Our Early Potty Training Progess

Potty Training at 18 months
Now that we’ve been potty training for almost a month, I thought I’d write a little about our progress. I’m no expert, but I still want to share what we’ve done so far and learned along the way.
Why We Decided to Potty Train
 I call this “Early Potty Training” because potty training at 18 months is on the early side according to United States standards, where most families wait until 2-3 years. In many other countries, such as Tanzania, babies are potty trained even earlier than 18 months. The cloth diapers here are not of the same quality as developed countries, and disposable diapers are very expensive, giving mothers that extra incentive to potty train. The reason I decided to potty train “early” is because I didn’t want to have two in diapers. (And yes, I know it’s common for babies to regress when a sibling arrives, but I’ll cross that bridge when I get there.)
How I knew Eva was Ready
Eva had shown an interest in using the potty for a few weeks before we started training. She’d watch me use the potty and then ask to sit on it when I was done. She began telling me when she was peeing or pooping in her diaper and demanding to be changed as soon as she finished.
How We Began
 I rolled up all the rugs in our house and decided to try the run-around-naked method, even though I hadn’t read much about it at that point. On the first day, I’d sit her on the potty and read her a potty book or otherwise entertain her until she went. When she was successful, I’d cheer and give her a sticker as a reward. Later that day, my friend sent me an e-book about the three-day method. After reading it, I decided not to just sit her on the toilet all day. Instead, I’d follow her around like a helicopter and when she’d start to pee I’d say, “Wait!” and I’d run her to the toilet to pee. By the third day, she really started to catching on to telling me when she needed to pee or poo before she started to go. After about a week, she was pooping in the potty 100% of the time and peeing about 75-80% of the time. I read that most babies catch on to peeing before pooping, but Eva was the other way around. Either way, I was stoked. I did not expect it to happen so quickly.
Where We Are Now
Eva is pretty much completely potty trained during the day. She always tells me when she needs to go and “holds it” until she gets to the potty. I still put her in a diaper when we go out because we do not have a portable potty and I don’t want to sit her on a public toilet (not that every place in Tanzania even has a real toilet). If the outing is about 2 hours or less, she’ll come home dry. If not, when she asks to go (and we won’t be home for a while) I simply tell her, “It’s okay sweetie, just go in your diaper,” which she now hates to do. I’ve been looking at portable potties online and am thinking of ordering one soon. I haven’t started nighttime potty training yet, so I also put her in a diaper when she sleeps. Honestly, I’m not even worried about that yet. She still drinks a sippy of milk before bed and I don’t think she’s ready to break that habit.
What Worked for Us
-One thing that I really think worked for us is reading the potty book. 

We read it so much, that Eva memorized the last word of every phrase in the book:
You could tell that Eva wanted to be like the main character and copy what she does.

-Another thing that worked for us is rewarding with stickers. Eva was too greedy with her stickers to put them on a sticker chart, but she loved sticking them in her potty book, on her body, or wherever else she felt was appropriate.

-We also let Eva flush the toilet when she was finished, which she was really excited about.

Bumps Along the Way
I think the only major bump we had along the way was the toilet seat we ordered. We originally ordered this Bumbo seat:
I don’t think it was meant for babies as small as Eva. Even with a stool next to the toilet, Eva had a really hard time getting on and off the toilet by herself. That meant we had to help her every single time. After a few days, we realized we needed to order a small potty. The potty book recommends the baby’s feet touch the floor when he/she is going anyway, and this one really did the trick:
Now Eva is able to go to the bathroom, take off her underwear, sit on the toilet and go on her own. She still wants me to go with her, I suppose to watch and cheer and give her a sticker.
And I’m okay with that.

Overall, potty training is going really well. I did not expect it to be this easy or happen so quickly. I highly recommend starting early if you think your toddler is ready. Let me know if you have any questions!


  1. This is awesome! If you want a portable potty for the car you should get one with a lid. They also serve as steppers for hand washing which is great. We almost always take ours in the car just in case. Sometimes we go to parks and places that don’t have bathrooms. It is a great tool!

  2. We started early potty training too and I’m so glad we did. I think we won’t nighttime potty train for awhile either, but we did get a portable potty and let me tell you- nothing will keep you from being skeeved out over public toilets. I know you have it waaaay different than we do in the US but I’ll never get over using a public restroom. We are going to teach him to go standing up soon but if it’s just me and him he’s too short to stand up at a regular sized toilet to pee- so I’m stuck in a similar boat for a while.

    I’m glad you’ve had the success that you had- that’s great!

  3. This is amazing. Logan is almost THREE AND A HALF and REFUSES to go on the potty. He manages to hold it all through preschool (which is good, because they’re supposed to be out of diapers), but will not go near the toilet at home. I’ve tried a few different methods of training, but he just isn’t interested. A break from diapers before #2 comes sounds amazing…

  4. I don’t think it used to be 2-3 years old in the US.. my mom said I was potty trained around 18 months and that was normal then (80s). I always thought 3 was on the old side until I worked at a daycare and saw it was more normal.

    Great job!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *