"Training your child" means doing something to him or her. On the other hand, "helping your child learn" to use the potty is absolutely something you can do with your child as a "partner" rather than a "trainer." Here are some things that might help the partnership:
- Provide access. No matter how old your child is, you can get a small potty (or two) and let him sit on it and play around it. It can be right in the living room or bedroom. You can also get a seat to put on the regular toilet to make it more comfortable and accessible. Also, it will be easier for her to sit down and go when she doesn't have to pull down pants and take off a diaper first. If your child is comfortable being without a diaper or pants, let it happen whenever you can.
- Be present. Look for signs that your child is ready to go, and offer to read him a book or play a game with him while he sits on the potty, if he wants to. Sit on the floor next to him. Have fun instead of force around potty time.
- Prepare yourself (physically) for puddles. If there is diaper-free time, there will be puddles. It will be easier to deal with these puddles if you have a plan in place. Put a washable pad on the bed or the couch. Figure out in advance what you will use to clean up (I highly recommend cloth diapers for this - very absorbent) and where wet clothes and towels will go (I love a wet bag for this, because it can go right in the wash with whatever is inside it). Have the supplies handy.
- Prepare yourself (mentally) for puddles. A little pee on the floor or the carpet or the bed is not a major problem. Think about this in advance so you don't get upset when it happens. Just clean it up and don't make a big deal out of it. Clean-up can be a breeze.
- Drop the deadline and be flexible. If you have in your mind that it should or will happen by a certain age or within a certain time frame, it will make it more difficult to be your child's partner. Trust that it will happen. Avoid putting pressure on your child or your self. Just as children learn to walk and talk at different ages, they learn to use the potty at different ages. Your child might have no interest in using the potty whatsoever. She may go through periods of interest and use, and then completely turn away from it for a while.
On a personal note, I practiced some "part-time EC" with my second child, starting when he was eight months old. I did not use this as a way to get him "trained" earlier or faster, but simply as another way to partner with him, to support his learning, to help him feel comfortable with using the potty from an early age. It was very cool. You can read more about it here, and feel free to ask me about it.
Also, none of the links above are sponsored, just my own personal suggestions. This blog continues to be ad-free.