River began self-training at 19 months. I can't think of any other word to describe how we began teaching him to use the potty, because we didn't really do anything. We were living in a house that had all-tile floors, so I would let him sit on his little potty in the mornings in the living room while he watched cartoons. One day, he just happened to pee. We made a really big deal about it, cheering and clapping and making sure he understood what happened. After that, he would just go in the potty whenever he had to. I'm not kidding. I did nothing.
I would let him run around diaper-less during the day, for a number of reasons. Not only was it a record-breaking summer, but our air conditioning unit was constantly giving us issues and it was HOT! We had a giant, single-pane window in the living room and it would get up to 88 degrees inside by the afternoon, and so it was easy to just let River run around naked. Sometimes I'd take him outside to play in the sprinkler for a bit, and then bring him inside after he had cooled down. I was also pregnant and had a pretty weak stomach, so anything to get out of changing diapers! During the summer, I was usually changing only one wet diaper in the mornings on the days we stayed home. When we were out and about and during the night, he would use diapers.
Then Austen was born and I wasn't crazy about having a toddler running around in the nude, so I put him back in diapers. When we moved to Washington six weeks later, it was much too cold to let him run around naked, so he continued to wear diapers until finally, one day after changing my giant two-year-old with long legs and a comprehensible vocabulary, I decided I was DONE wiping poop off of two butts and needed him to wear undies. We purchased two packs of big-boy underwear and I explained to him that he had to use the potty. He was not too crazy about sitting on the adult toilet, but as long as I reminded him every hour or so, he didn't have very many accidents even in the beginning, and it went off without a hitch. And as long as I woke him up to use the potty in the middle of the night, and he didn't drink too much before bed, he would stay dry when he slept.
And that was that. He was potty-trained. And I can't begin to tell you what I actually did to help him, other than letting him be a wild child and run around naked. Well, that, and he watched the Potty Dance video from Huggies over and over and over. And over.
I laugh because as I was writing this, Austen came up to me asking for a diaper change. No sooner had I finished wiping her and had gotten up to put the diaper in the bathroom, and she announced, "Uh oh, pee pee!" I swiftly picked her up and plopped her on top of the potty. We sat there for ten minutes reading books, but she didn't go any more. As soon as she got up, she peed on the bathroom floor. I think potty training her might be a challenge! I'm not going to push her... that will probably just stress her out. I couldn't even push her to sit on her froggy potty for the first time. She refused to bend her legs; I'm assuming she thought it would gobble her up. She had to do it on her own to see there was nothing to be afraid of.
I guess I'll just use this as an excuse to buy more cute cloth diapers.