When Is the Right Time to Potty Train

Updated on January 22, 2013
T.P. asks from Elgin, IL
22 answers

My son is 2.5 yrs old, I want to potty train him now & he seems to be somewhat interested. Doesn't want to wear his diaper anymore but also doesn't tells us when he has to pee or poop. I have some friends say he will never be ready & so just start now. Not sure. Also, we are going to be moving in a couple of months to a new house. Should I wait till then b/c he will be all off schedule or just go ahead now?

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 Pittsburgh on

I would absolutely train him now. Why not? My son trained in under a week (3-4 days and then a few days with some accidents) with ZERO signs of 'potty readiness' - never had a dry diaper, no interest in the bathroom, could care less about diapers. We just put him in underwear and took him to the bathroom frequently. No rewards, punishment, etc. Just the expectation that he was ready to use the toilet. We don't wait until kids show signs of 'toothbrushing' readiness, do we? You should be done long before you move, so I don't see this as a reason to wait.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I started with both of my kids around 16 months. They woke dry from naps, so I introduced the potty. Around 18 months both just started taking themselves, and by 21 months they night and poop trained.

It depends on the kid, but, I believe you should start teaching them early. Evidence shows a readiness window prior to age 2. Most Americans ignore this window, while the rest of the world trains.

2 moms found this helpful

More Answers


answers from San Francisco on

You start training when YOU are ready to train.
You don't wait until they tell you they need to go, you just take them, early and often, like a puppy.
My three (boy, girl, girl) were trained between 22 and 26 months, the boy was easiest.
We started every 30 to 60 minutes over the first few days, then gradually stretched it out over time. No diapers, no rewards or punishments. Lots of praise when it happened, and just a shrug and an "oh well, maybe next time" when it didn't.
Sure there are some messes and accidents at first but honestly it's worth it. A three year old sitting in his own feces and urine is a disgusting side effect of the disposable diaper generation IMO.
Unless your child is special needs, or has a valid medical condition that affects his bladder/bowel, the sooner the better!!!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

When your child has the proper bladder control, and when it's not a battle. If it's a negative or stressful experience, then the child is not ready. Acting 50% interested doesn't mean they have the proper bladder function to successfully potty train 100%.

I think too many people start when they're kids aren't physically ready, and it makes it a lot harder than it needs to be. Who cares who's kid is doing what, and when, you know what I mean?!!

And, yes, I would wait until I moved, personally.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kalamazoo on

When my daughter started coming up to me, demanding a diaper change. 'Mommy, I pooped, now change my diaper.' That to me, meant she needed to start pooping in the toilet. She had no interest in it, and refused to sit on the potty at first. I just started dressing her in panties, she figured it out in a few days. I would start now, instead of waiting until after you move, then hes not dealing with potty training and a new home at the same time.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Syracuse on

You could start now but he might not actually get it until age 3 or older. With my first, we started shortly after age 2 because he seemed genuinely interested. He would sit on the potty, get really excited that he went, but continued to have accidents until 3 yrs. 3 months.



answers from Washington DC on

Does he WANT to use the potty? Every kid is different. 2.5 is a little young to PUSH potty training (it's not like he's about to start kindergarten and you NEED to get him out of diapers), but it's certainly not to early to TRY.

If he's interested now, go ahead and invite him to use the potty. If it seems like a go, then move forward with potty training. If he hates, it don't fight him and try again after your move.



answers from Anchorage on

When my sons started showing interest we went to pull ups and I just let them set the pace. Once they were peeing and pooing in the potty most of the time we went to undies. The first day in undies they both had a lot of accidence but we stuck it out and by day 3 they were good to go.



answers from Chicago on

My four kids all did it on their own. But with one of them, I bribed her to get out of diapers because it was 3 weeks before her 3rd birthday and my husband & I were leaving on a 5 day vacation (kid free). She was stubborn so the bribe worked.

1st (girl): trained over the weekend when she turned 2
2nd (boy): trained at 3, but took his time pooping til 3 1/2
3rd (girl): bribed her with a booster car seat she wanted
4th (girl): when she was 2, I noticed her coming out of the bathroom. I asked her what she was doing & she said pee pee. I asked her to show me next time. Next time she went, she came & got me & showed me her pee. That's all it took

My kids never had an accident. I would never have pushed them to be potty trained, I figured they wouldn't want to be in diapers playing with friends, so they would do it when they were ready.

