When to Put Your Child on the Potty

I've been putting my second child on the potty since about 9 months.  In her book Diaper-Free Before 3, pediatrician and mother Jill Lekovic argues that 6-9 months is the perfect time to put your baby on the potty, because the baby wants to be with caregivers almost all the time and demands so much attention anyway.  You might as well just spend some of that time on the potty (since you aren't getting much done anyway).  That has definitely been my experience with my babies.  If you want to try early potty training, it's as easy as taking off your child's diaper, and plopping them on the potty every once in a while.  Here are some suggestions for times during the day when you could put your baby on the potty.  I recommend using a little potty, not a potty seat on top of the toilet.


10 Ideas for When to Put Your Baby on the Potty
  1. When she wakes up.  Put your baby on the potty first thing in the morning or after a nap.  My daughter always pees first thing in the morning, and often poops.
  2. After a meal, especially a large meal.  My baby often poops after a big meal. 
  3. Before a bath.  This is an easy one.  She's already naked!  You might as well put her on the potty.
  4. When you change a diaper.  Another really easy one, that will hardly cost you any time if you change diapers near the little potty.  Even if the diaper is soaked, she's already naked, so just put her on the potty to help her get used to it.
  5. When you need to use the bathroom. Just take the baby with you and put her on the potty too!  This is one of the benefits of having a little potty (instead of a potty seat).
  6. If your child is reluctant to sit on the potty, try when she's calm or brings you a book to read.  Take her to the potty, and read the book (or play with a special toy) while she sits on the potty.
  7. Before an outing.  This is a very natural time to use the potty.  I make sure that my preschooler, baby and I all use the potty before going on errands or to the park.
  8. After outings.  After putting your baby on the potty for a few weeks, you may find that she holds it while you are out of the house.
  9. 30-60 minutes after nursing.  My daughter almost always pees a little while after nursing or drinking a lot.  Just like you do.
  10. When your child regularly poops, or when you see the poopy signs.  If your child is fairly regular, it can be a cinch to get her to poop on the potty if you start early enough.  A young baby is much less likely to resist being put on the potty than a 2 or 3-year-old.  You just pick her up and take her to the potty.  Some kids also have a secret pooping place or poopy face.  When you see these signs, whisk your child off to the potty.  Even if she's already pooped, she'll start to get the connection between pooping and the bathroom.
Skeptical of early potty training?  Read my posts about the book Diaper-Free Before 3.
Part 1: A Brief History of Potty Training.
Part 2: The Benefits of Early Potty Training.
Part 3: How to Potty Train a Baby.  



For links to every post I've ever written about early potty training, visit my Early Potty Training page.




This post is part of

15 comments:

  1. That's an interesting concept. All of my children were potty trained before three, two of them before two, but I didn't start nearly that early. I'll have to check out some of your links a little later.

    Yes, your suggestions for times is excellent. I'm potty-training my youngest right now, and she's the easiest so far. If I suggest that she go try, she excitedly goes and sits on the potty. That's a first for this family! :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. I believe that 6-9 month it's too soon to start with the potty training as I think they are not ready yet. My son didn't use a potty at all, he preferred to use the toilet from the beginning.
    Thank you for the good ideas, I'll remember it for my next child.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Oh wow. I've known a few people who had done the early potty training. *sigh* I did Lydia at 24 months and thought that was early! :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. I'm in the process of potty training my 2-1/2 yr old son. It's way harder than my daughter. But we're making it work. Thanks for the tips!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Since DS is already past 2 I guess we aren't doing the early training. :-)

    Great info to use at any age potty training!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I haven't even started with my 22 month old, I don't even have a potty! I had better get on top of it, huh? Thanks for the tips:)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Jennifer, of course there is tons of variability between children. Maybe your youngest has benefited from watching her older siblings use the potty.

    Reut, I appreciate your honesty! I added some links to my posts discussing Diaper-Free Before 3 just for the skeptical. You might find the History of Potty Training especially enlightening. Early potty training in the US is normal potty training in much of the world too!

    Candi, I've heard lots of parents say the same! Boys can be tough.

    @gracoKaren & LucidLotus, much of the advice for early potty training works for any age, and Diaper-Free Before 3 specifically addresses this issue. Preschooler potty training is not always a hassle, but it certainly was for me with my first child, so I'm glad I started much earlier with my second child. And, yes, buy that potty!

    ReplyDelete
  8. ohAmanda, 24 months is still well ahead of the US-potty-training curve. Thanks for hosting Top Ten!

    ReplyDelete
  9. My 20 month is suddenly very keen on sitting on the toilet and can't stand to have an even slightly wet diaper on. It's interesting to me because her older brothers (who both trained at 2.5) could have cared less.

    I've read a lot about Elimination Communication and have no doubt that it could work... diapers are such a convenience, though, for ME. Despite DD's interest, I'm finding myself rather reluctant to *really* do this with her.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Wanted to come back and let you know that I just started EC-ing and I purchased that Baby Bjorn potty and that Smile book to start! I found your post very motivating. My 6 month old loves being naked on the potty and playing with his toys there without pants. The very first time I put him on the potty before putting a new diaper on him, HE PEED! I know he won't be able to get on the seat himself for a long time but hopefully he will be able to signal to me that he wants to go on the potty better and better. He already does a little kicky thing before he pees, as if telling me to put him on his potty, and he seems so much happier not being in as many dirty dipes.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Awesome, Janine! Thanks for the positive feedback. I am having a lot of trouble getting my 19-month-old to sit on the potty lately. She started walking pretty late (about a month ago) and now she wants to go, go, go. If I'd known, I would have tried to completely train her a few months back, but life was crazy then! I think I'm going to let her go naked whenever it's warmer and see if we can seal the deal in the near future. She still poops on the potty mostly, hallelujah. But she's definitely gotten used to peeing in her diaper and doesn't try to hold it like she used to. It's so sad to think that at one time she was peeing 5x a day on the potty! But then my in-laws came, darn it all.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I just read this post after you listed it in your top 10 for 2011. I read a similar book after a friend told me about this and we started when our son was 5 weeks old. He's 9 months now and wears underpants at home most of the time! I have been writing about our "EC journey" on my blog. I love to see more people talking about this because it's the natural way to help your child gain toilet independence and the more people learn about it the more people will use it and stop filling landfills with disposable diapers! Have you written any more about your experience since this post?

    ReplyDelete
  13. Sarah, I'm glad you are having such success with your early potty training efforts! My 2yo was completely potty trained (in undies, dry day and night with almost no accidents) at 2 years plus one month. I am LONG overdue for a potty update.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I had not seen this link, and happened to put my 10 month old son on the small baby potty the other day, and he did great! He kept pooping small lil amounts, I think because he was distracted by playing. But on the potty, he was happy to ready his books, talk to me, and push larger amounts! I think 6-9 months is great timing, since my 10 month old was definitely ready.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I started my girl on the potty at 6 weeks and it was awesome, if I ever have another child I would try to start at birth or soon after! I used a method called elimination communication!

    ReplyDelete

Have something to say? Please leave a comment below.
I read all comments and try to respond to questions in a timely manner.
No more Anonymous comments due to spam overload : (