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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.

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