First Milestone | @ohreallyoriley toilet training blog

Time for the Toilet?

When ya gotta go, you've got to go...right?

What about our children?  When and how do they learn they need to go?  In our family, we were not overly prepared for our son to 'show signs of readiness'.  All children are ready to toilet train at different stages, much like all other milestones.  As parents, we have personally never followed milestone recommended ages, as a rule book. We are very open to milestones occurring when the child is ready for them to occur.

So when our son started saying "poo" we knew we had begun to enter a game changer in the parenting world!  It was at this point that we wondered, 'What are the signs of a child who is ready to toilet train?'

This led us to follow the incredible Laura Morley, toilet training expert of Looloo Solutions. I first saw Laura in a Breakfast interview, discussing how easy toilet training can be.
First Milestone | Looloo toilet training solutions Laura Morley
Immediately, I stalked her on good ol' Google.  After this, we connected on Instagram and my husband and I signed up to her VIP Toilet Training workshop. If you think your child may be ready for the toilet training journey, then make sure you check out her website for all the resources, tips and tricks. Laura currently has a FREE 5 Day Getting Started with Toilet Training Challenge which could be just what you need to support the start of your journey.

Website: Looloo

So what are some of the signs of readiness?
First Milestone | @ohreallyoriley toilet training readiness checklist
It is important to note that this is not a checklist! Your child may show a few of these 'signs' and could show some other signs also. Your child may only show one or two of them and that's great! As the parent, you will know your child best and feel when its right to begin toilet training.

For our son, you would see 'that look'. You know the look right? Where they pause, their eyes stare at you with a stillness in their expression, maybe even a little, "ohhh" sound of realising what's about to happen. He was also EXTREMELY interested in being in the bathroom with anyone who wanted to use the toilet. Yes, even our poor guests! He would pull the toilet paper out for you and want to flush the toilet. After a few weeks of intentionally using lots of toilet language, we were able to say, "do you need to go toilet?" At this point, he'd run off to the bathroom.

So we knew we had begun on this journey and continued to follow his lead. Along with engaging in the Looloo VIP Toilet Training workshop, we purchased a few items to support a successful transition to the toilet.

First Milestone | Looloo NUK kids toilet training seat
NUK kids toilet seat
: This toilet seat sits on top of your current toilet seat.  The rubber rim and tabs help to keep the seat stable and from moving about. 
The high front and back support the child while also containing 'wee' spills.
First Milestone | Looloo 2-up children's toilet training step-stool
2-Up toilet training step-stool
: This two step stool is perfect for encouraging independence to the toilet! The rubber tread stops little feet from slipping, the handles are perfect for little hands moving the steps into position and it is the perfect height! 
It's sturdy, easy carry and to clean.

First Milestone | Looloo children's toilet training book
Sophia and Mason Learn to use the Loo book: So your child has no idea what they are doing when it comes to toilet training?  Never fear Sophia and Mason are here (Looloo Toilet Training Solutions 2019). What a fun way to introduce toilet training language and understanding! Our son absolutely loves this book and it is often read on the daily.
First Milestone | Looloo NUK potty
NUK potty: Now there are a range of different strategies in introducing the concept of the toilet to your child. Can I just say, no one is right or wrong. You do you and parent your child, they way you want to. The resources shared here may not be what you are looking for and that's A-OK. For us, we didn't down down the potty route. Why? Because our son immediately showed a positive relationship with the toilet and we thought we might as well start there. If you wanted to introduce a potty, here is a great option.

First Milestone | Max & Millie wet bags
Wet bags: We also purchased a Wet Bag from Max and Millie. These are perfect for storing wet clothes, spare nappies, dirty cloth nappies and even swimming togs. The best features are the separate pockets so that you are able top separate wet from dry. I also love the domed strap! It easily clips on a bag, meaning that you don't have to add this to a bag you're currently using (e.g. school bag, nappy bag).

First Milestone | Looloo wee pants
We decided to introduce our son to 'nappy free time'. By this, we don't mean being naked all the time (although he loves a good nudie run). Instead, he only wears a nappy at sleep times. When awake, he wears boxer briefs and Wee Pants. We generally save the Wee Pants for when we are going out. They are super absorbent while still allowing the child to feel when they have gone toilet. They hold enough liquid for the child to realise that they've begun going toilet. If your child can start and stop, they're a great form of underwear so they can then rush off to the toilet to finish their business.

