So guess what?.....
Harper is officially day-time potty trained! I started the day she turned 18 months and within the first week we were done with diapers and now at 19 months she has no accidents and is in panties during the day, even for her nap!
Through research I have done on my own, I found that there is a window of time between about 12-18 months where a baby is the easiest to potty-train. They are willing, and eager to learn and do well at it. After this window, it becomes more difficult to potty train your child. (This is not true for all babies, but a lot of them) I found that starting at 18 months was the perfect choice for us and has given us the best outcome, a potty-trained little girl!
I thought I would share what I did and some of these tips might work for you and your little one however every baby is different, as we all know, but there is no harm in trying :)
Alright so the first day you will need either a potty seat that goes on top of your toilet or a potty chair. I actually purchased both. These are what I have:
A Prince Lionheart WeePod, about $13
A Summers Infant potty chair, $10
We mainly use the potty chair, but are switching over to using only the potty seat here in the next week or so.
The reason I chose this potty chair is because it is SIMPLE. They do not need all the bells and whistles, the "singing and flashing lights when they go" is just not necessary. It also costs next to nothing compared to other potty chairs and is so simple to clean.
So on day one I started by simply asking Harper if she would like to use the big potty like mommy. She was curious so I put her on it and she sat for a minute and then wanted off. I told her she did great and to tell me if she needed to use the potty again. I did this a few times that day and she actually went potty about 4 times the first day, which was great! The next 2 days I decided to leave her bare bummed for the day. This is a great way for them to understand what is going on when they pee because they WILL have accidents, and that is okay. You do not want to keep them bare bummed for more than a few days or else when you put panties/trainers on them they will just treat them like a diaper.
Whenever Harper has an accident I always say "Ut oh, did you have an accident? Remember, pee goes in the potty! Let's clean this up and next time we will tell mommy when we need to potty!" I always tell her it is okay, but remind her that she needs to use the potty. I would also go immediately and set her on the potty. A lot of times she would hold the rest until we got there and finish in the potty, however sometimes she didn't do anything and that is okay too.
After 2 days of being bare bummed, I put Harper in cloth trainers. These were the ones I used:
Best Bottom Cloth trainers, around $25 a set
These are GREAT. Even if you didn't cloth diaper, these are a great training pant. They look just like underwear and have a very thin snap-in insert that will let your baby feel when they are wet. The inserts are also just so cute! I bought two sets of these and just hand-washed the dirty ones at night or washed them with her nighttime diapers on my wash day.
For the first week or so, I would ask Harper every so often if she needed to go potty and sometimes I would take her without asking such as right after her nap. (If they are resistant do no insist they go, you want this to be an enjoyable new skill for them to learn) Most of the time she would just tell me herself and I would take her and she would go! However, in this first week she was wetting the trainers just a bit before realizing she needed to go, but holding the rest until we got to the potty. Now, she will tell me she needs to go before wetting her panties at all. She understands her body and what it is telling her, how awesome is that!
I continued to tell her each day to remember to tell me if she needed to go potty. If she made any cues, I would ask her and take her to her potty. After another week or so, I was reminding her only once a day to tell me when she needed to go. I would tell her right we we got up for the day and then she would tell me when she needed to go for the rest of the day. Now, I am not having to remind her at all, she will tell me all by herself.
I did not do a "reward" system or anything like that. I don't think they should always expect a treat of some sort after using the potty, that's a little silly to me but whatever works for you! I always just praise her for using her potty, I tell her she did great and that she is such a big girl. That is all she needed to be successful! :)
Oh and I also did not do diapers when we went out. For the first few days, we didn't go anywhere and then I used her trainers when we were out and would take her to the potty if she needed to go. Using diapers while your out can actually damage your potty training efforts. Take an extra pair of clothes and don't worry if they have an accident. Every child does!
Harper is still in a cloth diaper for bed, but frequently wakes up dry in the morning and goes in her potty when she wakes up. Hopefully she will be nighttime trained soon also, but if not that is okay I am not pushing that one for now :)