26 answers

Earliest Successful Potty Training Age?

I am curious what was the earliest age other Moms had success potty training their little ones. I personally have an ideal age of 18 months to start potty training. My thought is by 18 months a child is more likely to be able to start communicating the need to go to the bathroom or at least better understand the concept. Thanks!

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thank you for your advice. As one person challenged, I did inquire when my relatives started potty training...the answer was 1 year old. So, I have started potty 'communication' and just introduced my little one to the potty seat :o) I'm not planning on potty training this soon but introducing the 'tools'. Thanks for your time!

Featured Answers

My first child potty trained himself completely by age 2 because he hated feeling wet and he has a big bladder. His brother was closer to age 4.I personally believe in not pushing the subject, and letting it happen when they are physically capable which varies with each child. Just like learning to walk or read for that matter, it's different for everyone.

My daughter was completely potty trained at 19 months. Only because she hated messy or wet diapers so much so decided to pretty much potty train herself. She completely understood at 19 months when she needed to go potty and would tell me.
Good luck!

More Answers

Good Morning!

I have been "potty training" my son since he was 6 weeks old. I know this is hard to believe, but other cultures in the world don't have the luxury of diapers and have been using other elimination communication to help their children deal with their waste. I have had great success with this technique and find that my son uses the toilet more often than not. He still uses diapers most of the time, but I; beginning to think we could make it through the night without one.

Here are some links:

Good Luck and pleasant surprises!

2 moms found this helpful

I agree with the last poster and I'll tell you why. I had exactly the same thoughts as you with my daughter. I thought 18 mo. is an excellent age, if she's fully trained by 2, it would be awesome. I had other friends who had children who started potty training at that time too. Why not?

Well, it wasn't the right time for my daughter. So we potty trained for 2 YEARS. Even though I worked on it all the time, she wasn't able to go without a diaper everyday until 3 1/2 almost 4. There are a few things I overlooked in my decision to start at 18 mo. 1) Potty training can't be about what's convenient for the partent--the child really has to be ready. 2) There are studies that show that kids who are pushed into training too early, take much longer (I didn't read those). 3)All of my friends who had children who trained early weren't first born. As in there is something about being a subsequent child that helps the training happen earlier, I think because the child(ren) want to be like the older ones.

I took none of these things into consideration and it completely backfired on me. It also had a few consequences as well. Because my daughter wasn't trained by the time preschool started, she couldn't start at 3. I realize not all parents want to preschool at 3, but we did. It was also obviously much more expensive, than had I waited for her timing, she might have been trained a year earlier saving us a whole year's worth of diapers. I also might not have felt the failure as a parent. Other parents do judge and say things when a little girl is almost 4 and still in diapers. They shouldn't--but it hurts.

So that's my story. I think you should wait.

2 moms found this helpful

I would steer clear of your setting the age when your child should be potty trained. You can start working on it, but don't be surprised if your attempts are thwarted. I have worked in day care and nannied as well as having three children of my own. It seems that the harder the parents push, the kids tend to get stubborn and use it as a control issue. My oldest son decided at 14 months that he was not going to wear diapers anymore. He was completely day-time potty trained by 20 months. I was very glad that we were renting during the 6 month interim. My middle child, also a boy, is almost 2 and a half, and is not ready to be potty-trained. Each child is different. The less we stress about it, the less they stress and the happier they are. However; I do think that for the most part 3 year is a good goal. Good luck getting yours trained by 18 months.

1 mom found this helpful

Hello, J.. I work with two year olds, and If they are not ready to be potty trained you are just setting you and your child up for failure. The child will let you know when they are ready. Potty training a child is nothing to rush into it will happen when they are ready.

1 mom found this helpful

I think the age at which they're ready varies, but you can start anytime as long as your expectations for their age are realistic. We introduced a potty with out daughter when she was about 18 months. We talked about what it was for, and would allow her to sit on it whenever she wanted to (we read LOTS of books in the bathroom during those days).

She was always in control, and we just let her learn and took the gradual approach. We gave lots of praise when she had a success and looked at the whole thing as a learning process instead of a training camp :). I'd recommend the book "Diaper Free Before Three" if this kind of approach appeals to you.

