Rose was potty trained at 19 months. By potty trained, I don't mean that I put her on the toilet and occasionally she would go. I mean, full-on toilet independent, including wiping and washing her hands. She would go in without even telling me and I would frequently find her sitting on the potty in the dark. We practiced elimination communication ("EC") with her from seven weeks old, and it really worked well.
Of course, being only one year old, she had accidents. She just couldn't make it there sometimes, and occasionally she would just be so wrapped up in what she was doing that she wouldn't realize she had to go until it was too late. Her biggest problem was just being in an unfamiliar place and not knowing where to go-- since she was non-verbal for a long time, it was a huge challenge for us, so I got in the habit of showing her where the bathroom was right away at new places we visited. I figured it was all worth it because I didn't have to deal with poop as much, and her skin would improve just based on the fact that there was less of an opportunity for wetness to give her a rash.
You see, I have a hand thing, and my kids have eczema, which, in the case of my children, first appears as a rash as infants, around 6 weeks of age. I hate getting my hands dirty. I have to wear gloves to carry in wood, and the thought of touching chalk sends shivers down my spine. It completely grosses me out to have diaper rash ointment on my hands, and after an application of said ointment I have to immediately scrub down my hands. I figured it was just easier to potty train earlier than have to deal with rash ointments for longer. For me, it works, and it is easier. They still have skin issues, but not nearly as bad as when the rashes are in full swing with wearing diapers. It helps now that we've seen a dermatologist about our needs, and many of the issues are no longer a problem, or are infrequent inconveniences. Mainly Rose gets rashes when she wets her diaper, which she still wears for sleeping, so it's been quite a blessing that it is rare for her to do that anymore.
My sister, Leslie, disagrees and maintains that it is far better to potty train around the three year mark. It is much easier to deal with the pee and the poop all contained in one "nice" little package, rather than have to deal with accidents all the time. Her children that potty train around age three almost never have accidents. Well, until they're 6 years old and can't be bothered to stop what they're doing and go inside to use the bathroom. To prove her point, she mentioned that Rose's bathroom independence is a hindrance at times, and that her frequent accidents aren't worth the trouble of having a potty trained 2 year old. I countered that she rarely has accidents so it's really a moot point. Well, her definition of accident is a bit different than mine: inefficient wiping which requires a later change of underwear is, in her book, an accident. For me, it's just a part of having a kid and I'll deal as I am dealt. I'm just happy not to have to clean up poop every day.
To prove that my toddler's infrequent accidents aren't a hindrance and aren't as frequent as Leslie maintains, I was going to be on "accident watch" on this blog. Put some sort of feature up in the corner saying X days since Rose's last accident, like they have at many work sites (but I think their definition of accident is quite different than the one I am referring to). But I have been jinxed. Since the original conversation, Rose has had several accidents. This is totally out of the ordinary for her. She usually has one maybe every couple weeks, but this week she has had four or five. Two were in one day... but to be fair, Rose was wearing a diaper as it was right before nap time for one of those accidents.
Thanks a lot, Leslie. I should make you do my laundry.