Toilet Training is NOT My Happy Place

Or How I Survived A Weekend of Pee-Filled Princess Panties

Toilet Training is NOT My Happy Place

If there has ever been a time in my two-and-a-half years of parenthood that I've NEEDED wine (and I mean bottles and bottles of wine) it would definitely have been this past weekend when I embarked on the task of toilet training my toddler. And yet, by the time I got around to taking this messy and tantrum-filled bull by the horns, wouldn't ya know I'd be pregnant and not even allowed to drink.

I've been talking and thinking about toilet training for way too long. When my kiddo was just 18 months my mom bought us our first toddler toilet seats...boy was she being optimistic! I remember how excited I was when my daughter actually peed on the toilet for the first time. But instead of following through back then, I let sitting on the toilet be something fun we'd do when we were bored at home. I’ll admit, I was a huge procrastinator when it came to toilet training. Because, truth be told, I wasn't sure I actually wanted my baby in underwear. I couldn't imagine running through a busy mall, pee dripping down her leg as I raced to find a public washroom. Diapers were so easy and self-contained, why would I bother?!

But this attitude obviously couldn’t last forever. I was getting major pressure from family members: You were toilet trained when you were 16 months old, said my mom. Do you want me to pull out our old potty? asked my mother-in-law. And I was starting to feel like a bit of a slacker in this department. Plus, winter was around the corner and I really didn’t want to be toilet training my kid in snow pants.

I knew my daughter could do it. She talks non-stop and can communicate what she's feeling and what she's doing and how she's doing it. She was ready. So it was time for me to get on board. In August I started reading two PDF potty training books (Oh Crap Potty Training and 3 Day Potty Training) and got totally overwhelmed. The thought of tackling this task still made me want to cry. I had no problem with my kid growing up, I just wished I could pay someone to do the dirty work for me.

This past weekend I succumbed to the pressure and cleared our schedules. I declared it a toilet training intensive. We were officially getting rid of diapers. I pulled out all the pairs of princess panties I'd purchased months ago in preparation for this big day...and bit the bullet.

My daughter surprised me with how quickly she caught on, but I'm not going to pretend it was easy for me. I've never felt so on-edge. "Tell me when you have to pee." "Willow, are your panties still dry?" "How are you feeling?" "Do you want to try sitting on the toilet?" Shoot me now! I felt like my head was going to explode. I dreamed about the toilet. I chased her around the house while she ignored me, defied me, and repeatedly said 'NO' to anything I asked her regarding having to pee. After a while I started to annoy myself. But, I did learn a few things about my kid. #1 She's a camel! She went four hours Saturday morning without peeing and made it to the toilet in time when she finally had to go! #2 When she says, 'No I don't have to pee' she cannot be trusted. Typically this was followed very shortly by the proclamation, 'I PEED!' #3 There is nothing better than the look on her face when she hears that little tinkle in the toilet. Her eyes light up! We high-five. And, it’s all worth it.

So, dozens of pairs of pants and panties, countless loads of laundry, and many mad dashes to the toilet with me screaming, 'She's peeing, she's peeing!' like a mad seems we've made some significant progress. This morning my little girl woke up at 6AM (she wore a diaper to sleep) and said 'I peed!' When I begged her to hold it as I ran her to the bathroom she proudly made her first pee of the day on the toilet. And, that was followed by a second just a few hours later. Poop is a whole other messy story, but she's getting the hang of that too. I'm actually insanely proud of her. And beginning to realize that a life without diapers (at least for a few months until baby number two is born) will be pleasure!

Today I sent her to daycare in panties. I also sent three pairs of extra pants and four pairs of underwear. I breathed a huge sigh of relief. I know there will still be 'accidents' but I know she's well on her way. We did it! And without a drop of wine. Now I turn her over to her amazingly capable teachers and take a break from all things pee-related.


Toronto Walk For Stuttering Awareness

Join Teen Phenom Jake Zeldin And Help Give Stutterers A Voice

Toronto Walk For Stuttering Awareness

This Sunday (Sept 23) is the First Annual 1K and 5K Walk for Stuttering Awareness in Toronto. It's a cause that's near and dear to Toronto mom Robyn Zeldin's heart. Robyn is currently riding the wave of her son's recent rise to stardom. At age 13, the Toronto teen, who raps under the name Lil JaXe (@LilJaxe), has collaborated with (and is now managed by) Montreal musician Karl Wolf and has become close friends with hip-hop superstar Drake. YouTube videos featuring Lil JaXe have garnered more than half a million views in total.

Jake is a brilliant lyricist and a skilled rapper, a talent he uncovered a few summers ago at sleepover camp. But, the craziest part of this story isn’t how quickly Jake has risen to fame, or how many celebrated musicians he’s befriended and earned the respect of. Nor is it that the teen was just asked to perform at Toronto’s We Day this month in front of 20,000 youth and educators. The craziest part of the story—and the most impressive for that matter—is that when Jake talks, he stutters. So badly that he often has trouble getting his point across.