1 mom found this helpful

HI there- You may not believe this but, I started with my son at 3 weeks old. Try checking out the diaper free baby portland website, they have great meetings. My son is now 16 mos & almost potty trained. So 18 mos is not to soon. But check out a meeting, they give great advice.

1 mom found this helpful

Every child is different, and every child has his/her own way of telling you that she/he is ready. It is the child's readiness that determines when potty training starts.

If you wait for the child's readiness, then potty training should take only a couple of days.

If you start at other times then you are training yourself to respond to the child's cues, times, and your needs.

My daughter decided to train herself at 18 months while we were on a 3 day trip to Victoria, and Vancouver B.C. by ship, ferry, and train. By the time we returned she was potty trained. It was a miserable trip because we visited every and I do mean every (!) toilet on our way. In the ship, in the ferry, on the bus, each and every restaurant, etc....

My son was dry every night from age 12 months on, but would not use the toilet. He was not potty trained until the four year old preschool teacher said in his hearing that she would not accept children who were not potty trained. He was potty trained the next day....All it took was something that motivated him.

1 mom found this helpful

I just wanted to Ditto what Camille said about Elimination Communication. I began putting my second daughter on the toilet at 6 weeks also and there was obvious muscle control on her part. I could feel her body tense and release. We did not try to make it every time but when it was convenient placed her on the potty to try.
I also was a skeptic when I heard about ec 3 years previously with my first. I now wish I had tried with her as well. Less diapers and a familiarity with the toilet are good things imo.
Of course all kids are different. If you get a potty chair now and she is not ready you can always put it away for a bit and pull it out later. Make it fun and not pressured. She will let you know when she is really ready.

1 mom found this helpful

J. - I think six weeks is a little extreme! I wonder if the baby is trained or the mama??
18 months would be great I am sure, but neither one of mine showed a desire to be trained until 3 (right at around the third birthday). I tried with both of them when they were around 2 1/2 and they BOTH were not ready. When they were, it was a dream. My first son trained in 2 weeks and my second trained in 3 days.
The little girl I nanny however is 2. (she turned 2 in Sept). We decided to train her at the same time I was training my second son. It took her a bit longer (about 2 weeks) but she is fully trained as well.
When I see mothers that say it took 6 months and the like, I have to think that maybe the child wasn't ready when potty training was introduced.
When I say that the kids are trained I mean NO diapers (ever, that included sleeping through the night and naps), and able to go to the bathroom all by themselves, no help from me.
If you start training and it's a fight then your child is not ready. And if they are not ready they will make the next 6 months of your life one big battle of wills! lol
Good Luck, L.

1 mom found this helpful

I have 2 totally different stories with my two kids. My oldest (boy) was already 2 when he finally got it. But almost 3 when he got the nighttime down. Now my second, (girl) started at 15 months and she was done at 19 months. So it totally depends on you and your child. Good luck, either way.

1 mom found this helpful

When I taught preschool, there was a child in the ajoining day care who was 100% potty trained at 1 year - she wore underwear all night and everything. I'm not sure what her mother did or when she started the process (I taught the 3 year old class, and we had several who were still in diapers 24-7)

I have heard alot of good things about the infancy potty training (which is really more teaching a response to a sound than potty training) and I am considering trying that with my child when he/she is born.

Whatever you do, consistancy is the only real way to make progress and remember that every child is really different in their timing on this particular issue.

Best of luck!

1 mom found this helpful

As far as a child going potty by themself, all of the moms I've met have gotten varying amounts of success during the two's, but I haven't personally met any children who got it down perfectly or without relapses before three. (Although, I know they're out there!) It seems to make it harder and take longer when there is pressure on the child (or mom) too early. Maybe help them learn and understand the concept and then let them choose to do it when they are ready (when they are able to pull down and up their pants on their own for one) -- and because *they* want to do it.

