The Most Important Things to Know Before Potty Training Boys

Is potty training boys harder than potty training girls?

Some say "Yes", I say "No, not really."

I only add the "not really" part because potty training boys properly requires a bit more preparation only because parents have to make a few more decisions before beginning (which I'll discuss below). But the basic approach is exactly the same for potty training boys and girls.

So, in spite of what you may have heard, the following "myths" are not true:

1. Boys are more stubborn and less motivated than girls, and therefore harder to potty train.
2. Potty training boys is a lot longer process than potty training girls.
3. Boys are less motivated and therefore less cooperative during potty training.
4. Boys can not be potty trained until they're three.

If you believe any of the above statements, the first thing you should do is erase them from your memory bank, because they're simply a bunch of hooey, and if you buy into any of them, you're doing your son and your Wallet a big disservice.

Therefore, let me set the record straight. If your son is a normal, healthy toddler he should be ready for potty training at about 18 months (average) although some boys are ready earlier or later – anywhere from 12 to 27 months.

Boys who are ready for potty training will often begin to imitate their fathers or brothers (it's as though they realize the differences in genders) and may even start to stand at the toilet like them (even if they have no idea what to do once there !). And once the potty training process begins, they may also ask to use the toilet like them. If so, go for it!
If your child wants to be like daddy or like his older brother and believers, by all means, then let him stand! Power struggles are big no-nos in the potty training world …

So, what is the biggest difference between potty training boys and potty training girls? In my opinion, the only significant variance between the two is that parents need to decide ahead of time if they'll train their sons to urinate standing up or sitting down, so they'll know what kind of equipment they'll need.

My advise? Teach boys to urinate and have bowel movements sitting down. Period. (By the way, The American Academy of Pediatrics supports this advice).

Here's why:

1. You'll need less equipment. You can begin training using a potty chair only – no need for stools, urinals, and the like.

2. They'll learn "potty basics" faster. Remember, your son is learning a brand new skill – one that requires his – and yours – complete concentration and cooperation. So, why complicate the process by introducing too many things at once? Once your son has learned to use the potty, the big learning curve is over and it's reliably easy to teach them to urinate standing up, when the time is right.

3. Potty chairs are much "friendlier" when children are sitting. Consider this … potty chairs are low to the ground (purposefully, so toddlers can get on and off them easily), less "weak," and have much smaller openings than traditional toilets. Therefore, when children pee standing up, there's likely to be a good deal of splashing. The alternative is a urinal for peeing, and a potty chair or toilet for poop; A toilet for both; Egypt a potty chair for both. If you choose to use a toilet, you'll need to make sure you have a step stool (so your son can get on and off the processed by himself) and should consider purchasing a seat reducer (or else there's a better than even chance That your son may be frightened by the large opening – a very common fear).

4. You'll have less mess. Just put, potty training boys standing up is just plain messy, because little boys are notoriously bad aims – even with the best of intentions – so you can expect lots of dribbling down the potty chair, on the seat, and yes, all over the Floors and walls. It just comes with the territory.

5. Potty chairs are more flexible. One of the very best things about potty chairs is their portability. That's right … you can load them up and bring them with you, and your son can pee pee or poop on the fly (no pun intended:>). Trust me, this will come in very, very handy during your potty training journey. For whatever reason, you'll find that your child suddenly has to pee (and I mean, "really, really bad.") At the most inopportune times and your portable potty chair will be a Godsend. Yes, little boys can urinate in a potty chair standing up, but you'll need to bring lots of wipes with you!

Please also keep in mind that regardless of whether you're potty training boys or girls, consistency is king (in fact this is one of the core principles of our potty training system)! So, please see to it that whichever method you use, it's reinforced by all of the other adults who come in regular contact with your son.

This is especially true if your son is enrolled in pre-school, day care or has a nanny or babysitter. In fact, some organizations have very specific rules regarding potty training – especially as it relates to potty training boys. Therefore, it's a good idea to check with your childcare providers beforehand, so you're all on the same page.

Once again, I hope my advice on potty training boys has been helpful and you'll take the time to check out my other potty training articles!

