I'll admit, we were not very good at capitalizing on our daughter's need for clean at a young age. Though we occasionally remembered to ask her to clean up what she took out, we most often found ourselves facing a living room filled with toys after she went to bed and either cleaned them up ourselves or just left them out for the next day (after all, she was going to play with them again, anyway, right? - this was in our Messie stage). On the times when we asked, she was very good at putting things where we told her to (she was a neat freak after all), but without consistent training she fell away from the habit.
Now putting toys away at nap/bedtime is a chore for everyone.
Everyone but Emmett. It turns out, our decision to be more persistent about picking up now that Micaiah is of the responsible age has had more impact on him than his elder sister - who still acts like she's not sure what we mean when we use the all-encompassing term "toys" and must be told to intentionally notice and pick up each individual item ("Please put this doll where she needs to be," "Put your books away," etc.).
Which is why it's exciting to me when I'm helping Micaiah get up on the potty before naptime and I turn to Emmett to instruct him as he crawls toward us, "Emmett, please put the toys away" and he promptly does an about face, finds the nearest toy, crawls to the drawer where it goes, pulls open the drawer and deposits the toy, then proceeds to do the same with all of the other play-things on the floor.
Our little man may not be able to string two words together himself, but he is amazing at following orders.
Train up a child in the way he should go . . .