My pediatrician told me to show them a couple of books and maybe a video, but once they figure out that WE want them to go potty, it's all over -- they will refuse! That was her advice, anyway. Good luck! :-)

P.S. I know that babies really are 'potty-trained', or taught give signs and go on cue (whistling, etc.) from infancy in many cultures -- rural China for one. Of course, the child can't change or clean themselves, or even get to a potty by themselves! :-)

1 mom found this helpful

My sister-in-law successfully potty trained her son at 15 months, but he regressed about a year later. Children that are potty trained too early almost always regress making it pointless to do it early. It just ends up being a power struggle. As long as your child is the one choosing to do it, it is fine, but making him/her will bite you in the butt. In my experience, the ideal age to start potty training is around the second birthday. Many girls will be ready to start as early as 21 months, and many boys won't be ready until almost his third birthday. Keep in mind too that potty training is in stages. A child will generally be totally trained to pee in the potty, but will not poo in the potty until later.

1 mom found this helpful

There will be people who tell you younger, and people who tell you older...I think that younger is really just an adult taking the kid to the bathroom every hour. In my opinion, you should wait until your child gives some signs - usually around 18 months, but don't expect full potty training by that age. My son was in underwear during the day at 25 months. In the past year, has only had 1 accident...literally. We are just getting to the underwear at night stage though.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi J.,
Potty training began at 18 months with my oldest. She was telling us when she went, so I started. It took about 2 months to get her to tell us before she had to go (#1, longer with #2.) With my youngest, she actually started to bring to me to the bathroom before she had to go (#2) at 17 months, I thought life was grand. But, it was too good to be true and she stopped altogether about a month into it. So now here we are at 19 months and she might tell me once every few days, but she will do it when she is ready. I guess that is my advice, they have to be ready and willing for this whole adventure to work. good luck

1 mom found this helpful

My son was sitting on a potty chair each morning by the time he could sit up. I had his potty chair on the bathroom counter and he would sit there and "brush his teeth" while I brushed my teeth. Sometimes he would use the potty chair and I would really praise him.

by the time he was about 9 months old he told me (by his body language) that he needed to make a BM. As long as I could find a bathroom fast enough I never had to change messy diapers from then on.

This would mean that when we went anywhere finding the bathroom was the first thing we would did and the last thing we did before getting in the car again. On longer trips I actually carried his potty chair in the back of my station wagon.

If you ask grandparents and great grand parents most of our older relatives were potty trained by 1 year of age because it was less time consuming that all the laundry that was necessary.

I is sad now days to see 4 and 5 year-olds still in diapers. If those parents had to use cloth diapers and acutally do the laundry I think things would be different.

Due to allergies my son took longer to be night dry but once we had his allergies under control he was night dry also.

I really think it is a matter of rewards for the behavior you want. Telling an infant good job when they pee and poop in their diaper goes a long way in making potty training easier.

The hardest kids I ever had to train were ones were that had parents or care givers that had negative responses to changing the little ones diapers. I got one little boy who's care giver had been disgusted every time by his poopy diapers. This little boy would go and hide when he had a BM. It was difficult to convince him that he would get a reward for a BM in the potty. Group potty training really helped in this situation.

I have potty trained at least 50 kids over the years.

1 mom found this helpful

18 months is a good age because that's when your little one can start to understand that they are going to the bathroom. I had planned on starting at that age too. But we are at 21 months old now and my daughter hasn't shown any signs of interest. We've got her a fun potty and she loves sitting on it, but she also could care less if her diaper is full or not. I also bought pull ups that will get cold when she wets, but she doesn't seem to care when it gets cold either. So for now we are just holding off till I see some sort of sign that she's ready. I'll continue to encourage her, but I'm not going to stress myself over it. She'll be ready when she's ready.

1 mom found this helpful

Our pediatrician suggested we start at 18 months, but we got a potty at 15 months and she's been exploring it and getting used to it. She sits on it at least once a day, much of the time still fully clothed.

One of the ways we know she's getting ready is that she frequently tells us about 10 minutes before she poops and tells us a couple times per day when she pees. She's able to communicate about it, but just doesn't give us enough notice to get her undressed and on her potty yet! :) We're not making a concerted effort just yet, but in general, it's best to plan that it may take up to 6 months to get the whole potty situation sorted out.

