What Is the Best Way to Get Started Potty Training My 17 Month Old??

Updated on October 26, 2011
J.T. asks from Glendale, AZ
18 answers

Any advice, tips, strategies, books, dvds on potty training ?

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

Featured Answers



answers from Washington DC on

Again, wait until she's ready. If you do, she'll practically potty train herself. I'm serious, it'll take 2 days, IF she is ready. That whole thing about taking a kid to the bathroom every 90 minutes, blah, blah, blah. I disagree. Another point to remember - can she easily get her pants up and down?

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

The best guaranteed way to potty train a child is to wait till they say they want to go on the toilet or tell you they went pee or poop in their diaper. Then they will be fully potty trained & no accidents & you won't have to tell people "well she is kind of BUT she still has accidents or still where's a pull up at night".

In my opinion a child is NOT potty trained if they have accidents. And if a child is not interested you will NEVER win, this is one area that parents need to back off if a child isn't ready.

3 moms found this helpful

More Answers


answers from Chicago on

You can't really rush potty traning, so your best bet is to just learn the readiness cues so that once the child begins to exhibit them you can be ready to start. The most important thing I have found is that THEY have to be ready, or it is futile.

Some signs to watch for:
Child telling you that s/he is wet or dirty
Staying dry for 2 hrs at a time during the day
Letting you know when s/he needs to pee or poo

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Fayetteville on

J., you are starting way to young. Your child is still a baby. Your baby needs anywhere from at least 9 more months to a year. Multiple problems arise when toileting is attempted at too early an age. Number one it is physically impossible for a child at this age to control themselves. They have not developed the nerve centers. Theyr'e bladders are still developing. Number Two, They will often end up with major constipation issues. Number three you are setting your child up for failure. You want potty training to be an enjoyable accomplishment not a sense of not being able to give Mommy what she is requesting. A lot of parents feel that they are better parents the earlier their child is potty trained. But that is not true. I am sorry to say that it often shows a lack of insight into a babies physical and emotional development at this stage. Your baby is still learnig, exploring and creating millions of synapses in it's brain at this stage. To try to potty train is going to add a lot of stress at a time when rapid develoment in the brain is a priority. You will be glad you waited. Check Dr Sears website as well as Parenting.com, I think you will find that they agree.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I agree with waiting until ready, which your child may be. If you start too soon you could end up potty training for months and months.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

My oldest daughter was potty trained by the time she was 19 months and I regret it, we ended up where she would hold her BM's which resulted in her having to see a pediatric gi for a number of yrs. They outright blamed it on me potty training her way too early. With our oldest I was advised to wait until she was around 2 and to do things at her pace, which we did & had no problems at all. I just think back to the pain our oldest child went through. It was years before she was actually okay w/everything - she pretty much had to be retrained on how to go to the bathroom - she would hold it for days and we would have to go down to the E/R b/c she would be so backed up that they would have to do enemas or prescribe her medication to drink every night so she would go. It was awful because she would scream like someone was murdering her because of the pain she was in. I know that I'm giving you the worst case senario, but it was truly horrible. Sure people thought it was great that my daughter was potty trained so young, but what this poor little girl had to go through was awful. The biggest thing that we were told by the doctors was that it is about control with children, alot of children will make themselves literally sick by holding their BM because of the pain they will have from holding it so long so they end up in so much pain. And that is something that we found common with a number of parents who had children going through the same thing our DD was going through. It's not to say that potty training can't be done at an early age, it's just to be cautious. Best of luck to you.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

I would get a toilet seat cover (fits the regular seat so they don't fall in and no disgusting potty to clean - we used the Bjorn by Baby Bjorn) and start sitting him or her on the toilet every few hours. Take him in whenever you and DH go to the bathroom so he has an idea what to do. And just put him in underwear - we got rid of the diapers cold turkey. Pull ups are a waste of time and money - my son treated them just like diapers. We also spent a good deal of time reading 'Everyone Poops' by Tari Gomi while DS sat on the toilet. We did not do rewards of any sort (stickers, food, excessive praise). We presented it matter of factly - pee and poop go in the toilet. We did act happy when he was happy that he succeeded.

The average age American children were trained (done, not started) before disposable diapers was 18 months. The average child in the rest of the world is 12 months (see NY Times archives). So I would just disregard those who tell you to wait for 'potty readiness'. I think it's an American construct equivalent to waiting for 'tooth brushing readiness' before beginning to brush their teeth.

