I always balk at the estimates of how much it costs to raise a child from birth to age 18. To someone who saves on everything, the figures just seem ridiculous. Between combining coupons and sales, stocking up on disposables of any size when prices hit rock bottom, and getting cloth diapers free or cheap, I’m pretty sure that we have diapered our three kids for a fraction of what they estimate for diapering one kid.
Another way we keep diaper costs low is that we don’t use diapers after age two.
People are always amazed that my little ones are potty trained so young. Honestly, I don’t think it’s anything especially remarkable about them (or me). I think that any normal child around age two can be potty trained. In the days before disposable diapers, kids were always toilet trained young. With the convenience of disposables, we’ve become lazy and spend more and more money on diapers.
When my oldest was about 18 months old, I didn’t even have potty training on my radar. It didn’t dawn on me that she might be ready, until I saw one of her friends who was just a few months older start potty training. I decided I would jump in and give it a try as well. We had success!
What really shocked me was that she was toilet trained at night too. We started her out with a diaper at night because that’s what we had seen others do, but having a diaper at night after having freedom during the day was insulting for her. She would take the diaper off at night, but still be dry in the morning. We decided to just let her wear her underwear to bed and she’s been dry ever since. She doesn’t even wake up in the night to go to the bathroom.
We had a boy next. Everyone says that boys are harder to potty train and often do so at a later age than girls, but we had confidence in our little guy and gave it a try. Right around his second birthday, we was potty trained day and night. Unlike our daughter, he would wake up in the night when he needed to go to the bathroom (and still does). Once again I was pleasantly surprised.
Our next boy also potty trained around his second birthday. In order for him to be dry all night, we generally have to take him to the bathroom about two hours after he goes to sleep. He is in somewhat of a zombie state for those nighttime potty trips. Now that he is three, he is starting to wake up on his own to go to the bathroom at night.
Each child was a little different, but each was very capable of potty training at an early age.
UPDATE: All six of our kids were toilet trained (day and night) by 24 months, with one as early as 19 months.
I’ve had many friends come to me for toilet training advice or suggest that I write a book on potty training. I haven’t taken time to write a book, but this author uses the same techniques that worked well for us. Her method is great for potty training at any age, but focuses on toilet training early. If you are frustrated with potty training or wondering how you can be done with diapers a year or two earlier than average, I definitely recommend checking our her book, How to Potty Train in a Week.
We checked out several different potty training videos from the library, but were disappointed by all of them. Then, a dear friend gave such an glowing recommendation for Potty Power, that I jumped right on Amazon and bought it immediately. We became believers! We used it with all of our kids and they loved it! We have loaned out our DVD to many friends who had great success with it as well.
Another great potty training investment was the Bemis NextStep Child/Adult Built-in Potty Seat. The kid seat stores magnetically in the lid, so adults don’t even have to notice it, yet kids can conveniently pull it down themselves. After seeing one at a friend’s house, I was fascinated with the idea of not having a potty chair or potty seat sitting around. What’s even better is not having to clean out a potty chair! I love that the kids can use the grown up toilet without feeling like they were going to fall in and grown-ups can use the kid toilet without having to remove or even notice any potty paraphernalia.
How much money will early potty training save?
It’s no secret that potty training saves money. That will be obvious to anyone who has bought diapers. Even cloth diapers, which are much cheaper than disposable diapers, require a couple of loads of laundry each week. The sooner you are done with diapers, the sooner you’ll start saving.
I won’t try to guess how much you will save by potty training early because everyone’s diaper budget is different. The average age to toilet train is 3 1/2 years old, so if your child is out of diapers by 2 or 2 1/2, you’re probably saving 12 to 18 months worth of diaper expenses. How much do you spend on diapers each month? Multiply that by 12 or 18. What could you do with the savings from potty training early?
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Toni @ Debt Free Divas says
So this is my first time and I waited. My son is just turning 3 and we still do pull ups at night and I have a hard time getting him to do BMs on the potty. He waits until naps or night time – holds it right in. Calls it scratchy monster – go figure. I wasn’t ready to do it any earlier than we did. Hats off to those who can get this going early.
Scratchy monster– that’s hilarious!
I have five, soon to be six kids and we have potty trained from a very early age. It has saved SO much in diapers. In fact, I usually start right around six to eight months when you can tell when a baby need to have a BM. Once they get used to that, teaching them to go potty is no big deal. The hardest part is teaching them to hold it until they get on the potty. I’m in the middle of training my 18 month old. None of my kids have ever been traumatized by it because it’s something they have been used to from a very young age.
Thanks for writing the post!
Watch my pregnancy update videos at: http://www.youtube.com/parsnipsandparsimony
I’m glad it has worked well for you! You really started young!
