|Trying out our new potty! (During our marathon at 18 mos)|
Talking with the wealth of other moms I know it seemed like those who started potty training earlier (15-18 months) might have had to work a little longer with their children, but didn't face the battle of wills or fears & tears that my friends who waited until their children were 2 & up had to contend with. My overall impression is that if you don't train before age 2, you end up almost having to wait until age 3, when it's something the child wants. Why? Well, for one, they call it the "terrible twos" for a reason-- kids are asserting their wills all over the place! But also, because kids are absolutely wired to learn at this stage, and are aware of just about everything (which is why they can get us into trouble repeating what we said one time when we thought they weren't listening); so if this self-aware little one gets in the habit of feeling the need to poop/pee, doing it in their diaper, and then being changed later, they learn that that is what you are supposed to do, and most find it a great system all around! In their minds-- why change it?
So, around 15 months I started trying to fully ditch the diapers. We got a few little training panties from a friend, picked up a child-sized toilet seat for our toilet, ordered pull-on nylon diaper covers (Dappi 2 pack for $5 or Bummis single for $5-- both work great, and I use them as covers over fitted diapers too), and gave taking her every 15 minutes a go. She wasn't very interested, and I didn't really give it long enough, looking back. I backed after a day or so of trying, though I did keep putting her on the potty and rewarding any successes.
|Eowyn at 17 mos|
I had an idea of getting a little potty that Eowyn could get onto & off of herself, so I found one on Craigslist for $4. We drove to get it the next morning, found a use for it in the parking lot before we even left, and Eowyn was so excited that she didn't want to get off! This little froggy potty marked the turning point for us. I backed off taking her by the timer, and instead let her get on and off whenever she wanted to, rewarding her each time. Clad only in a t-shirt, this little monkey seemed to relish getting onto her very own potty, sitting a while, and getting up... over and over and over. I started to wonder if she'd EVER get off the thing! :) By day 3 she was very nearly a pro, enough that we went over to a friend's for a play date. While there I did set a timer to take her, and she kept on not going...after half an hour I was sure she was about to burst, when my friend pulled out a little potty seat. We put that on the potty, and Eowyn unloaded. This actually really encouraged me, because it proved that she absolutely could hold it when she wanted to.
Early on, we practiced using the big potty without a child seat, so that she could use them anywhere (incidentally, I've found it's best to kind of put them on side-ways). Call me European or hippy, but we also are quite adept at making use of bushes and trees for emergencies. When they are this young, you often don't get much time between "Pee-pee, Mama" and "it's running down the stroller." More than once I've pulled over at the nearest grassy spot! This has actually helped a lot, and we have had several folks ask us how we trained her to do this, because their children absolutely can not go anywhere except a flush toilet, even if they are camping. Just throwing that out there. :)
|She's serious about this.|
Quick note on which diapers we still use the most: our Ecobaby Organic Fitted diapers are workhorses, because they have elastic in the back enabling them to be pulled on & off like a training pant, with the thickness of a diaper. I usually put this on without the snap-in doubler, covered with a Dappi nylon pant or a wool bum sweater overnight. I am SO glad I scored a half-dozen of those off Craigslist for $6.50 a piece!! I also still ocasionally use infant size prefolds (yes, back to infant sized now that she doesn't need as much absorbancy) trifolded into a snap-closed one-size cover like Kawaii baby or Rumparooz, or our Kawaii snap-closed one-size pocket diapers.
My advice to parents wanting to potty train? Start young, stick it out for a full 3 days, go nearly-naked (your child, not you =D) and buy a little potty. Also, JUST SAY NO to pull-ups!! They are a marketing ploy!! If your child has to stay in diapers over night, invest in cloth "pull-ups" or pocket diapers, or just keep buying the disposables they were wearing before.