I've been getting some questions about how I potty trained Jack so early (19 months). So I decided to write a post about it.
It seems like most people don't think its even possible to potty train before the age of two. Well, I've been doing some research for a while and from what experienced parents have said its easier to potty train before the age of two, and much harder after the age of 3. By then they get to comfortable with going in their diaper and too strong willed to change their ways. And according to wikipedia up until the mid 1900's the majority of babies were potty trained before they were two. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toilet_training. In other countries kids are potty trained by the time they are 1. I read somewhere (I don't know if its true) that pampers paid a Dr. to say that children should be potty trained later.
A lot of people also think that kids in cloth diapers potty train earlier because they can feel the wetness. I don't think that had anything to do with jack being potty trained early. I used diapers that had a fleece liner so he couldn't feel the wetness that much. I do think that parents that cloth diaper have more motivation to potty train since washing diapers gets annoying.
First of all, I think this article has some good advice on potty training http://www.babycenter.com/0_potty-training-in-three-days-or-less_10310078.bc. I didn't read it until after I had already started, I wish I had though. I don't think I was completly ready as the parent to start, it would have gone a lot smoother if I had.
But this is basically what I did:
I used one of the toilet toppers that go on top of the toilet. I also got a travel one that folds up and fits in the diaper bag. I got one of the little potty chairs but he just liked to play with it and didn't really take it seriously.
Once I could tell when he was pooping (he made a pooping face, he was probably 16 months at this point, I think most parents can tell thier kid is pooping much earlier) I would say, are you pooping? and pat my stomach. the ASL sign for toilet is too hard for toddlers to sign I think, it can look to much like "by by". So I just made one up. So every time he would poop he would make the sign and say "poop poop". He started telling me he had to poop before he actually pooped probably around 17 months. And I would have started potty training him then but he was in daycare twice a week and when I mentioned potty training to them they looked at me like i was crazy. And I knew I would need their help since it would take a couple weeks to completely potty train. So Once I took him out of day care is when I started.
It took him a total of two weeks. The first couple days was just getting used to the toilet and him being aware of peeing. At first I don't think he even noticed he was peeing until I pointed it out. I did bare bum. I turned up the heat since it's winter and he walked around naked from waste down most of the time for the two weeks. We would wear under where sometimes because he really liked his spider man under where so kept asking for "spidy". And when I went to run errands I would just put pants on, no under where. I tried to leave the house as little as possible. And didn't leave the house at all for the first 3 days.
The first day I explained to him that we weren't going to use diapers anymore, we were going to go potty on the toilet from now on. He was scared to sit on the toilet so I bribed him with a cookie. I would just sit him on the toilet every now and then and give him a cookie. And once he had an accident I would rush him to the toilet, it was usually to late. Then I would explain to him that we go peepee/poopoo in the toilet. And then have him clean up his mess (his mess, his responsibility). obviously he needed my help.
I thought the pooping part would be easy since he was already telling me when he had to poop. But apparently he didn't know how to poop while sitting down. If I'd known this was going to be an issue I would have sat him down every time I knew he was pooping in his diaper so he would get used to it. The first couple days I didn't know what to do about that. he would tell me he needed to poop, i would put him on the toilet and he would cry to get down. Then he would poop on the ground a little and I would put him on the toilet but he couldn't finish. Anytime a little would get in the toilet I would clap and give him a cookie. He knew he was supposed to poop in the toilet, he just didn't know how. So it wasn't until the 3rd or 4th day that I just put him on the toilet when I knew he had to poop and leave the room. He would cry and I think that helped him to go. I could hear him from the other room clapping and saying yay every time he pooped. Once he told me "all done" I would go in and tell him what a great job he did. I showed him the poop in the toilet and we would say "by by" and have him flush. I also tried to give him as much fiber as possible so he couldn't possible hold it. He has a high fiber diet anyway, we eat green smoothies every day. And I would give him extra xango juice. and lots of fruits and vegtibles. The only non fiber food he had during this time were the cookies.
The first week he really didn't pee in the toilet much, I wanted to wait to focus more on that after we mastered the pooping. After he learned to poop while sitting down most of the poops went in the toilet. After a week I was out to dinner with some Friends and Clint was with Jack. Clint was not really for potty training, he didn't think he was ready. I told him if he didn't improve by week 2 I would put it off for a while. So anyway he had him in a diaper for bedtime and Jack told him he had to poop. And Clint told him to just go in his diaper. But Jack kept saying poop and ran to the bathroom, so Clint took off his diaper and pooped in the toilet! (I was so proud, so was Clint he called me to tell me)
So on week two I focused more on peeing. Jack doesn't drink a lot. So he didn't really pee very much, he can hold his pee for a couple hours anyway. Sometimes he wakes up with a dry diaper in the morning. So to get him to drink more I made him some popcorn and made sure to put plenty of salt on it (this was breakfast) So he had lots of pees that day and we had lots of practice peeing on the toilet. I can't remember at what point he was consistent with going on the toilet at home. But it was before the two weeks was up. I just couldn't get him to go outside of home. for errands I would just bring him extra pants and the potty seat. We went out one day and he had two accidents. both times he told me he had to go but he would not go on the toilet, I think he was just scared because it was a different place, we were at the mall and a Friends house. I think he just needed more time getting comfortable going at home.
That Sunday (this would be the two week mark) I was worried about him having accidents at church and especially in nursery and I wouldn't be there. So I put a pull up on him. This was the only time I used pull ups and it was just because I had a couple that someone gave me left over from potty training their child. Don't buy pull ups, they are expensive diapers and from what I've read can ruin potty training. But Jack actually did really good at church, he went the the bathroom twice in the toilet and we had a Christmas party later that day and went again. And since then he has been doing really good. He's only had once accident and it wasn't really his fault. Clint took him to meet someone and it was in a residential area, jack told him he needed to go but there was no where to take him so he peed his pants. And he was not happy that he had to do that. So now I think we'll keep the little potty chair (the one he won't use at home) in the car, hopefully he'll use it in an emergency.
The article I read said to not put under where on him for the first 3 months, bare bottom at home and just pants when going out. the idea behind this is they can get confused with the under where being a diaper. But I figured even when he was wearing a diaper or pull up he would still tell us he needed to go. And if I find that he starts regressing we'll probably go without under where.
For naps Jack was already waking up dry so I don't put a diaper on him. Today he actually did pee in his bed but that was the first time since he has been potty trained. And it's no big deal. At first I would put a couple blankets down so that would soak up before it got to the mattress. You can get water proof sheets but I didn't want to spend the money and I think those mattresses are water proof anyway. He still wears a diaper at night and probably will unless he starts to consistently wake up dry on his own. Or once he's in a toddler bed and can get on the toilet himself and pull his pants down and back up on his own then I'll night train him.