Elisabeth Röhm’s Blog: Just When You Think You’re Out, They Pull You Back In…

08/01/2011 at 08:00 AM ET
Courtesy Elisabeth Röhm

Elisabeth Röhm, best known for her role as Serena Southerlyn on Law & Order, is in the middle of a very busy year.

The actress, 38, can be seen on the big screen in the upcoming films Chlorine, Transit, Abduction and Officer Down, and is found online on Facebook and @ElisabethRohm on Twitter.

In her latest blog, Röhm and fiancé Ron Anthony are experiencing an unwanted blast from the past after 3-year-old daughter Easton August regresses in her potty-training and co-sleeping habits.

How do you deal when behavior from your child’s younger years recurs? What do you do for accidents and with little people climbing back in your bed? Elisabeth wants to know.

It was some months ago, right here on this very blog, PEOPLE.com readers, that I celebrated the potty-training achievements of Easton. It was also here, within this very tight-knit circle of ours, that we discussed the pros and cons of co-sleeping.

I was fighting the bed battle and on my way to a hopeful win, but I had slam-dunked the diaper challenge. And I might add that I was feeling mighty proud of myself and Easton. But to both subjects, many of you suggested that these behaviors could recur even after months of solid achievement, so you warned me not to get too excited just yet.

To which of course, as I read the comment section for my blog on those weeks, thought, “Nah … that can’t be. My baby is growing up!” I was convinced that we’d gone solidly around the bend on at least one of those subjects and we were progressing with the other.

Which one of you pointed this possibility out to me?! Seriously, I need you to identify yourselves because you were so right. How did you know that my certainty in the situation might be revised at some point?

I mean, it was obvious to me that the night-time struggle might pop up again because we travel so often and when we are on the road, Easton feels out-of-sorts sometimes and comes to us out of familiarity. But the pee-pee in the bed thing, really? I was so sure that was never gonna happen again. You remember this, of course, right? I was signed, sealed and delivered on that one!

Easton went so swiftly from no diaper all day, to none at night that I was blown away and proud as a peacock to share it with you all. You gotta watch out for pride, right? Then bam! Just when you think you are out … they pull you back in! What’s with that?

So needless to say, we’ve been having some accidents around the house.

Let me tell you, I’m becoming an expert launderer these days. I’ve been waking in the morning to discover that I have to wash her comforter, the sheets and the hypoallergenic cover for her mattress and then give the ole mattress itself a once over.

It’s not all the time, but it has reared its head recently. And it’s not just happening at night either — it’s begun to happen in the day time too. Again, it’s been very rare but enough to mention. Weird, right? I thought we were months away from this chapter. When was it ladies, seven months ago that Easton had conquered this?

Anyway, it’s only happened a couple of times in the day. But even still it has happened then, too … I’ve analyzed it. It seems as if she’s holding it in either because she’s playing with her friends or we are going to cuddle up to read books in bed. She’s so excited about something other than going to the bathroom and so … you get it. Then it’s beyond her control. Poor thing.

So now we’re working on reminding and suggesting and going to the bathroom for frequent visits like we were doing before, and it’s all working itself out. As it always does. But I had to give some of you moms credit for forewarning me. You were right.

That’s why I so appreciate doing this blog with you all. I learn from you every week and truly look forward to your comments. And I think all of you learn from each other too. It’s been amazing actually creating this network of support here with all of you!

Obviously the bed battle resurfacing is not the biggest surprise, is it? Ron and I kind of did that to ourselves, right? You all pointed that out too. Which we were fine with until we weren’t, as you may recall. But I must say we’d made excellent headway in that department also.

Her night-time visits were becoming tremendously infrequent. She might crawl in at about 5 a.m. once a week, but to me that was a perfect balance. I was thrilled to be sleeping through the night again or for the first time without having to bring her back to her room sometime in the middle of darkness. But I also enjoyed a little snuggle with her from time to time in the warmth of the early morning.

So it seemed as if we’d nailed that too and found the perfect balance. Not so fast, Mommy and Daddy! We’re suddenly at square one over these last two weeks. It seemed to happen when we were in N.Y.C. for a month. Everything got off track again, as it does when we are off our routine.

Now we are back in the battle zone for some sleep. And we are getting reacquainted with the potty! It happens to the best of us. The minute we think we’ve beat something, we find we haven’t!

Like I said, this is the week of being pulled back into some of the baby drama of the past. Any ideas why this happens, PEOPLE.com readers?! I’d love to continue the conversation that you all started those months ago!

Until next week, ladies!

— Elisabeth Röhm

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Showing 51 comments

Dawn on

Yes, this is a familiar story to me!

My daughter Kaelin was a summer baby, so post potty training took place in the months when she was “too busy” playing outside and such and forgot to take time to go potty! I also noticed that she would sleep so hard from being so busy and active that she would have accidents at night.

I ended up setting a timer during the day to remind her to drink fluids and go potty. At night, I set the alarm to wake her up to go potty.

I really thought that summer would never end! In the fall, everything was back to normal without any accidents!

mae on

I’ve been having the same battle but then I suddenly realized that I must take queue from my child alone and be her guide when she is all ready to do these things by herself.

