Potty Training Your Child: Easy or Difficult?

For many parents, helping their child become potty trained is a learning experience that is both challenging and fun. Of course, accidents happen, but parents are able to share the joy with their child as he or she successfully uses the restroom and cheers “I did it!” However, many parents are experiencing the exact opposite.

Does your child have frequent accidents at home or at school? Do you find that both you and your child are getting frustrated with potty training? Elimination disorders occur in children who have problems going to the bathroom (e.g., defecating and urinating). Your child may have a problem if this behavior occurs repeatedly for longer than three months, especially if the child is over the age of 5. Children who have elimination difficulties often show symptoms of anxiety and depression due to the embarrassment of accidents, and isolation from friends (e.g., not feeling comfortable having sleepovers because of bedwetting).

The good news is that you are not alone in your experience and help is available! I have had the honor of helping frustrated parents help their children successfully become potty trained. While every child is unique and requires a tailored potty training program to fit his or her needs, there are a few basic tips I use as a rule of thumb:

• Patience, patience, patience! You probably already know that patience is important to have, yet it is one of the first things that parents forget when things get messy. Encourage your child to help you clean up (e.g., ask them to take their soiled garments to the laundry room etc.)
• Read books together about potty training- One of my favorites is “Diapers Are Not Forever” by Elizabeth Verdick.
• Don’t go overboard with rewards- Stickers and occasional candy are fun and affordable rewards. You don’t have to promise you child a trip to Disney World for successfully using the potty!

Whether you child is 2 or 7 years old, by using patience and a structured regimen, your child can be well on his or her way to conquering potty training! Contact me today to come up with a tailored plan specifically for your child!

-Chelsea Moodie, M.S., APC, NCC



I am a labeler. I love a label. I like all kind of labels (colored labels, hello my name is label, large labels, labels like Flo’s tricked out label). I own 3 label machines. 3!  Many people however hate labels. They worry about them, they worry about what other people will think if their children are labeled. They worry about how their children will be perceived. Well, you don’t have to; you just need to change your paradigm. You see many people see labels as a negative. Well, I don’t. To me it’s not a label, it’s a diagnosis, and a diagnosis simply helps you to understand yourself, and it helps others understand you too. Let’s take a child who has dyslexia. That child struggles with reading because his mind does not work the same way as ours. So for a child who is struggling with reading, he will constantly be comparing himself to his peers and wondering why he cannot perform the same task at the same rate. And do you know what that could lead to? Anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, and low self-confidence. Same for a child who has ADHD. As a mother of a child with ADHD I remember constantly telling my daughter, “Stop bouncing, sit down, focus, focus, focus.” At first, I admit I thought she was being stubborn or defiant. After her diagnosis, I was able to understand it wasn’t her being defiant that made her bounce around the room like crazy, it was her little brain. Those neurotransmitters are bouncing from one neuron to another at a rate that even she couldn’t keep up with it, and sometimes they wouldn’t even make it to their destination. So she would start something and get distracted and then she was off doing something else; that is/was those neurotransmitters not making that connection, not making it to their final destination, and her not completing her task.  After the initial diagnosis, I sat her down and explained it all to her, do you know what her response was to me? “Oh, so that’s why I have the party going on in my head.” I thought that was a brilliant way to explain it for a child with ADHD; it is like being at a New Year’s Eve Party. There is music and groups of people talking, and laughing, and noise makers, and a band. You have people serving food, and people dancing, and everything is loud; and you can’t keep your eyes from jumping from group to group to group and be distracted by everything going on, and wanting to move from group to group to group and talk and dance, and look at the decorations, etc. It’s a lot for a little one to take in. So a label  diagnosis helps your child understand why their brain/body does what it does. The other thing it does is help others understand why they do the things they do.

Still worried about people putting a label on your child and how your child will be perceived? I get it, I’ve been there. I use to own a school for children with learning difference, everyone who knows me, knows my children and their diagnoses, so I remember being worried about the same thing. I remember having this exact conversation with my children’s godmother and her response to me was “Lei-Lei (that’s my family name, don’t laugh) if someone is not wanting to include you or your children based on their diagnoses and what they have gone through, then those are not the type of people you want to hang out with.” Truer words have never spoken. So educate those people, explain the difference between a “label” and a diagnosis, explain how it is to help your child understand themselves, and to help others understand them as well, and don’t let the word “label” stop you.



