As you can probably already tell, I am not a big fan of the term, "potty training". There's nothing wrong with it, I just don't feel its the proper term to use when talking about a child. Training is something you do with a dog. With a child you teach and guide, right? So I do not use the term very often. So whatever you call it, it doesn't change the fact that you eventually have to do it.
But when is the right time to start teaching?
Since every Child is different, its so hard to figure out when to start your potty adventures. With M I started as soon as she was able to to walk. I never force the issue of using the potty, but I did bring her with me every time I had to go. Most of the time she stayed when I put her on her potty. Although, sometimes she required a book to hold her attention long enough to sit for a minute. Even if she didn't go every single time, it was still conditioning her brain. Luckily she picked it up very quick. We were out of diapers by 20 months with only a few accidents here and there.
We were also very verbal with her. "Mommy has to use the potty right now" or "Yay, Daddy went pee-pee in the potty" are just a few examples. We started celebrating anyone that came into the house and used the potty. Sounds silly, but she saw the clapping and cheering and wanted them to be directed at her. We continued to encourage potty use by constantly asking her if she needed to go; like once every hour.
We did the whole potty chart thing on and off. For the most part it worked, but after a while stickers as rewards became nothing special. So we decided to use a trip to the toy store for a filled chart. We always used positive reinforcements and NEVER scolded for accidents. When I have to do it all over again for our next baby, I don't think I would change anything.
How did you teach your kids to use the potty?