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Potty training, the dreaded potty training. Whether you are potty training your child or dog, potty training is hard work. Preparing your child to be potty trained will be beneficial and set your baby up for success. Here are 6 ways to help prepare your child and be ready to potty train.
I do want to say one thing before we get started, if you have not yet potty trained or wasn’t planning to until your child is older, I do not think you are a bad mom. My intention is not to make you feel guilty, stupid, or silly for not potty training earlier, my goal is to show you that it IS totally possible to potty train by age 2.
People often say to wait until your child wants to be potty trained, but for me personally, I think it more of when the parent wants to and is ready. By all means, waiting until later might work for some but I hope I can show you it is completely possible to do it early too!
Why I decided to potty train early
From the time my child was pretty young, I had decided I didn’t want to be like most everyone else and potty train late. I started learning about potty training at a younger age and made a goal that by 2 years old, he would be potty trained.
I am pretty sure most everyone thought I had gone crazy and thought it was a waste of time and effort because in all reality there is no way a child can be potty trained before 24 months old.
Well, surprise, they were all wrong. My toddler turns 2 in a months time and is practically potty trained. With a few more weeks of practice under his belt, he will have earned his potty training badge by his 2nd birthday.
Potty training early just made complete sense to me. You don’t wait until your dog is 2 or 3 years old, you potty train them right from the start.
And if a young puppy can learn how to go pee and poop outside my 2 year old, (who is a lot smarter than a puppy) can learn too.
Babies and toddlers are so clever. My toddler loves to learn, he knows his colors, flashcards and alphabet so why would learning how to go potty be any different?
I began preparing my child way before I really decided to actually potty train, and that was immensely helpful. And I would recommend doing so if you decide to potty train early.
Although, potty training early is totally doable if your baby is already nearing 2. It is never too late to start.
Why potty training early makes sense
As I began to research early start potty training, it really started to all make complete sense to me. It became ludicrous that some people don’t even think about potty training until their child is at least 3 years old.
I thought to myself, there is no way I am changing poopy diapers until my toddler is 3 or even 4 or 5. That was a hard NO for me.
As I read some books, articles, and studies it became clear that other countries potty train way earlier than America does.
Many other countries and cultures don’t always have easy access to diapers, so toilet training before the child has even entered their second year is the best option for them.
It became apparent to me that the western world waits and waits until finally, their child needs to be potty trained to enter preschool or kindergarten.
Getting an early start on potty training makes complete sense. If you think about it, humans like animals don’t like to eliminate waste near themselves. Often times animals will urinate or defecate away from where they eat or sleep.
If you have ever had a puppy, they always recommend, when crate training to only give the dog enough room to sleep because they won’t want to pee and poop in their “bed”.
Humans are the same. But if you allow your child to be in diapers way past age 3, that is 3 years of learned behavior you have working against you. After so long, your child will become used to peeing and pooping on themselves and actually like it!
And by the time you finally start potty training it will be so much harder. They may even request a diaper to go to the bathroom in, instead of trying on the potty.
Potty training early saves you money
Potty training early saves SO much money on diapers and wipes.
Think about it. Your average toddler probably gets their diaper changed every 2-3 hours. This probably works out to be around 5-6 diapers a day, plus a nighttime diaper.
Let’s shoot for the middle and say 6 diapers a day, 7 days a week.
That is 42 diapers a week, and 168 diapers a month.
I get my diapers at Costco and spend $35.99 for a pack of 150 diapers. That wouldn’t even last me a month!
That is at least $40 I am saving a month by potty training early. And I am all about finding areas where I can save on spending. If you decide to keep your toddler in diapers until they are 4 years old, that is almost $1000 you will spend in diapers.
Of course, the diaper companies want your toddler to be in diapers until they are 3 or 4, which makes them more money! You are the one at a loss.
Oh, and that doesn’t even include the cost of wipes, and if you have another baby by that point who is also in diapers.
We won’t even go there, you get my picture, hopefully.
Why should you prepare your child for potty training early on?
This is a good question, and also very crucial in my opinion. Now I am not saying it is impossible if you don’t prepare beforehand, but in my experience, it will make it a heck of a lot easier.
There are 6 ways that I found extremely helpful in preparing my child to be potty trained.
You can pick and choose which ones you like or will work best for you. But I think the more you can introduce going to the potty and preparing for it, the better.
Remember to look at potty training from your child’s perspective. If they have never known anything different than eliminating in their diaper, then when you sit them on the potty at 3 years old, it is something COMPLETELY foreign to them.
You are probably pretty used to going to the bathroom in a stall, or in the comfort of your home, behind closed doors. It probably isn’t very peaceful if your toddler is like mine and doesn’t even let you pee in peace, but my point is, you probably feel pretty comfortable going to the toilet, right?
