19 Month Old Ready to Potty Train?

Updated on October 14, 2008
E.M. asks from Louisville, KY
18 answers

while getting ready for my wedding on friday my 19 month old climbed the potty and sat there.... the past week or so she has been taking off her diaper every time she is wet. i cleaned up her sisters old potty and put it out... she explored it a bit and sat on it and tried to go(she was wearing a dress and got it on her) today i let her run around most of the say with out a diaper on she peed on the floor several times (which is not a big deal) but how do i get a child this young to understand when to go? do you think shes just to young? shes showing the signs of taking her diaper off when wet and says potty and all that im just not sure how to potty train a child who cant really even talk yet

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answers from Raleigh on

YES! She's ready to start. My niece was trained at 18 months (except for bedtimes) and my daughter was trained at 20 months.
It makes me laugh when people say that kids can't be trained before 2. Before disposable diapers- ALL kids were trained by 2. It was a much more no-nonsense approach, but it CAN be done. Besides, babies in 3rd world countries crawl to the hole where the adults go- how come we believe it's not possible for them to know when they have to go.
Good luck!

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answers from Charlotte on

Might not be a bad idea to keep the potty out to get her used to it, but I think she's definately too young.

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answers from Jacksonville on

YES YES YES! Don't let anyone insult her intelligence and say she's not ready; clearly she is! There's a book called Toilet Training in Less Than a Day, which worked on my 27-month old boy (in less than a day). What you do is tell her that she is a big girl now and can use the potty. Get lots of loose fitting panties that she can pull up and down; show her how to pull them up and down - one hand in front one in back. While training (and for a couple of days afterwards for her ease) just have her wear the panties, and maybe a shirt; if it is a long shirt pin it up so it is easy for her to pull her panties up and down.

For the training, give her lots and lots to drink (8 oz per hour of her favorites like soda, juice, punch, whatever she'll drink) and have salty snacks and treats and little candies and whatever (it's only for a day, or less). Get a doll that pees (it's fine if it is just very basic - as long as you can put liquid in her mouth and it will come out her bottom). Show your daughter how to teach the doll how to use the potty, and have her put the doll on the potty... When your daughter's not looking, cause the doll to have an "accident" and tell the doll that that's not what we do... we use the potty, and have your daughter do the same with the doll. Give your daughter more and more to drink for a reward, and the treats as well. The salty snacks help her to want more to drink. So, she should need to use the potty a lot (keep the training in a smallish location, such as in the kitchen near a bathroom). Since she's so young you'll probably need to use a potty seat that she can empty, and teach her how to do that. She should need to be using the potty a lot, and keep rewarding her for using it (with more drinks and treats.)

Teach her the difference between wet and dry, and teach her that we need to have dry panties. Start checking her panties for dryness, and teach her how to check them. Shift from rewarding her for using the potty to rewarding her for having dry panties, and check every five minutes or so. When she has an accident, act shocked and appalled and talk about how we must have dry panties... Go to where she had the accident and grab her by the hand, and run with her to the potty, then back to the same spot and back again for a total of 10 times. This teaches her how to get to the potty fast, and they think it's funny/fun. Then have her clean up the mess and change her panties. Do that for every accident.

Once she is proficient at keeping her panties dry, slow down the dryness check to like every 20 minutes. Throughout the training talk about all the people who are going to be so proud of her for being a big girl and using the potty (grandma, dora, spider man, the mail man, auntie, etc etc.) Have some of those people call during the training to tell her how great that is. Eventually stop giving treats for having dry pants, and when she's dry and using the potty on her own for some time (during the day) then she's done. The next day you may need to remind her that she is a big girl now and wears big girl panties. She'll likely have an occasional accident for a while. Run with her 10 times, have her clean up the mess.

I would really recommend reading the book; I may have left stuff out and you need to do it all for it to work in less than a day. But this is the gist of it, and if you do it all it really does work (they tested it in a clinical setting and if both parents were on board for it, it worked 100%). It worked for us, and I only wish I had found the book 9 months sooner, because our son could have done it then. You can find the book on amazon, used for cheap.

