Advice on Potty Training My 18 Mo. Old Daughter

Updated on June 09, 2009
J.K. asks from Indianola, IA
13 answers

My 18 mo. old daughter is showing a lot of interest in using the potty. I've got two boys and so the idea of training a girl is a bit worriesome for me. What do you do at public restrooms? Especially since she is still so little? Am I crazy for starting to train her already? Any other advice?

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answers from Minneapolis on

I also had a little girl that was very interested in the potty at 16 months. She was completely potty trained by 25 months but I say she kind of did it herself. Try not to push to hard or they will not want to do it. If you want to use pulls up that would be a good start and when she can go a few days dry just put her in undies. It make a mess a few time but they learn quick. We also used potty treats. When she used the potty she got M&Ms. You can aslo search the internet for travel potties. They make foldable ones you can put in a bag and take with you places. Hope this helps.

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answers from Madison on

I don't have a lot of advice since I am kind of at the same point as you. I am starting to think about potty training my son this summer. He is 17 months now and I think i might start when he is 19 months (after a long vacation we are going on in july). I had originally planned on potty training him next summer when he is 2 1/2 but I am hoping to have another baby next summer and thought I would have more time to devote to it this summer. A few of my friends with kids the same as as my son just started potty training their children and are having success so that got me thinking. I happened to come across a few articles and websites about the "naked and $75" method. You could probably google it. Basically you just let them go naked all the time. When my older son was about 19 months I started potty training him. I read a book about potty training in a day (you have a potty party and all this stuff). I think it was going pretty well but I worked 3 days a week and there was no consistency when my son was with my husband or my inlaws. So he lost interest after a while and ended up not potty training until 2 months before he was four years old!!! Talk about a nightmare!!! Thats why I was hesitant to start potty training this young again, but I truly think my older son was interested and doing great at 19/20 months, and if I hadn't been working i think he would have done great. Now I am a stay at home mom and can give my younger son the consistency needed. One piece of advice i do have is don't bother with "treats". Try a sticker chart or something like that instead. My son became a sugar addict from the potty treats and started peeing every 5 minutes just so he could get a piece of candy (and would pee on me or my purse if I wouldn't give it to him!). I SO regret ever doing the potty treats! Maybe if the stickers don't motivate my younger son I will resort to candy but I hope not. Good luck to you!



answers from Minneapolis on

Here's what I suggest, your daughter is only 18 months old, she's too small to use a public toilet. Start her training at home only, don't worry about outside the house just yet, put her on a pull up when away from home. when she uses the pot at home applaud her and possibly reward her with a small sucker(those dum-dum suckers). She'll be fine!



answers from Duluth on

My daughter was potty trained at 18 months. I just let her go when she wanted. She was in the 20 percent tile for height and weight so she was tiny. For public places we bought a folding seat that fit over the toilet seat. No problems. Good luck! It was wonderful not to have to change diapers when we were out and about!



answers from Milwaukee on

If she shows interest let her try and sit on it, but I wouldn't push her. If she does go praise her if not that's ok too. She is a little young. I had one child that was potty trained before 2 at her will so it does happen. Good luck!



answers from Minneapolis on


If she is interested now don't be surprised if in 2 months she isn't any more and get frustrated.

For potty training in public places I bring a toilet seat topper that goes on top of the big potties where ever we go. I just carry it around in a cloth bag with flushable wipes. Our daughter is very comfortable using the big toilets in public restrooms when we bring her potty seat. We even leave the bag in the car so we always have it when we are on the go.



answers from Wausau on

A Public Health Nurse recently visited my family and I was told that children generally do not have the control over their own bodies that is needed for full potty training until at least 2 1/2 years old.

That being said, I don't think its wrong for you to introduce your little one to the potty, especially since she seems interested. Like the others have said here, just don't push her and don't be discouraged if it doesn't work right now. 2 out of my 3 children (all girls) weren't potty trained until they were 3.


answers from Minneapolis on

My boys were both out of diapers by 18mos (my youngest by a year). We used elimination communication, and started with my oldest right at 18mos and he got it right away. By 20 mos he was in undies full time (day and night) and by 2 he was totally independent in the bathroom except for wiping #2's. My youngest we started around 6mos. My 9mos he could sign potty, and around 10mos he was spending most of the day in 'nakey' time, nad could say 'potty'. He was walking at 11mos and would take himself ot hte toilet saying 'mama potty' by then, and went into undies full time at a year.

Starting now, trust me, is much easier than waiting until your child is 3yrs old. By then they can argue, play games, and try to be in control all the time and fight you. If you start now, she will be compliant, willing to please, easily bribed, and will happily copycat you. Be encouraging, use underwear, and just make a potty routine, taking her every hour.

Right now you will be using a mix of traditional potty training and elimination communication. check out for some more tips. And good fory ou for seeing her signs and taking the step to go for it! Some may say this is 'just a phase', but its a window that is open until about 23mos, if you miss it, it will close and then your child will lose that ability and you will end up in a struggle. the earlier you start, the better.



answers from Minneapolis on


I trained my four with the book "Toilet Training in less than a Day" and had good results. My youngest was trained at 23 months in 2 hours and I only waited that long because I needed the weather to warm up before training. You can find the book on eBay or Public restrooms are hard. For the first month, I just made sure she went right before we left the house and came back within a couple of hours. I also keep one of those potty seats that fits on the adult toilet in a bag and take it with us for longer trips. You can find ones that fold up and are very compact. My kids preferred the same seat they were used to at home that fits on their little potty seat, so I just bring that along. It is inconvenient until they are comfortable sitting on a big toilet, but I do it anyway. And if the toilet has the automatic flusher, you really want to put your finger or a piece of tape over the sensor. It really freaks them out if the toilet flushes when they are on it.

