I always heard parents say, “Time really flies by,” and didn’t think much of it until I had my own kiddos. Turns out, they are right! I can’t believe I now have a 3-year-old and an 18-month-old. My-oh-my, I feel like I just gave birth to each of them a few weeks ago.
With each phase of their lives comes new beginnings, and it seems that they move on to the next steps of life so quickly. I don’t know how I could have gone through all of those changes in such a short period of time without the help of the things on this list.
Check out my list of “next steps” and what we used to help us transition:
1. Bottles to sippy cups.
Bentley is our first little dude who actually likes milk, and we had quite a trying time getting him to give up the bottle — that is, until we got this Mickey Mouse sippy cup from NUK. It has the feel of a bottle and a similar-shaped lid, but the nipple is what sets it apart the most. It has the texture of a bottle nipple and will even fit your existing NUK bottles, but it comes in the shape of a sippy cup spout. This made the transition easier for Bentley to take a hard-topped sippy cup later on, because his mouth was used to the shape.
The NUK cup also has handles on the side so Bentley could learn to hold it on his own. He loves to drink his milk out of his Mickey Mouse sippy cup, and we love that it helped us transition so smoothly.
2. Pacifiers to NO pacifiers.
This one is a bit tricky, because it isn’t always the easiest task getting your baby to no longer take a paci. Both of our boys used them, and Bentley still takes one when he sleeps. I think NUK pacifiers have the best shape for the orthodontic effect on the teeth. Plus, NUK comes in a ton of different sizes for different age ranges.
Truth be told, we got KJ off of pacifiers when he had a fever blister. He couldn’t use one for a few days, so we just took them and put them in a drawer, and he never saw them again. He only asked for them a couple of times the first two days, and then it seemed like it was “out of sight, out of mind.”
And instead of putting a pacifier in his mouth to get him to fall asleep at night, I instead began scratching his back to soothe him to sleep. Now he asks me to scratch his back each night, and I love getting to spend that extra five minutes of quality time with him, helping him to fall asleep.
Reminding KJ that only babies take pacifiers and being a big boy meant that it was time to say goodbye to his pacifier helped us as well.
3. Crawling to walking.
First bit of advice: don’t be in any hurry to get your child to walk. Pushing them to do something they aren’t ready for will only frustrate them more. You can, however, encourage them vocally and with certain items that will aid in the learning process.
The best way to strengthen their little legs is to get them moving! Getting a bouncing activity center like this Minnie Mouse Premier Bouncer is sure to do just that. It has a bounce pad and a seat that spins for endless fun, plus great interactive toys and even a chewable teething toy.
A few months after they start their bouncer adventures, you can move on to a walker, like this Minnie Mouse Bows and Butterflies walker. This helped KJ and Bentley get used to the motion of their legs and feet pushing them forward and backward. It also helped them to strengthen muscles they weren’t using as much while crawling. Plus, it’s loaded with a toy deck to keep their attention. Did I mention how perfect this is to entertain your little one while you cook dinner? And it even has a removable toy tray which is perfect for tummy time!
4. Crib to the bed.
If you’re thinking ahead for this one, then buying a crib that BECOMES a bed, like this Magical Dreams 4-in-1 Crib from Delta, is the right way to go. Not only is it a gorgeous crib, but it converts into a toddler bed and is just as beautiful in each setup.
Regardless of whether your crib converts, or you purchase a new bed for your little one, I highly recommend making it a BIG deal when you get it all set up with its mattress and new bedding. We told KJ that he was getting a big boy bed, that we were so proud of him for being such a cool kid, and that we couldn’t wait for him to see how awesome his new bed would be. That way he was really excited when we got it all set up.
You could even redecorate the room with a new theme. Anything that makes it seem like a big deal will help with the excitement of the transition. And good news: Now you can snuggle your little one while you read stories to them at bedtime. It’s a win-win for your little one and for you!
5. Diapers to the potty.
Don’t fret, this transition takes a while and has many layers. We started by buying Pull-Ups for KJ so that he could get used to the pulling down and pulling up motion when it was time to use the potty. They also have designs on them that are more similar to the designs on underwear so the appearance of them introduced KJ to what underwear would look like.
Our next step was to purchase a potty just for KJ. We actually have two, one at our house and one at Grandma’s house so that he always has somewhere “special” to use the restroom. I love this Jake and The Never Land Pirates potty because it has a comfy seat, removable potty bowl, and a flushing handle on the side. The handle teaches him to flush and gets him used to hearing a noise after he potties. I was always afraid of the sound of a flushing toilet, and although the potty sings a song, it still reminds him that you need to flush and to expect a noise afterward.
Once we got the special potty for KJ, we also bought a potty seat so that he could safely and comfortably fit on top of regular-sized toilets. If you’ve ever attempted to put a toddler on a normal-sized toilet, then you’ve seen the face they make where they stiffen up and think they are going fall in. This potty seat allows them to use any regular-sized toilet while giving them handles to hold onto and a comfortable, smaller seat to sit on. And don’t forget about the step stool so they can climb up to the potty. It can also be used at the sink when it’s time to wash their hands or brush their teeth.
Then, we bought some potty toppers so that he could have a clean toilet seat to sit on when we are out at a restaurant, at the mall, or even at Disneyland! They easily fit in a diaper bag or purse and ensure that your kiddo will be sitting on a clean potty.
As quickly as time flies by, we have to be ready for each stage with our little ones. I am so glad I thought ahead about some of the stages that were coming so that we were prepared as parents to help our little guys along. And I’m definitely happy that KJ is now 3 years old and potty trained!
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