Motherhood, Marriage and Other Wild Rides

Health, Happiness and the Pursuit of Mommyhood

Early Potty-Training Success! June 10, 2008

We are on Day 6 of using the Baby Signs Potty Training Kit, and my 13-month-old son has used his potty faithfully at least once every single day from the day we received it. Today, in fact, he used it four times! Over the weekend, he even did his twosies on the full-size toilet, supported by my husband. I am not just typing this post, I am gushing it. Honestly, I can’t stop talking about it. (You can read my first impressions in these posts: Potty-Training at 13 Months, Early Potty-Training = Green Baby.)

The reason I’m so thrilled is because we just finished training my older son, and this new experience is roughly, oh, 100x easier. Beginning a few months shy of his second birthday, Joseph was trained in the “generally-accepted” method (pull-ups until the child shows signs of being “ready”, then stickers and rewards). He only used his potty sporadically for nine whole months, and wasn’t out of pull-ups until a few months past his THIRD birthday. Consider the expense and landfill impact of that potty-training experience–let alone the frustration for all parties involved. We consistently smiled and cheered him on, however, and I believe I am a better mommy for this extended lesson in patience. 

There are several reasons why the Baby Signs program is working so well for us:

  • While we have always showered Noah with love and attention, our baby is glowing from all the additional interaction and praise
  • Learning when to offer the potty was similar to learning when my baby is hungry, or how  he likes to be put to sleep
  • I’m weaning him right now, and potty-training seems to be replacing nursing as a bonding activity between us. We are very interconnected: watching each other’s signals and making plenty of eye-contact and cuddling. Potty-training is most assuredly a trust-building activity.
  • He isn’t frustrated by unmanageable emotions, like a two-year-old who typically reacts with tantrums 
  • He loves to mimic whatever we say and do
  • When I say, “where is the pee-pee?” and look into the potty, Noah smiles at me and climbs on the potty, finishes, and then looks back in and then at me, as if to say, “there it is!”
  • There is no need for stickers or other rewards. Hugs, cheers and dancing about together are prize enough for him.
  • While he hasn’t yet made the recommended sign language gestures, he does try to speak the related words (“potty” (Noah says “paw-ee”), “all done”, etc.)

The consistent success of this adventure has motivated me to try to complete the process as quickly—yet painlessly—as possible. I cannot wait to have my little guy in big-kid undies–he’ll be the toast of the playground! (Sippycup toast, that is.) In order to do this, I have a few questions:

  • Currently, I’m offering the potty at times when I know or can guess when he’ll need it (after meals, etc.) Should I transition to offering it at regular intervals, gently teaching him when he can expect it? My goal is that he will hold it until the time he knows he can relieve himself. He is entering an age where he is learning to anticipate routines; it seems like that would be the appropriate thing to do.
  • I’ve still got him in disposable diapers, and my landfill guilt is mounting. Would it speed the process if I put him in cloth diapers, so he can feel when he is wet and be impelled to use the potty to ease his discomfort?Want to see answers to these questions and read more about our early-training adventure? Read the next installment at June is Potty-Training Awareness Month!

If you are willing to teach your little one to become diaper-free (and help the environment by decreasing the impact of disposable diapers on landfills!) please purchase your Baby Signs Potty Training Kit through my “Motherhood Must-Haves” Amazon Store. The wee kickback I get pays for the environmentally-friendly cleaning supplies I use for cleaning up Noah’s “accidents” along the way. Thank you! If you have attempted (or succeeded!) at early potty-training, I would love to hear from you!


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