5 Amazingly Simple Tips for How to Potty Train a Baby

how to potty train a baby

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Maybe you are totally intrigued by the idea of how to potty train a baby. I definitely was.

Our older daughter was about six months old when I was at the library during Earth Week, and they had displayed a bunch of books about things related to more natural living and protecting the earth. One of the books on display was Diaper Free.

The book title totally piqued my interest, so I checked the book out and began to read.

And it was a fascinating read, to learn about the idea of baby potty training and early potty learning. After reading the book, I checked out several more books on early potty training (like this one that I feel is also really informative) and potty training from birth, and I bought our first little potty seat.

Our older daughter was consistently dry at night before she was a year old, and she was potty trained/potty learned (with just the very occasional miss) by 15 months.

And the same tips that I share below worked with potty learning for our girl-boy twins, as well.

So is potty training your baby possible? Definitely!

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Gear to Make Early Potty Learning a Success

Early potty learning isn’t difficult and it isn’t expensive, but you will really benefit from some basic supplies.

A good, sturdy but simple potty, though not necessary, is super helpful. And actually, I recommend having a few of them. That way, you can keep one in the bathroom and, if you’re willing, one in the room or rooms where you spend most of your time (such as the family room).

We have about 5 different types of potties, so we have tried many different styles with our three kiddos, but I do recommend having one with the pot that comes out because it makes for easier cleaning.

Good snap cloth diapers with inserts hold up really well (ours wen through all three of our kiddos and are still in great shape and ready to be passed on for some of my nieces or nephews to use :)) and helped us save tons of money by not buying disposable diapers. Plus, I really believe that feeling wet helps a child make the connection when they pee, and I believe this helps them to become potty learned more quickly.

Are cloth diapers a necessity for early potty learning? No, I don’t think so. But I definitely think that they help!

how to potty train a baby using cloth diapers

And when they get old enough (the smallest size we could find was for 18 month olds, but we started using them several months before that), having some good training underpants is really helpful, as well. (We never used pull-ups; I don’t feel they’re needed. They’re just expensive!)

how to potty train a baby with potty training underpants

When they get a little older and bigger and can sit up well by themselves (or if you are happy to help support them and want less cleanup), a toilet potty seat like this one is really handy, and we kept one in each of our bathrooms and in the car for traveling. They even have foldable toilet potty seats that are nice for keeping in a diaper bag.

early potty learning with a toilet potty seat

Tip: Save the image just above to Pinterest so you can easily find these 5 tips for how to potty train a baby later.

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Best Potty Training Age

In my opinion, the best potty training age is from birth, and that is what we did with our twins.

Yes, potty training a newborn (or multiple newborns, in our case :)) or potty training an infant really is possible!

When you start potty training from birth, the sweet little one won’t be used to diapers and fight giving them up. When you start from birth, potty learning is just a natural part of your day, like feeding the baby, burping the baby, rocking the baby, and so on. When you start from birth, you (often) can save yourself months (and even years) of time spent cleaning poopy bums. And that, to me, is worth a lot! 🙂

One of the fascinating things that I learned from reading the books that I did on early potty learning is that in any given culture, the babies or toddlers generally become potty trained at the age that the culture expects them to. So in Mongolia, for example, the expectation is that babies will be potty learned by about the age of six months old, and by and large, they are. In China, they do very early “elimination training,” as well. In the U.S., however, the expected age is well over 2 years old (about 3 years for girls and a few months even past that for boys), and for the most part, that is when the majority of toddlers in the U.S. are potty trained.

Potty Training from Birth

Where you can, I highly recommend potty training from birth (yes, you really can potty train. There are several reasons for this.

For one, I just think that the less frequently a sweet little baby has to have poop stuck to their little bum, the better.

Second, I really feel that the sooner you start, the easier it is for a child to become potty learned because they don’t get used to having a diaper for ages and won’t be old enough to resist potty learning or fight giving up diapers.

Third, you just save so much time and money over the long run by not having kids in diapers. No spending hundreds of dollars a year, no filling up landfills, no spending precious minutes of the day wiping poop-smeared bottoms. 🙂

Potty Training Your Baby or Young Toddler

Maybe, like me, your baby is just six months old or younger, but you would love to curtail the time (and expense!) of countless diaper changes by doing early potty learning with your children.

Or maybe your little one is a bit older. Maybe you’ve been doing this whole little person thing for a while now. And maybe in some ways, you’re quite the pro! 🙂 Maybe you’ve made it through those (seemingly) sleepless newborn nights, breastfeeding or bottle feeding, introducing table foods, and the first bumps and bruises of walking. And now you’re ready to begin potty training.

