1. I have to say I like potty “learning” way more than “training” – we have kids not seals or dogs! That aside, my mom had all 5 of her kids dry by 12 months and I thought she was crazy when she told the story. When my daughter learned to crawl at 8 months, though, I started sitting her on her potty chair when I used the bathroom to keep her with me. I read her stories and she loved sitting on the chair. Since we went to the bathroom before and after naps/sleeping, after nursing/eating, etc. we often got there when she needed to go. She was dry by 11 months when she started daycare. At daycare, they weren’t set up for training until the child was 18 months and so she would go in her diapers at daycare and on the potty at home. It didn’t seem to bother her either way. I have always thought it was good we started so young because Reid was not bothered when she had an accident – it was like, “Oh, look, there is pee on me. I wonder how that happened?” It’s good she already had the potty habit as she didn’t have a distaste of being wet to spur her on.

  2. I found that the commando method worked really well for my little guy. The problem we are encountering now is that when he is engaged in an activity he forgets and will go in his pants. He will hold it as long as possible so that he does not have to stop playing. I don’t know what to do about this. He knows what the potty is for and does use the potty but if a game is to compelling the potty goes out the window. I should mention that he is 4 years old now and his father and I really need some help.

  3. @Mom on the Go: it’s uplifting to hear that it’s possible to potty-train so young – our son stays with a sitter all day and she’s indicated that she thinks he may be ready to learn to use the potty. I hadn’t been sure because he’s only 15 months old, but sure enough, the moment we brought out the potty (we’d tried EC when he was an infant, so he’s familiar with it), he started sitting on it. He’s still more enamoured of it as a seat than a potty, I think (he loves things his size!) but it’s encouraging that he’ll go to it and sit down. We’re going to start pottying him in the mornings and evenings again in hopes that he’ll get the hang of it :)

    All of this is really great advice – thanks so much for sharing it!

  4. With my first, he learned to take his diaper off at 18 months, so we bought a toddler potty. He used it a few times, but once he turned 2, all bets were off. After spending time sitting in the bathroom, singing a potty song that I made up to encourage him, I decided it was stupid and I had better things to do than hang out in the bathroom all day. So we put the potty away and left it. Around 2 1/2, he started peeing in the potty on and off, and within a week of turning 3, had mastered the pee thing and was trained for that during the day. A couple of months later, both kids had a diarrhea virus and I had to put him back in diapers, but once that cleared up, something clicked and he was suddenly trained for poop. And he’s never looked back, has been dry and clean, night and day, since then.

    with my daughter, around 2 1/2 we started to suggest the potty and she was very resistent, so having learned our lesson the first time, we left it. We told her she didn’t have to use the toilet, but when she turned 3, the diapers needed to go. And then she met her deadline on her own, potty training for both pee and poop within a week.

    And with both, when they really started in earnest, we just went straight to the regular toilet. The toddler potty was, IMO, a huge waste of space and money.

    Honestly, I felt like the advantages of having kids that trained closer to 3 were great. For us, it meant that the process was pretty quick when it happened (a couple of weeks, max) and I could also count on them to be pretty reliable. If my son told me in the grocery check out that he needed to go, I knew he could wait until I was finished paying, but if he was a year younger, that would mean I’d have to grab him and run and make all the people behind us wait.

  5. Thanks so much for the link!

    I am just starting down this road with my son, who is coming up on 18 months. I am crossing my fingers that naked time, having lots of potties around and having an older sister to look up to will make this as quick and painless as possible. Only time will tell!

  6. Every child is indeed different. For us it was one potty located in his bedroom of all places that is our ticket to success! I put a mat from his changing table on the floor and the potty sits on top. When company comes over he’ll agree to having it moved to the bathroom, but the rest of the time it is in his room and he likes to use it in private. It also took a while for him to get used to using potties out and about, but I’ve sort of made that into an “exciting adventure,” so he gets excited to try out new potties. lol.

  7. My daughter also loved Once Upon A Potty even long after she was potty trained.

  8. We do EC, but we didn’tn start until she was a year (we def would have started sooner if I had known about it sooner!). My daughter is 16 months now and is almost day trained.

