How to Potty Train:
Potty training is not difficult if it's done correctly.
If you would like to potty train early, the key is to tackle potty training before the "terrible two's," set in. This is when the child becomes independent and the "I can do it myself" stage sets in. By then, the child is also becoming self-aware and embarrassed and might choose to hide behind furniture to go potty in their diaper. I didn't have to go through the struggles of late potty training because my daughter was potty trained by 7 months old.
I was born and raised in Detroit by my Polish grandmother. My grandmother told me that most of the world potty trains much sooner than parents do in the United States. She passed away from multiple myeloma (bone cancer), one year before my daughter was born.
While I was pregnant, I thought about what my grandmother told me about potty training. While at the mall, I'd see children that were capable of doing just about everything, except going potting where they're supposed to. They could talk, express needs, concerns, walk, run, and play, but refused to be potty trained? Why?
I knew that I wanted to potty train my daughter ahead of what the American standard seems to be, but I didn't know how or when. I did some research on cloth diapers and ended up buying 2 sizes of Chinese pre-fold cloth diapers. Since I was a stay at home mom when we brought her home, it afforded me the time to know her completely. We had a schedule that I followed religiously. Because I nursed my daughter on a schedule, her potty times became very predictable.
When she was 3 months old, one night at 3 am, I was changing her and the dreaded explosive breast milk poop exploded all over me, from my chest down. That was the first and only time that happened. The next morning is when I realized that she was very predictable with her potty times. We received a potty chair at the baby shower and I decided to pull it out that day. It was the best decision ever.
I always had a monitor on when she slept and I'd hear her the moment she'd wake up. If her diaper was dry, I'd put her on the potty and she would go potty within a minute. The potty training was working. I was shocked! This continued day and night. Potty training her was effortless and by the time she turned 7 months old she was potty trained. She was sleeping without a diaper and in undies by 1 year old.
The terminology used when a child is potty trained very early on is called elimination communication.
Steps to hands-on potty training
Step 1: Stay at home parent
Are you planning on being a stay at home (hands-on) parent? If not, no problem. You can still potty train early, just not this early. You can still benefit from the steps below. Potty training early requires a parent to be very hands-on and attentive. Children need to be given the opportunity to go potty if they need to go potty. Children are still developing and can hurt themselves physically by holding it too long. Their bladders can become thick and irritated, which can cause health concerns.
Step 2: Nursing (not needed, but highly encouraged)
I nursed for the entire 1st year. I did it because it was the best nutrition and health benefits for her. Nursing occurred every 2 hours around the clock, in the beginning. The breast pump was a big help when I was getting too full. I switched back and forth between nursing and pumping. I kept up with vitamins and eating well. God gave us breasts to feed our babies, they're not toys. (Although my Husband disagrees ;))
Nursing is important to potty training because it creates loose poops. Children can become extremely constipated which creates pain and they can become discouraged by potty training.
Step 3: Learn Dunstan Baby Language – Birth to 3 months old
Communication is extremely important. I learned how to recognize the Dunstan Baby Language before my daughter was born. It really worked for us. As soon as my husband and I arrived home from the hospital with our daughter, I started listening to every sound she made and quickly knew what she needed. Because of this, it was very rare for her to cry since she had everything she needed. We continued the Dunstan Baby Language until she was 3 months old because it doesn't work too much after that.
Step 4: Cloth diapers (while at home) – Birth until needed
Disposable diapers are designed to keep children feeling dry. A cloth diaper is like sitting in wet clothes. When she wet her diaper, she knew she was uncomfortable because she felt wet. They learn to potty train much quicker, without a comfy disposable.
I purchased two sizes of Chinese pre-fold cloth diapers with plain white covers and Snappi clips. I loved using these cloth diapers. To gather a load of diapers, I had a tote in the laundry room where I would put the rinsed diapers. I sprinkled them with baking soda to keep down any odor. A load of diapers gathered pretty quickly. I used All Free and Clear detergent and added baking soda and vinegar. The baking soda and vinegar balance the pH of the diapers. I never used any fabric softener or dryer sheets.
Step 5: Learn Baby Signs – Started at 3 months old
I'm a teacher at heart and I believe communication is vital. I decided to I purchase the Original Baby Signs Starter Kit program and started using it with her when she turned 3 months old. I motioned the signs while I was talking to her daily. She picked it up so easily. It was fun and amazing to communicate with my baby girl before she could even say a single spoken word. At this age, they're sponges and soak up everything! This opened up a whole new way to understand her wants and needs and she had no reason to cry because I knew what she needed.
I taught her the sign for "potty," which is your fist with your thumb between your index and middle finger and then you would turn your hand left to right. She learned this sign very quickly and was able to let me know that she needed to go potty.
Step 6: Your Baby Can Learn Program – 3 months old until mastered
This program is why my daughter had a 3rd-grade reading level in preschool. It is brilliant and works. I started the Your Baby Can Learn program because I wanted to open up the world of reading to my daughter. In school, reading is the backbone of any subject. A child can't even complete a math worksheet without knowing how to read the story problems or instructions.
This program is not memorizing. When my daughter finished the Your Baby Can Read Learn, she was reading words that she never learned to read. Ironically, my daughter had a preschool friend in her class that did the same program and was at the same level. From then on, she has always been reading at 3-grade levels above her grade and excels in all of her subjects, without much effort. I'd rather her excel than to struggle any day.
I purchased the Your Baby Can Read Learn in 2008. The program was called Your Baby Can Read.
So, why is this program important to potty training? In my opinion, it keeps the learning and communication ongoing between parent and child.
Everyone is different
Every child is different and every parent is different. What works for one person or child may not work for others. This type of potty training is what worked like a charm for me and I hope you can benefit from it also!
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