Potty Training

Over the weekend a friend of mine who has a 4-year-old asked me if I had started potty training June yet. I was fairly stunned and thought it was too soon. My friend's sister was also present and said that she started potty training her daughter at one year, and that girls train earlier than boys generally. With her daughter she was done with potty training a few months later.

I've been giving it some thought and I think that they might be right.

June knows to say "poo poo" when she goes sometimes. And she seems to always know when her diaper is off and uses it as an opportunity to pee (or sometimes poo!).

Any advice out there from experienced moms? I'd love to hear it.


  1. That's been on my mind a lot lately too. Our next door neighbor has a little girl that is about the same age I think as June (her birthday is Dec. 18th). They have a mini toilet that they've been leaving out and encouraging their daughter to use. She has used it several times! But as you'd expect she isn't consistent. It seems its more a novelty item than something she actually understands the use of.

    Now that the Bean is mimicking me so much I'd also like to get one. Problems I foresee: a) we don't have a lot of room for an extra bulky item, b) they aren't the easiest or nicest things to clean, c) it's still cold here! So naked time is kept to a minimum

    The mini-seats for your own toilet are nice but I think are meant for older children. So you have to take into consideration how many items you want to purchase.

    I'd love to hear more about this new adventure of yours so keep us up to date!

  2. Melissa,
    I haven't decided yet to start, or when to for sure. I also forgot to mention in my post that because June nurses so much at night I think that potty training could really take awhile to be 100% there.

    Then I worry about potty training too soon because I've heard that leads to bed wetting when kids are older. Perhaps that is an old wives tale though.

    I think I would get a kiddy-potty... but I am just full of questions still.

    And there are books that can help too, or so I'm told.

    Thanks for the input!

  3. Both my kids were quite a bit older when they were potty trained but I think what worked best for us was using cloth training pants during the day because 1. they felt it
    2. I was much more vigilant about remembering to get them to the bathroom regularly since I didn't want to be cleaning accidents constantly.

  4. My mom swore I was "trained" by 1 year--now I know she meant she "caught" me everytime.

    I'm positive that's not too good to do.

    I was pretty laissez-faire (but that's my nature), let the child take the lead. I think we bought the potty chair about at year/year and a half....

    I'll read some psych stuff for you....

  5. OK, here's the final authoritative word from the brilliant minds at St. Louis Community College (forget Harvard!).

    If you can keep the power struggle out of it, there is no reason not to start earlier than 2 years. BUT--better be patient, because it will almost certainly take longer than if you wait.

    If you enjoy it, if you're the proactive type? Without getting at all frustrated? Then it's just one more kinda fun thing.

    I think if I bought a potty, and one of my kids sat on it--fantasy-play like--I would probably just hand them some toilet paper and see what they did with it.

    (Sorry so long!)

  6. I forgot to add into my post exactly what Christy said. I don't think it can hurt to have one around and let June know its there and talk to her about what its for. If June is anything like the Bean then she follows you into the bathroom and watches/listens to what you are doing. The Bean loves to have a little piece of the paper and put it into the toilet and waves/says bye-bye when I flush. I know if I got her a potty she'd love to sit on it. But by no means would she know what it was for, even if she managed to use it correctly.

    Short story long - I definitely recommend waiting until June is ready to start actually trying to potty-train. But I also feel it can't hurt to have it around so she gets used to it.

    Cloth diapered kids supposedly potty train earlier, because they don't like the wetness. And night training can take longer no matter what you use simply because the kid is asleep. Most kids aren't totally trained until they are 3 or even 4. So don't sweat it!

  7. I think you should follow your instinct. I know we're anywhere near ready in my household (son is 16 months). But I'm sure so much of it depends on the child. If she's showing signs that she might be ready, why not try? You can always abandon and try again later.

  8. Tracy is right....no harm in trying!

    No failure.

    I mean, my mom was invested (it was in vogue at the time) in telling her friends that I was trained.

    And, it hasn't hurt me too much.....I mean, I'm semi-normal....even with her violating the rules.....

    (except for this ellipsis fetish...)

  9. Thanks for all the comments Christy. I was hoping you'd chime in on this, especially since you nursed Sarah for a long time.

    And I think the upshot for me right now is... we'll wait. :)

    I'm in no big rush. I'd like to see a more clear signal from her first that she is ready.

  10. Wow..no need for me to really comment, you have been given some great advice. Go with the flow (sorry about the pun)

  11. A man I work with is married to a woman from Mongolia. They traditiionally potty train in Mongolia much earlier than here because diaper resources are much harder to come by, cloth or disposable. Their daughter was potty trained at 10 months. You read that right -- 10 months, and it is the norm for Mongolian children to be potty trained that early. So yes, it is possible.

    I don't anticipate having Little Man potty trained right away because they don't have the resources in his current room at daycare so it will wait until he moves to the next room, where they have kiddie bathrooms with little minature toilets. That way, he will get the same training at school and at home.

    We bought the Baby Bjorn potty and it's easy to clean and doesn't take up much room. I think it was less than $20, too.

    Our friends gave us tips for starting, the first being to start with poop potty training. Recognize when your child is pooping (surprisingly easy when you're looking for it), and put them over a kiddie toilet until they are done. We've done this a few times with Little Man, and even have a picture of his first poop in a toilet (gross, I know). We've been lax on it lately with the flu and other bugs that went around, but are starting to get back into the groove.

    Another tip is to keep track of when baby goes so you can anticipate it -- Little Man tends to poop at the same time each day, after meals, within 30 minutes of waking, etc., so we will take his potty out and put it in the living room by his toys when it is time.

    He also comes to the bathroom with us when we go and is showing more curiosity about what goes on in there. But I'm not going to force the issue in any way, just be very matter-of-fact about it. No punishment, just encouragement.

    Good topic for discussion, it's interesting to read what others are doing.

  12. I wonder if I really WAS trained?

    I guess I'll never know. I'm sure our relative poverty and cloth diapers also affected my mom.

    Good to question the status quo of parenting....like I was shocked when I first heard about teaching kids sign language. Never thought about that, even a decade ago....

  13. I bet you were Christy. My mom always has all these early timelines for everything we did too. I think there was more pressure before to do things in a certain way, by a certain time.

    I think there is still question about the sign language - but anything to reduce a baby's frustration boils down to a good thing to me.

  14. I will second and triple that. I LOVE sign language. And now that my daughter is becoming so much more involved in her world I wish we knew more! It would cut down on a lot of pointing and "Uh? Uh? UH?!!!!" that she does (and is obviously irritated with our stupidity).

  15. I don't have any experience, but I have started doing Alex's diaper changes in the bathroom and cheer like all get out when he pees on the floor in front of the toilet!

  16. mine "trained" in a week and only had one accident overnight...

    the secret is to wait until they are ready, not when other parents suggest it for them. it's a big change and it won't happen until they are ready, and rushing it will just be a mess (literally) for you and your child. we can't make them walk till they ready, why make them go potty? (grin)

    best of luck to you! i think all these stages are best when left to your own intuition.


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