How I potty trained my child before he turned one

Feb 08,2017

If there’s one thing I can brag about where parenting is concerned is potty training my child before turned one. When I see friends still struggling with their two year olds (sometimes even older) I always feel first a bit smug and then I rush to help them with their technique.

But before that, let me just say that I am a great believer in traditional methods and practices where children and concerned. I have three kids, one aged 10 and the other two aged four. So while a lot of my friends prefer to take a book or a doctor’s advice in raising their kids, I prefer going back to my mother and grandmother and their suggestions. It has never once failed me: my children have great immunity, eat without a fuss, are active and engaged, and were all potty trained before the age of one or perhaps one year and two months at the most.

Some of what I say might sound comical and even a little “down market” but believe me when I say that it’s a lot easier to have a potty trained child early on. Your washing load comes down drastically, you don’t spend as much on reuseable as well as disposable diapers, your sheets are cleaner and hardly any nappy rash. So, here’s what I did.

But before that, there are a few things you need to be before you take on this project. It takes longer to potty train a child under one, but once it’s done, it’s done. It takes commitment and consistency: you can’t afford to let tiredness or perhaps lethargy to get in the way. Ready?

  1. This method is best employed for children over the age of six months or whenever they start to sit up on their own. I say this because milestones differ and the range for them is large. For example, my son started to sit up when he was five months old, my daughters when they were seven months. So, the first thing to do is observe how frequently they start to pee and poo when your child is about that age. When you observe them carefully, you’ll find the intervals of urination are somewhat regular. Every two hours, or three hours, give or take a few.
  2. Once you know how often a child pees or poos, then you swing into action. Suppose a child peed at seven in the morning. Change the diaper into a fresh one and set yourself an alarm or a reminder. At nine a.m., carry your baby into the bathroom, place her over the potty seat, hold her securely and open either the tap at the wash basin or the one you bathe with, and let it run. It’s true that the sound of running water has the effect of urging urination – whether it’s an adult or child. Maybe there are no studies to prove it but I’ve seen it every single time. I would urgently want to use the ladies’ room at a public place and the sound of nearby fountain makes it all the more unbearable.
  3. Wait for a while and you’ll see that she’ll get the idea and relieve herself. For a boy, I found it difficult for him to get the idea sitting on a potty seat, so we used to hold him aloft, trying our best to aim the stream of pee into the right place. When that didn’t work, we just held him up and let him pee into the corner of the bathroom where the drain hole was. We then cleaned up the floor with a wash of water.
  4. Same thing for a poo, except a couple of months later, when the training for urination is steady and your child responds to you taking her to the bathroom without the sound cues of water running. Observe what the baby is eating and when; some foods tend to create an increased laxative effect than others. For example, I found packaged baby food always took longer to digest, whereas homemade food was quicker and easier. By six or seven months, the frequency of passing motions would have gone down to about two or three times a day, if not less. Watch your child before you intend to start training and repeat the same process as above, except without the running water sound. This is more like the usual potty training.
  5. The key thing to then making the training fruitful is that you keep talking to the baby when you do this. Use the same word for either of the functions when you’re talking to the baby. So while the first few months will be your child responding to your training, once the child starts to speak, which is around month 9 or 10. When I say speak it doesn’t mean full words, just babble words for mum, dad, water, byebye etc. When you use the same words over and over again while training, that too is a cue for a baby to know what she’s going to be doing next. And so when the baby starts to speak, it’ll be one of the words that are already in her vocabulary. Therefore, when she wants to use the loo, you can be pretty sure that she’ll use those words with you just like you have used it for her.

Some extra tips: It takes time, don’t lose hope or give up easily. Patience and consistency are of most importance. Also, remember, there will be accidents even if you have done everything right. After all, it’s a tiny baby. I remember totally losing my temper when my son wet his pants when we were out at a restaurant (without diaper, mind, because I was so sure he would be able to tell me) and wondering why he was being troublesome. It took me a while to understand that, at that age, a baby is only comfortable with his home surroundings. Being outside has too many distractions and is possibly too intimidating for a baby to remember what he has to do, so be prepared for those. And in any case, at that age, it’s best to keep a child in diapers in public spaces.

But that’s it. Patience, consistency and understanding your child’s cues is all you need to get your child potty trained by the time they are one. Good luck!