10 Benefits of Early Potty Training

This post is Part 2 of My Bloggy Discussion of Diaper-Free Before 3
Click HERE to read Part 1:  A Brief History of Potty Training.

A few days ago, my 16-month-old pooped in her diaper.  Normally she poops on the potty.  We changed her diaper immediately, but a day later, her bottom was still flaming red.  Although some children may have heartier skin, I'm quite convinced that humans were not meant to be in contact with their feces at all, and certainly not to sit in it for an extended length of time. Although sometimes I get tired of taking my toddler regularly to the potty, these accidents are good reminders of why I do it.  We didn't begin potty training with my first child until after 2, and he constantly had horrible blistery diaper rashes from being in contact with his poop for even a few minutes.

Recently I picked up Diaper-Free Before 3 at the library.  It was an interesting and informative read and reinforced my desire to practice early potty training.  The book advocates a positive, early start to toilet training (ideally between 6-12 months), so that your child can be out of diapers and finished with potty training as early as his or her 2nd birthday.  Lekovic argues that early potty training is more effective, healthier, cheaper, realistic and a happier process for you and your child.

Lekovic's 8 Benefits of Early Potty Training 

  1. The sooner you begin potty training, the sooner you finish.
  2. Kids learn their natural signals faster. 
  3. Some children never show an independent interest in training.
  4. Children gain confidence that enriches other areas of development (child no longer perceives herself as a baby).
  5. Decreased risk of UTI, voiding disorders, wetting problems, and constipation.
  6. Decreased risk of infectious diarrhea and Hep A.
  7. Cheaper (and much more environmentally friendly)!  Especially if you use disposable diapers. 
  8. There's no need for bribery, rewards, or cajoling.  

    In general, the book resonated with my own experiences potty training my first child after 2 and my second child since around 6 months.  Lekovic argues that the fact that parents frequently report that their toddler "prefers" to have a BM in her diaper suggests a troublesome alteration in a basic set of instincts.  By the age of 2, my first child definitely "preferred" pooping in his diaper, and the amount of cajoling, blowing bubbles, truck stickers and cookies required to convince him otherwise motivated me to put his younger sister on the potty at 6 months of age.  In those early days of potty training a baby and a toddler at once, my baby was pooping on the potty more often than he was.  So, let me add my own two cents about the benefits of early potty training.

    Eco-novice's 2 Greatest Benefits of Early Potty Training
    1. Babies are not yet set in their ways.  By starting before one, you avoid the major power struggles you may have with a 2-year-old if you wait until two to have him use the potty for the first time.
    2. Fewer diaper rashes and a healthier bum.
      You can read more of my own reasons for loving early potty training HERE. 

      So how do you practice early potty training?   Stay tuned for my next post to find out!  Or read my past potty training posts.  Apparently, I have been following Lekovic's phases of early potty training without even knowing it!

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

      How did you decide when to begin potty training your child?


      1. If you have any tips for the kid who poops EVERY time he takes a bath, even if he just pooped before the bath, let me know. I don't know of any toilet tubs.

      2. I am going to do this! Your post and a couple other recent blogs have settled it in my mind. Going to read your archives now. Love to know if there's a specific potty you recommend for a little guy - Mine is 4 months old and 17 pounds so hopefully no probs. He wakes up dry a lot and poops predictably so I think it could work. I totally agree/get the idea of introducing them early before they get set in their little ways.

      3. Nisha, your potty comments always make me laugh. I would say, focus on the positive -- at least he prefers pooping OUT of the diaper. Should make for an easier transition to the potty SOMEDAY. Do you have any clues that he's about to poop? Can you quickly set him on the potty when he starts to strain/etc.?
        Janine, good luck! Should be easy if he's regular! My baby was in the beginning (isn't so much any more) and it really made it a cinch.

      4. It's so great that you're trying to get ECing down now. My daughter has always been rather secretive about her pottying habits so we're going to have to wait until it warms up before we try for real. She's 2 now and I really wanted to do this when she was younger, even just a few months old...but somehow I just wasn't very good at it lol.

        She also had the flaming redness and very sensitive skin on her bottom until we stopped using store-bought diaper wipes and started making our own. We also use a diaper rash spray made with essential oils...everything else would just leave her with a horrible rash for days that no amount of zinc oxide would clear up!

      5. All three of my children potty trained just before their second birthdays. The middle one started peeing in the toilet before his nightly bath at 15 months. No pressure from me, he was just copying big brother. My youngest, and only girl, came to me and said, "Poopie." I checked her diaper and told her she wasn't poopie. She came back kinda frantic a few minutes later and told me "POOPIE!" I looked again and then it dawned on me. I asked, "Do you need to poop?" She ran for the bathroom and when she was done I tried to put her dry diaper back on and she wouldn't have it. She never wore one again and that was all it took to potty train her. www.goodolegoodsons.blogspot.com

      6. Thank you for bringing up the issue! But the title of the book makes me laugh a little. I thought age 3 was really old for training. I work part-time in a child-care setting, and it really worries me to see all these children age 3 and up who haven't been toilet trained. My child is 26 months and has been completely day trained since about 20 months (by which I mean she always wears panties and I don't have to stress about it- she has the ability to wait for reasonable amounts of time). I think we'd have gotten there even sooner (I started her on a child potty at 13 mo) but I allowed my mother to fund our disposable pull-up habit for about 6 months. She still wears a diaper for nap and bed, but is often dry. Since mine are a type of cloth diaper with removable layers next to her bottom, I just turn the layer over (exposing the side that did not touch her) and use the diaper a second night, then wash it. (Does that make sense? Please believe that this is healthy and safe, even if my explanation is vague!)

        On the subject of attitudes- younger children not only don't resist training, I think they form healthier attitudes about restroom issues in general. My daughter certainly has the occasional accident, but it doesn't faze her. She comes to me and announces "Wet pants, Mama! Wet pants!" Alternatively, she will take off a diaper after naptime and cheerfully inform me "no wet. dry diaper." However, my friend with a child the exact same age (one week apart) just started recently and has her's in pull-ups and if he goes in them, he gets very upset and hides from her and will not not come out. As far as I know, my friend has never been harsh to him about it, he's just traumatized by the whole process.

        I admit I have always thought of night dryness as a physical ability, not a learned skill. I'm going to read some of your links to see if there's anything I should know or try differently! Thanks for the info.

        (Came over from We are THAT Family)

      7. GoodsonFL, your kids (and you!) are very lucky to have been trained by 2. Sounds like there must have been plenty of potty openness/awareness in your household.

        Tiffany, we also have very sensitive skin around here. We just use cloth wipes with water for wiping. I have had great success with Burt's Bees Diaper Cream for occasional rashes.

        Jes, I don't really have any tricks about being dry at night b/c my kids started doing it on their own -- my first around age 2, and my second as soon as we started putting her on the potty.

        I also find it a little disturbing to see older kids in diapers. In my (limited) experience, starting earlier is more "natural" -- just as you describe above, there is less resistance and embarrassment. They just progress naturally, as in other areas.

      8. Just saw this in my bookmarks folder and reread, including my own comment above. Sure enough, a couple of months ago, I realized my little girl was staying dry every night for a week. So we took the plunge and quit putting on diapers. No problems since! I did a really thorough wash of all diapers last month and packed them in the closet for future baby! Every stage is fun :D


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