Potty Training Preparation (& Giveaway!)

“Wait until your child is showing signs of readiness,” they say.

Meh. Whatever. I’m a hardheaded person with a theory on potty training, and I want to try it my way. My son is 20 months old and hasn’t shown “the signs” yet, but I’d love to have him out of diapers by the time his baby brother arrives in February.

Preparing for Potty Training

You are welcome to laugh at me if my great potty training experiment turns out to be a colossal failure, but bear with me while I explain my reasoning.

To me, it just seems illogical to keep my child exclusively in diapers for two or three years but expect him to have a magical transformation wherein he suddenly has an innate desire to use the potty. I feel like I could help speed this process along by starting him using the potty early, talking about it, using baby sign language, and making it an overall positive experience.

My current strategy is to:

  1. Make a routine of it – We have potty opportunities when he wakes up, before nap time, after nap time, and before bath time in the evening. At any other time, if I notice that it looks like he is going, we try to make it to the potty in time.
  2. Learn the body language – I try to pay attention to my son’s body positioning and movement to distinguish when he has to go. Lately I’ve been better at being able to catch him right before he goes so that I can whisk him off to the potty in time.
  3. Teach words and signs – We talk about the potty frequently using both words and baby signs. I’m hoping that this will equip him to start telling me before he needs to go potty.
  4. Make it fun – A stack of favorite books sits next to the potty so that he has something fun to do during the attempts. When he has a successful attempt, we clap and celebrate.
  5. Use a little bribery – I let him have a chocolate chip for every successful potty catch. This has been a big hit!

I’m happy with the routine we’ve established in this pre-potty training period. I hope that this will pave the way for a smooth transition to real potty training when he’s ready. It’s a good feeling on those days when he has three or four successes – and it definitely cuts down on the cloth diaper laundry loads, which I love!

We have tried a few different potty chairs, and my favorite is definitely the BabyBjörn. I wanted one without any frills: no cartoon characters, no music, no iPad charging station, no glitter bombs or laser shows when contact is made with the bottom of the basin. Just give me a nice, basic potty with a splash guard high enough to catch most spills. Actually, it’s what I’m planning to give YOU!

Use the entry form below to win a BabyBjörn potty of your own! This is a self-sponsored giveaway, meaning I’m paying for it myself to thank you for being a Diaper Wrecker reader.

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  1. Just curious if you looked at the Beco potty? It looks very similar to the bjorn and you can compost it when you’re done.

  2. Now I’m really jealous! We’ve been doing all of those things with our 23mo old (even using padded undies) and we’ve only ever had 4 successes total! How do you get your son to actually per when he sits down???

  3. I found reading a book on “communication elimination” helped. Even if you didn’t start as a newborn there are tips that do help older children. Like times best to put them on the potty (after meals, getting up after sleeping, etc.). Sounds to make (cues) to help go. Diaper Wrecker I think your on a great path. It will happen. I haven’t ever done treats (with this baby) but a “Good Girl” with excitement and happiness. It’s fun to now hear my little girl say “Good Girl” to herself when she goes. We have a Baby Bjorn smart potty but it’d be nice to graduate to the Baby Bjorn Potty Chair with a high back and have one upstairs.

  4. I agree with Glinda… what you are doing sounds like a light version a EC. I also agree that you can’t expect a kid who was never at least introduced to the idea of a toilet to suddenly potty-train. However, I think that if you start too early, things can go two ways : 1) your kids will be a potty user but will not be potty-train, meaning they will be entirely dependent on you to get them to the potty, or 2) if you start 2 months early, potty-training will take 2 months, but if you wait until they are ready, they will be potty-trained in 2 days (hyperbole here, just to make the point)! Maybe I’m just a lasy potty-trainer!