Christmas Break Training 101: Making Yours a Success by Erin MacPherson

sequoia and rachel, sittin' by the tree... - _MG_6719
source: seandereilinger

We love the idea of using Christmas break as a time to “train” your kids. I wrote about sleep training my daughter during Christmas break in December‘s article “Sleep Tight.” Whether you’re sleep training, potty training, moving your kid to a big-boy bed, or training your kids to eat something other than chicken nuggets, setting aside a dedicated time to do it is a great way to make sure you end up with a fully-trained (or at least mostly trained) kid.

Here are six tips to make sure your Christmas break training is a success.

  • Read up on the strategies. Before you even think about training your kid to do anything, check out a couple books from the library or ask good ole’ Mr. Google what other parents have done right … and wrong.
  • Know your kid. You know what makes your kid tick, and you know how he is going to respond to the training, so trust your instincts and come up with a plan that works for you and your family.
  • Write down your plan. If you’re sleep training, write down who is going to get up when and under what circumstances. If you’re potty training, plan how you’re going to do it and decide who is on “potty” duty when.
  • Get your supplies. Make sure you’ve stocked up on everything you need—stickers, books, caffeinated beverages for you—before the break starts.
  • Talk it up. Start talking about how excited you are about training early on. Trust us: If you’re excited about it, your kid will be excited about it.
  • Don’t let setbacks get you down. There are always accidents. You will have setbacks, and that’s okay. Tomorrow is a new day.

Erin MacPherson is an author, blogger, and mom to three preschoolers. She blogs at

Our Next Big Adventure: Potty Training

In less than two months, my "little" guy, Jack, will turn 3 … which means we’re about to embark on our next big adventure … potty training!

As you can imagine, being the editor of a parenting magazine I’ve read about the basics of potty training more than once <tiny bit of sarcasm>. You would think this means that I am more prepared than the average parent to potty train my own child. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. To be completely honest … I’m stressed about it already and we haven’t even officially started!  Reading the books and having head knowledge is one thing, but actually carrying it out correctly and effectively is another!


We’ve been talking it up for a few weeks with Jack and he’s starting to show a glimmer of interest in the idea of using the big-boy potty. We even bought a potty chair this weekend to help him get used to it. He’s very intrigued by the new addition to the bathroom. I am borrowing books and DVDs from friends to help engage him even more in the idea. We’ve even cultivated his love of M&Ms (not hard to do) in preparation for positive reinforcment! Everything is starting to indicate that he might finally be ready … now if only I was as ready as he is!

I’m not sure why I’m not anxious to get started. I think part of me realizes that it is a HUGE milestone that officially marks the end of babyhood. As annoying (and expensive) as it is to change diapers, it is at least one way Jack still needs me. Once diapers are a thing of the past, he is one step closer to being independent. Next thing I know, he’ll be moving out of the house (deep sigh)! OK … maybe I’m being a bit overdramatic!

However, in reality, potty training is a big step … one that should be celebrated! There’s nothing left to do except to push aside the drama-queen thoughts and go for it!! I know it’s a process that takes time … but I’m hoping by the fall we’ll have this potty-thing under our belts and be enjoying diaper-free freedom!

What potty-training tips do you have for me? What worked with your child? I’m all ears!