Lessons Learned From An E-Commerce Adventure

It is better to have tried and failed than never to have tried at all; and even more important to learn from your mistakes.

That is what I keep telling myself after having invested the time and cash equivalent to a Harvard MBA in an e-commerce start-up that has stalled and is winding down. Not a happy prospect in light of all the media pre-occupation with e-commerce success stories and the young millionaires watching their IPOs rocket into cyberspace. But the headlines ignore the more frequent stories of new e-commerce businesses that do not hit the stock market jackpot. Many of them either settle into a low-key niche or exhaust their resources and fold.

This is the story of an Internet venture that did not make the headlines, but offers some useful insights for entrepreneurs evaluating their own initiatives. The lessons learned are applicable to your own new venture or to an investment in someone else’s.

In mid-1998 we launched a new company called nxtNet (www.nxtnet.com) with the slogan … “taking you to the next level on the Internet”.

My partner and I both had prior successful entrepreneurial experience in computer products and wanted to start a new venture together. We decided to develop a business that would catch the next wave of e-commerce services for mid-sized companies seeking to do business on the Internet. After long discussions, searches for a unique service offering, and many draft business plans, we developed a market strategy and then chose Intershop Communications as our software development platform. This product had the advantages of being suitable for single or multiple online storefronts, and offered a flexible, economic and comprehensive solution. We committed to the product, staffing, facilities and equipment to start training and development immediately. The two of us provided the time and cash required to get started.

By October 1998, we had an initial product with application as an online storefront for an associated computer business. At the same time, we realized that the application had wide appeal to other computer dealers and could be sold as a multi-user database service and e-commerce resource. We had developed a consolidated catalogue of 85,000 computer products from multiple distributor product databases that allowed rapid search and comparison for product information, pricing, and current sources. Users could access the catalogue from the Internet and find a product by manufacturer, category, and part number, key word or price range and immediately see the alternate sources and prices with links to more technical information, preferred dealer pricing and actual stock levels. Additional features allowed the catalogue to be customized so that any computer reseller could present the database as his own online storefront. This option offered all the search and product information features to his customers, but showed only retail pricing and enabled the online ordering process.

The product offering quickly received positive feedback and strong indications of support from all the participants – resellers, distributors, and manufacturers. It was a comprehensive, powerful, and effective tool for buying and selling at all levels within the Canadian computer distribution channel. Resellers recognized the value in an online resource to save time and effort. Distributors and manufacturers saw the opportunity to promote their products, and major publishers in the industry wanted to offer complementary online services to their subscribers and advertisers. How could we fail with all this enthusiasm and support?

While the potential for success clearly existed, everybody had the same questions and reservations – “Who is there now?” “How many are using it?” and “I don’t want to pay until it’s bigger”.

Reasonable objections we thought, so we added features and content for free. We promoted the product with free trials and low cost subscriptions for reseller access. Then we coaxed, persuaded, sold hard, and made deals. The “contra” became the standard for obtaining press coverage, free ads, mailing lists and promotion in exchange for free participation and future consideration. Activity on the Web site and catalogue grew to 3000 visitors per month with over 800 subscribers and the distributor list increased from three to twelve.

But revenue remained near zero as most reseller subscribers declined to pay for the service. Reasons were “it should be free – let the advertisers pay”, “I don’t use it enough”, “there are lower cost options”, or “we built our own solution”. The audience did not grow fast enough even after we offered it for free, to satisfy the advertisers and content providers. Without persistent and conspicuous sales and marketing efforts, all the participants quickly lost interest. Meanwhile the costs of database maintenance, ongoing development, site hosting, Internet access, sales, marketing, and administration were increasing.

Clearly the old entrepreneurial model of controlling costs and growing revenue was not going to apply. We had to realign our profile to show how zero revenue and high initial costs could still lead to significant investment returns like other well-known Internet ventures. So from early 1999 we started an aggressive search for financing, estimating our requirements at $500,000 to $1,500,000 over the next two years before achieving positive cash flow. More business plans, spreadsheets, and glossy presentations to demonstrate future valuations up to $20 million, even $40 million.