Mom @ Three is Plenty says
I *wish* Daughter Person would have potty trained early – we started at 2.5, and we are *finally* down to very few accidents during the day. Peeing was easy – pooping took so long 🙁 And we *still* can’t get her to wake up at night to use the potty in her room, so she’s in pull-ups (she just turned 4). Last night, she threw a fit because we made her wear the pullup, and I told her that if she was dry 3 nights in a row, I’d let her go with just underwear – she was soaking wet this morning 🙁
Some kids just take longer, especially at night! She’ll get it eventually! 🙂
Marla @ Organic Life on a Budget says
I just found you at Thrifty Thursday! Thank you for sharing your journey! This is a wonderful blog and I can’t wait to start following your story!
Melissa Brown says
When your child is ready they will let you know. My first daughter was potty trained at 2 because my mother would not get off my case. She always wet the bed untiln4 years old. Daughter #2 I waited until she was ready at 3 months before her 3 rd birthday. She trained in 2 days and never wet the bed. In my opinion what is the hurry enjoy your children. They will only be little once.
Every child is different and that is fine. I wouldn’t rush them if they weren’t ready. If they are ready though, I will enjoy my children just as much even if I’m not changing their diapers. 🙂
Mrs. Maroon says
Mini Maroon #1 started trying potty training at school just before his second birthday. We really got into it about six months later. He will be three in two weeks. He still has accidents, but I think that is more stubbornness. We do use a diaper for sleeping. He still wakes up in the mornings soaked once or twice a week. I also firmly believe in using them for naps… I’d much rather get a good nap than for him to wake early because he’s wet. So while we could save some money, I’m happy with our direction. Mini #2 may be a whole different ballgame but we’ve got a little bit of time there – she’s only five months.
It’s definitely not all about saving money. There are lots of other factors as well. 🙂
I started “Elimination Communication” when my daughter was 2 days old. I purchased cloth diapers for about $250 before she was born and only bought like one box of diapers…ever. Now I’m selling those cloth diapers for $75! Win, win, win!!! I’m so happy I stuck to my guns about ECing when all my friends and family looked at me crazy. She was out of diapers during the day at 12 months and at night when she was about 20 months with NO potty training. I highly recommend it!!!!
If you don’t know what it is, you can check it out here. http://ecsimplified.com/elimination-communication-101/
That’s amazing Susan! I’ve hear of Elimination Communication, but I’ve never tried it. I’m glad it was a success for you!
I am really glad that early potty training worked out for you but I think it is a bit of a stretch to say that any normal child can be potty trained at age 2. Do you know that according to the Academy of Pediatrics, “more abuse occurs during toilet training than during any other developmental step”. It sounds like it went very smoothly for you but that is not always the case. As a parent I am responsible for our debt and if my children are “abnormal” and don’t potty rain by age 2 it is my responsibility to find the money to pay for diapers. I don’t think it is fair for me to tie cost savings to a milestone like this. I enjoy reading your blog but i think that you are off the mark here.
Thanks for your comment Theresa. I had never heard that about abuse during potty training. That’s terrible and sad!
Saving money is a nice perk, but I definitely wouldn’t force a child who is not ready in the name of saving money. My thinking is that lots of people don’t even have potty training on their radar when their child is only two (I know I didn’t). Ever since disposable diapers became the standard, the age for potty training has gone up. Kids used to be potty trained earlier and in other countries they still are. I don’t think a child who isn’t potty trained at two is abnormal (in fact, compared to their peers they are probably more normal). If I hadn’t had a friend who potty trained her daughter early, I wouldn’t have even thought to see if my daughter was ready. My idea behind this post was to get people to consider trying early potty training. Thank you for bringing out another side.
Emily @ Simple Cheap Mom says
We tried potty training early when our daughter seemed interested, around 20 months. She ended up being traumatised by seeing the poop leaving her body and refused to give it another shot until she was 2 and a half. We still need a diaper at night and she’s almost three. I definitely agree that early potty training is great, simple and cheap, but it doesn’t always go as planned. I’m happy that we tried it and I’m so excited to be done with diapers!
I love looking at those estimates for the cost to raise kids because the numbers are so high! Makes me feel like we’re doing a really great job!
Sarah @ little bus on the prairie says
That happened to my son, too! He was terribly confused when he looked in the toilet and saw something ELSE in there. We’re still working on it 🙂
Poor girl! Potty training doesn’t always go as planned. That’s great that you gave it a try when she seemed interested. You never know until you try!
Mrs SSC says
I totally agree with you on this one! Plus – who wants to deal with diapers any longer than necessary? For the most part my son was potty trained by about 2 1/2, except for a minor regression because some of the other boys in his class were still in diapers so he thought big boys were supposed to wear diapers. My baby girl is 18 months now, and is definitely on her way to being potty trained…
We have those build in seats also, and they are awesome! My parents even bought one for their house for when we visit!
That’s awesome that Grandpa and Grandma’s house has a built-in kids potty seat too!