First Milestone | Looloo toilet training wee pants

Praising your child can be done in a variety of different ways. Much like the different strategies of toilet training, everyone will have different approaches. You can offer verbal praise, cuddles, stickers or rewards. However you offer praise, remember to continue to encourage through positivity. If your child has an accident, that's ok! Be sure to continue with a positive mindset to avoid regression or negative association.

Below I have shared two styles of progress charts, which you may find useful. They do not have to be a reward chart. They could just be used to track progress for both the child and parent/s.

First Milestone | @ohreallyoriley i can use the toilet reward chart
The progress chart on the left may be more appropriate with younger children. It is only a sticker chart and the sticker is the reward. The progress chart on the right may be more appropriate for older children. The blank section on the right is a space for you to either draw or write the reward which your child is aiming for.

First Milestone | @ohreallyoriley i can use the toilet reward chartNotice anything special about these charts? They are tens frames. They are commonly used within New Zealand numeracy education (e.g. to teach number bonds to ten). 

Not sure what a tens frame is? 

Ten-Frames are two-by-five rectangular frames into which objects, e.g. counters, are placed to show numbers less than or equal to ten. Ten frames are very useful devices for developing number sense within the context of ten (NZ Maths).

So while your child is receiving the stickers, they can also be learning their number bonds to ten.  Just remember to fill one row first! E.g.
This assists in their understanding of:

First Milestone | @ohreallyoriley toilet training reward chart

  • Number bonds to ten
  • Counting on from 5
  • I have 3 stickers, I need 2 more to complete a row (3+2=5)
  • I have a complete row, that's 5 stickers.  I need 5 more to get my reward (5+5=10)

Download the charts here.

AND just to take this educational opportunity one step further; once your child is beginning to show an understanding of the dots/stickers on the chart, you can begin linking the dot/sticker patterns on the tens frame to finger patterns. For example, look at the tens frame with 7 stickers on it. You can show 5 stickers on the top row and 2 stickers on the bottom row. Then show 5 fingers on one hand and 2 fingers on the other hand. Both have 7 stickers in total. Both need 3 more to complete a 10. Over time, your child will develop the ability to recognise instantly the number of dots (or fingers) without counting.

If you think this concept is too complicated for a child, I promise you it's not!  After all, children learn instructions, language and well...everything through introduction. If we waited for our children to understand how to read before we read to them, would they ever actually learn to read?

You could use the same concept of the tens frame for any goal your child is working on. Maybe they're learning to make their bed, brush their teeth, say "thank you" or be kind. I have attached a blank tens frame progress chart for you to use in any way you would like. Just write your child's goal at the top, pop on the fridge and off you go...

I hope that some of this information has been helpful to you. Toilet training can be an exciting journey for you and your child/children. Hopefully some of these resources can support you and your family develop a positive association with toileting.



First Milestone | @ohreallyoriley logo

March 17, 2019 — Casey Matthews
First Milestone | The best baby shower gifts for all budgets

The Best Baby Shower Gifts Ever

It's not too hard to find a cute or generic baby shower gift nowadays, but if you want to go the extra mile on thoughtfulness or you're buying for someone you really want to spoil then read on! We've asked our community to help us compile a lift of the best things they've received, given, or seen others get at their baby showers to really help you out! 

First Milestone | The best baby shower gifts for under $25
Under $25
• Personalised Plunket book cover (if a name has been chosen)
- $25.00 + $7.50 shipping
• Booties with ties so they don't come off
Naked Baby Eco Boutique - $20.00 + $7.00 shipping
• A good quality nipple cream e.g. Nipple Nectar
The Nude Alchemist - $20.00 + $6.50 shipping
• Hydrogel breast pads
Breastmates - $19.99 + $6.00 shipping
• Milestone cards
First Milestone - $28.00 - $35.00 + $5.00 shipping
• Milk storage bags if mum plants to breastfeed
Belly Beyond - $23.00 + $6.95 shipping

