Baby · lifestyle · parenthood

Potty Training Before Age 2

Happy Monday friends! Our little hobbit just turned two years old last week (sobs) and we are getting ready to take potty training to the next level. I’ve struggled to write about this topic for a while now because 1) The first time I told someone I was potty training it felt like everything went south, and 2) It hasn’t been completely successful. I am, however, trying to look at the positives as we take the next step, so I wanted to share what has worked and what hasn’t.

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We started potty training our son the week before he turned one. I was super determined (clearly) and our doctor had told us that some cultures were successful in training children by 15 months of age. I wanted to be that parent. And things, surprisingly, went very well from the beginning. We had used sign language with our son from a very early age and he had picked the signs up fairly quickly. The potty sign was no exception. It’s easy to start the association early on because babies don’t hide the fact that they’re going. So every time he would start turning red like a tomato or make pushing sounds, I would acknowledge the sounds he was making while signing for potty. After a few weeks, he was signaling to us whenever he needed to go. It was seriously the coolest thing ever until he started manipulating us and using the sign (and sound effects!) to try to get out of his highchair or nap time or anything really. Actually it was pretty hilarious but that’s beside the point. Anyways, the only problem was that his signing to go only covered pooping, which is where we are still at today. I think it’s just that peeing is so effortless, he doesn’t give it much thought or know how to make the distinction yet.

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It certainly has been nice not needing to change poopy toddler diapers (with the exception of a few accidents) but now that we’ve been going to the potty for almost a year, I really want to get him fully trained in the next few weeks. I try not to be too hard on myself but I do put the blame on me for not having fully trained him. I think what he really needed (and still needs) is a few days in just underwear so that he can make the mistake of peeing and learn not to. I was unable to give him that opportunity when the fatigue started kicking in during my second pregnancy and it’s hard now that I’m juggling life with another baby. I’d have to be constantly on top of him so he doesn’t pee on any rugs and with a 8-month old in my arms, that’s difficult to do. All this is not to say that we didn’t have any success at all. Many people don’t start until 2 or 3 so I’m happy with where we are at now. There are some things, besides the signing, that I know have made this journey much easier so if you’re thinking about starting to potty train you might want to consider these things.

Potty Training

  1. Create a happy space. This is something we try to do everyday in our home but we very consciously made an effort to create a comfortable space he could feel was his. Even though it was just a small corner of the bathroom, it was his potty haven complete with his own colorful hand towel and bathroom mat
  2. Make it fun. This goes hand in hand with the making of the space. At first we would keep and rotate a few special toys in the bathroom. That way, he was always excited to go to the potty so he could play with those specific ones. We would also play DJ and let him listen to a song of choice, which basically turned into “Ants Go Marching” on repeat all day, everyday. When he turned 18-months, my mom got him an Elmo and Superhero Potty Book which we have kept in there as well. Now he enjoys going to the potty because he loves being read a story. We also had a special soap dispenser just for him and he enjoyed using it to wash his hands after a successful go. These small and simple touches have made for a smooth potty training experience for all of us.
  3. Give encouragement and rewards. Stickers can be your best friend. We definitely didn’t want to bribe our son with sweets or toys but we did want to give him recognition that he was doing an awesome job. The potty book he received came with a sticker chart and stickers that we hung up behind the bathroom door. Each time he would successfully tell us and go in his potty, he would get to put up a sticker on his chart. This somehow grew into sticker collecting and whenever we go out to Michaels or Target, we let him pick out his own stickers to put up. High-fives, hugs, clapping, and calling dada to share in excitement over another bowel movement are also wonderful gestures that have allowed us to express how proud of him we are.

We did make the switch from cloth diapers (little sis is using them now) to pull-ups several months ago so we are hoping there is an end in sight. He does and can pee in his potty but he just hasn’t gotten to the point where he tells us each and every time he needs to pee. As he gets older and his vocabulary expands, we are sure it will be a matter of time before it clicks. We made plans for this weekend to finally remove all the rugs in the living area and have him in underwear for an extended period of time. Our fingers are crossed and we could certainly use all the luck we can get 😉

Have you tried potty training before the age of 2? What tips and tricks worked for you? Let us know in the comments below. And as always..

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18 thoughts on “Potty Training Before Age 2

  1. My daughter is a very vocal kid in the sense that she had quite a vocabulary at a young age. I thought our ability to communicate easily would help us with potty training and it unfortunately hasn’t. Other than her running away from me screaming “IM POOPING MOM!!!” at the top of her lungs lol. She is almost 2 1/2 now and I can probably get her to use the potty three times a week. I’m just not good at it. I think part of our problem is coming up with a consistent plan since we work full time and she is at a nanny’s house during the day.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is too funny, I completely understand what is happening to you guys! We have the same issue, we need to dedicate like a 5 day period of discipline and training without interruption so it sticks, but sadly time is an issue when you work, study and have kids!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I started my kids around 18months (pretty much out of neccessity because I was pregant and didnt want to have two in diapers) 😉 I commited to a week of intense training where we stayed home, drank lots of fluids, put the potty in the kitchen, and spent the week teaching them to use it. By the end of the week, they would have the gist of it. (Not perfect, but the idea. and we were able to build on that pretty quickly and have them in underwear before the next baby came.) Sounds like you have a great start and great ideas! I love your reward ideas and making it a happy place! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you!!
      I know, I love that you guys managed to dedicate the time! We are planning a Friday-Monday scenario where we remove the rugs and dedicate our time to making sure we get our 2 year old fully trained, for now potty is only for #2 and we hope to make that work for #1 as well! :))

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Both of my kids were day potty trained before 2. I think the cloth diapers helped that. They felt more and were more aware. I actually potty trained my daughter by accident. She had a diaper rash and I let her be without pants around the house to help. She started going on the potty on her own when I set some potty chairs around the house. Since it worked with my daughter, I did it with my son. I set 3 potty chairs on the first floor in every room and let him run around naked. I never did pull-ups. Made a big deal out of big kid underwear, and if they had an accident – they didn’t like it. However, my son is 4.5 and is just now (within the last week) going all night with a dry pull up. I can’t win all battles.

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    1. Wow, what a dynamic scenario for potty training, for us it’s been a lack of commitment from both parents, we have one thing down but we can’t get ourselves to sacrifice a weekend staying at home potty training. I am impressed by your 2 year old (funny how a diaper rash helped for once!)

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  4. I hate a know-it-all, but I’ll ask, do you take the boy with you when you use the toilet? Our boys walked by one year, and started wanting to use the pot by 18 months because they wanted to be like Dad. The only hold-back was the height of the toilet – but they kept trying! So we spent a lot of time outside, and showed them how to pull down their training pants and pee in the yard. One day we were rewarded – at about 18 months, our oldest pulled his pants down and went poop at the base of a tree, apologizing in his little words that he couldn’t make it to the pot inside, and mom and dad were busy with chores. We congratulated him for not going in his pants! After that, he started to feel when he needed to go to the toilet or ask for help, and he only had one accident – we all laughed and said try harder next time. And, his little brother had an even easier time because big brother was there to help him too.

    I realize, it’s not always that easy. We got care of my nephew at about 3 years of age, and he was still in diapers, and miserable about it. He hated having his diapers changed but would fight like a tiger if you tried to put him on the pot. He was a big kid, the disposable diapers were cutting off the circulation in his legs and giving him a horrible rash, but he actually punched me in the face when I tried to lift him on the pot (had a helluva right cross!). He was kicked out of daycare for this behavior, so I got him. I found out – he had never had a book read to him. I found an old pop-up book and told him, I’ll read to you if you sit on the pot for five minutes. At first he hated it, but wanted the book. He’d sit and sit, longer and longer, to hear that book. One day some poop came out, and he was ECSTATIC! End of story.

    Sorry to blab, but my kids are grown up now, they’re having different, much more complicated problems, and I actually enjoy talking about the little things, like pooping in a toilet – it really is a big deal, enjoy!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for taking the time to write and share such wonderful, positive memories. It’s definitely a nice reminder to enjoy these little, “big deal” moments 🙂

      We have taken our son to the toilet when we go and he’s definitely used to the idea that the diaper is not the place to relieve oneself. He’s never had a problem going to the potty and he actually loves going so he can get his sticker and read his potty superhero book. He’s been signing to poop on the potty since he was 13 months and only poops in the potty (even if we are out he will make us take him to a bathroom) but still no luck getting him to tell us when he has to pee. He will just go in his pull-up without telling us. He’s been in underwear these last few weekends with a couple minor accidents so we are hoping there is an end in sight soon.

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  5. Kuddos to you for trying so early! My kids were well into their threes before we started. I found letting them go without any diapers or underwear for a weekend worked well for us in jump starting the process. But then again, our kids were trained for no. 1 before no. 2.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Could totally relate to this article! My firstborn would say “poop” when she meant pee and sometimes she would say it just because she likes to sit on her “special” potty! The good thing about having a second child? It’s much easier to potty train them! When they see the older sibling going to the potty, they want to go the same way too 🙂

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