As for number 2, the book said that it would follow naturally, and it did for our son. It said the sensations for number 2 are much stronger, so they really know when they need to do that. He pooed in his pants about once a week for a month or so, so I made him help clean up the mess and cleaned him up with cold water in the bath tub and he eventually stopped. Cleaning it up once a week was much better than changing 5 poopy diapers a day anyway, which both of my boys graced me with until they were trained. The earlier you train her the easier it will be. Once they are "trained" to go in their pants, you're not just teaching a new skill, you're having to break a long time habit, which is why we see 4-year-olds in diapers sometimes, which is disgusting and an insult to them.
Good luck!

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answers from Nashville on

My daughter was potty trained at 20 months. I think they know and it sounds like your daugher is well on her way. Let her explore and take her to the potty periodically and set her there. I don't recommend running around without panties or diaper. This just encourages her to not want it on and she can't grow up like that. Put panties on her and take her every so often and she will learn. I do not think it is too early if she is this advanced to want to do it. If you discourage her it might take years because she will rebell.

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answers from Nashville on

She is obviously ready to stop being in a wet diaper. We always potty trained when they started walking, and I assume at 19 months, she is walking. When she does use the potty, praise her and reinforce "the potty". When you go, ask her if she needs to go. Get a doll that wets, and sit it on the potty to show her. How did you train your 4 year old??

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answers from Nashville on

Hi E., My daughter also started potty training at 18 months and she was fully trained by 24 months (except at night she wore a diaper). I think you are at a good start. I also did the same thing as you are by letting her explore the potty and run around "free." I asked her every 1/2 hour or so if she had to go potty and I would just sit her down regardless if she did or didn't. When she went we made it it a BIG deal and did a dance and all. It will take a bit but she got the hang of it pretty quickly. My son also had an early interest and we started potty training him at 22 months the same exact way and he has done well. Good luck!!



answers from Wheeling on

Take advantage of her obvious interest!! It's always easiest when they're 'into it' (giving up bottles, pacifiers, diaper usage, etc)!! I'd keep diapers on her, but any time you go to use the bathroom (or any time you notice that she's stopped what she's doing for a second), take daughter with you and put her on her potty. Rave about successes (w/no comment over 'failure'), and she'll probably be 'trained' within a month or two. I raised 4 kids (2 boys, and 2 girls) and all were fully trained (telling me when they needed to go and sleeping dry) by age 2 (boys both had a few nighttime accidents, but no 'biggie'). Granddaughter's 14 months old and wakes up dry, so we take her and she 'goes' on the potty.

All kids are different, but potty training is easier with girls, easier with the second (third, and subsequent add-ons), and easier with a few days' diligence!

Congratulations on your recent marriage!
God bless and good luck~



answers from Raleigh on

My son was 2 when I got pregnant with my daughter. I asked my mom how she handled having more than one child in diapers as my eldest sister is about three years older than me and there is one in between. She said she never had two of us in diapers at the same time. Amazing since there is 20 months between me and the next oldest. She said she just put us on the toilet several times a day when she had learned from our schedules when we would be most likely to go. It sounds as if your little one is ready, she just needs some guidance. If she says potty and doesn't like being wet, she probably will quickly make the connection. Watch her behavior and be ready to put her on the potty quickly. Then provide positive feedback when she's successful. Leaving her diaper off, but corraling her, maybe in the kitchen, for a few days should do the trick. Good luck. L. D.



answers from Huntington on

While I wouldn't expect great results yet, I would encourage her interest in the potty. Each evening, put her on the potty right before bed, reminding her she will get a reward if she's still dry in the morning. I would start each morning by taking her to her potty, while asking if she's dry. Give her a small reward if she is still dry in the morning. Sit her on the potty anyway while you explain that big girls don't need diapers, because they use the potty and get to wear pretty big girk panties. Let her pick out some big girl panties at the store that she can have for her birthday, if, and only if, she's ready for them. Every two hours, or everytime you go, sit her on the potty too. While you run her bathwater is another good time to sit her on te potty. The sound of the running water can help her pee. Always be encouraging, never harsh or threatening. offer a small reward everytime she goes in the potty, maybe a penny for every tinkle & two for a poo. Avoid food as a reward! Let her sit only as long as she's content to stay put, a book will help, never force her to stay on the potty longer than she wants. Even if she's only successful once in a great while, it is one diaper less to wash, or throw on the landfill, and is progress!



