Is 13 months too early to start potty training? I thought it was but my baby girl is showing interest. Initially I thought that she is trying to emulated her big sister, 3, but her interest in potty training continues. Should I run with it or is a 13 month old too young to start the process of potty training?
Early potty training is most certainly done in other cultures. It is the process of where even babies under 12 months of age are ‘trained’ to sit and try and is often very successful. Under the age of 12 months, it usually requires a parent to notice the subtle signs that the baby is doing a wee or a poo and to take them and place them on the potty at the right time, though some parents certainly have success with placing them on the potty at timed intervals each day when the bowel usually starts to move ie. 20 minutes after a meal.
Over the age of 12 months, if your baby is able to walk and run to the potty, if she is interested there is no reason why you cannot go with her interest. There is research to show that if babies are toilet trained too young it is really a reflex training rather than brain training and that they go backwards after a certain amount of time in the future. However there is also research to show the opposite and it is mostly culturally based, whether it be babies in Alaska who are taken outside on the ice at the first signs of movement and produce a poo or wee very quickly or other cultures where nappies are not used for years as we do.
My advice is if your 13 month old is keen and interested and it’s more than a passing interest of her big sisters toilet training there is no reason why you can’t do all the ‘pre-toilet training’ steps which is watching what is going on, talking about the potty/toilet wee’s and poo’s, reading books on it, copying her sister and if you notice a regular time of day where she is weeing or pooing then asking her to sit and try i.e. 20 mins after a meal, or running around or after a bath and gauge from there how keen and interested she really is and if she can actually tell you that she can feel it coming and needs to go. She also needs to practically be able to pull her pants/pull ups off to get to the potty on time too. Take notice if she is squeezing her knees together or touching her pants when she is going.