I have stopped pressuring myself and my daughter like there’s a time bomb ticking with potty training and co sleeping that she has to master them by a certain age.

Sure, I always incorporate potty training whenever possible. At times we’re successful, at times we’re not. But I try not frustrate myself over that.

Our children will do when they’re ready to do it. After all, nobody has gone to high school in diapers. They WILL eventually learn and they WILL eventually be on their own.

For now, I’m doing my best to enjoy what’s left of her toddlerhood, no matter how frustrating and messy it is at times. 🙂

Kaley on

Well, all I can do is agree with you, you did it to yourselves. Yes, children revert to their old habits when they are tired and out of sorts. Which is why you don’t allow them to have those habits to begin with.

Any one can tell you that kids, once potty-trained, still have to be reminded to go to the potty – during the day, it’s easy to spot the gotta-go dance kids do. And at night, you just make sure they don’t drink much after dinner. That’s the easy part.

The sleeping part is all on the parents – you teach your kids that they sleep in their own bed when they’re babies and they won’t feel like they can still crawl into your bed whenever they want. I know all the hobo-mom types are going to slam me for that and say I don’t love my kids as much as they do, but they’re WRONG. I doted on my 4 kids, hugged and kissed them hundreds of times a day and made sure they could come to me for anything. But I emphasized that sleep time was just that – sleep time – and that meant we all got our own beds (although I occasionally heard that it wasn’t fair that I got to share a bed with Daddy).

My kids are 11-17 now, all well-adjusted and fiercely independent, and I am very close with all of them. None of them hesitate to tell me whatever they’re concerned or happy about. But they know who makes the rules in the house, and it ISN’T those under 21!

It doesn’t take sharing a bed to make a child happy and secure – it takes love and discipline, not spoiling, as Elisabeh has done with her daughter.

Lisa Kentala on

I hate to admit it but my older son usually fell asleep in my bed when he was young. Once he was sleeping my husband would carry him to his room. When he got too heavy, he half-carried,half-walked him. He then slept thru the night in his own bed. Maybe this isn’t a solution for others, but it worked for us. (He’s now 24 and perfectly well adjusted!).

As for the potty – some kids need to be reminded frequently to go – they would rather keep playing and don’t think of going until the last second!

Jennifer on

What Kaley said…

Dawn on

Wow Kaley! I imagine you just had the perfect kids! How nice for you.

I also imagine you are the first one to post negative thoughts on breast feeding since you immediate took a holier than though attitude to attachment parenting. Apparently it has escaped your notice that these blogs are for people to share their stories and solutions and not to one up each other.

Truth be known, not all kids can rely on the do-it themselves theory. How do you know that some kids didn’t have disabilities etc. Your comments are not constructive and are rude.

Sarah K. on

Dawn, I kind of agree with Kaley.

First, she obviously wasn’t talking about children with special needs since that’s clearly handled differently and not the case with Easton as far as we know. She was offering her take on raising children because, as you said, this blog is for people to share their stories.

Second, just because you have a different method with her doesn’t mean she is attacking you as a parent. She didn’t even say attachment parenting was bad or wrong. She was making a comment on how some attachment-style parents accuse others of not being as loving (and I have seen those comments a lot on this site).

There is no one right way to raise children and everyone figures it out as they go. Take her advice or don’t take her advice, but what she said did add to the conversation on how best to deal with sleeping/potty-training.

J on

She hit a nerve there Dawn? (rolls eyes)

daria on

co-sleeping is only a problem if you prefer the child to be sleeping in his/her own room. we still occasionally (once a week) find our 6-year-old in our bed starting in the early morning. he is highly anxious and still needs lots of cuddles, and has since he was an infant. now that he is older, we even set up a sheet and pillow on the ottoman at the foot of our bed, so on days he just wants to be in our room, he can settle there without disturbing our sleep. our 16-month-old daughter, however, always sleeps in her own bed. they were born with their own personalities and needs.

if co-sleeping is a problem in this particular situation, my suggestion is to progressively move the child back into his/her own room. put a sleeping bag on the floor, then move it into the hallway, then finally the child will be back in his or her own room. make their bed as enticing as possible, with favorite animals and toys. carry a favorite attachment object wherever you go and place it in the child’s bed upon arrival.

if the co-sleeping is temporary, however, it might indicate a period of time when a child is in need of additional time and attention, especially when coupled with bathroom accidents. i’d be patient with the child and try to give them additional supports until they are ready to settle back into old routines.

mary on

I have four kids and I have not had the kind of experiences that Elisabeth has had or some of you, BUT my close girlfriends have and I will tell you what I have told them after they asked me how did I end up with four that did not co sleep with us. I don’t know! If you feel deep in your heart that your child should not be in your bed OR it is ruining your relationship with your spouse then I will do research on this topic and try and help, BUT just remember you never hear of a 16 year old co sleeping with parents so just hold tight!

