So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, goodniiiiight – to diapers!

Ladies and gentlemen, we are just over a month shy of Olive’s second birthday and I am suddenly the proud mother of a potty-trained child.

I’ll get to details in a minute but let me just get this out of the way first:


Ahem. Just a little excited over here.

So. My laundry has been cut in half, Olive’s pants finally fit as they should, and she has taken to proudly flashing anyone and everyone she can to show them her big girl “mants”.

For those who want to know all the details, this is what we did:

First, sitting her on the potty at least once a day since she was 7 months old helped SO much. This familiarity with the process, and understanding that you can go in the potty instead of your diaper made the actual training so much more simple for her because she totally understood what we wanted her to do.

We got this potty, which is biodegradable (important to me since I try to avoid plastic whenever possible, but for some incomprehensible reason there is a significant lack of wooden potties out there). In addition to being hippie friendly it sits really low to the ground and so it’s been super easy for Olive to get on and off of it herself. My one tiny complaint is that we got the cream coloured one and it came with the bottom slightly discoloured, so it looks like there’s a stain inside and it bugs me every time I see it, thinking that guests might come over and think her potty isn’t clean. But that’s neither here nor there and probably just has to do with how this particular one was made.

Doing early potty-training was fabulous and I highly recommend it. I am positive that it was the reason this went so smoothly.

Basically I just randomly picked a day to begin, and told her she would be wearing underpants now, not diapers, Every half hour or so I would sit her on the potty and she would go. She knew what she was supposed to be doing so it was really easy for her to just do it when we reminded her. I began this process when Adam’s parents were here which was great because we had a few more adults around to remember to take her to the bathroom a million times a day.

The first day, predictably, we had lots of accidents. She’d get distracted or excited and -whoops! So we just grabbed her and ran to the potty, got her cleaned up and carried on.

Day 2 saw significantly less accidents and she started asking to go to the potty. A few times we didn’t quite make it, but it was encouraging to see that she was understanding the “I have to pee’ feeling.

Third day? ONE accident. One! From then on that stayed pretty static, around one accident a day (mostly when she was distracted and didn’t ask to go, and I forgot to remind her). And then after about a week and a half of that, no accidents. We’ve been accident-free for about a week now.

She does still sleep in a cloth diaper overnight and for naps, because we don’t have a mattress protector on her bed. But I would say that 95% of the time she wakes up dry.

We didn’t use any sort of incentive system other than high fives, and celebrating each successful bathroom trip with a huge reaction – clapping, astonished faces, high-pitched squeals of excitements, hugs, telling her how proud we were etc. You know, the kind of thing that makes non-parents throw up in their mouths a little.

And just in case you couldn’t already tell, I am SO excited to be done with diaper laundry. It turned into a beautiful day today, so I am stripping all of my inserts, sunning them, and packing them awaaaaay! (All except for two, for sleeping.)  FOREVERRRR! (or at least a little while, anyway)


If you have any questions that you would like to ask me, the first person in the world to ever potty-train her child, I will happily answer them in the comments. Otherwise, please join me as I crank the volume and celebrate:


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  • Reply elizabethjulia September 5, 2014 at 12:16 AM

    Congratulations!!! We cloth diaper too, so I totally feel you I the laundry thing. Our daughter will be 15 mos next week, she currently knows when she’s going #2 (I don’t know until I see ‘the look’ on her face) and will point at her diaper when I comment that she’s going, or say ‘ooh you’ stink!’ Etc. She’s recently also been pointing to her diaper and when I change her she’s just wet so I think she notices when she pees. Not sure. We have a potty for her but by the time I realize she’s going potty it’s already over with! What do you recommend for getting her interested in waiting to go until she’s actually on the potty? I haven’t even begun to research this!

    • Reply sweetmadeleine September 7, 2014 at 9:09 PM

      I’m so sorry for getting back to you so late – I swear I replied to you the same day you wrote this, but clearly the Internets ate it.

      It took a LONG time for Olive to tell us she needed to go before she actually went (I think the first time she really did it was during Day 2 of this actual potty training). She would always tell us when it was already happening. Encouraging because she was aware of it, but not helpful in actually doing anything about it.

      I felt it was more helpful to just put her on the potty as soon as she woke up from naps/sleep, after meals, before naps etc. Routine times of day. If you start doing this eventually your daughter will pee by fluke and you will celebrate like a crazy person and after a few of these she’ll begin to connect the dots and understand what you want her to do when she sits down, and maybe will start to hold it until those pre-determined times. But to be honest Olive didn’t really do that until we put her in underwear and just went for it.

      Isn’t it strange that we have to TEACH them not to pee themselves?! Kids are so weird,

      • Reply SouthwestAdventurer October 17, 2014 at 9:16 AM

        Lol, thanks so much for the tips, I feel I’m *almost* ready to start potty training in earnest. As a first-time mom, I can not believe there is so much that you have to teach them, it’s insane! Such a tall order but I guess it all eventually works out…

  • Reply Dover September 5, 2014 at 3:17 PM

    Hurray!!! Potty training is such a big deal when you cloth diaper! Eleanor potty trained early, and Win better get with the program, because I’ll be damned if I’m going to wash his diapers for more than two years. (But I also know, when that day comes, and I finally wash, dry, and put away the scraps of cloth that both of my babies spent their early days soiling, and that I lovingly washed hundreds of times, I will cry a small river.)

  • Reply abbeyems September 11, 2014 at 8:11 AM

    This was such a fun post, so glad I found your blog! We use cloth also and it was great to read about potty learning from a cloth diaperin mama! And I’m totally ordering that potty.

  • Reply Ashley Hooker September 23, 2014 at 6:04 AM

    Just wanted to say “THANK YOU” for this post! Basically everyone in my life is always saying “oh you can’t potty train until 3+” and “potty training early can be traumatizing.” It just never made sense to me. So after reading your post I thought “screw it – why not get out the potty just for fun.” We’ve already had 4 successes! I know that we are still a long way from being diaper free but at 14 months, my son clearly understands the concept and it’s crazy that I listened to other people say “oh he’ll never get it” for so long. Thanks!

    • Reply sweetmadeleine September 23, 2014 at 4:10 PM

      There is a FABULOUS book called “Diaper Free Before Three” that talks in-depth about potty training, and how the first edition of the Dr.Sears parenting book (early 50’s, I think) recommends delaying potty training until at least six months old. So clearly, kids wearing diapers until they are three is a very modern invention 😉
      The worldwide average for potty-training is 18 months…and that’s with all of north america skewing it upwards. You GO potty! Ha!

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