How to Potty Train an Infant

My grandmother told me that my aunt was potty trained at 9 months old. I couldn’t believe it! A lady I once worked with told me that her son was potty trained before he could walk. So if it can be done, why are people telling you to not even introduce the potty until 2 1/2 or 3?

Our daughter Ava is now 13 months old and goes on the potty regularly with help. She just began walking in the past week and now she walks to the potty when she needs to go. I’m going to break down a few steps to set your infant or young toddler up for successful potty training.

  • Buy a potty!  This may sound like a no brainer.  Don’t start your baby on the adult toilet.  This is the potty we had in Florida, which I loved.  I couldn’t find the same potty here in Alaska without paying a crazy amount for shipping, so we have a different style now.  Check out garage sales or consignment shops!
  • Put your baby on the potty. Don’t wait until your child is almost 3 to introduce the potty, at which time they may find it scary. As soon as Ava could sit up on her own (around 6 months), she began using the potty.  They will use the potty if you put them on it!
  • Take your child to the potty.  If you hear your child pooping, pick them up and run to the potty. This helps them realize that they can go on the potty. It’s easier for them to go in the potty than in a diaper, and easier for you to clean up too!
  • Make a big deal out of it. Sing songs, clap, and talk about how awesome the potty is when your child is on it. Make the potty fun.
  • Don’t make a big deal out of it. I’m not contradicting myself. If your child doesn’t go, put their diaper back on and move on. Positive reinforcement only!
  • Give a treat! Your child will react to a treat. We have a small Tupperware container of milk chocolate chips in the medicine cabinet. If your child goes, give them a potty treat! And don’t forget to clap, dance around, and cheer. Get them excited about using the potty.
  • Try sign language. Since your child is most likely non-verbal, try teaching your child the sign for potty. Use the sign any time you say the word potty or they are using the potty.
  • Take your child to the potty as soon as they wake up. They will go, almost every time.  At about 7 months old, Ava would wake up dry.
  • Be consistent and don’t get discouraged. Keep at it, there will be good days and bad. As long as you keep taking your child to the potty, they will succeed.

I have had a lot of naysayers. I have even had people tell me it’s not good to potty train that young (explain that one!). Talk to your grandmother, she will say otherwise!

Ava has tried to go in a big potty at church or wherever, but I think she’s scared of falling in. I’m going to pick up one of those travel potty seats.

We use cloth diapers, so Ava knows when she’s wet. She hates being wet and hates getting her diaper changed, so that has been a huge helper.

I hope you find these tips helpful.  Your child CAN be potty trained before age 2 (and maybe even 18 months)!

Do you have any potty training tips?


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