Long before I was pregnant with David, our first and only child, I had already decided to exclusively breastfeed for atleast 6 months, to do baby-led weaning, to cloth diaper, and to homeschool. One thing I did not decide was how early to potty training our son. After some research, I discovered potty training early is more effective, healthier, cheaper, and a happier process for you and your baby. As a former Preschool teacher, I remember that the majority of my students were not potty trained at 2 years old and that the average age was 3 years old. Having only 2 students that were out of diapers, I remember thinking – my future children need to be potty trained by 2. It’s no emergency, but I’d really like to try that. Can we make the 2 year mark with David? In a book entitled Diaper Free Before 3, the author Jill Lekovic gives us some great benefits:
8 Benefits of Early Potty Training
- The sooner you begin potty training, the sooner you finish.
- Children learn their natural “potty” signals faster.
- Some children never show an independent interest in potty training.
- Children gain confidence that enriches other areas of development (child no longer perceives self as a baby).
- Decreased risk of Urinary Tract Infection (UTI), wetting problems, and constipation.
- Decreased risk of infectious diarrhea and Hep A.
- There’s no need for bribery or rewards to get them to go potty.
- Cheaper and much more environmentally friendly, especially if you use disposable diapers.
Okay, so here is our story and some tips for you….
Show & Tell Your Baby How YOU Potty
Our potty training journey actually started when our son was just 6 months old. My husband would take our little guy in the bathroom with him once or twice a day and tell him, “Potty. Potty. Daddy pee pees in the potty. This is how Daddy potty’s like a man.” I’m pretty sure that sparked something in my son’s brain that this is what he needs to do one day. Fast forward to when David started walking at 10 months old, whenever he would see his Daddy walking towards the bathroom he’d follow behind him yelling, “Potty! Potty! Potty!” And when we’d go in a public bathroom stall he will let everyone there know we’re going – and sometimes he tells what business we’re doing. Poop! Eww! Poooop! Lol 🙂
Potty Training Books Are Awesome
I love shopping at our local Goodwill Store and around the time when David turned a year old I ran across the cutest little potty book entitled Potty Time With Elmo. I knew I had to get it. My son took such an interest in potty time with Daddy that I figured he’d enjoy Potty Time With Elmo too. The neatest part about the book are the sounds it makes when you press the buttons. When you press Elmo’s face he says, “Elmo can use the potty!” When you press the little orange guy’s face, Elmo says, “Let’s try to use the potty!” I’m always repeating this to my son – in my Elmo voice lol – and he loves it! When I was a preschool teacher a few years ago, one of my student’s favorite potty books was a baby board book called Potty. Side note: If you’d like to order Potty by Leslie Patricelli or Potty Time With Elmo by Sesame Street, just click the links in this blog and it will take you to Amazon to purchase it.
Don’t Wait To Buy A Potty
This year, when our son turned 15 months old, we bought him a little training potty from Walmart for $25 bucks. (You can also order one online from Amazon.com here if you like). If I could go back, I would’ve purchased this potty when he was 10 months old. Sounds crazy I know, but David is such a fast learner I think he could be out of diapers already if he would’ve had a potty to practice with. But as soon as he saw the My Size Potty box he starting yelling Potty! Potty! After we assembled the potty we took off his diaper and let him sit on the pot. He didn’t do anything but just sit there with his happy face on. This was such a blessing because boys usually take longer to potty train, so we’re ahead of the game. Just having a potty of his own makes a big difference. And it makes a flushing sound too, which he never gets tired of. If you’re debating on when to buy your little one a potty, my advice is the sooner the better. Just because they can’t talk yet or they don’t have a clue what to do with their body parts, doesn’t mean you should wait. The day we got David’s potty I started out by encouraging him to go potty. “David, where’s your potty? Go potty.” Then he’d look around the room and start walking towards it. Even if your baby is just crawling, they can learn what the potty is and exactly what it’s for.
Encouraging Words Mean Alot
At 16 months old, while we were visiting my mom, David pooped in his potty for the first time. That was so exciting! How did that happen? Well, when David has to poop – he does what we call – his “poop walk.” When his dad or myself noticed that he was doing his “poop walk” we’d say, “David, go poop in the potty son.” Don’t ask me why he’d take off running AWAY from the potty. Lol. Then one of us would have to catch him, undress him and sit him on his potty, where he’d then wiggle around until he pooped. Then he’d hop up and applaud himself saying, “Poop! I poop! Yaaaaay!” Then my hubby and I become his cheerleaders, “Yaaaaay David! You pooped in the potty! We’re so proud of you son! You’re a big little man!” He absolutely loves to hear encouragement from us. You can see his little face light up, as if he did a really great thing – and of course he did! He still cheerfully applauds himself now at 19 months old when he goes to the potty.
Go Diaper-less As Much As Possible
I’ve heard other moms say they got their little one potty trained quicker by letting them walk around with no diaper. At 19 months old, we just started doing diaper-less potty training everyday. No diaper at home, except during nap time. From first-hand experience, this strategy is actually working. I know the thought of going diaper-less might seem crazy, but look at the bright side – your baby will be out diapers sooner than later. For me, as soon as David wakes up in the morning, I carry his sleepy behind to the potty, undress him and sit him there until he goes. What’s funny is, he goes within 10 seconds of sitting on the potty. And not only that, but he lets me know if he has to use the potty and he tells me if he has to do number 1 or number 2. He’ll say “potty” if he has to go number 1 and he’ll say “poop” if he has to do number 2. Every single day since he’s been going diaper-less (only the past 2 weeks) he has been consistently going to the potty, with only 2 accidents. That is absolutely AMAZING for a 19 month old boy. Only 2 accidents in 2 weeks?! I should’ve done this a long time ago!
Don’t Give Up, Don’t Stress Out
Every child is different. Don’t compare your little one’s progress to someone else’s child. Your little individual will move at their own pace. Yes, potty training is work, but don’t give up! The benefits outweigh the cons, and all the hard work will totally pay off. If you and your baby are ready to take this big step, then jump out there, and don’t stress out about it. Your baby is not going to be a baby forever and they are not going to want to stay in diapers forever. Potty training at 2 is better than 3, and 3 is better than 4. There is no race to the finish line. My motivation is the fact that my son is such a fast learner that he probably could be out of diapers by now, but his hinderance was me – his mom – not the fact that he’s not ready. He’s so ready. So I make an effort to give him what he needs. Moms, pay attention to your baby’s cues. Can you see that they interested or are ready to go? If they aren’t ready yet then don’t stress about it. Keep showing and teaching them about potty time, reading potty books and get them a potty they can practice on. It’s a new chapter in your lives, so enjoy the process!
In a nutshell:
- Show & Tell Your Baby How YOU Potty
- Get Your Baby Potty Books
- Buy A Potty Sooner Than Later
- Encouraging Words
- Go Diaper-less As Much As Possible
- Don’t Give Up
- Don’t Stress Out
Need more motivation? Read this totally awesome Bestest Mommy Ever blog on potty training here.