Preschooler Potty Training Finale (Plus Top Ten Benefits of Early Potty Training)

Toddler/Preschooler Potty Training
I think we've reached the end of the line with potty training my 3-year-old.  No #2 accidents for over one month.  He's had a few #1 accidents (mostly outside, because he has a hard time leaving the dirt in time to take off his shoes, come inside, and run to the potty), but I'm sure those will happen from time to time for years.  I'm not sure what really sealed the deal.  Was it the one-week vacation with cousins during which time he did not have a single accident?  Was it the showers my husband gave him every time he pooped in his underpants (just a regular warm temperature shower, but my 3-year-old did not seem to like them)?  Was it the stickers of two of his favorite loves (letters and construction vehicles) or the treats from Trader Joe's?  Was it limiting the fruit so that his #2's were not so urgent?  Or was it just. . . time?  We'll never know.  We're just very happy that he's pooping in the potty.

Baby Potty Training

My one-year-old continues to poop in the potty more often than not.  I put her on the potty every morning.  She always pees (tons!) and usually poops.  When she doesn't poop first thing in the morning, I keep an eye on her for signs of pooping (esp. after eating or sleeping) as I go about my day.  Sometimes I catch her, sometimes she poops in her diaper (which she really dislikes).  Even my husband gets in on it now.  A few weeks ago, I noticed that she was often dry after her nap, or even in the morning (even though she still nurses to sleep and several times during the night).  This inspired us to put her on the potty after her 2 naps, in addition to first thing in the morning, so she often pees 3 or more times in the potty during a day.  It is amazing how she starts to pee the second her bottom touches the potty.

Ten Benefits of Early Potty Training
  1. I don't have to deal with the poop (as often) when laundering my cloth diapers.
  2. I don't have to clean poop off every nook and cranny of my baby's bottom.  I think cleaning a particularly nasty poop off a baby's bottom is one of parenting's more disgusting experiences.
  3. My baby doesn't have to sit in her poop.  Even if she poops in her diaper, I almost always change her immediately after, because I'm anticipating it.  Which means that. . .
  4. My baby has had no serious diaper rashes (unlike her poor older brother).  If my baby does poop in her diaper, her bottom is bright RED even after just a few minutes from being in contact with her poop.  My son had the same sensitive skin and was always battling rashes.  I feel pretty certain that we humans were not designed to sit in our own waste.
  5. My baby has nearly potty trained herself during naps and at night.  Simply because I give her opportunities to pee on the potty, she has started to hold it while she is sleeping with no encouragement.  She just started doing it on her own!  Even though I co-sleep and still nurse my one-year-old several times a night, sometimes I end up using the same nighttime diaper 3 or 4 nights in a row. 
  6. Before she is set in her pooping ways, my baby is learning that pooping is more fun on the potty.  For months, when I noticed that my toddler needed to poop, I would get him to sit on the potty and then I would blow bubbles for 15-30 minutes at a time (while sitting on the toilet with a baby on my lap) to get him to stay put.  Often, he did not poop on the potty, and then as soon as I put on his underpants, he pooped in his underpants.  Anyone out there tried to potty train #2 with a very reluctant preschooler?  Not fun.
  7. I am forced to read to my baby a few times every day.  I find it difficult to give my baby individual attention except when nursing.  I definitely don't read and play with her as much as I did with my first baby.  Because my baby can't sit (or won't stay) on the potty unassisted for long, I have to stay with her and entertain her, usually with board books.  In a future post, I'll share with you some of my best forms of entertainment for a wiggly spazzy baby sitting on the potty (I do not have a mellow baby).
  8. (Hopefully) I will change far fewer diapers overall, because she will be fully potty trained much earlier.  I am hoping by 18 months, and certainly by 2 years.
  9. (Hopefully) I will have to wash fewer diapers overall, because she will be fully potty trained much earlier.  Which will save water (because we don't flush every time) and energy.  If you use disposables, you will save lots and lots of dough.
  10.  If I have another baby, I will only have one child in diapers at a time!   When my second was born, I had to wash two sets of diapers.  When I talked to a friend from a big family, she said that her mom always potty trained before 2 so that she would only have one child in diapers.  Wise woman.
I am more relieved than exultant that our preschooler finally seems to be potty trained.  It was a pretty long road from our first efforts in January to our final #2 accidents in August.  I am glad that at about 3 years of age my first kid is completely potty trained (days and nights, #1 and #2).  I feel very happy that we have started potty training our baby so much earlier.