My daughter is almost 25 months and yesterday she went for the first time on a public toilet without the potty seat. She clung around my neck the whole time, but she did it. We are going camping next week and I am just going to bring her little potty chair along. I learned the hard way with my first daughter that porta-potties are absolutely tramatic to newly potty trained toddlers.

Anyway, best of luck with potty training. She probably is at the perfect age. I waited until my kids were closer to 2 and I was really pushing the window of opportunity before they got too old and stubborn. I should have trained my first before age 2, but everyone told me to wait. With my boys, I had babies coming and had to time around that. With my last one, it was the cold weather, so potty training at 18 months wasn't an option. But she was ready. I hope it goes well for you.




answers from Des Moines on

I may be a little lost. I don't fully understand what is worrisome about training a girl. But, no, you are not crazy. She may be ready this early. My mom told me to be on my toes with my girl and give her opportunities much earlier than I may have thought she could train. Girls can potty train much earlier than boys (as a rule) sometimes. I think she was right--at least for my first girl. It doesn't mean that she needs to or that you have to commit or stress yourself out over getting it done right now. But if she wants to and is able, then great! As for the public restrooms, I just held my little ones on the toilet seat and let them go. We never had any problem with that. Actually, I never had any who were overly interested in the little potties, even at home. They really wanted to go on the big one.



answers from Minneapolis on

Hi J.,
I don't think you are crazy to think about potty training. We were training my daughters older brother, so she was exposed to the potty and what she is supposed to do. At 20 months, she was staying dry for a couple hours at a time and wanted to sit on the potty. She went a couple of times, so we put her in underwear. She had an accident the first day and that was it.
We had already laid the groundwork for what the expectation was, so once she gained control of her bladder, she was ready to go.
We had to help her some and remind her to go and try, she got an m&M treat when she went (which we simply phased out once everyone was comfortable with what was expected.)
I say, go for it! Don't miss the window of opportunity. You never know when it will happen again.
By the way, we used a book called The Potty Trainer for both our kids. Easy read and great tips.



answers from Milwaukee on

If she is showing interest, that is great! Some kids do potty train early. My cousin's daughter was potty-trained at 18 months, but my cousin said she didn't do was all her daughter. My girls were both potty-trained at 26 months and again, I didn't have to do much. Within a day of helping, they had it figured out. Our pediatrician said that what makes the difference is whether the child has the ability to hold the potty in or not. She said that most kids can release it when told, but it is the physical ability to hold it in that says when they are ready to potty-train. Watch her for clues of this, but in the meantime, use the potty chair for her to use while you are going and to put her dolls on, etc. Good luck.



answers from Davenport on

No, you are not crazy to try to train her early, that is great - we started at that age with my girl, but we had a major resistance/regression when we also tried to take her pacifiers away around the same we decided to wait till 26 months and try again. BTW - if she is showing interest, you probably do NOT need to give candy, etc. as major rewards, just lots of praise, and maybe a sticker chart. Leave the major rewards like candy, or toys for bigger obstacles, or in case you have an issue later on.

My now 30 month old little girl ( still only 34 inches tall and 25 pounds - so tiny) has been training since 26 months, and we do travel alot, so going when away from home was one of my worries too. She has been doing great, the first few weeks we just let her wear a diaper on longer trips, but since Easter, we have been 100% big girl undies, other than when sleeping (naps and bedtime).

So we ordered this:

We also bought something like this at Walmart, too, but ours has Sesame street guys on it...:

They are BOTH great products, the potty has been wonderful when we are on longer road trips, or anywhere where the bathrooms are GROSS or the line is long, we can just set it up in the back of our mini-van and there she goes! It uses standard gallon size ziplock bags , clipped on under the seat to hold the pee and poop, so after she goes, we just zip it up, and either leave it with the potty for the next use (if we are on a trip where we know she will be using it multiple times in a day) or throw it away - no worse than throwing away a poopy diaper. One tip, we put a couple paper towels in the bottom of the bag to help soak up pee, so it is not sloshing around in there too much.

I also like the folding seat in reataurants, etc. ( I keep it in the diaper bag with extra clothes in case of an accident - it is small enough, folded, to fit in a larger purse, too, for when she is totally trianed, but still too little to handle those big toilets), it gets her used to the idea of going on those big toilets, and yet keeps her from being scared of falling in, or form getting other people's germs on her bottom.

Another tip - just because she's a girl, don't think she won't pee right out the front,my girl does! At first we used the pee-guards on the potty at home, just like boys do....but then i had an accident in a public restroom where she peed right out the front all over her undies and pants that were around her calves, while sitting on the folding seat on a big toilet - I figured out if i have her keep her legs tightly together, and lean forward a little, the pee goes down and to the rear.

Good luck - won't it be nice to give up those diapers!


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