Our consultants aren't just experts on pee and poop in the potty. They're moms, teachers, and pretty amazing human beings to boot! Today, I'd like to highlight Jenny Phelps. You can book with Jenny over at Oh Crap Potty Training with Jenny.
How long have you been an Oh Crap Potty Training Consultant?
I completed my certification in June 2015.
How many kids do you have?
Just one 3 year old girl!
What’s your favorite flavor of ice cream?
What’s a household product you can’t live without?
My coffee press. Not a surprise based on my ice cream answer!
Laundry folding right out of the dryer? Or piled up in baskets to be done in front of Netflix in a marathon folding session?
Well, before there was SO MUCH laundry, #1. Now, #2.
What made you decide to become an OCPT consultant?
I read *4* books on potty training before I began and OCPT was the ONLY one that made me feel like I was actually prepared for the process. I *enjoyed* the potty training experience, and was already helping my friends with it anyway! I’ve been a college teacher for over a decade, so I saw becoming a consultant as a new way to apply my skills of “adult education” and “creative problem solving” – both things I’m SUPER passionate about. It is so rewarding to coach parents – many of whom have been struggling with potty training for years – successfully through this process, and to help to relieve so much of the stress that can accompany potty training.
What’s your favorite Must-Read book?
Douglas Adams “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”. “DON’T PANIC!” Good advice for potty training too!
What’s something that’s come out of your mouth as a parent that no human should have to say out loud?
“Wash your hands before you play with the poop!” Lol. (here's a photo for THAT context)
Do you feel as an OCPT consultant that you have a sort of speciality?
I have worked with all of the major potty training problems and with kids “young” and “old” – from 15 months to 5 years. Boys, girls, twins, even triplets. I feel especially good at helping parents get into that “zen” mode that can help kids both with resistance and poop problems, perhaps because I had to work through those issues A LOT with my own girl too.
More recently, I’ve become more active in helping special needs children. I'm digging into a lot of research and studying to learn more about various special needs and how that affects potty training. While I can't exactly call it a speciality, I'm finding I enjoy the challenges that special needs children bring to the potty training table.
And one other specialty is that my Spanish is good. So I’ve helped parents write up plans for Spanish-speaking caregivers, which is such a relief to those families.
What’s your parental super power?
I don’t think I have any real “super-powers” but I AM very organized and super-good at time management. I was already used to juggling wild schedules with multiple teaching jobs before having a child, so now adding nap times, school schedules, and potty training appointments into the mix is just an extra layer to all of that. I’ll admit, I don’t think I’d be able to do it all without “Google Calendar” but these skills do help our days to run smoothly and help us to do everything we want to do without being overscheduled.
What’s a secret indulgence for you?
Once a year. Samoa girl scout cookies!
What’s your favorite part of parenting? What’s your least?
Favorite: Seeing how kids learn, and seeing my child’s personality develop. As a teacher, I’ve gained an entirely new perspective on how we acquire new skills. And on the personality, those little moments when you say, “yep – that’s MY daughter!” (like when she insists on reading under her nightlight instead of going to bed, something I used to get in trouble for). Even more exciting are the moments when I see her daddy in her (like, she already has a natural love of comic books that I just cannot understand).
Least favorite: All the “stuff”. This is more about “being a parent” than “parenting”, but I’m a person who likes to keep it simple. Even though our friends tell us we don’t have very many toys, it feels like a TON of stuff all around the house to me!
Do you have a favorite toy that your child has? A least favorite?
Favorite: The current “big hit” toy around here is a “Super Sorting Pie”. Pie is really important to our family, and this toy has it all: you use tweezers to sort the fruits into different sections of the pie. There are “recipes” where you sort the pieces by counting, shapes, texture, colors, etc. It’s an awesome combo of learning, fine motor skills, and fun. When the recipe is made, my daughter puts the lid on, slides it under a chair, pretends to push buttons (Beep Boop Boop Boop Beep. DING!), and “bakes” her pie. http://amzn.to/2aGU9MG
Least Favorite: We’ve mostly managed to avoid those noisy, annoying toys that drive parents nuts. One thing we have along those lines is a “Frozen” book that sings. The ONE SAME SONG. OVER and OVER.
How do you keep yourself grounded in the chaos of parenting?
Friends. The hospital where I delivered had a free new mom’s support group. This gave me an excuse to get out of the house at least once a week almost right away, learn what other parents were going through, and see the struggles of parents of kids just a little older than mine, so I could anticipate what I’d need to learn about next. This experience provided lasting friendships that I have kept until this day. Finding other parents you can be “real” with and have fun with is SO important to keeping this crazy parenting journey in perspective.
Anything else you’d like to share?
When you’re struggling with *anything* parenting, whether it’s potty training or something else, it doesn’t mean you’re a “bad parent” - I meet so many parents who feel this way. We’re all trying to do the best we can, and parenting today is HARD because you can always find
something or someone that says you’re “doing it wrong.” I don’t these kinds of absolutist statements are helpful. There’s almost never a black and white “wrong” or “right”. Every situation is workable, every potty training problem has a solution – it just might not be *exactly* what worked for your neighbor. It’s all a *process*, and we’re all learning and adapting as we go!