With that said I will our youngest (6) will slip into bed with us during electrical storms and I do cherish those moments of co sleeping ( if you can call it that,since I never experienced that). They don’t happen often and she shakes with fear but as soon as the storm is clear she always slips back in her room 😦

Do what is best for your sanity and your family! If you don’t mind co sleeping who are we to say its wrong?

About potty training reverting, UGH!!! been there done that with one of four. I Was taking care of my mom full time and our youngest turned 3 that summer. Lots of stress. My mom was very, very ill and had an LVAD (waiting for a heart transplant). One could not fault the three year old or me on that problem, so lots of hugs, kisses and reassurance, I think we all needed that! BUT once you find the stress on why that happened it does get better!

mommytoane on

My daughter was so independant she slept on her own from newborn on. She loves some cuddle time…but when she’s done, she’s done. One thing I can say about travel is to keep routine…and possibly have a sleep aid that is soothing to her. Something like a fan that makes a set noise that’s comforting. Toys might comfort, but noises comfort as well. My DD has slept with a box fan in her room since birth and anytime we travel, its easy to have that fan noise.

As for potty training. Have you checked with your DR to see if something could be wrong? If she’s getting excited and wetting…perhaps there’s some muscle issues, or an infection going on thats just undetected. SO many bladder/uti’s are undetected but there. The biggest thing tho is NOT to freak out. NOT to make a deal out of it. Just stay calm, and clean things up. If its mostly at night, perhaps invest in the thicker training panties, or a pack of pullups.

If she’s going in the middle of the night, perhaps just get her up after a couple hours….gently lead her through a dimly lit house to the bathroom and set her on the toilet. My mom did that with all 4 of my siblings and I….and it probably saved her a lot of dirty sheets. Also, just pick up a couple bed liners. Heck let me tell you, those things are a lifesaver even when kids are older! Sitting in bed reading at night, my daughter occasionally spills a little water, and those things save her mattress from becoming wet. Thankfully now days, they aren’t like putting a plastic bag on the bed like when we were young.

Most of all. Follow Easton’s cues. The sad truth that a lot of parents don’t know is that most kids aren’t *FULLY* potty trained until 4-6 years of age. Don’t freak out of shes not completely ready now. She will be. Trust in her. She knows when she’s ready to do things…and even if its not when you want it…thats fine. It lets HER be in control, which can be an issue.

My DD resisted potty training…completely and totally. But at 3 yrs, 3 months she just walked up to me, said “No more diapers mom”, threw her diaper at me and never went back. Somehow in her 3 yr old mind she worked out how to potty train, when to go, and it worked for us. Do what works for you.

Good luck tho! Give lil Easton lots of extra snuggles. Shes just too cute not to have them.

Kristin on

I would like to know if any of these accidents and co-sleeping issues started around the same time that she lost her favorite stuffed animal. She may have lost some of her sense of security when she lost it and this is how she is reacting to the situation. It is just a guess. I don’t claim to have all the answers or to know everything.

The Baking Fairy on

My daughter is nearly 5 and has been potty-trained since she was 2.5 years old. Somehow she managed to nighttime train herself, too, and we have been completely out of diapers with her since just before her 3rd birthday. I can count on one hand the number of accidents she has had in the two years since she stopped using diapers but what I do notice is that every couple of months we go through a cycle lasting a few weeks where she wakes up in the middle of the night needing to use the potty.

We’re thankful that she wakes up with the urge to go instead of waking up to a wet bed, but it does get a little trying when we’re woken up at 1 a.m. to take her to the bathroom after months of her sleeping through the night without incident. I’ve chalked up these cycles to growth spurts but have no conclusive reason for why they happen.

Routine is so very important for a child, I think. My daughter has had difficulty with constipation ever since she started solid foods but we seemed to get things worked out by the time she was 3.5 years old. However, if we go away or if Grandma comes to visit our house, then my daughter tends to get too excited about the change of pace in our day and doesn’t have the patience to work on pushing. She’s always in a hurry to get back to playing with Grandma!

This leads to several days without a b.m. and then many, many tears when she finally can’t hold it in anymore. I try so hard when there is a change to our day to remind her to try on the potty or make sure she drinks extra fluids but we always go through this and it takes several days to set her straight again.

As for co-sleeping, we only did that with our daughter when she started teething. We found that she would wake up every 2 hours if we left her in her crib but she would sleep a 6 – 7 hour stretch if she was in bed with us. This lasted only a few months until teething was something we all got used to. We gave up co-sleep before her first birthday.

My rule of thumb is that everyone sleeps in her own bed. If my daughter tries to climb in our bed before 6 a.m., I tell her it is still the middle of the night and she needs to go back to sleep in her big girl bed. If it is after 6 a.m., that is pretty close to when the entire family will be awake so I’ll invite her in to snuggle with us. I like the snuggle time but I also want her to understand that she is expected to sleep in her big girl bed and respect that Mommy & Daddy have their own bed, too.

If she doesn’t have one already, perhaps you can get Easton a Twilight Turtle. It projects stars and constellations on the ceiling but turns off after 45 min. It helped immensely in keeping our daughter in her bed because she wanted to be there looking at her stars and knew her room was the only room with the stars.

Tiffany on

Don’t be so hard on yourself and your child. These things take time and patience.

