Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Potty Training - Pros and Cons of Starting Young

We got Rohan a potty when he was 4 months old. Until he was about 1 year, he enjoyed using it for a couple times each day (we held him above it in the beginning and then helped him sit on it later when he could sit up well himself). Then from about 12-17 months he wanted nothing to do with it. Well, it did make a fun toy sometimes, as he liked to put his toys in it.

Around 17 months, after still letting him spend some time diaper free each day and reminding him that pee goes in the potty whenever there was an accident, he woke up one morning and said "potty". We put him on it and he did his morning pee! After that he requested it every morning and many more times throughout the day. By 18 months, he was diaper free throughout the day. We kept him diapered for naps and nighttime, though. But we even ventured out in the car with no diaper! (Well, at first a cautious mommy put a waterproof pad under him until it became apparent it wasn't needed - have you ever tried to dismantle and wash your car seat? Ugh!)

Then, as he started to stay dry all night and through naps, we dropped the diapers completely. After a couple weeks, he had two bed wetting incidents in a row. Back on went the diapers for a week. Now, at nearly 20 months, Rohan is saying "no diapers!" when I try to get one on him and getting up in the night to pee.

Let's amend that. He's getting Mommy up in the night to pee. Last night at 4 am, he wanted to pee but didn't want to sit on the potty, then wanted to pee again. Then finally peed. 20 minutes later, wanting to pee again. Saw the basketball in the bath area, wanted to play... We were up until daylight! Slept 30 minutes and back on the potty... Mommy is so tired... Rohan is grumpy...

Pros of starting potty training young:

1. Save on total diaper costs
2. Don't have to clean as many messy diapers - potty poops are a simple little wipe and then all done
3. Diaper rash is not a problem
4. No power struggle issues as with an older toddler
5. Confidence booster for the child (not sure about this one, but proponents say so)
6. Satisfaction of being done early with this sometimes stressful rite of passage


1. Still have a messy potty to clean each time, until you get them going on the toilet
2. Accidents will happen - changing sheets in the middle of the night is not fun (and make sure you have a waterproof mattress pad!)
3. Infants and young toddlers still can't do much on the potty themselves - you need to undress them, place them on the potty, make sure they stay there through the whole thing (and don't put their hands in it!), clean up their bottoms, redress them, and then clean the potty.
4. When they've gotta go, you've got to listen - if you're driving, you pull over and hopefully there's an accessible bathroom nearby. We've had Rohan peeing in a field on a drive through High Springs one day.

I confess, we weren't quite ready for Rohan to be so ready all of a sudden. It's more work than we bargained for. When he started requesting to go to the potty, there were times we told him to go in his diaper. Of course he didn't listen to us and became very vocal until we got him situated properly. Then we realized we could be potentially shooting ourselves in the foot here and we should be overjoyed that he is demanding to pee properly.

Laura had bought him a book way back when we got the potty for him, called "My Big Boy Potty". He loves that book now, especially getting a kick out of the page where Michael learns to pee standing up like daddy! (Not sure when that's supposed to happen, but I'm in no hurry, as it would be disastrous with his coordination level at this point.)

However, though Rohan was mostly potty trained by 18 months, I'm still eagerly awaiting the day when he can go to the bathroom by himself!!!


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