's still hesitant about pooping. I believe she did have two accidents today, one of those while sleeping, but compared to the other days, it was a breeze! We still give ample praise and stickers on the chart, and occasional treats. I will admit that her appetite was affected during the three days because of all the juice and sugar, but it was worth it because now she goes whether she gets treats or not and she is back on her regular diet for the most part. It was an amazing journey, and I am no longer afraid of potty training! :) The only downside is that my baby girl is growing up fast, and making me feel old, but that's just part of life! I certainly don't miss the diapers, and I'm sure you won't either!!

Hopefully I made this make sense in a cohesive way. If you have any questions (or need encouragement while you're attempting this) , just email me! Your journey may be longer or shorter, harder or easier... either way, don't give up! It's definitely worth the number of days' work that you put into it! 

Update: My daughter is now 34 months old, and is fully potty trained, except for the struggles we still have with her going poop on the potty and not in her underwear. We try to be understandable in part, because she has had some painful BMs and has seen the doctor about it. We try to give her more fiber and get her to drink more water, but that is often a struggle as well. Of course, it's a vicious cycle because them holding it in just makes them constipated and then it hurts even more when it does come out, so next time they hold it in again!! It's been an interesting journey, but we look forward to the day when she is eager to go #2 on the potty! We still run her to the potty if we catch her in the act, and still give her fruit snacks when she goes on the potty. 

Despite these struggles, I still recommend this method to moms preparing for the dreaded potty training stage. The fact that it focuses on the positive and gives the child as much control as possible makes a big difference! I will certainly use it again with my son, who is still in utero at this point, but most people tell me that boys are harder, so it should be fun!! Perhaps I will write another post on PT boys when that time comes! If you are entering that PT stage, then I hope this information is helpful! 

Best wishes! :)