    For us the key to EC was to not look at it as a burden to have to sit in the bathroom, but instead use the time for bonding/playing. We read books, sing songs, etc and there are less distractions to take our attention from DD than we would have in other parts of the house.

    Don’t knock it until you try it — If you’re interested, I highly recommend the Diaper Free Baby.

  9. Soooo very helpful. Reagan has been interested in using the potty since she was about 2 1/2. And she loves her “Once Upon a Potty” book and DVD! (I also like the way she says Pwudence. Heehee.) But, she kind of regressed after the newness wore off. She preferred her diaper. Now, we’re at it again because we want to put her in preschool next month, and she wants to go. Plus, all her little friends use the potty. But, letting her wear panties and pants around the house has just resulted in us changing her clothes 5x a day and tons of laundry. We’re going to try the naked method, but with Baby Legs. Happen to have like 12 pair of those. Might as well put them to use! I can see where being naked will help her be more aware of when she has to go, and be less difficult.

    Also liked your suggestion of moving the potty into the same room. That should cut down on the mopping as well. When she watches her “Once Upon a Potty” DVD in the living room, she likes to sit on it anyway. Never occurred to me to just leave it in there!

    Thanks, Amy!

  10. I’ll have to send this to my BFF. She is training her 3 year old girl now. I know everyone says girls are easier, but two of my friends have girls that took until 3 and 4 to get fully potty trained!

  11. We were big fans of the “happy potty dance” after successful wee-weeing in the potty.

  12. Asher had a diaper rash at 26 months that I couldn’t get cleared up so he went w/o a diaper when we were at home and it just sort of happened. We’ve had a couple setbacks, but have exerted no pressure and he now at 2.5 is day dry. I’ve also noticed that if he is in pants w/o underwear that the accidents don’t seem to happen as often. We also used M&Ms and Jelly Belly’s as motivation when he was borderline interested. Looking back I am a little grateful for that diaper rash (it ended up being excema).

  13. Thanks for this post Amy. I am just now starting to think about potty learning Willow and this is a really helpful reminder that I wanted to do it a little differently this time around. I think I pushed Mira a little too much and there was resistance. I want to follow Willow’s cues and let it happen more naturally this time. Great post!

  14. It has been many years since I potty trained my daughter and son (29 and 25 years respectively), but I want to jump in an support Amy’s approach. Especially the going naked training. I was a bit of a radical breast feeding mother in the early eighties and more than a few eyebrows were raised when people heard that I kept my little one out of bottoms when we were home during the potty training period. They both were trained within a week or two (with just intermittent accidents when we were away from home. It takes time, patience and if you are working outside the home, a week or two off of work – but it works. Love what your about, Amy, keep up the good work!

  15. I do what I call “Don’t diaper train the baby!” Combination of cotton diapers, changing every time they are wet, and putting the baby on the potty regularly. My first was out of day time diapers at 10 months. He is 2.5 years now and basically potty independent except for wiping and snapping his pants. My second is 4 mos and regularly using the potty.

  16. I started with the nakedness last summer at 2 so he could actually “see” himself go pee and then at 3 started asking if he wanted to use the toilet. It took a few months of accidents but we’re in the clear for daytime now.
    Pooping in the toilet (and not spreading it on the walls, the crib, the brother..) took a mini-marshmallow. Which I was COMPLETELY fine with =)

  17. We’ve been practising EC with our daughter almost since birth. Today (at 19 months) she is able to tell me when she needs to go and would probably go by herself if she knew how to pull her pants down by herself. ;)

  18. We have just started pottytraining my son, so this article was an encouragement. Thanks for all of the great tips and links. :-)
    I am going to link to this on my blog….I know some of my readers are going through the process also!

  19. I have a 19-month old who is communicating to me when she goes, constantly. But when I took the test you linked to, I got mostly “B”s, so I will wait a bit longer to teach her to use the potty.

    I also have a Kindergartner, and wrote this article after she learned to use the potty years ago, if it can help anyone.

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