First Milestone | The best baby shower gifts ever under $50
Under $50
• Good quality cloth nappies (more than one is preferable)
Nappy Heaven - $18.00 - $44.90 + $5.00 shipping
• A nice feeding pillow
Baby on the Move - $50.00 + $6.00 shipping
• Old school white cloth nappies for spills
Baby Factory - $34.95 + $5.00 shipping
• Love to dream swaddles
The Sleep Store - $44.95 - $59.95 + $5.00 shipping
• Oohbubs legs out baby swaddle
Oohbubs - $39.90 + $5.00 shipping
• A Haakaa silicone breast pump for catching extra milk if mum plans to breastfeed
Haakaa - $19.90 - $39.90 + $5.00 shipping

First Milestone | Baby shower gifts over $50
Over $50
• A sleep sack in the right weight for the time of year baby will be born
The Sleep Store - $49.95 - $199.00 + $5.00 shipping
• A baby book to document the first milestones
First Milestone - $45.00 - $70.00
• A baby monitor
Baby Factory - $64.95 - $449.95 + $5.00 shipping
• A baby shusher (or comparable white noise maker)
Sleepytot - $59.95 + $6.00 shipping
• A baby nest
Little Hope & Co - from $239.95
• A good quality baby wrap or structured carrier with newborn insert
The Sleep Store - $109.95 - $129.95 + $5.00 shipping

First Milestone | The best baby shower gifts ever for all budgets
Variable price
• Supermarket vouchers or prezzy cards - this is a great idea compared to buying nappies so mum doesn't end up with lots in sizes that never get used, plus it also helps to ease the financial burden of maternity leave
• Goodies for mama instead of baby like snacks for during/after birth, body wash, dressing gown, slippers etc. 
• Meals for the freezer that mum can easily take out and heat once baby is born - you could buy these pre-made or make them yourself to save money.
• A pregnancy massage voucher - price dependent on who is in your area
• A photo shoot for maternity photos or a newborn/family shoot - price dependent on who is in your area
• A voucher for mum to get her hair done  - price dependent on who is in your area

Dani x

First Milestone | Portrait of owner and blogger DaniDani is the creative mind and hands behind First Milestone, and most blogs you see written here will have been penned by her. Dani enjoys RuPaul's Drag Race and crime documentaries, kumara chips and a good ol' Monteith's Golden Lager. 
February 17, 2019 — Casey Matthews
First Milestone | The best age gaps to have between kids

The Best Age Gaps with Kids

Are you planning to have a second child and stressing over what the best age gap is? Or are you going back for a third or fourth (or more!) but didn't dig the age gap you had last time? 

We reached out to our knowledgeable community of mums on Instagram to ask them what age gaps they have between their kids, and whether they rate it or hate it!

And as usual, a huge thank you to Laura from Oh Really O'Riley for allowing us to use her amazing photos in this blog! You can read her blog here or follow her Instagram here - I promise it's worth it!
First Milestone | The best age gaps to have between kids

1 year or less
1 year and I like it but wouldn't recommend if you also have twins like me, 3 under 3 years!
• I've got twins - 2 minutes apart and it's perfect!
• 5 years, 11 months then 2 years. 11 months was the hardest but worth it now that they're bigger!
• 10 months! It was really hard but I'm actually glad we had this gap now that we're finished having children because we got out of the baby years faster and now they're at a fun age and so close!
• We have 11 months between number 1 and 2 and I'm not sure if it was the gap itself or just going from 1 kid to 2 but it was really trying and I'm so glad it's over! Number 1 isn't really independent by the time the second comes along so it's intense!

1-2 years
• 17 months and it's been hard. Currently 2 years old and 7 months now, but I'd have preferred at least a 2 year gap.
• 2 years and then 18 months which is awesome because they will all grow up together!
• 13 months apart - it's not for the weak!
• 18 months between the two and I love it, 10/10. They love each other and almost grow up looking age mated.
• 16 months - it's bloody HARD mainly because number 1 can't talk yet so there's so much frustration!
• 19 months - wouldn't rate it at all!
• 20 months which is hard as shit but I imagine they'll be besties later.
• 15 months and I love it, they're best friends!

2-3 years
• 2 years and it was hard. I think 2.5 - 3.5 years would be ideal so they can communicate better.
• 2 years, 3 months and I think it's an awesome age gap!
• 2 years between and it was okay! Not the best, not the worst, I think you just adjust!
• 2.5 years - love it! It's hard sometimes, but they already love each other. 
• 2.5 years because our oldest is old enough to be independent and sometimes helpful.
• 2 years and 5 months and I love it. We haven't had any issues or feelings of jealousy, and being able to communicate feelings really helps.
• 2.3 years and I love it. It's a happy medium between old and young.

