Some people might think I’m crazy, but I started potty training my kids at 18 months! I was over the diaper stage and since they are 15 months apart, there was a time they were both in diapers at the same time! So I decided it was time to potty train! My son was showing signs that he was ready, and I read an article that said you DO NOT want to miss the “potty training window” or it would be even harder later. So I thought this is my opportunity!
Jon and I did a strict three day potty training bootcamp! After the first three days, my son was starting to get the hang of it. We still made sure we took him regularly and rewarded him accordingly. Here are some tips and ideas that I did to have my kids fully potty trained by 19 months:
- Pick out cool underwear. The week before you start, take your child to the store and let them help pick out some cool underwear they like. This keeps them involved in the process and helps them understand they will soon be wearing underwear like a big kid!
- Spend the first three days focused on nothing but potty training. I waited for a weekend where I could have my husbands help for a couple days. We literally watched my son and followed him around like we were potty training a puppy!
- Don’t make your child go naked or bottomless. I personally don’t think that helps. When is your child naked? Usually never unless they are getting ready to take a bath. So why strip him down? That’s not how we naturally are so don’t do it. It may even confuse your child later.
- Don’t ask, TELL! You never ask a child if they need to go potty. You always say it as a statement. What do you think your child is going to say?! Of course, NO! So bypass the fight and just tell them we are going potty.
- Take them to the potty often, especially in the first week. We set a timer on the microwave so everyone could hear it. When the timer went off we would say “ok, it’s time!” The first day we took my son to the potty about every 15 minutes. The next day, about every 20 minutes. The third day, about every 30 minutes. You have to do this to avoid accidents, get in a routine, and teach your child to go in the toilet now!
- Reward them when they do go in the toilet! I rewarded my kids with an M&M when they successfully went in the toilet. Some parents don’t like to use candy for rewards, but in the first few days I think it can be a very beneficial and a motivating treat! If there’s something else that will work better for you, then go for it!
- Don’t waste time or money with a little kids toilet. I used a little toilet for my son, but then had to eventually transition him to the big toilet. I feel that that was a waste of time! For my daughter, I just decided to set a kids seat right on the regular toilet. That worked just fine. Also, it was nice because she couldn’t get down, so she had no choice but to sit there. With my son, we would fight to get him to sit still for even 10 seconds!
- Teach little boys to sit first. Don’t try to teach a toddler boy to stand and pee in the toilet! You will have to clean every time he goes! That concept comes later when they can actually aim! Teach little boys to sit and go to the bathroom.
- Teach your child to tell you when they need to go. After the first few days, start working on teaching your child to tell you when they need to go. You still need to take them, but also let them know it’s important for them to tell you so you can help them.
- Set a timer when they’re on the toilet. In the first week, I would set a timer for two minutes every time we took them to the toilet. They had to sit on the toilet for the full two minutes, and that gave them time to actually try to go.
- Get excited!! Celebrate with them! Scream, clap, do anything to get excited and get them excited about going in the toilet! This should be a fun time for your children, not a fight!
- Don’t give up! DO NOT start potty training and then give up because it’s too hard. It IS hard! But that’s ok. And it will take time, but I guarantee you that it will be even harder when you try again at a later time. You do not want to miss that window when they are ready.
- Reinforce, reward, and repeat. After the first three days, just keep taking them to the potty regularly. Reward and be positive when they do successfully go. And REPEAT until they are completely potty trained.
- There will be accidents, and that’s ok! Accidents are bound to happen, but try not to get after your child too much. This is a learning experience for everyone, and getting angry does nothing but makes things worse and discourages your child.
- Going number two is difficult! It may take time for your child to learn to go number two in the toilet. Just be patient. You may have to do a little extra laundry the first week or two, but after they get the hang of it, it will be smooth sailing! It took my son two weeks until he finally went number two in the toilet!
- You be your own judge. After the first three days are up, you decide what routine you want to keep. If you don’t need to take your child potty every thirty minutes, then don’t. You decide what works best for your child. Some children will catch on early and others may take some more time.
- Nighttime can be difficult! You decide what you want to do during the night. If your child needs pull ups, then use them. Just make sure to change them into underwear as soon as they wake up! My daughter was the only one who needed pull ups. She had a few accidents so I put pull ups on her for the first couple weeks, then stopped after she woke up dry seven days in a row.
- Wake up to go potty! For both of my kids during potty training, I would wake them up before I went to bed and make them potty. They would go and I would put them back to bed. This worked great for both of them! I stopped this after about three months. My kids rarely have accidents!
- Potty training is a constant thing. When your child is 18 months old and fully potty trained, you still can’t expect them to do it all on their own. You still need to take them, help them with their pants, wipe them, and help them off the toilet. Also, teach them good hygiene by washing hands!
- But girls are easier! I’ve heard that so many times, and I think it is equally difficult! There were things my son was better at and things my daughter was better at. Either way, it doesn’t matter! They both still need potty trained!
I personally think most children are ready to be potty trained at 18 months. Looking back, I couldn’t imagine waiting until my kids were older. And now I’m glad its done and over with!