Regression in behavior is brought on, as you seem to realize, by uncertainty. It’s a physical manifestation of internal conflict. It’s a way for your daughter to communicate with you that she needs extra assurance and more love and security in the familiar. When everything else is changing all around her, she needs to feel safe with you- you are the constant.

I completely disagree that letting your child sleep with you is fostering a “bad habit.” A bad habit indicates that there is something wrong with the action, when there isn’t in this case. She’s simply looking for security. Why not let her get it?

I’ve found that when I listed to the underlying emotions my daughter is trying to communicate, and respond to those instead of punishing a behavior, the behavior corrects itself all on its own.

No child goes off to college still needing to sleep with mommy. All children develop full independence in time. Just be patient.

KD on

With potty training, I went by the signals my kids were giving me, which had two potty trained right around 2 years old and two that we about 3 to 3 1/2. WE went with the flow. I bought them little potties around 18 months and left them where they could use them, but never pushed.

As far as co-sleeping goes, I chose to have the kids sleep in their own room from about 2 months on and they did not share our beds, they were in the room with us in a cradle or bassinette. I breastfed and it was easier to have them in the room until a schedule was established. My kids seem very well-adjusted and now that they are loved, despite being put in their own rooms from such a young age. They are also very independent.

I think its fine if that is what you prefer, but I also think there needs to be limits. A child who can talk, walk, and make the decision to sleep in the room should be taken to their own room to sleep, not allowed to sleep with mommy and daddy. Now there are exceptions to this, but sleeping in a room by the age of 3 sounds reasonable, having a Kindergartner in the room? Not so much

blessedwithboys on

The only problem here is that you expect Easton to grow at YOUR pace, not hers. Full-time school at age 2, mommy flying across the country and abandoning her at home…the poor thing wants to stay a baby because she feels like she’s losing you as she grows up.

Don’t sweat the PLing accidents or she’ll start doing it for attention.

As for co-sleeping, stop being selfish and let her sleep with you. She needs all the time with you she can get before you fly off for weeks again.

mom2KB on

Wow, blessedwithboys….way to get in there and make the woman feel bad. Your comments are rude and the opposite of constructive.

I imagine you as one of those people that looks down on the working parent. One that thinks that if a mother AND father have to work, the kids are going to turn out to be monsters. The world is changing and parenting is becoming what each of us makes of it.

I have never let my daughter sleep with me and yet she has grown into a wonderful, self-motivated and reliable teenager. If she has an issue, she talks to us and we come to a solution together. Not allowing her in my bed (parents need their own space too) has not had a negative impact on my daughter.

I personally do not believe in allowing children into the parents bedroom. As an adult, I am entitled to my own space and my own bed just as is my daughter. However, if it works for others and it makes their family happy, then by all means, go for it.

You should bite your tongue and learn to appreciate that you are not always right and that you have made mistakes.

PreschoolTeacher on

How dare you judge another mother for the way she is raising her child. Every family is different, and every family handles situations differently. Plenty of parents work full-time, travel, ect. Just because it may be different from your ideal, that does not make it wrong.

momofboys on

I agree with don’t stress about the accidents. My son had accidents until he was 8. He was such a sound sleeper he just wouldn’t wake up. I wish I would have thought of the alarm clock suggestion to make sure he went at a certain time. He was very self-conscious but in time he grew out out it. He’s 24 and is happy and well adjusted.

We had a nighttime routine of getting a book or a special toy and something we called quiet time. I’d sit in my son’s bedroom for 30 minutes while he settled down. I don’t think there is a right or wrong way just set the rules and be consistent. A nightlight and quiet time worked well for my family.

torgster on

Its not a normal for potty training to regress after that long at her age. I think Elisabeth should check with her Dr – maybe the poor little thing has developed a bladder or urethra issue.

Kaley on

Dawn – No, my kids aren’t perfect. But they are normal well-adjusted kids that know their parents love them without needing to be spoiled rotten to understand that. Love with discipline and rules creates children that are secure in themselves and that other people want to be around.

I am one of seven children – we were never coddled and spoiled, and we’re all successful, secure and married to the co-parents of our children. All of our children (total of 21 – ranging in age from 3-23), except one (the only child of one sibling) were brought up as we were – knowing they are loved, but that there are rules decided by the parents.

The one that was not – well, she is the 8-year old brat of the family – we all love her but she is spoiled and demanding. And my brother knows it, but admits he allowed his wife her way, and now regrets it.

Kaley on

Dawn – And since you brought it up, I don’t have anything against breastfeeding. I nursed each of my kids till they were about 6 months old. I don’t attack people for breastfeeding (although I think it’s highly inappropriate after about a year when the child is walking and talking and the family is in public spaces).

Sharone on

With my son, he was really easy at potty training during the day, once he got it after a week, he was dry at night, but with my daughter it’s a different story. Both kids were potty trained at 2 1/2, and with my daughter turing 4, we still have to put her in nighttime pullups. Since her diaper hasnt been heavy the last month, we are thinking of taking them away and having her sleep in her underpants, we’ll see how that goes.

