Yep. I said it, our 13 month old! We actually started right after her first birthday. Now don't get me wrong, I don't have outrageous expectations like she'll be completely out of diapers by 16 months or anything like that! But at the same time, it seems the US tends to potty train later than most areas of the world, so it's certainly possible to introduce the potty earlier. Several people that I've told about Lulu's potty experiences have expressed quite a bit of interest, so I thought it might be worth sharing.
How potty training works in our house:
We try to sit Lucia on her little potty seat (this one from Ikea that I got for $2 at a consignment sale) at regular intervals throughout the day (every hour or two) or when it seems like she may need to go.
I say "try" because we sometimes forget, are out and about, and some days Lucia goes to a sitter's when we are both working. We haven't asked the sitter to do anything with potty training and we don't set timers.
When we take Lucia to the potty, we tell her clearly that we are going to take her to the potty and do the sign for "potty". She usually repeats the sign. It's our hope that she'll eventual learn to tell us or sign when she needs to use the potty.
The key to actually potty training this early is teaching Lucia to communicate her need to go. She is not walking yet, she cannot pull down her own pants, and cannot take off her own diaper. She's completely dependent on us to get her on the potty. I anticipate that at some point, when she's in her room, she'll crawl to the bathroom (or perhaps she'll be walking by then) when she realizes she needs to go but she will still need help to get her diaper off and sit down. Much of the day, we are downstairs though, so she will have to have a clear method of communication.
So...is it working?
Yes! It's going great! Lucia usually pees in the potty at least once a day. Earlier this week, she did it three times in one day. (Followed by a day without a single pee in the potty. Oh well.)
Most of the time, she sits contently on the potty when I sit her there, but if she starts getting upset when I go to put her on it, I just don't. Sometimes she needs a little coaxing to get her to stay seated (she has on a few occasions stood up, held on to the toilet seat, and peed on the floor), so we let her hold a little baby & mama rubber ducky set that stays her in bathroom while she's there to keep her occupied.
She doesn't sit on the potty long. Usually, if she's going to go, she does it right away when she sits down (which makes me think that she knows what she's doing and it's not just a coincidence that she's peeing right when she sits on the potty).
Again, I don't have outlandish expectations, so I'm so excited with our progress. I don't anticipate really doing much more than we are doing now for a while. It's working for us and it's easy.
Know of cloth training pants for an 18 pound baby?
Seriously, this is our biggest issue right now! Taking the diapers on and off can be such a hassle, especially since Lucia does not want to stay still for diaper changes. It seems most cloth diapers that are specifically "training pants" start at 20 or 22 pounds and my baby is quite petite for her age, so I'm fairly confident they won't fit her yet. Right now I'm leaning toward trying the Bummis Pull-Ons - not specifically training pants, but made in sizes starting at newborn. Anyone have experience with them?
Do I think you're a terrible mom for having a three year old that's not potty trained yet?
Goodness no! Seriously, no judgment here. I fully acknowledge that the main reasons we are starting so early is that Lucia has a disposition that lends itself well to early potty training AND we have the time to do so. With both of us working part-time, at least one of us is home with Lucia most of the time. She's our first, so we don't have to tend to other children. Though it's going well, I am aware that our early start might still result in a four year old that hasn't quite gotten the hang of the potty. And the next child might be an entirely different story; I can't conceive of how mothers care for two children, much less large broods! I'm simply writing this to share our experience and seek that of other moms.
I'd love to hear from you experienced parents (or nannies, daycare workers, whatever):
When did you start potty training?
What is your best potting training advice?
How did potty training vary between your children?
Do you think I'm insane for starting so early?