21 answers

Too Early to Potty Train?

My daughter is 9 months old. She is walking, not just a couple of steps but down the hallway. She is very precocious, and I think she can begin the process of potty training. My husband and I would like to potty train as early as possible (it’s a “green” thing we want to reduce ours and our baby’s footprint). I am realistic I KNOW she is young, we just want to start the process. Have any of you out there had any experience with early potty training? If so what worked best for you? Are there any books you found helpful?

Thanks in advance for your suggestions!

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Featured Answers

Most babies are not ready for potty training until they are at least 18 months old, so yes it is too early, any child care book will tell you that. Every child is different, however they need to be walking and talking/communicating well
before you ask too much of them.

To give my advice, I am a mother of 4, and the earliest most children potty train is anywhere from 18 mos to 3 years. Two of my children did it at 20 mos (both girls) and my boy at 3 years. She is not old enough to understand and control that part of her body yet. I would suggest having fun with her beginning to walk and wait another year or so. She will let you know when she's ready and show signs. Girls are very easy when it comes to potty training and normally do it faster than boys.

Good Luck!!!!

More Answers

I have a 6.5 month old. She has been peepeeing in the potty for about a month and a half and pooping for the last several weeks. She is NOT potty trained -- but I think she could be if I was dedicated to this. I had read an article about babies in other countries learning to potty early on. So I bought a potty and started putting her on it just at night before her bath. The first time -- I put her on right after I nursed. And within about a minute she peepeed. Afterwards we looked in the potty and I praised her. A few weeks ago -- she just pooped. It was pretty funny ;-) Ever since then she has pooped most days in the potty. We now put her on in the morning and at night and then sometimes during the day (usually if I need to go then I put her on her potty while I go). She certainly isn't potty trained -- but that wasn't my objective. I wanted her to get familair with the potty while she was still eager to please and excited about learning new things. I'd say she pottys in the potty about 90% of the time that I put her on - but I praise her everytime -- whether she pottys or not. And I don't make her sit there for any length of time -- when she starts to squirm -- I know we are done. For us - the potty is fun. We probably use a couple less diapers a day - but when you add the amount of spray cleaner and water I use to clean her potty -- it probably evens out. Truthfully, I think you could potty train a child that young -- many other countries do it -- but I think it will require a big commitment from both you and any other caregivers (For example my dd pottys in the potty with me but when she goes to grandma/grandpas - they don't believe in it so they don't do it -- and daddy doesn't put her on as often as I do). I don't see any harm in trying as long as you are realistic that she will have accidents and you don't try to punish her now for those accidents. If you try it out and make it fun she may suprise you. Or you may realize she just isn't interested.

2 moms found this helpful

When you wake her up set her on the potty. If she goes great! After she eats breakfast and you get her cleaned up set her on the potty. If you know when she normally has a bm then you can try and set her on the potty around that time. Read books to her while she is sitting on the potty. It is a good idea to take her to the potty every hour! It may take awhile, but she will get it. My mom said that I was completely potty trained by 14 months. My son is for the most part has been potty trained since he was 20 mos. I still put him in pull ups, because if he is with someone who is not paying attention then he will have an accident. He still needs help getting his clothes out of the way. But he tells you when he needs to go. My oldest son started potty training at 18 mos. and lost interest and was ready about 2 1/2 or 3. If you would like to learn how to learn about a company that will really help you go green send me an email. This company has really changed our lives and they are very economical!
H. M.

1 mom found this helpful

HI E.,

I do appreciate your green approach but she is not ready.
To have a potty chair around is a good idea to get her familiar with the idea and to talk about it or sit baby dolls on it. She will have to be able to say she needs to pee-pee or poo-poo before she can be trained.

May I suggest cloth diapers?
This is an exciting time in your daughter's life. There are all sorts of skills she is about to master, being ready for the potty is not one of them. At least not in the next few months.

I wish you all well,

Too early is not really defined by age...except where their own body's ability to respond to what their minds are trying to control.
I had this experience. Our daughter, now 27 and expecting, was very verbal and I thought quite early on that she was "smart" enough to potty train, so we started. She was totally into it. However, her little body was not quite developed enough to accomplish what we and of course she thought she could do. It had another unwanted response. It made her feel totally unsuccessful and bad about herself.
We stopped and waited a good while and then about at 2 years we started again and there was no issue at all.
With each of our others I just waited until about 2 and started then. The boys were all really easy to train and one of them did it in days.
I'd check the current "manual" and see if this is just my kids or if the doctors concur about physical development for this process being later rather than earlier.

