Early Potty Training

A Step by Step Guide

Early potty training is obviously for freaks who want to emotionally and physically handicap their children. Or at least that's the message I get every time I come across elimination communication in forums or blogs. I also learn that infant potty training is not compatible with western civilization because the best way to proceed with EC is to teach your baby to eliminate on a bus or other means of public transportation, preferably during rush hour.

Letting your child pee and poo on themselves until they are "ready" to use a toilet is considered normal.

Its of course not surprising at all that the people who are most vocal against it have no clue how early potty training is practiced or what it is.

Early potty training, infant potty training, elimination communication or diper free baby are all referring to the same. But once you get started you don't see a point in calling it anything else then "normal" and "humane." Ask yourself how unpleasant must it be to go to the toilet on yourself? Western civilization labels as "normal" letting your child pee and poo on themselves until they are "ready"to use a toilet. The truth is babies are born ready.

Early Potty Training or Potty Training at 12 Months +

This page is dedicated to potty training toddlers before the conventional 18 months. If you have a baby or infant and you wish to get started with early potty training click on the the appropriate links in the top right column to take you to a Step by Step Guide for children who are less than 1 year old. The newborn and infant potty training pages offer more details on getting started with elimination communication.

If you are not practicing some infant potty training already then by the time your baby becomes a toddler s/he has become more conditioned to eliminate in a diaper and ignore the sensation of eliminating.

This of course is very reversible and easier if you start sooner then waiting until your child shows all the signs of conventional potty training readiness around the age of 2.

Early Potty Training For Newbies

There are 3 steps you need to take for your little darling to regain his bodily awareness.

1. Feeling Wet

Help your little one correlate the sensation of eliminating and using the right muscles to release pee. The best way to do this is to take him out of diapers for an "Observation Period". This will also allow you to be aware of when he eliminates.

An observation period does not have to be excruciating, don't make it tough on your self. Have your baby diaper free before or after bath time, in your backyard in the summer or select a certain period of the day when you set up your child in a carpet free area and play.

Early Potty Training Tips

  • Minimize your effort and let your toddler roam diaper free at diaper change.
  • Have short dipper free intervals, 20 - 30 minutes will do.

How do you know your child needs to use the potty?

Your toddler might:

  • verbalize the need to go
  • Use ASL for "potty"(if applicable)
  • Look down between legs
  • Pause activity, looking intent
  • Play or move towards a potty
  • Clutch him self between the legs

You might notice that instead of getting a mess - your toddler will refuse to eliminate with out having a diaper on. This is a sign that he is able to control his bladder until he gets his diaper back on. Keeping him well hydrated will ensure that he has the experience of feeling wet and releasing his bladder. If you are uncomfortable having your toddler roam bare bottomed - use underwear or cloth diapers instead. The effect will be the same - feeling wet and connecting it to the sensation of releasing his bladder.

Observe The Patterns - Its Key To Notice:

  1. Elimination Signals: grimaces? potty dances? consistent expressions? most, even conventional potty trainers, can tell when their toddler is pooing.
  2. Timing: does your toddler eliminate around the same time each day?
  3. Habits: does he need to go after having a meal? a drink? waking up?


Once you noticed the patterns you can pinpoint the optimal time to offer your child a potty.

2. Making the association

Having been in disposable diapers since birth babies loose the connection between wetness and elimination. As your toddler is re learning bodily awareness, babies are usually born with but learn to ignore, he will start to notice what happens when he releases the sphincter muscles. Talk to him about what's happening "you are peeing!" or cue - make a slushy sound such as "sss" to help your toddler to learn to associate this sound with releasing the sphincter muscles. For maximum effect you can sign "toilet" at the same time.

3. Using a potty or toilet

Before you offer the potty two things should happen.

  1. Your toddler recognizes which muscles to use to hold or release pee and is aware of the sensation he will develop a connection between peeing and cues.
  2. You recognize your toddlers signs and are aware of when he needs to go to the bathroom.

Once you have those basics covered offer the potty or toilet to your toddler around the time he needs to use it. Make your cue sounds that your toddler associates with eliminating as you place your little darling on the potty.

Be patient and make potty time a special bonding time with your child. Keep books ad toys by the potty to engage your child, just make sure they are not small enough to be dropped into the potty. Some toddlers might find using the potty for elimination physically and emotionally difficult as they have been used to a diaper all their lives. If that's the case go back to step 2 and work on the association -- regaining his bodily awareness and association are key. Nonetheless, keep offering a potty at intervals so he know's its there and gets familiar with it.

Continuing Early Potty Training

If you have been practicing early potty training by the time your child can begin going to the toilet independently that step won’t be dramatic or odd. You’ve been coaching for this all along. By now, the child knows your cues and you probably have a nearly instinctual sense of her bodily cycle. This is great because it helps with taking the next big step, namely independent toileting.

Toilet-independence comes with out bribes, resistance, or tantrums and is instead a natural, completely gentle, non-coercive process, that your baby fully participates in. so that as an infant, she would be able to tell you when she needs to go and by the time she was walking she could toddle over to the potty by herself just as she would toddle over to the kitchen if she was hungry.

Parents often report that their child learns independent toilet skills at far younger ages than those trained by more traditional methods. They also report that their overall awareness and rapport with their child continues to grow.

Return from Early Potty Training to Elimination Communication

Leave a comment or share your story about kids potty training.

Return to Little Darling Potty Training home page

Return to Little Darling Potty Training home page

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