Today’s reader question about getting your child to get dressed to go out really resonated. A friend once told me that she knew she was on the other side of little-kid parenting when she told everyone to put their coats on and get by the door and they did it. I am still not there yet! I definitely put someone’s shoes on this morning other than mine. So I’ll be looking for all of your advice in the comments.

We also have three stories from parents about their wins and woes of the week.

Let’s do this!

Dad Allies

—Trapped in a Screaming Void of Potty

We have a 2-year-old who has now fully embraced toddler life, and are three weeks into potty training. We’ve dealt with being new parents, Covid parents, and at some point turned into regular parents, but I’ve never felt more cut off from our friends and normal life than right now.

With the nights drawing in, finding new or different activities our son will enjoy for any extended period of time feels harder and more isolating than ever, and combined with very slow progress with potty training, it’s mentally exhausting.

I’m proud to be a hands-on dad, but dads are just bad at communicating about parenting to their friends/peers in a way my spouse doesn’t see, because mums share ideas and plans more actively. Dads need to be better allies to each other as well as their partners, and then we’d all be better off.

Boot Rebrand


My 2-year-old loves trains but not his new boots. After a quick rebrand as “train boots,” they’re now an essential part of leaving the house because they have magical powers that help us spot more trains!

The Art of Sittervising*

—Liz W.

When I was pregnant, I discovered that I could rest on the couch and keep my 15-month-old and 4-year-old entertained by having them pretend they were puppies who loved to play fetch. I would lie on the couch and throw a tennis ball for them to retrieve, and they would easily play this game for 40 minutes!

(*Ed. note: Sittervising is a Busy Toddler term that we love. You supervise while you sit. That’s all.)

This week’s reader question

My 3-year-old struggles when it is time to leave the house, even when it is somewhere he wants to go, like to the playground with his friends. He often will refuse to put on clothes, shoes, etc., and runs around getting into stuff or harassing the dog. He can be physically aggressive if I force him into clothes. I always end up getting frustrated and yelling, which definitely does not help. We’re heading into Minnesota winter, which will only mean more clothing items to get on. Ideas? 


What do you think?

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