We knocked on many doors, from banks to government agencies, from angel investors to venture capital, from stock promoters to business consultants, and again received lots of encouragement, but no financing. So the founding partners were faced with a continuing cash drain, no relief in sight, and the limits of their own resources rapidly approaching. It was time to put the project on hold. Strategic partners or investors might still be developed to proceed with the project, but the ongoing expenditures were stopped in late 1999.

So what are the lessons learned? We already knew that nothing ventured, nothing gained. We now also knew that big successes in the new economy require big investments. Entrepreneurs may start small, but large investments will be required from new sources to achieve significant success. And no one will put significant money into a venture unless it is the only remaining requirement.

The concept, product, development, marketing and staffing all have to be in place before an investor will provide the final ingredient – his cash. Exceptions are likely only where the management team has already succeeded in the same arena, or the investor himself can deliver the missing elements, such as customers or management skills. No investor is going to take the chance that the entrepreneur with a good concept or product will also be able to deliver the required management and marketing skills to succeed, after he has the cash.

Next time we will know better. And there are side benefits from this expensive learning experience. I can now admit that with the knowledge gained through our association with Intershop Communications, I was confident enough to make an investment in their stock on the German Neue Markt at 65 Euros last year. It went over 400 Euros last month and is still rising with their rapid growth and the prospect of a NASDAQ listing this year. Almost enough to recover my investment in nxtNet.

So the most important lesson is that education in the new economy is essential, and not free, but it can lead to success outside the original plan. Learn, be aware, and be aggressively opportunistic.

Revolutionizing the Learning Experience With Electronic Interactive Education

What was required?

With an understanding of the value of Kinesthetic Learning, solutions were thought that would assist teaching methods, increase student interaction and improve outcomes across the curriculum.

The productsought needed to be environmentally friendly (ie reduce the use of photocopied materials), user friendly, comprehensive, and not require constant software upgrades.

After a thorough evaluation Di Prust selected Promethean interactive Whiteboards and the Elmo Document Camera from a Melbourne-based ICT company DatacomIT.

The Solution
Promethean Interactive Whiteboard

Promethean's Activboard + 2 is an interactive whiteboard that makes learning fun. Designed by teachers, the Activboard reflects the growing trend in visual learning; The idea that children respond to visual stimulation. After comparisons with other products on the market, Albert Park Primary School trialled the whiteboard over a period of two months and found that teachers were able to develop engaging lessons through Promethean's award winning suite of hardware and software.

The Interactive whiteboard comes with many tools that bring lessons to life. The Activboard, where all content is displayed is available in 95, 78 "and 64" sizes with an adjustable height function. Albert Park Primary School purchased 17 78 "whiteboards in total, positioned at the front and center of the classrooms. Di found students were drawn to the whiteboard and managed to focus on lessons with ease.

The battery free pen known as the Activpen, wrists like a pen but functions as a mouse. It is a supplied tool that initiates all the action; Its use also helps the development of children's handwriting and motor skills, a key factor in Albert Park Primary School's selection of the Promethean product over its competitors.

The interactive software means that teachers can create, save and share lessons. The teachers at Albert Park Primary School appear to be enjoying this aspect of the product, as Di highlights the freedom of the flipchart software: 'the flexibility in using the flipcharts makes lessons more accessible.'

The flipchart is like a blank artist's canvas, where the teacher can create a lesson plan that Picasso would be jealous of 'we are more in control of what we can actually do and are not limited by software.'

This is significant for teaching difficult concepts, as complicated lessons can be simplified and then shared among teachers, furthering the possibility of student understanding.

Di has also recognized a shift in the attitudes of her students who are showing a new enthusiasm to learn. Students at Albert Park Primary School relish in the opportunity to use the whiteboard and the tools it boasts.

With its basic suite consisting of the Activboard, the Activpen and the Activstudio lesson creation software, the Promethean interactive whiteboard creates a vibrant and energetic learning experience. Other tools are the Activote, the Activslate, the Activtablet, the Activpanel and the Activwand.

Albert Park Primary School was suitably impressed by the Whiteboard, along with DatacomIT's vast support and experience in this area.

Such an interactive and innovative product will prove its significance over and over again. It will capture and re-capture students and teachers for years to come.

