I know what I'm about to say will horrify some parents on various sides of the whole issue of moving your child from diapers to independently going to the bathroom like us adults usually do. We started early, and we're at a point where we're moving ahead full steam on Acorn's request, even though he just turned 2, and has developmental delays.
We've been having Acorn sit on his potty chair after nap time and after waking in the morning for about a year now (yup, we started at 13 months actual, when he started waking up from naps mostly dry). Not in a stressful way, just a fun time, sitting, watching a movie, playing with toys, and when he was ready to get up, he could. It didn't take long for us to successfully get at least 1 a day in the potty, sometimes 2.
Now, we'd left it at that, really, waiting to see what Acorn did - dragging him and his ventilator to the bathroom really wasn't an option if he said he needed to go, so we were first waiting until that was done. And then there was this whole hypospadius thing, needing surgery and all, and we were told that kids usually regress after that sort of thing, so it "wasn't worth potty training" before it was fixed...and then his one surgery turned into two, and that puts us into this fall, and if he's going to go to preschool the following fall, we'd need to do something about it this winter/spring....
But, you know, this kid is smart, even if he does have some delays in his physical development. His therapists and psychologist all say he has amazing problem solving skills. He hates wet diapers (and ours are all cloth, so he knows when he's wet). And now he also knows that you can go potty in the potty chair, because he's been doing it successfully for a year - and that people clap and cheer when you do.
And last Friday, he proved me right.
He'd gone in the morning when he got up. While he was playing, during our before-leaving-for-work routine, he went over to the potty chair and started messing with it. We all looked at each other, and Big Oak said, "do you need to go potty?" Acorn's response was to open the lid, so we stripped his barely-damp diaper off, and sat him on the potty, and a minute or two later he got up, and sure enough, he'd gone pee in there again.
Of course, we all clapped and cheered.
During the course of the day, the nurse reported 5 potty attempts, all instigated by Acorn, and all successful...and 3 wet diapers.
While it's been sometimes more successful than others, we've got about a 60% success rate going in the potty over the course of a few days. We've had one miss on the floor, where he got up from the potty before he was done, and went on the floor instead.
So, our plan at this stage is to get some training pants (I've purchased 2 brands locally, and have 4 others on the way - I'm thinking I may write reviews on these) and to teach him to put them on and take them off by himself. Here around the house he's usually t-shirt and diaper anyway, so it should be fine. Given his control issues, anything he can do all by himself is more likely to be successful.
Once we've got him going about 80-90% in the potty chair and signing (or saying) that he needs to go, we'll move the chairs out of the main rooms (one in his room upstairs, one in the livingroom downstairs) and into the bathrooms, and then we'll move to putting the ring on the toilet instead.
I'm a big fan of the term potty learning instead of potty training - we're not putting him on every hour, we're not fighting about it, we're just giving him opportunities to figure it out.