(**Personal disclaimer: I support everyone with their own opinion on the matter, even if it's different than mine. Whatever works for you is the right thing for you, I do not judge.**)
For me, personally, I think it's time to start potty training when a child is able to know when they are pooping or are about to poop and can say the words poop or pee, because that means they will be able to learn how to go about their business and will even be able to tell you if they need to go. Communication is a big plus in potty training, to me.
This, for us, was when my oldest was 2 1/2. Some, like my younger one, may be ready for it sooner. (I'll let you know when I embark on that trip.) But my older son's school recommended the book Diaper Free Before Three. Now, I didn't really go with the whole potty train a 9 month old thing as the book advocated, because honestly, I was already cleaning up a bunch of poop off the floor at age 2 1/2 and I'm pretty sure that I wouldn't have read all the poop and pee cues right for my 9 month old and therefore I'm pretty sure poop would have been a much larger part of my life for a much longer period of my life and pretty much, that wasn't for me, but you can feel free. But I really did love the book for the rest of its potty training advice, and do highly recommend it.
But right around 2 years old, we did do some prep work. We had gotten a musical potty just to sit on with and without clothes, just to have him get used to sitting on it. I would read to him and we would sing songs and nothing ever really happened. I wanted the potty to be a happy place. Then we bought a child potty seat to go on top of the big potty and sat him on that, both with and without clothes. Not expecting anything, just sitting on it a few times a day to get him used to it.
Then we officially started the "training" during the Thanksgiving break last year when he was 2 1/2. I, as the book advised, literally just stopped using diapers cold turkey (mostly, anyway, and how's that for an unintended Thanksgiving pun?) and it really did work for us, because within three days, he was going pee pee on the potty and his teachers were in awe of my amazing toilet training skillz.
Little did they know of course, that the poo was a whole different story. It was hit or miss for a few months with poo, but the pee was a complete success. We had no diapers at all during the day, we made scheduled potty trips so he wouldn't go too long and have an accident (he did still need prompting to go) and we put him in a diaper at night and during naps. Because he was on kind of a poop on the potty strike, he saved his poop for his naptime mostly, when he was wearing diapers. How coy.
But a few months later, he started to wake up dry, so we eliminated diapers entirely.
This is around the time the poo issue came back with a vengeance and the poopy potty strike occurred and we had a lot of underpants casualties. Then came out every imaginable tool from every imaginable resource. The charts, the stickers, the potty dances, the
Along with helping in the cleanups, I am not ashamed to say that I rewarded him with a little candy for successes, which many people frown upon but I don't care, he works for candy and I'm ok with giving him one tiny candy corn for a poop in the potty. You can judge away on that one, but we're accident-free for a couple weeks now and I can see now that we're done. Finally.
Officially, diaper free around three-and-a-half. It took 10 months total.
So no, he or she won't be walking down the aisle or graduating in a diaper, I promise. We, despite our few setbacks, are proof of that.
So come on moms, what worked for you? What didn't? Whose advice did you take? What books did you use? Please share!