The ELMO iTech Document Camera / Visual Presenter

The Elmo iTeach Document Camera has seen tremendous success in the classroom environment.

The ELMO was selected by Albert Park Primary School to display lessons on the Interactive Whiteboards. Since its implementation the ELMO has managed to project more than just an image or lesson, but a new method of understanding.

A portable alternative to an overhead projector, the ELMO acts to support lessons with its multimedia and interactive capabilities. It produces a large image that can capture moving pictures at 20 frames per second. The camera is positioned above an A3 sized capture area where you can undertake science experiments, present maps, diagrams and handwritten work to students.

'It's terrific, says Di who believes the ELMO compliments the Promethean Interactive Whiteboard,' I use it regularly. Usually I'll draw something on a sheet of paper and then use the ELMO to project it while I'm still drawing or writing on that same piece. '

Teachers can also connect the ELMO document camera to teaching tools other than interactive whiteboards, such as computers and microscopes. Its numerous interfaces (USB, XGA, Video out) and SD memory card availability, means that teachers can generate lessons for their students at home and can re-use and adapt these lessons for classes in years to come.

With the ELMO product new forms of media can be used to reach students, rather than just old videos, DVDs or CDs. Learning becomes a refreshing experience for both teacher and student.

The interactive nature of the ELMO also increases opportunity for more teacher / student interaction; Communication is becoming a two-way experience, rather than the old one-way model of information exchange from teacher to student.

'The general feedback on the Elmo camera from teachers at Albert Park Primary School is very positive' says Di. Their observations include:

1 Increase in pupil concentration
2 Instructions quickly learned
3 Ability to absorb and retain information
4 By enlarging objects, pupil's understanding is improved and academic curiosity is noticeably increased.

Conclusion
The Promethean Interactive Whiteboard and ELMO iTech Document Camera has positioned Albert Park Primary School at the forefront of leading edge teaching techniques.

More time is spent on the learning process itself, involving Kinesthetic Learning with leading educational technologies. Students are generally more interested in the classes where the Interactive Whiteboard and Document camera are used, and get a real buzz from this real time method of teaching.

How to Pack for a Summer Vacation

It’s that time of the year again when the scorching heat becomes unbearable with each passing day. At such a time, all you want is an air-conditioned room and something cool to sip on. However, if you are going on a holiday, you will be spending a lot of time outside, exploring different places. If this is scaring you, considering the temperature is rising everyday, here are some tips that will help you stay protected from the heat.

Carry a Sunblock Lotion or Sunscreen

Going out in the sun without protecting your skin is a big no no, especially in summer. So, while you searching for the cheapest airline booking online and packing your clothes, also get a bottle or two of sunscreen or sunblock lotion. Sunscreen will not only prevent you from getting a sunburn but it will also protect your skin from the harmful UV rays. When you are buying the lotion, make sure you get one that has both UVA and UVB protection.

Pack Cotton and Lightweight Clothes

During the summer season, it’s advisable that you wear cotton clothes so that your skin can breathe. Wearing synthetic clothes may cause irritation and you might end up feeling hot and suffocated. So, when you are packing for your vacation, make sure you put in light clothes that will help your body stay calm. When it comes to shoes, carry open-toed ones or flip flops so that your feet can get as much air as possible.

Choose the Correct Accessories

Since you will be travelling during peak summer, carry a straw hat, a pair of sunglasses, and a scarf, just in case the heat becomes unbearable. These accessories will keep you protected from the heat when you are out, visiting different places. If you are going to be spending a lot of time on the beach, carry a beach bag and towels with you too. It’s also preferable that you carry a change of clothes so that you don’t have to stay in your sweat-soaked clothes for a long period of time.

Take Necessary Medication with You

Some places can have heat waves during the summer. In such a case, you should be prepared for it. Additionally, if you have diseases that can be triggered due to the heat, take the prescribed medicines with you. You might also want to take vaccinations that will protect you from falling sick from insect bites or mosquitoes.

These are some of the simples steps that you can keep in mind while packing for a summer vacation. And while you are vacationing, just remember to drink a lot of fluids and keep yourself hydrated.