But I also wanted to comment on the kids sleeping in the same bed. We had that problem also, I liked snuggling up to my babies at night, but most times, they would wake me up and I couldnt fall back asleep, urgh! I found the My Tot Clock on Amazon and it is amazing!!! The clock changes 5 colors, dark blue for night night time, yellow for morning time, and we set the timers on the clock. We used the sticker rewards on my son’s calendar and every night he stayed in his own bed until the clock turned yellow he was awarded a sticker. If he stayed in his bed for 5 full nights in a row, he was awarded a prize like a hot wheels car.

It is a great incentive to keep the kids to stay in their bed all night. Plus, the clock has a story reader, and/or plays music. You can also purchase different cartridges for different stories/music. We love it, and I hope this helps any other parents out there! 🙂

gramma on

Please remember they grow up soon . You reach the pre teen years and you don’t dress the right way, you don’t talk the right way , you aren’t ever fair and they don’t want to be seen with you let alone snuggle up with you in your bed. Now that I’m a gramma of 3, I’m savoring every moment with the little ones potty issues and all. They can sleep with me all they want.

Yes, things change . As a young parent ,you don’t always welcome the disruptions and set backs when they happen but you do miss it terribly when it’s time for them to leave the nest. Try to have no regrets !

jessica on

Why do some women constantly feel the need to fight with each other???? All the “Housewives” shows make it seem like its the normal way to treat people. As mothers we should be supportive of other mothers even if they don’t do everything our way. What works for some does not work for others.

A parenting blog should be about sharing our experiences and what worked for us, not arguing and putting each others methods down. Is this what we want to teach our kids….if someone doesn’t do something exactly the way we do they are wrong???? No of course not, lets show each other some compassion 🙂

Deanne on

I had these same issues with my daughter (which by the way, potty training boys is way different than girls, speaking from a mom of four). I thought maybe it was something I was doing, her environment, etc.

As I go through this challenge with my three year old boy, I am finding that it’s a battle of control with him. And it was for my daughter as well. We used underwear, pullups, all the tricks. The final thing that pushed her? I put her in size three diapers on a desperate whim. She was very upset. “Mommy! These diapers are too small, I want my pulups!” I proceeded to tell her “Well, diapers are for babies, that’s why they don’t fit.” Two days later, we never had another issue again.

Claudia on

This happens quiet frequent, and i dont want to get you worried, but its also a condition that they call sometimes, especially with girls, call crying through the bladder. Its not that she doesnt know how to control it anymore or just wants to try out her rules with you, but could she have been upset, does she feel like she is left out of something, worried about preschool etc. crying through the bladder is sometimes a good way to put it. It sounds weird, but nails it on the head. Maybe that will help you. Good luck!

Grandma on

Like most little ones, Easton is a very bright, clever child. She knows exactly what to do to gain your attention and concern. pay no mind to her ‘accidents’ and I promise you they will disappear in a few days. Simply had her a paper towel and say without emotion, ‘please clean that up and go choose a new pair of underwear.’. The ‘accidents’ will be gone in short order.

As for the co-sleeping and any other behavior you would prefer she not have just follow the best parenting advise I have ever received… “the best gift you can give your children is for them to know beyond a shadow of doubt that NO means NO and YES means YES. This is the secret to a happy and secure child.”.

Start to parent and make your expectations clear. I promise you, this bright little girl will meet those expectations.

Grandma on

Oh and if any of you have any doubts…go ask your own grandmothers. I can guarantee you that none of them ever regressed in their potty training after 2, let alone 3 years old. I also guarantee that no one ever slept in a parents bed if it wasn’t out of necessity or bc that is what the parents wanted for their family.

Grandma on

Claudia, that is ridiculous. Stop inventing diseases for children. If you peed on the floor and suddenly everyone you love started coddling you and asking what’s wrong while stroking your hair and buying you ice cream cones, you would pee the floor everyday. Children are genius…and I hate to say it, but you are a sucker.

Samantha on

My son was fairly easy to potty train once we got past pooping in our pants. We used the sticker system (1 for pee and 2 for poop) with him and once he had so many, we would go pick a prize. We gave him the option to save or spend his stickers. If he chose to save them, he got something bigger (baseball equipment for 60 stickers). It worked really well for us and now he doesn’t have any potty issues.

As far as co sleeping, he has done that since he was a baby (he is almost 4) because it was easier for me to nurse him. We are fighting the battle still and it is tough! He has a bed next to mine, which is fine for him, but he wants to know he is near me. Kids are thrown off easily, especially when you travel and stuff. I would say it is probably easier to let her sleep with you when you travel, but let her know that when you return home, it is back to “normal” routine. Good Luck!

Nettie on

Go Grandma!

ClaireSamsmom on

If you never start co-sleeping, you don’t have to stop it. JMO…but I feel like it is important to have your child sleep in his/her bed. My children slept in a basinett when they were babies till about 3 mo (in our room)..and occasionally, I fed them in our bed, then laid them back in the basinett. After 3 mo, they went to their crib in their room and I would feed them in the rocker in their room when they woke in the night. At 2 yrs, 2 mo, both my kids went to a big girl/boy beds and did very well.

My husband and I are pretty no-nonsense when it comes to sleep with the kids. Bedtime is usually a bath, storytime and night time and both my kids age 2 and 5 are in bed by 8:15/30 every nite. I love my babies to pieces…but, I do not think that sleeping with them shows them more love from me. Sure, we lay down with them and snuggle and read books…but when sleep time goes…in your own bed you go!

As far as potty training goes…we are in the midst of doing that with my son, and since he is just in the early 2’s, I figure we have this year to really tackle it…if you push it too much, they seem to regress or push back…it just has to be when they are ready.

My daughter potty trained fairly easily. We just got an Elmo potty sticker chart to hang up by his potty and he gets to put a sticker on it when he sits….2 stickers if he actually goes.

missy :) on

Kaley – How lucky are we to have a parenting “expert” blogging about all of our rookie parenting mistakes? Sometimes people can be so judgy!!

I usually ignore ignorant comments like that, but enough is enough.

Erika on

Dear Elisabeth,

You indicated that you read people’s responses here, so I thought I would actually write one, and hope to encourage you. I was surprised how you blamed yourself(ves) for the place in which you now find your family, with sleeping and potty training! One very wise professor of mine taught us that all stances which we take will come with a certain set of difficulties, and sometimes all we can do is chose which set of difficulties we want to live with (or can live with!).

You chose co-sleeping as part of attachment parenting, and the ongoing research is pointing more and more to the importance of parents and children who are well attached to each other! Now you are in a place of transitioning, and it’s not easy, but does not mean that co-sleeping was a wrong choice to begin with. Had you chosen to have your child sleep elsewhere from the beginning, you may not have had this particular challenge, but might well be facing other ones. So look at what will help you the most through this transition time, and remember the benefits that co-sleeping can bring to a family, to encourage you in the rough moments.

Potty training can often have set-backs, for a variety of reasons, most of which the other folks above have mentioned. What I found interesting is the implication that the initial stage should have gone badly so that you wouldn’t be so shocked at the current set of events 🙂 I would rather say: yay that it went well! She was most likely ready for it, regardless of what is happening now. As her mother, you will probably (if you haven’t already) figure out why the accidents are happening right now, and address it accordingly. It won’t be long before all goes smoothly again (until the next time!).

All the best to you.

ClaireSamsmom on

My thing with co-sleeping is when does it end? If you co-sleep with your newborn and baby because it is easier to nurse, etc…okay I get that. Then, they become a toddler, a preschooler, then older…and older….okay, now they are in HS…..when does it end?

I believe in having your own bed….are my kids close to me and attached to me? Absolutely. We all share a loving bond that is indescribable! But, co-sleeping has nothing to do with that. It is 7:12 am right now on the east coast and my daughter woke up from her own bed and is snuggled on the couch with her blanky watching Angelina ballerina…my son who is 2 is still sound asleep in his own bed after going down to sleep at 8 pm! I love that!

And now, I am going to go and have some snuggle time with my daughter on the couch….

Kaley on

Missy – I don’t claim to be an expert – I just use common sense without all the psychological BS when parenting my kids. “Attachment parenting” – oh please – you don’t make an attachment to your kid any stronger by having them sleep with you and giving in to their every whim.

You simply love your kids unconditionally while showing them how to care for themselves; and you teach them right from wrong (temper tantrums are never acceptable), and you show them that, like it or not, the world is not there to be molded into what they want – that kind of love leads to an attachment stronger than any formed by co-sleeping and coddling a 3 year old.

And raising kids is NOT about the parents, it’s about the kids – give them a chance to succeed at life by giving them the skills to succeed. Spoil them and give in to their every whim and you don’t help them in any way.

Ms Jordan on

Elisabeth, high praises for your request for info from other moms. Many first time mothers often shun input from other moms. I was much like you with my son. I couldn’t get enough info or support and it made my son’s early years so much easier and less stressful.

As far as Easton climbing into bed with you at 5am, that might be not only a sign of wanting to snuggle but a sign she needs to go potty. That was the situation with my son. Sleeply I’d ask him if he needed to use the potty and every time he did. Also he usually was famished and ready for breakfast. Sometimes he’d tell me, “Mama my tummy woke me up.”

To prevent night time accidents I’d cut off his liquid intake about at least an hour before his bedtime and that helped. The biggest thing I did was slightly wake him up just before I went to bed or in the middle of the night to take him to the night light lit bathroom for him to go potty, which he always did, then put him back to bed where he went right back to sleep.

Milk allergies often show up around Easton’s age and that WILL and does cause potty training accidents, so ask Easton’s doctor about that. A friend of mine found out about her daughter’s milk allergy when the child was 7 when it seemed she was never going to be night time potty train totally. So she switched to soy milk and within 3 days no more accidents!

To prevent accidents during the day I’d ask my son if he had to go potty, pretty much knowing he did or should. If he told me “no” I’d tell him I had to go and invited him to come to the bathroom with me. He always then decided he had to go potty too. Comfort in numbers maybe, lol.

