Thursday, January 31, 2013

Potty Training Our 13 Month Old

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. 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?


  1. with our first we tried starting at 18 months. It was a disaster. She was finally 90% trained by 2 years and 9 months (my kids naturally night-train first, so 90% means she still had poopy accidents). My #2 was 100% trained by 2 yrs 2 months (her temperament does not tolerate accidents well, we were blessed!). #3 was trained by 2 years 2months (though a different temperament, I was able to lock in to the main way to get her to stop accidents). We are still having a little trouble with #4 who just turned 4 (poopy troubles) and I have thought about starting with #5 now...he is 19 months, but he says "poo" and points to his bum, so I know that he understands what happens there.

  2. With a 5 month old, I'm nowhere near potty training yet, but check out the new Flip training pants - they look awesome to me! :) I've actually read that cloth diaper kids often potty train earlier than those in disposables because they can feel when they are wet (so moreso with kids who are in cotton as opposed to microfiber as the cotton doesn't wick away the moisture from their skin). The Flip training pants have cotton liners for that very reason! Good luck and hope she exceeds your expectations!!

  3. What about a wool or fleece soaker?

  4. Jess CathofeminismJanuary 31, 2013 at 9:14 AM

    I use the trainers from Grovia, but by the time my son came around to the idea more full time, he had out grown them. My 16 months old is interested in the potty, so if I can gear up for it again so soon, I may try to train her before the baby arrives at the end of April. I do not remember life with only a new born in diapers!

  5. We started putting my son on the potty around that age before baths to start getting him comfortable with it, but never pushed it too much. He would be interested for a few weeks, then not for a month or two. He was potty trained around 2.5, and it was completely stress free and he only had one or two accidents ever. I think the key for an enjoyable experience is to wait to push it until they are ready. Also, I've been using the Bummis pull-ons for my squirmy little 16 lb 8-month-old, and I love them. They are the first cover I reach for when we're at home.

  6. This is cool! But I'm kind of against using little potty seats (for us) because...yuck. I wonder if this would work with those seat toppers... Also, can you describe the sign for potty?

  7. Stacked Peanuts are a WAHM brand of trainers if you're interested. They are more of the "pull-up" style. She is located in Cheyenne, WY and can be found on facebook. We are not potty training our son yet, but do hope to use these trainers when the time is right, and maybe some other brands/styles too :) Keep up the good work!

  8. I would love to be potty training our 2 yr 5mo old, but he has no desire. We have tried sitting on the potty and he laughs but has never peed on it. He is barely starting to say "diaper" when he's wet and never says out when he's dirty. It's like he doesn't care. Sigh, I'm not going to push it, but I sure am jealous!

  9. Thanks, Ashley! I'll definitely look into Stacked Peanuts! I like to use small local, businesses and Cheyenne's only about an hour away.

  10. I don't see why that would work. I have a friend that was doing EC with her little boy starting at about 6 months and they used a "toddler seat" that fits on the toilet. Bodily fluids don't gross me out at all so the little potty works great for us.

    Here's a video with the "potty" sign:

  11. Good luck! I'll check out the Grovia trainers, thanks!

  12. I've heard some great things about Flip, I'll check them out!

  13. I know every child will be different, but I'm trying to seize the opportunity while it's here! Hopefully she'll get the hang of it soon, but if not, we are avoiding at least a few dirty diapers at this point (less diaper laundry!!!)

  14. i have five children with another one due in feb. i wrote a little about our potty training here -

  15. Ugh! Typed a nice long message on my phone and it disappeared :-( Here we go again.....
    Love that you are also potty training a 1 yr old! I never would have imagined that's what I would be doing but it's what she wants to do. It all started when she was about 10 1/2 months and she was waking from 2-2 1/2 hr naps with a dry diaper. I had just read about signs a child may be ready to potty train and since that was one of them, I decided to put her on the potty. And she went! I would say she would go 60-70% of the time too. Then the holidays came and we were out of town for 2 wks. Once we were back home, she would follow me into the bathroom and head for the potty (we don't even have a child potty, just the regular toilet). She isn't walking yet either, so I have to remember to ask/take her. But in the last week she has started to sign potty. And she tries to wipe herself! Which is amazing, funny and sometimes frustrating.

  16. I honestly have no idea how I stumbled upon your blog, but I was reading through & wanted to share something I recently saw on pinterest. Here is another blogger's post about making her own cloth training pants: Hope that helps! My son is 16 months and I am dreading potty training with my entire being. I think that as long as you keep your expectations realistic, you're fine starting whenever. Good luck!

  17. Thanks, Nicole! I just got a sewing machine for Christmas and that looks like an easy beginning project!

  18. I can't imagine trying to potty train with other kids to take care of! I suppose you're an old pro at it by now though! Congratulations on your growing family!

  19. Every child is different, that's for sure (I've heard that boys tend to be later than girls too).


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