Last Updated on December 24, 2021 by Avi Steen

Today, we’re talking about our journey with early potty training also known as elimination communication. We’ll discuss when we started to potty train, our routine, tips, and an update. 

If you want to start early potty training your 1 year old then you’re in the right place. We have done this method with our now almost 3-year-old and currently working with our 18-month-old to do the same.

I first started sharing our journey through Instagram stories where I was giving praise to my 5-month-old, yes 5 months, because she was going potty on the well, the potty!

So I received lots of questions about this and originally did a video you can check out here.

Early Potty Training Your 1 Year Old

We did start potty training at 4.5 months and in the elimination communication community that’s actually pretty late. I watched many videos on YouTube about early potty training that had mothers that started as early as 3 weeks old.

Yes, three weeks out of the womb they started potty training.

With our second child we started around the same time, 6 months or so. So it’s completely up to you mama!

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What You Need for Early Potty Training Your 1 Year Old

  • A Potty!

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  • Swaddle or Blanket
  • Diapers
  • Wipes
  • Bathroom Basket or Storage
  • Bath Essentials

The brand of potty we have and love is the Baby Bjorn. We have used it and continue to use it for both children. Now that we have an almost 3-year-old we also have an attachment that goes onto our regular toilet where she can sit without fear of falling in.

We also like to use the toilet attachment when they have to potty at the same time, otherwise, my 3-year-old chooses the smaller potty each time. She loves it!

When first starting out we also kept a swaddle or blanket in the bathroom for easy bathroom floor changing, diapers, wipes, and bathroom essentials like body wash for cleaning up accidents and messes.

We kept all of this in a shower basket caddy, that I’ve literally had since college, next to the potty but now have moved it to underneath the sink because it just makes more sense.

Early Potty Training Your 1 Year Old

How do I introduce my 1-year-old to the potty?

Simply tell them what it is and what they’ll do there. Of course, at first, they won’t understand but I’ve always been the mom who explains things to their children. It’s a good habit to start.

The introduction really begins when you show them how to use it (by placing it next to a regular toilet and using it yourself) and also when they start to use it for the first time.

The joy on your baby’s face will be priceless when they have figured out what they just achieved. 🙂

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Using Cues for Baby

Most moms practicing early communication look for cues from the baby.

We all know about the iconic “boo-boo” face so those are a lot easier to “catch” than urine. For me, as I was also working, it was kind of hard to always determine my baby’s cues.

And even now as a stay-at-home mom, I’m having trouble doubling down on what my second’s child’s cues are.

A good way to identify cues is to have a diaper-free day (we tried this but like I said, I was working from home so it didn’t go well lol). 

But on a diaper-free day, you lay out a towel or a blanket you don’t mind getting messy and watch for the baby’s facial expressions or body movements before they wet themselves.

Some common cues to look for: kicking their feet, whiney, crying, facial expressions, grabbing their diaper

elimination communication

Early Potty Training Tips from a Busy Mom

In the first few months, as I stated, it was hard for me to catch my firstborn’s cues. Eventually, I could tell that she would kick her legs once she was ready to potty but it took a few months for me to notice that.

So we developed a routine instead. Our routine consisted of the following tips:

  • Potty First Thing in the Morning

So when she first woke up I would put her on the potty right away. Even if her diaper was wet from the night I’d put her on anyways. At 5 months she was already sleeping through the night so a dirty diaper upon waking was common.

  • Potty When Mommy Has To Potty

We also made it a habit to potty when I potty. She had to be there anyway so why not? In most cases, she also had to go and would do so even before I had a chance to sit. Also, lead by example, right?

  • Potty Before We Leave

This just makes sense. Before we leave the house, we go to the bathroom and you’re also prepping for when they become a toddler. 

  • Potty Before Naptime and Before Bed

This is also something that just makes sense, even as an adult. Before you go to bed for the night, most adults have a bedtime routine. So we added this to her routine as well. Potty, bath, bottle, and then bed.

  • Verbal Cues and Sign Language

We had verbal cues for peeing and pooping. For peeing, I would make a hissing sound (Siissssssss) while she went and then on the toilet to indicate to her what it was for. For poop, it was a grunting sound. 

While it sounds ridiculous, who cares, only your toddler and maybe your husband can hear you. Lol. 

I also learned sign language for potty (make a “t” and shake it) so that I could teach her. 

Final Thoughts on Elimination Communication

So those are my tips for any busy mom for early potty training your 1 year old. Those are the tips that helped us get our toddler into underwear before her second birthday and our current 1 year old in pull-ups (for now).

If this helps, I’d love to hear what you think in the comments below!

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