Also at Easton’s age children begin to dream vividly but don’t understand they are dreams, so that could be part of the reason she is climbing into bed with you. I discovered the dream thing and helped my son to know what was happening when sleeping. I told him dreams are like little tv shows when you sleep and aren’t real or something to be afraid of. Soon he was staying in his bed all night and began telling me about his “little tv shows while I was sleeping Mama.” Boy did my son have some interesting dreams, lol.

I also told him how he could make his own dream by thinking of something he loved to do while he was going off to sleep and that could be his dream where he was always the most powerful and nothing in the dream would be scarey or upsetting. He loved being the super hero of his dreams.

Also put a radio in Easton’s room playing classical music at a very, very low volume. It’s soothing and classical music stimulates the child’s brain. I did that and it helped my son sleep in his bed throughout the night. (Usually, lol)

Brooke on

Ignore Blessedwithboys…she is a Nazi Control Freak Mother. i have always said her name should be Myboysaren’tblessedwithanicemommy

Jaclyn on

Attachment parenting in no way promotes giving into every whim. I had one child who slept in my bed and understood his room and bed were his and for sleeping by himself. I had one child who did not care to sleep in my bed and didn’t.

There is more then your way to raise happy, healthy, secure, successful children. I hope you also thought your children how to be open minded and accepting of other ideas and ways of doing things. Sometimes there really is more then one right way.

Lisa on

We put a 4×3 waterproof pad on our son’s bed and used pull-ups at night for a few years after he was potty trained. He would go into such a deep sleep that he couldn’t wake himself up in time. Kids have little organs and they are still working on muscle control. Think of how long it takes them to master writing the alphabet! Just take whatever steps you need to make your workload easier.

With co-sleeping, we put a sleeping bag on the floor of our room and made our kids go in there if they came into our room in the middle of the night (unless they were sick or had a nightmare obviously). But even now, if they wake up earlier than me on a weekend, they’ll come in with me, snuggle up and fall back to sleep. I love it.

Please ignore the people that have rigid timelines and criticize. I now look back at them and laugh. You get to parent the way you want. Pick the battles that are important to you.

I know everyone says this and it is so true – this time with your kids goes by so fast. Don’t stress, just enjoy your beautiful child.

Caroline on

First of all, I want to thank you Elisabeth for putting your mothering challenges out there for the world to see. That can’t be easy to open yourself up like that, knowing you’ll get all kinds of responses, both positive and negative. I encourage you to be consistent in your choices/discipline, even when it is hard.

Secondly, I am saddened by the attitudes expressed in the comments. While we are entitled to our own opinions, etc., the point of the blog is not to condemn each other as mothers but to support each other. There is no harder job, physically and emotionally, as raising children. Regardless of what WE think is right, can we not encourage Elisabeth in her role? I have never met a perfect child OR a perfect mother, just mothers who think they are perfect. The truth is that we are the right parent for OUR children, and we should trust that we ultimately know what is the best for them.

I hope that we (myself included) can stop seeing other mothers as the “bad mothers” because they do things differently than us and start encouraging one another instead.

Lins on

I was at the end of my rope when my 3 year old son regressed in his toilet training. A friend gave me a great tip: when kids master a task, they move on to the next task and in the process of mastering the second task, they forget some skills acquired in mastering the first task. We went back to toilet training 101 with him and he went right back to using the potty.

It actually happened a few times, and by the age of 4 he completley got it down.

He still uses a pull-up at night because he has occasional accidents. We’ve tried everything to cut down on night-time accidents (short of waking him up in the middle of the night, I refuse to do that), but they still happen. He’s fine with wearing a pull-up, so we are too. I trust that he will not be wearing pull-ups by the time he goes to college. *With regards to waking him in the middle of the night, I would not want someone waking me up to use the bathroom, so I can’t do it to him.

Ayana on

I used to be a really sound sleeper as a child so I wet the bed a lot. My parents must have been frustrated. At some point they started just coming into my room and placing me on the toilet while I slept. It still didn’t solve the problem though (I wasn’t getting up on my own). My mom said she noticed that I would wet the bed most often when I had orange juice. Once she stopped letting me drink OJ in the afternoon or evening, I stopped wetting the bed as much. Eventually, when I was 6 or 7 and still occasionally wetting the bed due to my sound sleeping, my mom bought this alarm that attached to the panties. It was so loud the first time it went off that I still remember it (it’s a funny memory). Needless to say, once I was startled awake twice by that alarm, I never wet the bed again.

Claudia on

Bring it on grandma!!! God, if you would have a degree as german Kindergarten teacher and actually went to school for that and then raised in four different families children just that age that we are talking about then you would know that term too:) I am not inventing it, its a very common sign that something is wrong. Wow, and for everybody who is so worried about this co sleeping- if it feels right to do that then why dont you let it happen, they wont sleep in your bed when they go to college!!

Grandma on

You got it Claudia! I’m a tough old cookie. I do not doubt that some feel-good self-esteem psychiatrists “identified” a disease called crying through the bladder. However, as an actual physical problem this does not exist (and, yes, my brother is a urologist). Parents today MAKE potty training an emotional experience. The pleading, the pull-ups, the rewards, star charts, and dear lord the songs! Yet somehow the human race potty trained for generations w.out any of today’s problems. The answer, potty training in and of itself is not emotional to a child UNlESS the parent makes it emotional. Potty training is no different than a toddler being taught to no longer use his fingers to eat. (as w potty training) Yes, a learning curve, mistakes, frustrations are tolerated as a child first learns to use a fork and spoon. But, in due time, the expectation is that the child masters the skill of self feeding with utensils.

Potty training is no different – unless the parents mess it up and make it an emotional trauma. Sadly, if you taught kindergarten anytime after 1958, you are dealing w children whose parents have created a monster out of a mole hill in regards to potty training. I reiterate, NO one in my generation gave a second thought to potty training and NO child was not trained by age three…and no child EVER “cried through bladder”. (unconscience, night wetting is a completely different thing, a real issue, but CLEARLY not what easton is experiencing). Not just my generation, but ANY generation b.f today. Ad, imagine, we somehow did this w.out pull-ups. Sorry to be so blunt, but don’t have time much time left for hogwash.

Parents who treat potty training the same as any other SKILL that children must develop actually ENJOY the experience…I sure did, three times over.

Grandma on

Also, there is nothing wrong w co-sleeping if it’s what the parent and child actually want.

In elisabeth’s case, she makes it certain time and again that she does not want Easton to co-sleep. Very well. Say NO and be done w it. Stop tormenting the poor child with maybe, sometimes, I don’t knows, for a few minutes, and the like. So elisabeth… Just say no…believe it, enforce it and Easton will be a much happier, secure, mindful, well-adjusted child bc she knows what her parents expect and she will be able to meet those expectations.

Mindy on

You guys are all nuts! Kids will be kids and will do things on their own time with our without discipline. I have two boys and I raised them the same, but they are vastly different. My first son is now 14 and fiercly independent. He was potty trained in three days at age 3 while I was in the hospital having my second son. My father in law had my son for those days and he told my son that the new baby needed the daipers and that was that. I really don’t remember any accidents after that.

My second son was potty trained for all intents and purposes at age two. However, he would not poop on the potty for anything. No amount of discipline or rewards or anything would work. He very rarely had accidents, even through the night, but whenever he felt the urge to poop, he would go into the bathroom and put a pullup on and poop in it. He was deathly afraid of sitting on the toilet. He learned to go potty standing because that is what his big brother did. Finally around age 5 (yes, 5!), he finally said no more and that, was that, thank goodness.

With regard to the sleeping, my children never slept with me as babies, as we had a waterbed and I had heard too many stories about kids being smothered in waterbeds, but my oldest slept in his carseat for months. Finally when he was about 10 months old, I “ferberized” him. It was the hardest thing I ever had to do, but after 3 days, he slept in his crib. He only ever got up once a night for a bottle after that. When my second son was born, I was determined not to make that mistake again and when I went back to work after six weeks, he went into his crib and stayed there with absolutley no problems.

Now, they are 14 and 11 and I have to tell you, we enjoy many evenings hanging out in my bed, lounging, talking and watching movies or TV. It is the best part of my day. I learn so much about them and their lives during this time. It is truly amazing to me that I birthed and raised both of these children the very same way and they are so incredibly different and wonderful.

So, long story short, Elisabeth, do whatever YOU feel comfortable with. Unless you are physically harming the child, there is no wrong way to raise her. You need to do what works for you and your family.

Halley on

Elisabeth, please shake off the haters. There is NOTHING wrong with co-sleeping. I co-slept with my son, and he weaned himself off as he got older. She wont be co-sleeping when she’s 16, so dont worry about it or view it with a negative vibe. Those cuddles are wonderful!

Claudia on

There are no haters here, just somebody who wanted to share a expirience, but wow, grandma took it to a different level;) Elisabeth, hope you have so much fun with your girl, i am currently a nanny for 2 boys, 2 and 5, they are adorable, and there is no drama that was created by anybody. I have been with them since they both were born and i am pretty close with them. hmm, thought it was supposed to be fun to be with kids, not military training?!

Anyhow, this was the first time i wrote on a blog and i dont think i would do it again, to many dumb people out there who think they are way more important then they really are. Just love kids and wanted to help!Good luck with this blog! And by the way, times do change, circumstances change, kids are a lot smarter then they were 30 or 40 years ago, we talk about that in school a lot, so therefor parenting and raising children changes to!!

Amo on

I’m an only child too and not sleeping in my own bed was one of the biggest problems that my parents had when I was little. I’d sneak down to my mum and dad’s bed every single night and no matter what they did, I kept coming back. One day my parents decided to try something new… They promised me ‘If you sleep in you bed for __ days, we’ll buy you a budgie’ (A small parrot). I was so excited- I badly wanted that budgie. After every couple of days or weeks they bought a piece of the cage or a new bird toy just to keep encouraging me to keep going. Eventually I made that particular number of days of sleeping in my own bed and got my budgie. He was the best pet I had ever gotten. I don’t think I ever bothered my mum or dad again (unless there was a big thunderstorm). 🙂