3-4 years
• 3 years between my two and I don't rate it. 3 years olds are so emotional and don't always accept that mum has someone else relying on her too.
• 3.5 years and I love it! I'm due with number 3 which will be a 1.5 year gap and I'm kind of scared for that!
• 3 years and 3 weeks. 3 has been hard on all of us!
• 3.5 years - rate it! Number one was self sufficient and helpful.
• Almost 4 years which I think is too long because you already have your life back then you're back in the newborn trenches!

4-5 years
• 4 years. It was good because we only ever had 1 at a time in nappies and on a bottle!
• My girls are 4.5 years apart and they love each other which has made it really easy on me. My oldest is a great little mother hen!
• Our oldest was a month off turning 5 when his sister was born and really doted on her when she was a baby, he was so helpful and loved holding her so I could get things done. But now that they're a bit older he wants to play with his big kid toys and she just wants to touch everything so I don't think he feels the same way anymore haha!

5 years or more
• 10 years between number 1 and  2 and 20 months between 2 and 3...they're both an "experience" haha.
• 6 years and 3 years between each of our kids - didn't plan the gaps and no pros or cons really.
• 9 years. I wouldn't recommend because it's hard finding activities that a 1 year old and a 9 year old would both want to do.
• 10.5 years and it's amazing! My big boy helps SO much and will be babysitting age by the time bub is 4.

Dani x

First Milestone | Portrait of owner and blogger DaniDani is the creative mind and hands behind First Milestone, and most blogs you see written here will have been penned by her. Dani enjoys RuPaul's Drag Race and crime documentaries, kumara chips and a good ol' Monteith's Golden Lager. 
February 03, 2019 — Dani Lee
First Milestone | Top things we wish we knew before having babies blog cover photo

Things We Wish We Knew Before Having Babies

We want to change that, so we asked some amazing New Zealand mums from all walks of life to share with us what they wish they had been told before having their first baby. Scrap all the horrible stuff people tell you and remember these absolute gems of practical and reassuring advice instead!
January 20, 2019 — Dani Lee
First Milestone | Top ways to help a new mum collage cover photo

Top Ways to Help a New Mum

We asked our amazing Instagram community for their top tips on how you can help the amazing new mamas in your life, but in a less conventional way! We got literally hundreds of responses so we've removed the double ups and compiled our fave 30. Tuck these ideas away in your mind and you'll never have to worry about what to get a new mum again!
January 06, 2019 — Casey Matthews
First Milestone | Jordan Whittaker | Brooklyn's bedroom tour

Brooklyn's Bedroom Tour

When picking the main items for Brooklyn's room, I've always gone with a monochrome base. Helps that it's been quite 'in' for the last little while, but it's made it really easy to make a bedroom that grows with him. Previous rooms have all been rather similar, but with different pops of colour. One had red, one had mint... and now mustard seems to be the colour pop of choice. 

March 26, 2018 — Jordan Whittaker
First Milestone | Jordan Whittaker | Global Baby Jellycat Bunny

New Baby Gift Guide

Stuck on what to get for a brand new baby or one due to make their arrival very soon? Let us take the pressure off, here are 10 gift ideas for a new baby - with products between $15 and $100 from a range of NZ businesses! We've got you covered no matter what your budget is, so sit down with a cuppa and have a read!

February 19, 2018 — Casey Matthews
First Milestone | Jordan Whittaker With the Whittakers favourite bedtime stories

Five Sweet Bedtime Stories

Five sweet bedtime stories that we love reading to our two kiddies. Sweet words, sweet illustrations, sweet characters...
February 05, 2018 — Jordan Whittaker
First Milestone | Easy gifts for your amazing midwife

Easy Gifts for your Kick-Ass Midwife

Was your midwife nothing short of amazing? If you're in New Zealand and the time is coming for your care with your midwife to end then check out these gifts!
January 22, 2018 — Dani Lee
First Milestone | Baby's first Christmas gifts under $20, under $50, under $100

Gift Ideas for Baby's First Christmas

Gift ideas for baby's first Christmas to suit any budget! Gifts under $20, gifts under $50 and gifts under $100 from a range of awesome reputable NZ small businesses!
November 01, 2017 — Dani Lee