Tuesday, February 8, 2011


I was laughing as I e-mailed a friend the other day to ask her some toilet training advice. We had known each other as teenagers, and I don't think we ever thought then how soon it would be that we would be sending each other nursing covers as gifts, or having facebook conversations about the bodily functions of our children. How quickly things change!

I decided to buy Eli a little potty the other day. However, I can't say the word "potty" without flinching - one of those things - so I call it his toilet. I set it by the real toilet in the bathroom. I had been enjoying the fact that Eli is old enough now that I can go into the bathroom and shut the door for a minute or two of alone time, but I decided to give that up in the name of bathroom education. His has a cover, like ours, so I've been getting him to come in, lift the lid, and sit on the toilet like Mommy and Daddy. Then he can shut it again. He's caught on really quickly and likes it! I can call him and ask if he wants to come use the bathroom and wherever he is in the house he'll come running. He's still fully clothed while he uses it, but it's a start. At least I'm trying to get him interested. I've been thinking lately that if he can go get me a cloth and a diaper and lie down for change time why can't he come use the toilet? Might as well give it a shot.

Interesting fact: in the 1950's, almost 100% of children wore cloth diapers and 95% of these children were trained by the age of 18 months. In the 1980's, about 50% of children wore cloth diapers, while the other 50% wore disposable diapers and only about 50% of children were potty trained by the age of 18 months. Nowadays, 95% of children wear disposables and only 10% are trained by 18 months. People scoff at you if you bring up the idea of training your child before they're 2 or 3, because popular opinion states that you shouldn't hurry your child or pressure them at all. Just wait until they're "ready." To me, this essentially seems like waiting until the child can virtually toilet train themselves. I can't speak from experience here as I've never actually successfully trained a child, but I'm so far just not convinced that it's impossible to do it younger, or that the child will end up traumatized by your efforts. I've read a lot about "elimination communication," and while I decided not to go that route with my child, it seems to me that if these people can successfully have their child toilet trained by around 3 months old, why on earth can't I do it with my 17 month old?

He's been in cloth diapers since he was a month old, so I've got that on my side too. Disposables mean it's a lot harder for a child to feel if they're wet. He'll let me know now if he needs a diaper change by fussing and grabbing his diaper, so he obviously knows when he's wet.

Anyway, I haven't started yet at all, but when I do I'm leaning toward the bare bottom approach that some people advocate. Basically it means letting him run around naked. I don't think pull ups would be very effective, since they're basically the same as a diaper, and even underwear (which they don't make in his size, I've checked!) would feel like a diaper. So for at least three days it's bare bum all the way. Sure there will be accidents, but they learn a lot quicker when they can see what's going on down there.

I'm going to give it another week or so and then suck it up and dive in. If we fail miserably... then we fail miserably and I can always go back to diapers. I'm not going to worry about it too much.

Just some thoughts... again it strikes me funny that toilet training is such a pressing issue on my mind, but I suppose that honest blogging is just talking about what I've been thinking about lately, and that would be toilet training!


  1. Hey Emily! We started EC-ing with Dominic when he was 10.5 months old. (Will likely start sooner with the next one). Within a month, he HATED pooping in a diaper. He still has occasional "misses" where he poops in the diaper, but in general, we can catch them on the potty.

    If we leave him diaperless, he'll do everything on his potty. If he's in his training pants (I got really nice.. though not cheap.. ones on etsy). we don't catch all the pees, but that's fine.

    One way to get him used to using the potty is to put him on when he first wakes up. Most kids pee first thing when they wake up, so its a good time to get them used to the idea of peeing not in their diaper.

    We only use 4 or 5 diapers/training pants (we still use diapers for times he may be in it for longer than we notice its wet like the mall, or a long car ride) per day right now, and he is dry at least 4 mornings a week...

  2. That's so encouraging to hear! Thanks Krista... I knew I wasn't totally crazy :) I'll be sure to ask you if I have more questions once I get going here!