answers from Charlotte on

I have 3 girls and all potty trained differently. The only thing that was consistant is that it only works when they want it to. I would guess that your daughter is interested, so I say go with it. It sounds like you are doing just fine. I must say that the idea of potty training in less then a day kind of scares me. Personal opinon, I just don't like putting that kind of pressure on a child at that age. I will tell you that with my first daughter I used stickers as rewards. A sticker is something any aged child can understand. We had a piece of paper on the back of the toilet tank and every time she went she got either 1 or 2 stickers depending on what she did. It worked great and stickers can be very inexpensive. Now my second child needed a little more, we used Tootsie Rolls. my third just kind of was trained all of a sudden, so I let her pick out a pack of "Big Girl Panties"
Like I said at the begining every child is different. You know your child, trust your insticts.
Hope it helps



answers from Memphis on

Sounds like she's trying. Having older siblings can make a child interested in potty training at a younger age. If messes aren't a problem then I'd let her keep trying. I used some of those padded underpants. They're regular cloth but are a little padded so the absorb some of the urine and she will feel the wetness. You'll still get a puddle too though. I'd keep the potty nearby and as should as she starts to pee put her on the potty. My son was older but totally not interested. I did this for a few days and he got it.



answers from Charlotte on




answers from Wheeling on

Hi E. M.

That is my Birthday too.
Your little girl sound like she is ready to train.
You might have to watch the timing when she goes.
Watch for signs, you know expression on her face or
action that show she is going.
Go with her to the restroom and set with her.
Showing her you have to go too.
Let her hear the sounds.
I hope I helped a little

Have a good day Today
Vicki W.



answers from Asheville on

My son started training around 18 months too...he'd potty every time we'd change his diaper so we figured why not put him on a potty seat instead of doing extra cleanup each time. We just started putting him on the seat at every diaper change and when he went in the pottie gave him huge praise and clapping. He got the idea after a few days. He's 22 months now and uses the potty pretty well and tells us when he needs to go sometimes. He just started school three days a week and we got an insert for our toilet and bought pull-ups. He's old enough now to want to do the whole pottie process (lift the lid, put his insert on the seat, pull his pants down and throw away his pull-up, push toilet paper into the toilet to "wipe himself" off, flush, wash hands, etc.). It's a lot more work for us, but he has such a great time feeling confident about his big boy skills that he's much better about using the pottie and telling us when he needs to go.

Based on how our son has been, I think kids have to be old enough to want to do it before they'll tell you they need to go. I'd suggest offering the pottie at every diaper change with consideration to when she usually goes and just think of this as a kind of bridge to when she's truly ready to do hard-core training. I bet you'll just "know" when she's ready. How nice that she's interested now though! Hopefully training will come easier.

Good luck!



answers from Nashville on

just let her go at her own pace.....when she notices you and sissy going she will too in her own time.



answers from Memphis on

She is definitely not too young. She is even within the traditional potty training window of 18 mo -2.5 yr. Training now will mean skipping the struggle of training later in her 2's.

Unfortunately I'm not chock full of resources for beginning potty training at this age. I've done elimination communication with my last few children and so potty training at 19 months was just a continuation of what we've already been doing.

But you could try

to be there when she wakes up from a nap or in the morning- if she is dry then, it's a great time to try to go. My daughter (21 months) likes to "read" books, brush her teeth, and play with certain toys (that she picks out before hand,) when she sits on the potty.

having a few things she likes to play with in the bathroom, so she can see them when she walks in to sit down.

having a cup of water in the bathroom for her to drink. Swallowing stimulates peristalsis in the bowels and being well hydrated will help with toileting as well. Chewing also stimulates peristalsis, so be prepared for her to need to poop around mealtimes...

If you let her go diaperless for a couple of days you should be able to figure out when she needs to go the most. And you may already have a good idea of when she poops every day- most children are fairly consistent.

You might want to consider buying a couple more potties and some cloth training pants. You will probably have to special order the pants off the internet, it's hard to find them sized for 18 mo-24 mo in the store. Then she can go diaperless or wear the training pants at home, with a shirt or dress, so she can learn to take herself. You can find waterproof cloth training pants that you can use in the car or when visiting, as well as the traditional cloth kind. I think cloth is better because she can feel the wetness better, and it's more like real underwear. The secondary potties go in rooms you are both in the most- probably your living room and kitchen, but YMMV. It is helpful to have an older child or yourself demonstrate using the potty in these rooms. As she is first re-learning to listen to her body's signals, she will not have very much time between knowing she needs to pee and cutting loose, so having a potty right there is helpful. Once she is going in the potty consistently, she will learn to tune in earlier and be able to wait longer, and you can phase out the secondary toilet spots.

