Thursday, September 26, 2013

Early Potty Learning

The last full day that W was in diapers was September 9, 2013 making him 17 months and 9 days old when he graduated from diapers.  **I don't like the term "potty trained" especially since he is so young; it just has so much pressure along with it.  I just say he's out of diapers when he's awake since he does still wear - and need - a diaper for naps and overnight.**

People are so surprised when they hear that he is out of diapers at his age.  And they either ask me what kind of voodoo magic I used or just attribute it to W being "mature."  I honestly believe most babies could potty train this early if they're given the opportunity to.  If you have a young baby and want to start them on the road to "early potty learning" this is what we did...

I got W a potty when he was about 9 months old.  With BabyDeux I'll probably start even sooner; as soon as he can sit up on his own I'll let him "use" a potty.  When it was convenient for me (as in if I was going to the bathroom, when W was brushing his teeth, when the tub was filling up, etc) I would put him on his potty with absolutely no expectation for him to do anything it was just him getting to sit on a cool new seat with his pants down.
First time on the potty!

I think a key to this is the fact that when I would use the toilet I would bring him with me and put him on his potty.  If I was peeing I would simply tell him, "Mommy is peeing in her potty because she doesn't wear diapers, if you want you could pee on your potty, too" and if I was pooping I would give him the same general explanation.  So he knew what he toilet was for.  It was actually the second day I ever put him on a potty that he pooped!  And I didn't celebrate, I didn't give him a prize, I just said, "wow, you're pooping on your potty instead of a diaper!  What a big boy."  If he went in his diaper  didn't get upset (obviously, he wasn't even a year old yet) I would just simply explain while I changed him, "you peed/pooped in your diaper, I'm going to put a dry diaper on you.  Isn't that more comfortable?"

Within a month he was almost exclusively pooping on the potty.  I rarely changed poopy diapers for the month of February.  It was awesome.

Then we flew home to visit my family at the beginning of March and we both got sick and he was nursing non-stop (so his poop completely changed) and he totally freaked out about the potty.  ::whompwhomp::  I was a little heartbroken, but hey - he could't walk how could I expect him to regularly use the potty?

After that I would still put him on the potty but I never pushed it.  He had sorta lost interest in it.  Then The Sailor got back from deployment, and I got pregnant, and every time I would put him on his little potty he would just stand up since he could walk.  I got to the point where I thought he was gonna be in diapers for a loooooong time since once BabyDeux got here there was no way I was going to be able to potty train a toddler while caring for a newborn.

Then I got the idea to try and put him on the big potty (with a topper on it) so he couldn't just walk away....and it worked!  This was probably a month before a decided to ditch the diapers.  I started putting him on it whenever it was convenient for me again; sometimes he would go, sometimes he wouldn't.  Then one day he walked up to me, handed me his potty topper, and signed please.  As soon as I put him on the potty he peed and I accepted he was ready.

I picked a date to ditch the diapers about two weeks in the future to mentally prepare myself and made him some training pants.  I started offering him the potty regularly throughout the day instead of just when it was convenient for me and as long as I offered it every two hours or so he'd have clean diapers all day!

I originally planned to do a "three day potty camp" where you essentially camp out in the kitchen (for easy clean up) and pump your kid full of salty snacks so they drink (and thus pee) a lot and essentially dedicate three whole days only to using the potty.  But, because of my back we lasted about 2 hours in the kitchen then just went back to normal life in the house just W was naked for easy potty access.

And he's been out of diapers while he's awake ever since.

For the most part at home he's completely naked or just in undies.  When we leave the house he's in undies and cloths.  If we're leaving during nap time I bring a diaper to put him in knowing he'll pass out on the car ride home (since he does still wear diapers for naps and night time).  He's had two accidents in clothes - one he was asleep in the car seat with The Sailor (he passed out and peed, really can't hold it against him) the other was at a birthday party and he started to wet his pants but finished on a toilet.  He's also had a bunch of starts of accidents at home, but he's generally naked so I just swoop him up and toss him on the toilet for him to finish but those have become few and far between.
Chillin in his undies
So did I get my 17 month old out of diapers?  Early introduction.  It was never hard for us to do, honestly.  Like I said, in the early days I never went out of my way and he essentially let me know when he was ready to ditch the diapers.  If you introduce a potty early you will know when your child is ready.  Just trust in that.

I also do give some credit to the fact that we cloth diaper.  Since disposables do such a good job keeping babies dry-feeling they don't really know when they've peed, whereas with cloth it's easy for them to tell.

Since that is more than enough information I'll do a follow up post with tools that helped us along the way,, and as usual if you have any questions don't hesitate to ask!


  1. Amazing! I'm going to have to start doing this! Lyla is 8 1/2 months, so we need to get going.

    When did W start signing back to you? I think that will definitely help make things a lot easier when she can communicate. We haven't been working with her very much. :( Mostly just working on the sign for milk, but it doesn't look like she's picking it up at all.

    1. I can't remember exactly how old he was but it was closer to 1. And he went from not knowing (or using) ANY signs to signing more, milk, and please regularly. Just keep at it!


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