Hi J.,
Well, I'm going to sound like the rest of the mom's and tell you that children are all different. My daughter was almost a year old when she was potty trained. I always heard that when a child's diaper was dry in the morning it meant they were ready. Of course, now days you can't tell;o). You can tell I'm old;o) My daughter is 47. Yikes! Anyway, she had a potty chair on the floor and would just run to it saying Tinkle, tinkle and sit and go. At first she would go right through her little girl panties:o). I think it took a week and the reason I really started was because she was dry at night and I was expecting in a couple of months and didn't want to change two diapers. It was great tho. My next one was a boy and he just thought it was a joke to sit on the potty forever.......He was 3. Oh well.
My son and daughter-in-law are starting their little baby out with using the toilet now. She was just born when they started. They can tell when she needs to go and they take off her diaper and just sit her over a little container or the toilet and she goes. If she really isn't ready, she cries. On Thanksgiving day at our house, she only had one diaper change. She was just short of 6 mos. old. Pretty remarkable. Her mom is a SAHM. That would have to be as far as I can see.
So there is the proof. They start communicating early. My only suggestion is to not get too excited about the whole thing. I think you will know when they are ready and don't underestimate what they can understand. It's a LOT. Take care now. A.

My first child potty trained himself completely by age 2 because he hated feeling wet and he has a big bladder. His brother was closer to age 4.I personally believe in not pushing the subject, and letting it happen when they are physically capable which varies with each child. Just like learning to walk or read for that matter, it's different for everyone.

My daughter was completely potty trained at 19 months. Only because she hated messy or wet diapers so much so decided to pretty much potty train herself. She completely understood at 19 months when she needed to go potty and would tell me.
Good luck!

J., I think you may be setting up yourself for a big disappointment. Most experts (ie, moms) will tell you that it is really the child who determines when he or she is ready for potty training. You can provide an environment that is conducive and positive for this transition, but you really shouldn't force it. That's when little ones get very stressed out. Eighteen months is very young for most (not all) children to begin potty training. Logic and reason are concepts that develop later. I would strongly urge you to save yourself and your baby unnecessary grief and hold off a while. You'll know when your little one is ready. Remember, there will likely be some back sliding, but please be patient. Don't put unreasonable pressure on such a young child. It will happen. I promise. As with most of parenting, live and learn. :) Good luck.

Hi J.,

I dont know about earliest...but both my boys were fully and completely potty trained at 2. My oldest was at one month after he turned 2 and my youngest at one month 3 days after he turned 2. I didnt push...I wanted them to be ready but I was also ready. I have always thought that two is a reasonable age. A couple weeks before their b-days I started talking to them about do you want to try to go potty? No pressure and the first time they told me they wanted to try that was it...on with the underware, no more diapers. Both of them never had night time accidents either...I think it was because they were ready.

Good luck,

I think this one really depends on the child. My now 3yo was potty trained at 2.5. Mostly because he was ready to do it, so we just helped him along. He was potty trained within the week. We did have some issues later on, but it was more of a testing stage he went through. Our younger son is now 2.5 but nowhere near ready to potty train. We are sure by 3 he will be.

I agree with many of the other posters. You should not push potty training training on your child. Your child will let you know when she is ready. I have 2 boys. The first choose to start at 18 months and was fully trained by 2, but my youngest was not ready until about 2 1/2, so we waited. Waiting until your child is ready will save you a lot of headache!

Once they are ready, don't let them back slide. When my boys were ready we went to big boy undies. The first 2 or 3 days they had a lot of accidents and wanted to go back to diapers, but I said no, and they started using the potty.

Without reading the other posts....

Psychology aside (my favorite subj), PHYSIOLOGICALLY speaking certain (many many many) nerve pathways are necessary for bladder control.