Is Your Brain Healthy?

How is your brain doing? For many of us today, we aren’t doing well. We’re wearying down and it affects how we think, feel and function.

Here are some ongoing issues related to poor brain health: anger, anxiety, fear, insecurity, panic attacks, depression, insomnia and obesity. Also, stress is pounding away at our brains and literally damaging us.

There are many ways to improve our brain health. However, the first step is to determine if this may be the problem. Below you’ll find some information from Daniel Amen, M.D. This information may be your first step toward this awareness:

Based on strong scientific evidence, here are the 14 warning signs your brain is in trouble: 

  1. Memory worse than it was 10 years ago
  2. Low energy
  3. Low mood
  4. Irritability
  5. Anxiety, stress, worry
  6. Short attention span
  7. Brain fog
  8. Impulsive, bad decisions
  9. Can’t do the right things to stay healthy
  10. Insomnia
  11. High blood pressure
  12. High blood sugar
  13. Weight issues
  14. Sexual dysfunction

How do you think your brain is doing? If your brain is not healthy, you will not think, feel or function in healthy ways. If you are looking for more solutions, we have the team to help you at Fresh Start for the Mind.


So What’s the “Eh…” Response All About?

Do you ever ask your teenager a question and you get the “eh..” response? What’s up with that? Is it defiance? Do they not want to share? Do they not know? Do they not have an opinion? No, it’s not any of those things. Let me explain something about communication and a teenager… at the end of the day when your child comes home from school and you say, “How was your day?” you will probably get, “eh.. I guess it was okay.” This is perfectly normal and there is a good reason for that response. During middle and high school, our children’s brains are taking in a lot of information along with trying to socialize, and learning to navigate their emotions, other people’s responses and emotions, and their schedules. The testosterone and hormones are moving up and down like a roller coaster and when your child gets asked the question, “How was your day?” in all honesty they’re not even sure. They are still processing the day and making sense of everything that happened throughout the day. So don’t take it personally. The best thing to do is to let them have their time, let them process their thoughts and their feelings. This is how we form our own thoughts and opinions, with peace and quiet and time. After school my children have down time where they decompress, by either reading quietly or resting. There is no television, no computer, and no phone. They will rest their eyes, their brain, and their emotions. Later at night, in their own time, their day will come out; they will share their experiences with me. And, being the note-taker that I am, I will write it all down in my notebook, documentation is everything to an educator. This gives them time to process the frustrations or the excitement of the day and to figure out why they feel and responded the way they did about each and every thing that had occurred. So if you get an “eh” after asking about your child’s day, just sit back and wait – give him or her some time. The answer will come.


How to Practice Self-Love: Forgive Yourself

Imagine if you will a relationship. Within the relationship, one party constantly berates, criticizes, and emotionally abuses the other. The “abuser” meticulously reminds “the abused” of past mistakes, shortcomings and weaknesses. Ask any logical individual and he or she would readily tell you that this is an unhealthy relationship and yet; several people are experiencing this type of relationship with the man or woman in the mirror everyday.

Self -love often starts with self-forgiveness.

It is difficult to embrace oneself while simultaneously rejecting oneself. Without forgiveness, we reject the other party by holding emotional grudges. In this scenario, an individual holds an emotional grudge against him/herself. The problem with emotional grudges is that they emotionally paralyze us.

Without being able to move forward, we are literally stuck in our pasts.

Many people try to form meaningful bonds with others and yet this becomes a fruitless effort when said individual does not first create an environment of self-love through forgiveness.

In order to form and nurture self-love through the process of forgiveness, individuals must be willing to

1. Love oneself “flaws and all,”

2. Acknowledge; yet not be defined by past mistakes, and lastly,

3. Be open to the freedom that self-forgiveness produces.

To be able to look at oneself and make a deliberate choice to be loving and kind despite imperfections is the most basic (yet often most difficult) step to self forgiveness. By realizing the uniqueness of imperfection, we give ourselves permission to be human. Once we accept that it is “okay” to have flaws and make mistakes, we then are ready to acknowledge lessons learned from past mistakes. Rather than viewing mistakes as problems to overcome, we start to see them as opportunities to learn and grow. Once we remove the weight of the pressure of un-forgiveness, we experience freedom. That freedom, ultimately leads us to the permission to love ourselves “on” and “with” purpose.


Dr. Kirsten Person-Ramey