It's Potty Time!

If you've ever been a part of any potty training experience, you probably know how tedious it is to hang out in the bathroom waiting for your kid to pee. And the more you focus on results, the more you get frustrated. So if there was a way to bypass all that stress, you'd do it, right?

Enter "early potty training." I've heard the negative side of this (and maybe you have, too): You put in a lot of effort when they're babies and you still have to potty train them later. So why try?

Because it works. 

I've been using the Baby Bjorn Smart Potty for two-three months now, and I can almost guarantee that Roxy, my 8-month-old baby girl, will pee in her potty 4+ times a day. This is directly related to the fact that I take her to the potty a lot. I sit her in the bathroom after she nurses, and then in half hour increments after that. We've gotten pretty good at our loo routine. Often it results in her diaper remaining dry until naptime.

I totally reuse the same diaper if it's not soiled (budget win!).

There were some snags in the beginning, to be sure. The first day we had the potty, I got her to pee three times and poop once in her little Baby Bjorn (I was over the moon), but after about four days the excitement of the little potty had faded. Sitting on the floor of my bathroom had lost it's charm. The word "potty" got on my nerves. And then suddenly she wasn't peeing in her potty at all. But we persevered anyway and it completely paid off.

Let me pause by added a small disclaimer: I haven't seen this through to the end yet. My baby is only 8 months old. But the fact that she uses the toilet almost every time I set her on it seems like a HUGE success to me. Also she poops in it, which is WAY easier to clean up then a blowout diaper + poopy outfit.

Interested? Here's what you need to do to get started on some Early Potty Training for yourself:

Get the right potty. Most little potties are made for toddlers, so check around and get one specifically for babies. I bought this one in grey and we've never looked back. It's easy to empty/clean. There's a cutout in the front that baby can hold on to and that doubles as a pee-guard for baby boys. And it's quite small, so my 15-lbs.-if-she's-fully-dressed baby girl can sit with her feet on the floor.

Prep a little. For me, it was as simple as purchasing a plastic bin from the Dollar Tree and stuffing it with diapers, wipes, and hand sanitizer (I hate washing my hands), then finding space for it in my bathroom near her little potty. All you need to do is make sure you have the supplies you need to change diapers in your bathroom. Easy-peasy.

Set your own goals. If you want to merely introduce your baby to the potty and get him or her comfortable on it, just place them on the potty (sans diaper) one or more times a day, ideally when you yourself have to be in the bathroom anyway. That's it. It's entirely up to you how much time you spend on this method of potty training.

Focus on timing and consistency. Trying to take her into the bathroom every time I peed wore me out in the beginning. To take away the stress factor, I chose one time to take her to the potty: immediately after every feeding. This is the best time to ensure she'll be able to pee. Plus, it's easy for me to be consistent. Try to pick at least one time a day that you feel you can be consistent with. Start there, then add more potty time as you feel ready. Consistent timing is everything; you want to establish a routine baby can depend on.

Have a cue. In order to get baby to connect her little potty with actually peeing, you need to have a cue word, noise, or sign. I use the sign language term for "potty" (and I always say the word out loud as well). I do it each time I hear her wet her diaper, each time I place her on the potty, and each time she actually pees in the potty. Of course I get ridiculously excited so that she knows the bathroom is where the cool kids hang out.

Be patient. If you jump right in full force, you're likely to get frazzled like I did. So take it from me and pace yourself. No matter how "successful" you are or aren't at first, relax. You're way ahead of the game! Mine cried a bit the first time I set her on the potty, but then later that same day she also peed and pooed in it. Make it fun for both of you: play some music, give her a toy she can only have in the bathroom (my choice was a plastic solo cup and she loved it, haha). As with all learning, it's about the process, and babies are learning literally everything at once. Kudos to them, right?

It doesn't have to be "all or nothing." Because your baby is still little, there are going to be plenty of times when you want (and need) your baby to use a diaper. And there will be days where you just plain forget to even try. That's okay! Do what you can, when you can. Keep in mind there will be "regressions." I had a few different weeks where my timing was off, I got lazy, she got confused, and I couldn't get her to pee in the thing (yes, I'm tired of typing the p word) at all. But we got back on course eventually and now she does great.

If you're not quite ready to buy a baby potty and commit to all of this, there are still a few things you can do to prep your little one for potty training!

Take them into the bathroom with you. Acquaint them with the toilet, the sound of it flushing, tell them what you're doing, etc. Anything that takes away the fear and mystery of going to the bathroom.

Change baby's diapers immediately. The more often they sit in a wet/soiled diaper, the more they will get used to ignoring the feeling. You want them to know it's something that needs taking care of, and that being dry is always better.

Have diaper-free time. Put your little one down on a waterproof mat/changing area where they are safe to play for awhile. Or you can have them hang out with you outside (pants-less & diaper-less) if they're a bit older. Every time you notice them peeing, make some sort of cue noise/sign that you can use later. By giving your baby time without wearing a diaper, he/she will get used to the feeling of peeing without it - and also the feeling of a dry bottom!

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  1. This is really interesting! I've heard about this and while I'm not personally interested in trying it out with my kids, I think it's great that you've been able to see some progress.

  2. I like this post. I'm never sure what the right age is to start potty training. I have a 15 month old and I think I might buy him a potty just to start introducing it to him. He already seems interested. Thanks for the great tips!

    1. Sure! I think potty training is really about each parent's preference + the baby's timing. Good luck!

  3. Wow! That's great! I never started potty train so early, but I have heard of others that have. It's great that it's working for you!

  4. This is great, I love that you've seen progress!! My twin girls are toilet trained and they'll be 2 tomorrow!

  5. I've heard about this before and it interests me but I feel like I'd be terrible at sticking with it. That's so amazing that you're getting results.

    1. I feel ya with the consistency part. I think if I had more than one on my hands, I'd have a lot more trouble sticking it out.