As i am sure her doctor will tell you and others who deal with the development of children, 9mo is too young to began actual potty training because her little brain does not understand the concept. When you begin potty training, you want it to be a stress less time. You do not want to set in any areas of frustration.

You can start the process of potty training through reading stories or watching videos/dvds..Until such a time as your little girl can stay dry throughout the night, verbally express the need, and show her interest(not mom and dad pushing)than physical potty training should be started cautiously.

I am sure there are those who will tell you there success story with potty training before 12 months but I would read those cautiously. I am sure a true tale would find that the potty training took up most of the day and there were more days of tears and frustration.

As a early interventionist, I have worked with children from the age of 0-6 typical/atypical. Each child was different when it came to potty training. With each child, I started the parents to reading to their child daily. Taking child into potty and allowing to sit on potty while parent was in bathroom.

Approach this as a wonderful milestone in your child' life and proceed with opptimistic caution.

I totally agree with Alexis. In my opinion, 9 mths seems way too young to potty train. I started my daughter around 15-16 mths. Usually when they can start communicating with you is a great time.

Good luck!!

Google "elimination communication". It might be just what you need.

I am not one who believes children can't potty train until they are three. I say as soon as they understand and their bladders are developed enough to hold it/control it, then why not!!! I would just make sure her bladder is developed enough. My pedi told me that little boys bladders aren't fully developed until around 18 months, but I am not sure about girls. Good luck.

Hi E.! I wanted to begin potty training my son early too as he was walking and running by 9 mos as well, however I was strongly advised by my pedi to wait until he was 2 b/c early potty training could cause delays in other development. I believe you can start earlier with girls(around 15-18 mos).
I was also told the earlier you begin potty training,the harder it is. For the best and quickest results, a parent is to wait until the child is able to express that he/she needs to potty and is able to hold it until they reach the potty. My son will turn 2 at the end of this month and I am now reading up on my how to books for potty training boys. I think he's ready b/c everytime I change his diaper after he's pooed, he says "ick,poo poo".
Here is a copy and paste of an article that was helpful to me in deciding when to toilet train:

<<One year (or sooner) is an average age for walking to begin. It is not considered developmentally sound to attempt potty training at this time for at least two important reasons.

First, your one year old is too young to consistently be aware of, much less control his or her bodily functions. She or he is too busy mastering the voluntary muscles involved in walking to even consider the nuances of controlling involuntary processes. It would be overloading your toddler's system to introduce an additional developmental challenge, especially one that he or she cannot be successful at achieving. This could cause delays in other areas of development that are primed for this time.

Secondly, an expectation to perform (even mildly) on the potty at this period in development could result in feelings of failure, inadequacy or general stress associated with toilet training. Early pressure could thwart the emotional sense of pride that coincides with successful toilet training later. Your child could miss out on the sense of mastery which is such a critical part of this developmental milestone when it occurs at the appropriate time.

Keep in mind that physical and emotional development are mutually occurring and influence each other. Natural stages of emotional and physical mastery build on each other and are best experienced sequentially in the naturally occurring readiness of the child. The natural period of time that consistent interest in toilet training occurs is usually between two and three years of age.

It is at this age that children have already mastered some sense of accomplishment from being able to successfully manipulate their environment in many ways. They can go get a toy for themselves, reach out to pet a cat, pull a book off a shelf, build a tower and use language to get what they want in the world. It is from this cumulative experience that the emergence of a separate, "confident" self emerges to master toilet training.

Self-regulation is a huge and prideful achievement because the child is aware of the accomplishment. Early toilet training often results in regression later on, which the child may experience as a sense of shame or failure, rather than pride and confidence.

Playing with the potty or observing others on the potty may prove interesting at one year of age. It may even serve as a kind of preparation for later toilet training, but it will not result in successful control of the release of complex sphincter muscles which are largely involuntary.

I am certain that your child will help you learn these things in a more concrete fashion than is explained here. Rest assured that parenting is not only instinctive, but learned from the feedback your child provides.>>

To give my advice, I am a mother of 4, and the earliest most children potty train is anywhere from 18 mos to 3 years. Two of my children did it at 20 mos (both girls) and my boy at 3 years. She is not old enough to understand and control that part of her body yet. I would suggest having fun with her beginning to walk and wait another year or so. She will let you know when she's ready and show signs. Girls are very easy when it comes to potty training and normally do it faster than boys.

Good Luck!!!!

Well, imho..... If you want to be a slave to the potty (ie taking your child there every 20 minutes to make sure you don't have an accident....for the next 2 years), go ahead and start now because chances are, that's what you'll be doing until she's truly ready to potty learn. Really at this age, I think you'd really be doing elimination communication and the commmittment you're looking at is not trivial to say the very least. If you have the time and the energy-- go for it. I think you'd possibly find a lot of information and help on the mothering.com boards. Also, keep in mind that she will still need diapers at night for a long time possibly as potty "training" is also a physical milestone. The body releases a hormone (usually after 2 or 3 and sometimes as late as 5 or 6) that allows the child to sleep without wetting him or herself at night.

As a side note.... My friend is an environmentalist (as in, this is that she does for a living, has a PHD in it, etc) and her take is --you pick your battles. She could have cloth diapered her children or done ec; however, she has to work, teach, pick up kids, etc. So yes, she used "evil" disposables; however, she chose other steps to lesson her family's footprint. Most of her colleagues did the same as it turns out.


try this website to talk to others who are doing it-I think that young its called eliminication communication.

Hi E.!

Ok so the real deal with us. Our dauther is 8 and our son is almost 5. She started potty training at 10 mo's old, her first #2 in the potty. It took until she was 2 1/2 to FULLY potty train. It was a LONG drawn out deal and I would not recommend starting this early. Our son was 2, totally ready wanted "big boy undies" and potty trained in a few months. They just are not ready that little. I do not think their bodies are ready to hold it before 2. I have talked to many mothers and they say the same thing. Wait until they are ready, and not us, to be potty trained. It is a much more positive experience this way! Just my 2 cents, you asked! S. :-)

My oldest daughter was 9 months when she went in one day from diapers to girly panties! So can be done, she is very intellegent and I took her to a 2 day a week drop in so I could do skin care classes during day, and the girl told her she was too smart to be in diapers and to tell mom she wanted frilly panties on way home. That was it! The next daughter was much harder and we got her done at 3 1/2 so you know, go for it!
(Older one also a fast walker, think that has lots to do with it!)
L. B (____@____.com)

I don't think there is a definitive age for potty training, you will know when she is ready. Some children are ready later than others. Girls are often easier, and earlier. I potty trained my youngest at about 17 months, which is considered early. She was walking at 8 months. First, she needs to be expressing to you when she has the need to go potty prior to her actually going. Otherwise, you can start training all you want, but she's going to be going in her pants and you're going to have a lot of work cut out for you! Then, is she capable of running to the potty when she's got the urge, getting her pants down,etc? You could always buy a little potty and some pull ups and do a test drive to see if she shows readiness signs and atleast with the pull ups when she has accidents you aren't scrubbing poop out of underpants all day! Good luck!

Sometimes if you start too young (in my opinion 9 months is WAY too young) they lose interest quickly and then it is battle down the road. At 9 months, they can't communicate with you the need to go much less are they able to understand the physical signs atthat age. Of course, these are just my opinions. I would wait until she gets closer to the 15 month mark.

Most babies are not ready for potty training until they are at least 18 months old, so yes it is too early, any child care book will tell you that. Every child is different, however they need to be walking and talking/communicating well
before you ask too much of them.

I think thats way too early. She doesn't even have control of her bowels yet. So even if she wanted to go on the potty she can't control the accidents she will have. I do know girls are much faster. My daughter was potty trained completely at 2. My son is three now and could care less about going in the potty!! Good Luck!!

It's my understanding that her bladder cannot actually hold enough urine long enough until she is 18 months to be potty trained. That being said, I intend to start training my daughter within the next couple months (she's 12 months)if she shows any sign of readiness (indicating that she is wet or dirty, sitting on the potty chair). Check your local library for books- they're free and that also reduces your footprint on the environment!

I personally think she is way to young, You are just going to frustrait yourself, your husband and most of all your daughter. If she is waking up in the mornings with wet or messy bum then she is certanly not ready. Let her watch you go and always clap and say "yeah Mommy went tee tee in the potty" or what ever you would tell her.
Don't force her. I do believe this is a delicate experience for a little one and it CANNOT be rushed. Just because she is walking does not mean that she even recognizes the urge to go yet. If you are so worried about the diaper issue and being "green" then use cloth diapers.
I do want to say congrats on your dedication to your eduacation while starting a family, That take a mighty strong woman!
L. Jo

Hi E.!! If you can help yourself, dont start to potty train her until she is ready. By doing it early and not waiting until HER time, you could very easly scare her. She is still at at a age where she does not quite understand a lot of things and children need to have there own controls and this is one of them. Dont pressure her cause if you do, you might have a daughter that wont use the potty until they are 4. Good luck and it is nice to see someone going GREEN!!!

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