Potty training for the younger set. Less diapers, bonus for mom!
December 13, 2010 8:25 AM   Subscribe

Potty training a 1.5 year old advice please!

So we weren't expecting to be here yet. I've read through the past potty training questions, but they don't quite fit with our situation. My son is 18 months as of a couple days ago, and through some weird set of circumstances he has started using the potty. We were just treating it as a larking, asking if he wanted to use the potty at times and being super excited if he went. Well, it's progressed past there. Now, if we ask him if he wants to use the potty, if he doesn't say no, he always goes. The couple times we have had him sit on the potty even when he said no, he hasn't had to go, he tries, but nothing. So he seems to actually know when he needs to go and when he doesn't. And once or twice he has indicated that he needed to use the potty to us without asking, but he usually won't ask. But now we're stuck as to what to do now. He quite enjoys sitting on the potty (unless he was really adamant about not going onto the potty in the first place), and he thinks it's funny to go pee in the potty.

Since he's only 1.5 a lot of the "normal" potty training rewards and cajoling don't really seem to fit. For now, if he sits on the potty and doesn't do anything (rare because we generally haven't been having him go when he says no) he just gets praise for trying, if he does do something he gets to wipe (he wanted to start doing this and requests it now) and flush the toilet (which he likes a bunch). And I don't want to do anything to make him dislike the potty and want to not go there, which is what I worry about with the making him go even when he says no. He doesn't need more rewards for actually going in the potty (which seems to be one of the common problem with kids), but I don't know how to get him to start requesting it more, because honestly, I don't know if any reward would be better than whatever game he was playing that would need to be interrupted to go potty. Right now, we just have a seat for the "big" potty, and not a little on, he really likes the big potty, so I'm not sure if having a little one elsewhere would be more helpful, but I'm willing to try it if people think it would help.

Any advice for how to get him to ask more? Do we really just have him go every x min?
posted by katers890 to Health & Fitness (10 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I would think he's a bit too young to learn to check in with his body without prompting. Very cool that he's so into it - I'm super jealous! I'm guessing that if you keep after asking him about it that eventually he will learn to go himself. I wonder what would happen if you asked him at set intervals - would you eventually set his internal clock to ask himself/go himself at those intervals? I'd be interested to here about your results if you go that direction.
posted by PorcineWithMe at 8:42 AM on December 13, 2010 [2 favorites]

Make it absolutely clear to him that any time he asks to get on the toilet, he will be taken there. If he may need to use a toilet while you're out at the grocery store, be prepared for that. At the same time, it needs to be perfectly ok for him to keep using diapers for as long as he needs them.

He may not be at the point yet where he always knows when he needs to go. That body awareness takes some time to develop. Until he gets there, he will have times when he pees in his diaper, and this is not a bad thing. It's normal. For some kids it may be about control issues (because really, how many things do most 1.5 year olds feel like they're in charge of? Holding it in, or not holding it in, can be a big big statement at that age), but at 1.5 it's likely not about control unless you make it a big deal. Don't take it personally.

It might be a good example to show him that before you leave the house, you (the parents) always try to go pee in the toilet, even if you don't think anything is going to come out. That will help you prevent some of the future frustration of "why didn't you go before we left the house?!?!" that happens when 5 minutes into a car trip someone proclaims a need to pee.

Also, on preview. I notice that I refer to it as a toilet and not a potty. This is my personal habit and not a judgement. Best of luck to your family in this adventure.
posted by bilabial at 8:42 AM on December 13, 2010 [1 favorite]

We did some elimination communication with our daughter, so she was comfortable using the potty from a young age. When she was 18 months, we found ourselves in the same situation you were. She would use the potty when offered, but she wouldn't reliably ask to use it when she needed to. This went on for a while, and we got to the point where she would only miss every other day or so, but this involved us taking her to the bathroom frequently. This got old pretty quickly, and at some point she started resisting using the potty.

So we decided to break off the experiment and try later. With our daughter at least, it didn't seem like she was ready to tell us when she needed to go every time. About nine months later we tried again, and this time it took very quickly, and this time she would tell us.
posted by Lazlo Hollyfeld at 9:06 AM on December 13, 2010

I also did EC, and my daughter was completely trained before two. For a bit there, there was a nebulous, magical, oh-wow-this-is-kind-of-working time, and I wasn't sure what I should be doing. I kept hearing imaginary naysayers telling me she was only going because of timing, and I was probably overly worried about "pushing too hard," but it all worked out, and she really was aware of her need to go, the reward cycle . . . don't underestimate your little boy. :)

