As parents of little ones, we’ve all heard those stories of an 18 month old that is fully potty trained and wonder, How is that possible? The answer is preparation! While it may not be realistic for every child, it is possible to start the potty training process at this age. Don’t’ traumatize your kid at 3 years old by springing potty training on them out of nowhere. Here 5 tips for how to start successful potty training before the age of 2.
1) Set the stage: Toddlers learn by imitation, so start by letting your watch what you do in the bathroom and talk about what you are doing. If your toddler has a favorite doll or stuffed animal, you can pretend that it's going the bathroom, too, a tactic that may entice your child to try it out too.
2) Teach them Potty Talk: Toddlers need to learn the language associate with going to the bathroom. For example, you might want to teach them words like ‘wee’, ‘poo’ and ‘I need to go’. Start out by giving your little ones easy words and phrases such as “go potty,” and later get more specific-for example, “go pee-pee” or “poo- poo.” Use terms that you are comfortable with and your toddler can say and understand. “Urination” and “defecation” are beyond toddlers.
3) Introduce them to the Toilet: Start off by showing them how the potty works. A great way to demonstrate this is to take a bowel movement from a dirty diaper and place it in the toilet. Let your child flush the toilet and watch the bowel movement disappear down the toilet. Also, encourage them to sit fully clothed on an adult or toddler toilet seat so he can get used to the idea of sitting on the potty. Don’t force it, though. Allow your child to leave the toilet at any time.
4) Keep it Simple: An 18 month old isn’t going to understand a lengthy speech from you on the importance of making it to the bathroom on time. Keep your language and steps short and simple. Consistent repetition is also important at this age. Repeat messages like, “Pee goes in the potty.”
5) Make it Fun: Keep the tone in your voice light and upbeat when you are talking about the potty and get really excited when they show interest. You can also introduce them to a rewards chart and start to give them stickers for flushing poop from a diaper or sitting on the toilet. Little rewards and encouragement go a long way with toddlers.
By following these tips, you can set the path for your little one’s early potty training success. Remember, however, that each child is different so don’t set unrealistic expectations for a diaper-free deadline.