This is going to get technical for a moment, and then I'll do a quick sum up...I never know how much is too technical:

There are actually several pathways involved, and are regulated by BOTH the central and peripheral nervous systems. The bladder and urethra are innervated by 3 sets of peripheral nerves arising from the autonomic nervous system (ANS) and somatic nervous system. The central nervous system is composed of the brain, brain stem, and the spinal cord...and having CONSCIOUS control is located in the frontal lobes, while being AWARE that there is fullness is in the brainstem...The conscious sensations associated with bladder activity are transmitted to the pons (brainstem)from the cerebral cortex (frontal lobes). The awareness involves signals being passed from the bladder and urethra up the spinal cord into the brainstem, and then into the frontal cortex.

When the bladder becomes full, the stretch receptors of the detrusor muscle (what surrounds the bladder) send a signal to the pons, which in turn notifies the brain. People perceive this signal (bladder fullness) as a sudden desire to go to the bathroom. Under normal situations, the brain sends an inhibitory signal to the pons to inhibit the bladder from contracting until a bathroom is found.

In infants, the higher center of voiding control (the brain) is not mature enough to command the bladder, which is why control of urination in infants and young children comes from signals sent from the sacral cord. (Otherwise known as NOT THE BRAIN, but a part of the spinal cord rather low in one's back). When urine fills the infant bladder, an excitatory signal is sent to the sacral cord. When this signal is received by the sacral cord, the message is sent directly to the bladder muscle to contract. The result is involuntary detrusor contractions with coordinated voiding.

The filling of the bladder depends on the intrinsic viscoelastic properties of the bladder and the inhibition of the parasympathetic nerves.

Sympathetic nerves also facilitate urine storage in the following ways:

* Sympathetic nerves inhibit the parasympathetic nerves from triggering bladder contractions.
* Sympathetic nerves directly cause relaxation and expansion of the detrusor muscle.
* Sympathetic nerves close the bladder neck by constricting the internal urethral sphincter. This sympathetic input to the lower urinary tract is constantly active during bladder filling.


All of this, in short, is:

- Babies and young children not only have NO control, their bodies are actually signaling for them to pee the same way their body is signaling for their heart to beat.

- Children frequently WANT to be potty trained long before they are physically capable. This creates a lot of frustration on their part. I mean, how would YOU feel?

- Their brain has to develop to a point where it can actually start receiving and sending these complex series of signals (walking is actually far easier to learn. Hence, why kids DO walk first).

- The entire system of nerve response has to SWITCH (not just develop, like walking). This is a BIG reason why potty training can start and stop, and comes in stages unless you wait until their entire system is wired (at about age 3). Not only do the systems have to rewire (which means that for a while they will have TWO active systems, that they can't choose between, and then that they have to remember the right one)....but if there's anything going on that's affecting physical development of the nervous system, the LEAST IMPORTANT THINGS (like, alas, not needing to spend an arm and a leg buying diapers), get put on hold while a different aspect of the nervous system starts building.

- Brain and nerve development is different for every individual.

- Adding EMOTIONS in, throws the whole system out of wack. Because, yep, you guessed it....the urge to pee is not only tied to the physical, but runs along some of the same paths (and is tied together) with the nerves related to our emotions. A few examples we've all (or most of us) have felt would be: needing to pee more when you're scared, or nervous, or excited. Or after sex. Or when taking depressants (like alcohol).

So these things take time. And as I'm sure you'll hear from all of us who've been through it..."pushing" creates stress...which creates less bladder control.

I'm not saying your child isn't ready. I've know kids who were totally potty trained by age one, and kids who weren't (daytime) potty trained until after they were 3 or 4. It has VERY little to do with parenting.

Most children start exhibiting some form of control as infants. But that's their systems starting two switch. And unfortunately, that switch typically takes at least a year from the time they first start to "hold it".

Of course, night-time control is a whole different animal.



Required Fields

Our records show that we already have a Mamapedia or Mamasource account created for you under the email address you entered.

Please enter your Mamapedia or Mamasource password to continue signing in.

Required Fields

, you’re almost done...

Since this is the first time you are logging in to Mamapedia with Facebook Connect, please provide the following information so you can participate in the Mamapedia community.

As a member, you’ll receive optional email newsletters and community updates sent to you from Mamapedia, and your email address will never be shared with third parties.

By clicking "Continue to Mamapedia", I agree to the Mamapedia Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.