If I was to suddenly show you this completely new different way of going to the bathroom, it probably would feel weird, bizarre, and maybe even make you nervous or not want to go.
Children like habits and routines (for the most part), they just do. So allowing the potty to be introduced early on is just a no brainer.
Now don’t feel bad if you have never thought to potty train early or even begin to introduce it. That does not mean you’re a bad mom! It is just sometimes good to take things on with a different approach because a lot of times the result can be pretty rewarding.
1. Get a potty seat, potty or both
The first thing that you can do is purchase a potty seat. I did this around 11-12 months, but you really could do it as early as you want.
If your baby can sit up, you can get a potty seat and put them on it.
Make sure when you are finding a potty seat, that you pick one that is secure and will hold your baby in place. The best selection I have found is on amazon and this is the one I have.
I have looked at Walmart ones, but they just don’t offer enough support to help my child feel safe while up on the toilet.
A few months down the road I also got an actual toddler potty that is portable and just the right size for my little guy to get on and off of.
I did find this at Walmart and when they pee in it, a picture of a turtle appears at the bottom of the potty bowl.
My toddler calls this potty his “turtle potty” and he really does love it!
You can find all kinds of fancy ones out there nowadays. Those that sing, make noises, and throw all kinds of celebrations. If you think it will make your child’s world go round and you want to spend the extra money on something with all the bells and whistles, go ahead and get it.
I don’t think you need a super fancy one because eventually they will have to go on a good ole boring toilet anyway, but you can still find “fun” ones that are pretty inexpensive.
I think I paid $12 for the turtle potty.
2. Make the potty part of everyday life
OK, I say this lightly. There really are no hard, fast, strict rules to this. Especially if you are just starting out you can just do it as much as you like.
Depending on what age you decide to start sitting your child on the toilet, you can do it as much as every day or as little as every few days.
The main goal is to help your baby become comfortable with sitting on the toilet or potty. Just add the “potty” into life in some way or another. Make it become part of your life, just like the car seat and bath time are.
The sooner you get your baby to be comfortable with sitting on the potty, the sooner it becomes normal to them. The potty doesn’t have to wait to be introduced, it really can be introduced at any age.
3. Find an easy time to try and go potty
Just like making the potty become a normal part of life if you can find a time in the day to sit your baby on the potty and see if they can “go” this will be super useful in teaching them how to release and also learning their cues.
I found that right before bathtime was the perfect opportunity to sit my baby on the toilet. I noticed that my baby would often pee in the bath anyway, so it was a no brainer to have “toilet time” before the bath.
As we continued to practice this simple step, my baby began to pee in the toilet. When this would happen I would make a big deal out of it and soon he began to learn how to use his muscles to relax and go pee.
You could also try putting them on the potty before or after a nap or first thing in the morning when they wake up.
Just pick one of these times to start with and just be as consistent as you can.
4. Use a couple of signs or sounds that associate going to the potty
I taught my baby sign language from about 4 months old. This way of communication was so useful in so many different areas.
I was able to utilize my baby’s sign language skills with introducing the potty. I taught him the sign for potty and would try to pair the sign every time he sat on the potty.
Sounds can also be useful too! I also used a couple of different sounds for pee and poop and would make those sounds when he was actually going.
For pee I would say “psss psss psss” and poop would resemble some sort of a grunt.
Associating the action and need to go potty with a word, sign or both can really help your little one connect the dots. Even if your baby is young and doesn’t seem to pick them up, keep at it, consistency never fails.
5. Let them join you when you go potty
Ok, I know you’re probably thinking, are you serious?! Can I not just go to the bathroom in peace and quiet.
But trust me on this one.
Monkey see monkey do. And that applies to baby or toddler too! (Hey, looked that totally rhymed)
Children pick up on things and they constantly have eyes on us. If we can lead by example and show them how Mommy goes potty too, it will show them it is something normal and not scary.
6. Talk and learn about the potty
Children love to learn so learning about the potty can be a great learning activity. Especially if your baby is a little bit older, take time to teach.
Read potty books, sing songs about the potty, make learning exciting and fun.
The potty doesn’t have to be any different to teaching them colors, ABC’s or animal sounds.
Potty training early is totally doable
No matter what everyone else thinks or might say, potty training early is 100% completely doable. If YOU are ready and committed that is.
Whether you want your child out of diapers by 18 months or 2 years old, preparing ahead of time is only going to set you up for greater success.
Children older than 2 and a half are more than capable of being potty trained. Unless of course they are some other outside factors that might mean waiting longer is best.
But overall, getting your toddler in underwear by the age of 2 is actually quite realistic.
Implementing these 6 steps to help prepare your child to be potty trained will work wonders and I hope they will make you feel more confident in your ability to potty train.
What age are you planning to potty train your child? Have you ever considered potty training early?