“Around the age of 10, he started to become really self conscious,” says his mom, Robyn. “He wouldn’t talk in restaurants, he’d make me order for him.” While in Grade 6, Jake was bullied terribly by a teacher and faced some extremely dark months. But, he managed to turn it all around and went from not wanting to go out with friends and sitting in his room alone, to becoming enthralled with rap music, wanting to go to concerts and get himself known. You see, when Jake raps, there is absolutely no sign of his stutter. It’s as though it disappears. Just listen to this interview with Jake on Kiss 92.5 and you’ll see what I mean. It’s incredible.

These days, Jake’s mission is to help other kids who stutter and those living with disabilities. To show them that it’s not so bad; that we’re all different and it’s OK to be different. His motto: You can’t let anything or anyone get in your way of your dreams! His ‘haters’ as he call them, fuel his passion and keep him going. “When people say nasty things or doubt his abilities, they just make him stronger,” says Robyn.

On Sunday, Jake will be the Walk Ambassador at the Walk for Stuttering Awareness, in support of The Speech and Stuttering Institute. The event will raise funds to help people live full, productive lives while living with a speech disorder. Funds raised will also go toward educating professionals and conducting research.

It’s not too late to join the walk or support this important cause. Because, while many of us take our ability to speak clearly for granted, it’s easy to imagine how frustrating and, at times, embarrassing it would be to be unable to formulate the words you so desperately want to speak.

WHEN: September 23, 2012
9 am – 1 pm (Walk time 10 am)

WHERE: Taylor Creek Park, Dawes Road at St. Clair Avenue East, Toronto, ON


Let Jake be the inspiration you need to overcome any challenge you’re facing in life and go after your dreams with fervour! He’s the kind of teenager we need more of in this world.


The Breakfast Club

Minute Maid Helps Kids In Need

The Breakfast Club

To be honest, I hadn’t heard of the Breakfast Clubs of Canada before I began working on this blog post. Seeing as my daughter is only two-and-a-half, she’s still at the point where breakfast is consumed in stages, at home.

I guess I’ve always taken breakfast for granted. Or at least I’ve had the liberty of working from home and being able to realize when I’ve forgotten to eat this vital meal and quickly scarf down some toast and juice around 10am to calm my empty (and by then unhappy) stomach.

My daughter is extremely lucky that her parents are willing to fight to ensure her belly is full before school. But what about all the kids who don’t have access to healthy breakfast food? Or whose parents aren’t around in the morning to ensure they’re well fed?

Have you ever stopped to think about how many kids actually go to school on an empty stomach?

I was shocked when I read the stats provided by Breakfast Clubs of Canada (a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to providing services and funding to school breakfast programs). In Canada, they say, one in 10 children, or a total of 637,000 kids, live in poverty and are at risk of starting their day without food. Currently, there are about 1,000 school breakfast programs across the country funded by Breakfast Clubs of Canada and Club des petits déjeuners du Québec.

And, it’s the dedicated corporate partners/donors of this program that make it such a huge success. Take Minute Maid for example. The juice company (and its parent company Coca-Cola) has been supporting Breakfast Clubs of Canada and their work in schools across Canada for the past 15 years through more than $5 million dollars in product donations and financial support. This year, in time for the back-to-school-season, Minute Maid has announced a commitment of $1.5 million dollars worth of 100% juice over the next three years.

I love hearing about large companies like Minute Maid focusing on “doing good” in ways that really matter. Not only do Breakfast Clubs of Canada and Club des petits déjeuners du Québec feed hungry kids’ bellies, but in doing so they bring about improved attendance and punctuality, renewed interest in school subjects, improved behaviour and concentration, and better social interactions. I know how hard it can be to function on an empty stomach. It’s clear to see how vital a program like this really is for Canadian kids.

Way to go Minute Maid and Breakfast Clubs of Canada! As my mom always said "breakfast really is the most important meal of the day!" 

At most schools, breakfast club is open to any student. Those who can’t afford breakfast and those who don’t have time to eat because they travel long distances to get to school or have parents who start work early and aren’t around in the mornings. The praise for the program speaks for itself:

Says one principal, Patty Mardero, from Sudbury Ontario: “The support your organization has given us is a blessing to our students! We receive phone calls and feedback daily from parents and students expressing their gratitude for the breakfast program. I cannot tell you how grateful we are!”

If this is something you are interested in you can donate to Breakfast Clubs of Canada online or head to the supermarket and buy Minute Maid 100% juice products before September 16th. When you do so, the company will give a portion of sales to this very important cause.