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.
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
- I don't have to deal with the poop (as often) when laundering my cloth diapers.
- 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.
- 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. . .
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- (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.
- (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.
- 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.
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.
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