Wherever you are in the baby raising process, I know you’re doing your best to figure it all out and give your kiddos the best raising possible. And by being willing to bring a baby into this sometimes kind of bewildering and sometimes even scary world is huge, in my book. You’re a rock star, to me. Congrats, mama!

So if you’re ready to do this whole early potty learning thing, then roll up your sleeves, and here we go!

These are the things we did and my best tips for potty training your one year old (or younger, or older—these tips and tricks apply no matter your child’s age).

Potty Training by 18 Months

I really believe that just about all normal kiddos can (fairly easily) be potty learned by 18 months. And in the right situation (if you can start from birth or by six months), they can be mostly or completely potty learned by 12 or 15 months (or earlier).

Now, this does require a caregiver who is willing to take the time and have the patience to give the baby or toddler plenty of opportunities to go potty, and so doing early potty learning if your child is in day care may be more challenging.

This is the way I look at it: you can either spend the time in the day giving the baby or toddler opportunities to potty, or you can spend it wiping their poopy bums. Either way, you’re spending the time with them. I’d rather sit with them while they’re on the potty. 🙂

I’ll give more tips about this just below.

5 Best Tips for How to Potty Train a Baby

If you are ready to potty train your baby or toddler, then follow these easy potty training tips for success.

These tips work whether you are potty training girls or potty training boys. They worked for our older daughter, and they worked for our boy-girl twins, as well.

And I have heard that in general girls are potty training earlier than boys, but that was not the case for our girl-boy twins (though our daughter only trailed our son by a couple of weeks). Honestly, I wonder if parents expect that boys will take longer, and that’s why they do.

1. Start potty training early (as soon as you can), even from birth, if possible.

That means that you will be holding your little one as they use the potty, and if you start very young, like we did with our twins (I didn’t know about early potty learning until our older daughter was about six months old), then you will be holding them up over the potty or over the toilet.

2. Give lots (and lots) of opportunities to potty throughout the day.

We would set a timer on our phones or on our laptops or use a simple kitchen timer to help us remember to give our little ones the opportunity to go frequently throughout the day.

When they were very young and their little bladders are so tiny, we would give them the opportunity to go every 15 or 20 minutes.

We would put them on the potty first thing in the morning, and we kept a potty in our front room most of the time (which is the room that we spend the most time in) so that we could have very easy access to it and use it often.

Giving them the opportunity to potty before and after snack time, mealtime, naptime, and play time are also great opportunities.

To help them to associate the potty with good things and to pass the time, we would read to them while they sat on the potty (and let them look at books or play with small toys, once they could hold them up), sing with them or to them on the potty, and talk to them on the potty.

Also whenever possible, involve both parents in the early potty learning process. There is no way early potty learning would have worked in my family (since I’m the one who works outside of the home) if my husband hadn’t been willing to jump on board with early potty learning.

3. Get the right gear to help make early potty training a success.

For example, use cloth diapers, if possible. As I mention above, I truly feel that using them helps babies to make the connection between peeing and being wet and helps them to learn more quickly to go on the potty to avoid that wet feeling.

And using a small potty (actually, more than one of them) like the one shown above that is very portable and easy to clean and use will help to set you up for success.

4. Try to keep your little one in one area.

When possible, try to keep your little one in one area for long stretches of the day, such as a play room or family room, with a potty in the room so that you can give them lots of opportunities to go.

And if you can (if you have linoleum or wood floors, for example), it is a great idea to let your baby or toddler go diaperless for part of the time so that you can try to learn their cues for when they need to go.

And this makes it easier to get them on the potty more quickly, too, when you don’t have to remove a diaper or other clothing.

It’s definitely a great idea to have them wear just a shirt or unsnapped onesie and diaper when practical to make it easier to get them on the potty more quickly.

5. Don’t give up on your early potty learning!

Be persistent (and consistent), and keep trying.

Know that early potty learning (probably) won’t happen overnight, but it will likely happen a lot sooner than you expect, if you just keep gently and patiently working at it.

Your child may go through times where they are not willing to use the potty; that’s OK! It happened with our first daughter, because we did not start potty learning from birth.

When she fought it, we just gave her a potty learning break, and we tried again in a few days or a week or even a couple of weeks later. It was no big deal.

Final Thoughts on How to Potty Train a Baby

I hope that you found these tips on how to potty train a baby helpful and that they inspired you to do early potty learning yourself.

I know it requires time and patience and that it is not for everyone (partly because it won’t work with every situation), but when it is a reasonable possibility, I think it is a great benefit for the child (and the parents, too!).

What do you think about early potty training? Do you have any questions about how to potty train a baby or young toddler? Leave a comment below and let me know! I’m happy to help with whatever tips or advice that I can share. 🙂

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