For more tips, tricks, and tales from early potty training, visit my Early Potty Training page.

P.S.  What I call "Early Potty Training" is really normal potty training in many parts of the world (and late potty training in others).  A Russian friend told me she started letting her kids run around diaper-free in the summers as soon as they could walk, and that her boys were completely potty trained by 20 months.  My sister-in-law, who lived in Germany for several years, said most folks she knew potty trained their kids around 18 months.

This post is part of: 
Homemaking Monday
Top Ten Tuesday
Frugal Friday


  1. I love your list BUT your picture ... SO stinkin' cute!!! Heeheehee!!

  2. Yes, my sister commented that even though my baby's face is cut off (to protect her from future blackmail), there is A LOT of information in that photo. Maybe I'll try to take one with her shirt on. I love those rolls though.

  3. Now that my 18 month old is FINALLY walking, we are thinking about this! I am so ready to be done with diapers (at least for a few years hopefully)!
    Always nice to see the end in sight, or at least a break...

  4. Wow! I've heard of early potty training before, but I can't believe it seems to actually work! It seems like it takes a lot of diligence to stay on top of when they are going to or just pooped, but I'm sure it's something you get used to keeping an eye on and that it's so worth it. I don't have kids (yet!) but I'm always interested in good mom tips! By the way, I love the theme of your blog and I'm looking forward to exploring!

  5. I really wanted to use elimination control and early potting training with my daughter (now almost 2 years old) but she generally is really secretive about her facial expressions when she's using the bathroom...and I just haven't had much success while letting her go diaper free. I do wish I had started seems so much harder now to get her to not want to go in her diaper. But she does hate to be in a soiled diaper so I'm hoping we can phase them out soon. Our summers are just not long enough for naked babies. And my daughter really dislikes sitting on her potty so we have to get some new entertainment. So hate the awful rashes she's getting!

    But I also don't think that most parents start potty training their kids here at 18 months (I'm in Germany). Only 1 of the 10 almost 2 year olds in my daughter's play group is learning to potty train now...

  6. that is great advice! my 18 month old is obsessed with the potty! she hasn't actually peed in the potty though? I don't know why? She points when she has to go and i put her on, then she doesn't go and eventually pees on the floor. Not sure what I am doing wrong but will continue trying!!

  7. Yes, we are pleased that at least she associates the potty with peeing and pooping. I think it helped that we started with first thing in the morning when it would be difficult for most kids NOT to pee. We started putting her on the potty around 8 or 9 months.

    We tried to start potty training my toddler around 2/2.5 years and he had almost NO interest in the potty. I think the earlier they see and sit on the potty, the better.

    I wonder how much our expectations play into it as well. We just don't see tons of 2-year-olds potty trained, but I've read that before disposables 18 months was the AVERAGE for potty trained. Maybe if we saw most 2-year-olds potty trained, it would subtly shift what we expect of our kids, and shift the outcomes too.

  8. Great tips! I think you're exactly right about shifting expectations and about these being related to disposables--after all, they don't feel wet when they're wet, and that's got to interfere with learning!

    My son caught on gradually starting around 18 months but then needed some motivation (sticker chart) to really get to it. Once we did that at 2 1/2, he became almost perfectly trained and had very few accidents. Here's our story. I think cloth diapers helped, along with our being alert to his signals, even though he was in childcare part of the day and they weren't so alert there.


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