Stickers worked great with her as an extra reward--first a little Dora kit one of the diaper companies sent in the mail, and later just letting her put the sticker on her tummy or wherever. One of the good things, at least for her, about learning so soon was that it was mostly its own reward. Oh--another thing she really liked was when we'd pretend her favorite toys were using the potty. We also threw her an "I'm potty trained!" pizza party after she'd gone a few days with no accidents, as a sort of demarcation line.
posted by littlegreenlights at 9:28 AM on December 13, 2010

One more thing: we switched to big girl panties as soon as possible, got rid of diapers as soon as she was, say, 70% trained, at the risk of a few accidents, and we never made an even slightly negative thing out of any accidents she had during the in-between time.
posted by littlegreenlights at 9:30 AM on December 13, 2010

littlegreenlights, did you set up a time frame of how often you asked her/took her to the potty, or did you rely on what you knew from doing EC? We never did any EC so I don't know what cues he has.

Also, I do need whatever plan I enact work with what they can do at daycare and that I can explain to my MIL to do when she watches him, so I guess simpler is better, neither of them are going to do EC.
posted by katers890 at 9:45 AM on December 13, 2010

Our daughter trained at around that age (she is 3 now). She had been in cloth diapers since birth, so she knew that peeing=wet feeling and would ask to be changed after she peed (her language is/was very good). She also started showing interest in the little potty we had in our bathroom (sitting on it when I sat, even though she had her diaper on, etc) so we bought enough of these to have one in pretty much every room of the house, and we let her run around naked for a few weeks, praising her to high heavens when she did use the little potties.

She caught on quickly, and within a week she was 90% using the little potties, so we bought some "big girl underwear" for her to wear as a reward. She had more accidents while wearing underwear+pants, so we switched to just pants with no underwear for a few weeks when we went on outings, but kept her naked at home for the most part (it was summertime and thus clothing optional). She still wore diapers for naps/nighttime for a while, but after a few weeks/months of seeing that she was consistently waking up dry, we quit using those too.

I think the key is keeping your expectations low, though. Like, it's awesome when pottying happens, but hey, no big deal if there are still accidents. Just be matter of fact about it: "Uh oh, the floor is/your pants are wet, let's clean up." "Pee goes in the potty, not the floor/your pants/etc" and keep it positive/fun, and it'll work out eventually. If he starts to resist, then back off a little. Let him set the pace.
posted by fancyoats at 9:50 AM on December 13, 2010

We just started training my 23month old last week. We bought a pack of colorful underwear (was looking for seasame street cause he's big into Elmo and Cookie, settled for superheros [zomg the ones with Wolverine on the butt saying "I've got your back" are hilarious]) and we just started dressing him in them (and no pants unless we're out) anytime he's awake. First day we used all 7 pairs. Yesterday (1 week later) we used 1 pair. He can feel the wetness and will point to it. We rush him to the bathroom whereever we are and praise the hell out of him for noticing he needs to pee. So I'm suggesting underpants!

Piggybacking here though, he refuses to poop in the toilet. We can tell he needs to because he'll point and then only pee in dribbles and then demand a diaper. I know it's only been a week and we're doing amazingly well so fat, but does anyone have any suggestions for making the jump to pooping in the toilet once the kid has mastered peeing?
posted by ish__ at 10:24 AM on December 13, 2010

My three boys were all "dry" by eighteen months, as in, sleep all night in a cloth diaper, awaken, stand and pee copiously. It was a fairly easy transition to immediate diaper removal and stand at the toilet (yes, apparently males have fun peeing into receptacles; for us females, not so interesting). I would suggest letting your son got diaper-free while at home. The absence of that cushy surround seems to help notify when it's time to do anything. From your question, I sense you are not in any rush, really. Which is fine by me. I had friends working with potty-training three-year-olds, and my daughter (first-born, as it were) had friends come for sleepovers with pull-ups in the overnight bag (ages 5-6). The best advice I ever overheard was, "Don't worry, they'll be out of diapers/done nursing well-before they apply to college!"
posted by emhutchinson at 10:25 AM on December 13, 2010

Baby anachronism is just on 18 months and we've been doing a version of EC for a few months. At the moment we're pretty accident free but have issues when she's sick. We started with the morning pee and moved on from there. Poop was a luck thing at first but after a week or so she twigged on it. A friend said her kid twigged to pooping on the toilet when they treated it like the poop was going 'home' in order to avoid the attachment to it as part of self.

Our complicating factor is that she's still non-verbal (unless it's a duck, boob, truck, cat or dog) so we used the makaton sign for toilet - one finger pointing to the flat palm of the other hand making a 'T' shape. She adopted that with a day or two and within a fortnight began to spontaneously use it.

We still have bad days when we miss her signals and she gets quite upset and frustrated. When that happens we go back to asking her every hour if she needs to go (she has a big bladder like me -most kids need r5 to 30 minute reminders.)
posted by geek anachronism at 3:20 AM on December 14, 2010

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