At 17 months, babies want to please. By two most are much less amenable, they are developing their own selves - separate from us - and 'no' is a big part of that.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dayton on

You can potty train a 17 month old - no need to wait for readiness cues. Those words weren't even in the language until well after disposable diapers were introduced, and people waited much longer to train. Let the child run around naked from the waist down and have a potty chair accessible where they play. When they pee or poop tell them "it goes in the potty" and take them to sit on it. Give it a little bit and see if it happens - if not, relax and wait a little while longer.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

by waiting until he / she is showing signs of being ready. Don't bother trying until then. It will just frustrate both of you.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

Everything I've read is to wait until the child is at least 2 years old.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Show them by example and take them into the bathroom with you so they learn that everyone does it.
Introduce the potty chair as a piece of furniture so your child gets comfortable with it before you start sitting them on it.
Sit your child at regular times to learn their "schedule." At the beginning every 20 minutes or so, extending it to longer as you find out when they go. First thing in the morning, before and after meals and snacks, before naps and bedtime and upon waking are typical times to "sit and go."

Keep in mind that potty training should't take forever, (any longer than 3-6 months) if it's going to happen it will happen quickly, if it's not you should probably take a break for a few months until your child is more trainable.


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

get the book once upon a potty.. get the elmo potty video..

buy a potty chair.. wait till the child is 2- 2 1/2 years old..

buy gerber training pants thick cotton.. do not buy pull ups..

put the child in cotton training pants.

do not try to train until the child is old enough.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Albuquerque on

we used the book "toilet training in less than a day" with our 3 boys and our daughter with Cerebral Palsy. It worked great. I waited till they wanted to go and then went for it. The boys were potty trained between 16 months and 2 years and my daughter was almost 3. They'll let you know when they're ready.



answers from Chattanooga on

My DD is 18 months old, and already mostly potty trained. She still has issues with pooping in the potty, but she pees in it most of the time. She only has accidents once or twice a week, if that. The only time she ever wears diapers is if we are going to be out, and not have easy access to a toilet... or when she's sleeping.

I started her really young... I bought the potty before she was even walking. Instead of changing her lying down, I would change her in the bathroom and have her sit on the toilet for a minute or two before putting a fresh diaper on her. I also paid SUPER close attention to her, and would get her on the potty as soon as she acted like she needed to go. After a while she started peeing in the potty, and when she did I gave her TONS of praise. When she was able to walk well, and had clearer cues, I put her in cloth training pants. She is getting better and better about using the potty on her own.

Google 'Elimination communication.' Technically, it's supposed to be started a lot younger... but that's pretty much what my technique was. And it has worked very well for us.



answers from Flagstaff on

something I think that is simple and overlooked is that she needs to learn how to pull down her pants. while you are training it is needed to pull down the training pants and then after she will presumably be wearing clothes. . . it is trickier than one might think because they don't always get it past their cute little bums!


answers from Minneapolis on

Lora Jensens 3 day Potty Training. Look up my former posts on the topic. There are several.

The most recent success..my just turned 22 mos old great neice (2 days after her 3 day training). The first day was HARD...texting alot that day with her Momma so I could encourage her to keep going, that it would get better! About 10 pm that night, Momma sleeping next to little ones bed, little one woke yelling Momma POTTY...she wisked her into the bathroom, had the first success of the day, and spent the next 2 days being super successful, no accidents. But then to daycare, the first 2 days were a bit tough as the daycare provider put pull ups over her panties and confused her. After that just panties and shes been GREAT.

It can be done. Parents do NOT give kids enough credit. I have worked with several of my own daycare client parents, a few family members of my own, and have passed this along to MANY of my provider pals who have parent clients who have done it. IT WORKS.

You never make a child go sit at timed intervals..that is a cornnerstone of this method. As someone else mentioned, before the advent of disposible diapers, the average trained age was much much younger...like a year and a half. We have become far too dependant on diapers and pull ups. When my daughter (now 17) was young, I do not even think there was a size 5 diaper...and now there is also a 6 (we saw this as we shopped for daycare baby items this weekend)! Pull ups were brand new and expensive when my daughter was little. But now a days...they are the norm.

If you wait for a child to tell you they are ready, they never will be...just like with pacifiers and bottles. They are like little junkies if you allow them to be..LOL. Let them show how BIG and independant they can be!



answers from Boston on

Its worth a try if your child is showing signs of wanting to. My first daughter trained at 22months and my second started training at 16months. My 16mnth one took longer to fully train but to me it was worth the accidents every once in a while instead of buying diapers. I started my younger one that early because one day she hadnt poop all day and I saw her at night crouching while playing and asked if she needed to poop and wanted to go on the toilet and she sat on tiolet and pooped. I was amazed. After that she wanted to use it so why not do underwear. At that young she needed to be reminded alot. Now the little girls I babysit one is 2 1/2 and no were ready to train and the other just turned 2 and has been is underwear for me for a week (now only if her parents would start underwear and not pull ups)
Sorry so long and I didnt answer your question start sitting on the potty/ toilet whatever you want when you change diaper, talk alot about it and give alot of praise or little reward for sitting or going like and m&m, undies no pullups they are diapers, Good luck

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions