How I toilet trained my girl by 16 months old...
Before I start I always like to be open and honest about a few things (to avoid any backlash or complaints). These stories are my own. They are raw and real and true to what I have experienced. They are not intended to be advice, guides, expert opinions, fabricated, judgemental or comparisons to your journey. They are just for reading pleasure and if you or a fellow parent can learn and feel something from my experiences, that's a bonus. So please, read on and maybe you'll be positively inspired :)
I have no idea who told me or if maybe I read it early days but someone/thing I picked up on during late pregnancy, mentioned putting your baby on a potty from the day they are born.
Sounds mad right! Newborns can't even hold their neck up how the hell can they sit on the loo??!!! But, prior to my baby girl being born, for some reason, I took this advice and from pretty early on in the piece (maybe around 3 weeks old), I would try and very briefly, put Zen (daughter) on the smallest potty I could get my hands on. I didn't hold her there long but what I did always do was talk to her about "going to the toilet" "doing our poos and wees" and other familiar loo-time lingo. Must have been another piece of advice I gathered in the pre-parent blur, and that was to always talk to babies like they can understand. As part of this, I would also encourage her to "push" so she understood how to get the poo moving.
The first few months of doing this seemed a bit ridiculous, I must admit, and I was embarrassed to even mention to friends that I was practising this at home. Heaven forbid I was a "pushy parent" so I kept it to myself and kept persisting. By about (and excuse my lack of exact time frames = permanent sleep deprived mum brain), 4 months, Zen could hold her head and neck up confidently and was starting to do her poos every day on the potty. I would put her there whenever she woke up and just talk to her until she did her number two's and then clap when she did. Over the next few months I purchased a few more mini loos and placed them around the house and at houses she regularly visited and talked to her about "going to the toilet" every couple of hours. It took a lot longer for her to start to do wee's in the toilet but again, when she did, we celebrated with song and dance. I wouldn't focus on accidents or mistakes but would be super fun and positive about getting it right. As she became more familiar with the process and was using it more confidently for both ones and twos, I started to increase how often we went to the potty (every 30 mins) and also stopped putting her in a nappy around the house.
To coincide with this early potty use, Zen has always been in cloth nappies. Now the myth has it that babies in cloth nappies are easier and quicker to toilet train and I do honestly believe this is true. The big PRO's to a baby wearing a cloth nappy is that;
1. You can gauge when are their heavy flow periods are (if consistent) and you can then know roughly how often to change (ie. Zen wee's lots in the morning and less in the afternoons) and
2. They can feel wet and discomfort which is a huge part of the toilet training process. You can talk to them about "being wet" and making the connection between that and "going to the toilet." To me, it seems like a much more, hands on, organic and conscious way to approach the nappy and toilet situation.
Sure, I've had hard months and times were Zen has had an accidents, leaked, etc and and yes my washing loads are bigger than those who use disposables but at 16 months I now know I don't need to think about nappies and it's one less "progression" to make.
They say on average these days a kids is potty trained by about 3! That means I've saved about 16 months, 540 days, 3240 nappies and about $1700! Clap clap clap....
A critic may say that toilet training at 12 months is way too early because the child may regress and you'll have to start over, and yes that may be the case for some kids, but my mum and grandma are both living proof of the early training and had similar timelines of success for their collective 10 kids without regressions. I suppose it's about having it on the agenda from day dot and not approaching it once your baby is already 2 plus and starting from scratch that makes a big difference.
Of course, every single child is different and just because these two things combined (early potty use and using cloth nappies) worked for Zen it doesn't mean it will for your child, but if you're keen to give things a go they have 100% worked for me.
Even if you try to use a couple of cloth nappies (shop here) a day, it may help fast track the toilet training and it certain will help our planet and your wallet while you're at it!! Additional inserts (found here) can help catch heavy flows/lot's of wee.
Or, once you do start potty training, try these Training Undies (found here).
So that's what I did, and that's what's worked for me and I hope it helps you but please don't let this put more pressure on your parenting. We are ALL DOING THE BEST WE CAN!!
STAY BLISS beautiful people