When you go somewhere, take a small potty (we used a baby bjorn little potty, now she is sitting on the big seats) or an insert seat with you. Giant size ziplocs and a big diaper bag are helpful for discreet and hygeinic transport. Offer her the chance to potty before you leave- you probably already have a routine for this with your older child, just include the baby in it. Then as soon as you get where you are going, offer a chance to go again.

"Toilet learning" by Allison Mack is a good book to read together at that age, or there are a lot of more modern children's books and videos in the potty training world.

The most important thing is your attitude. This is something you are thinking about doing because you are listening to your child and following her lead, so you're starting from a healthy place. If during the process you find yourself getting irritated or angry, that's the time to stop, apologize if needed, and after the mess (if any) is cleaned up, put a diaper on for awhile. Consistency is important, but a postive attitude even moreso. A positive attitude, and one that is matter-of-fact- of course you want to learn to potty, just like you wanted to learn to walk and talk, of course you will learn from me and sister and daddy, when you are ready- and patience with the inevitable mistakes along the way- all this goes a long way. You probably didn't praise and reward M&M's for every step she took in the process of learning to walk- it isn't needed for toilet learning either. Just a positive attitude, ready to share her accomplishments with others (guess what baby did today!?) but not praising overmuch or rewarding. She will get the hang of it and be happy to be one of the big kids who uses a potty.

I checked out the Toilet Training in Less Than a Day book for my oldest, and let my husband try it out with him one day, because I couldn't bring myself to try it. His mother had used it with him with great success, so he was into it. My son made progress in the weeks that followed and learned within a few months of the episode, but he wasn't trained in one day. It is a method developed for teaching older children and adults who are mentally and physically disabled but have bladder and bowel awareness to use the toilet. There are some aspects of the book that I think are good- the doll that wets was very encouraging to my son- but overall my feeling was that I would be training an animal, not helping a little person who naturally wants to become independent and imitate her parents. Rewards aren't needed if your subject isn't reluctant, and a non-verbal 19 month old is a lot smarter than a dog. Just my opinion!

My daughter (21 mo) will usually come and find me if she makes a mistake. Often she will help clean up a pee puddle with a rag if she makes one. She will sometimes bring me her little potty if she goes, to let me know it is full- kind of nerve racking for her to carry it across the floor, but so cute! We just went on a weekend trip to my sisters. She is now peeing in public toilets (a little scary to use them when they are so small!) instead of just sitting or going in and refusing to sit. She continued to do all her poops in the potty at my sisters, just like she's been doing at home. We kept a diaper cover on top of her training pants as backup (there is a lot of carpet where we were staying) and she only peed in the toilet a couple of times, usually right after she woke up or when she had to poop. So we still have a long way to go with bladder consistency. At home we are between 60-75% of pee in the potty. But believe me, even just having her out of poopy diapers is such a relief! I definitely think it was worth cleaning up a few poopy messes on floors and chairs- and out of training pants- to not have to wipe it out of all her cracks and crevices and have her sitting in it on a daily basis in her diaper, KWIM? And she is taking herself to the bathroom with a toy or book, pulling down her pants if she is wearing them (often she just strips off entirely!) sitting, and then calling for me across the house to come and wipe her. Adorable and so much nicer than me having to track down that smell and remove it from my child's privates.

Take what you like and leave the rest- good luck on your journey!



answers from Raleigh on

She's getting close!

Just leave the potty where she has access to it, & dont make a big deal out of "getting her trained". I let both my kids go at their own pace & we all had a very successful & pleasant go of it. My daughter (the youngest of 2) started training herself at 17 months... I did not support her as we were getting ready to move, but as soon as we were in the new house, she was done by her 2nd birthday.

Take her shopping & let her choose her first "big girl" panties so she knows they are waiting for her when she is ready to be done with the diaper! Worked for us.




answers from Greensboro on

that's great! Encorage the curiosity, praise her efforts and if you don't mind cleaning up the messes, my son's Dr. says letting them run around "free" all day is the best way to start. good luck!!

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