Child Rearing Techniques

For helping friends and just my own edification, I've decided to write up some of the techniques I've used with my kids but haven't seen elsewhere (that doesn't mean others haven't thought of them, I just haven't seen them, or looked very hard).
Baby / Toddler Sleep Training Technique
Definitely worth putting in the effort/pain now for healthy habits long term. I think we used a modification of the Baby Whisperer approach but our appoach changes as the baby gets older. We're definitely not fans of the straight CIO/Ferber approach, seems like that just teaches them to be stubborn.

Our approach
1.) Establish a regular, short, bedtime routine. Our is: 1 story, put them in crib, sing a song, turn on crib noise maker, leave the room.
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2.) If crying, after 5 minutes, go back in, do not pick them up but soothing physical contact (butt patting seems to work best) is okay for no more than 1 minute. Leave room.

3.) Repeat step 2 but increase length of time between each visit: 5 mins, 10 mins, 20 mins. We generally never go above 20 mins unless there are signs of progress.

Within 3 days, this seems to train them well. It's painful for the first couple days but our bedtime is SO wonderful most of the time now.

They will regress and you'll have to re-apply the technique. As they get older, the 1 minute of contact involves gently (as possible) laying them back down again several times before you leave.

Good Luck!
Potty Training Technique

We had been trying to potty train Declan while keeping him in diapers for at least 6 months with little to no success. We used a variety of techniques I'll list below but ultimately what worked was to just switch him to underwear (and pullups at night) and in essence, let him learn from his mistakes. It's a bit messy but it only took 4 days and turned out to be much easier than I imagined.

Method... it's hard to say if all these are required:

  1. Keep positive. Celebrate successes! Don't punish or associate anything negative with "accidents".
  2. For motivation, we created a sticker based chart (I tried, I went, I put the seat down, I wiped, I flushed, I washed my hands) where he got a sticker for each task he accomplished and got to wear a sticker too. We also floated the promise of "Big Boy Diego Underwear" once he filled the "I Went" section (20 boxes) but ultimately just went and bought the underwear and put him in it.
  3. There wasn't really any indicatorNo acknoledgement that he had to go, no willingness to try, no success when he did try, ...
  4. On Thursday, we did a complete changeover as friends had advised. He wore underwear during the day and pullups at night. Advice from friends, "once you start, don't turn back, no more diapers once you make the switch.". We didn't, it worked.