Also I do not believe a child is *smarter* for being potty trained at 18 months vs 3 yrs.


answers from Chicago on

I have potty trained three kids. I started the first two at 2.5. They each took a long time. My oldest (a girl) peed on the potty after several weeks. She wouldn't poop on the potty until she was almost 3. My middle child (a boy) was a nightmare to train. It took about 4-6 months to train him. He also mastered peeing before pooping. With my youngest (another boy), I waited until a month or so after he turned 3. He was completely trained in 2 days. I think waiting until 3 is your best best, especially with a boy.



answers from Eau Claire on

While I am still trying to figure out the answer to this question myself...if you think he might be receptive...it couldn't hurt to try! Throw him in undies for the weekend and see how he does. If it's a disaster you may realize that he, you, or both are just not ready for the messy business that is potty training. OR he may surprise you and do great!
Since each kid is different, you won't really know til you give it a shot!

For what it's worth...I thought my daughter seemed somewhat interested and so I tried for a week and it did not go well. We went back to diapers for a few months. But would have had no clue where she was at if I hadn't tried. And now since then, we have something to build on.


answers from Houston on

I would hold off bc of the upcoming move. I think when u get all moved in and the dust settles he will do better. A big changebcould cause him to regress, if it were me I would hold off. Good luck!



answers from Oklahoma City on

Please understand that you are about to be in chaos and it is chaos to him too. Not only will you be wasting your time right now because he'll regress after the move, you are also thinking of starting this when it's cold.

In child care we never started potty training during the cold months. It may have been an old wives tale but I can tell you the ones we started once it warmed up did much better than the ones that started during the cold months.



answers from Philadelphia on

Maybe start by telling him if he doesn't wear a diaper, he could wear training pants, but he has to start to tell you when he has to pee or poop.

Then take a trip to the training pants aisle of your department store (here, I could only find them in Target and JC Penny). Tell him he can pick out pants for when he is ready.

You know your son's personality, he might be ok even with a move.

It might be a good idea to see if he shows other ""signs of potty readiness (Google that phrase). For example, make sure he has practice getting pants on and off.


answers from Los Angeles on

Train now, don't blow your "window of opportunity." Since he doesn't want to wear diapers use that to your advantage. My guy never told me when he needed to go, he learned to go to the potty and pee or poop, very independent. Even at almost four the only time I am told is when we're out and he needs me to find a bathroom. If you wait for all the readiness signs you may never see them. The longer you wait for him to be ready the more dependent he will be on diapers and the longer it will take to train him. Do it with the expectation that he is ready, ditch the diapers, use underwear. Let him see you use the bathroom so he knows this is what one does. How nice to not need diapers once you move :)



answers from Phoenix on

To be honest, I would wait until you're in the new house especially since he doesn't seem all that interested. I knew when my daughter was ready when she told us she had gone poo/pee in her diaper and wanted to be changed right away (she wore cloth diapers so she felt all the wetness). Also she started to hide in the corner of her bedroom to go poop.. When we had time at home for an extended amount of time, I just stripped her down and stayed home so she could go in the toilet. I would really be careful about starting until he's ready.


answers from Grand Forks on

I trained both my boys right after their 3rd birthdays and it only took a couple of days. It was in the summer time, so it wouldn't have been a big deal if they had an accident. I did have the books and videos, the potty Elmo doll and the actual potty out for several months before we actually did the training.


answers from Chicago on

I learned with my first not to potty train.

I fought the battle for 1.5 years!!!! Bottom line, when he was ready and wanted to, we had no more issues. No matter how much effort I put into it, no matter what technique I used....he did it (regularly) when HE wanted to, and not a second before.

You will only drive yourself nuts if you try it.



answers from San Francisco on

I agree with what Karen A. says. Signs that he has bladder control can be seen by checking what length of time his diaper will stay dry (when he is awake). If it's always wet, then he may be interested but not have the control needed. If you have a hard time trying to tell if his diaper is dry or wet (especially with disposables), you can stick a piece of toilet paper in with his diaper and see if that got wet when you check his diaper.

I also think they need to know how to make the pee come out and that takes some practice. One of my kids would sit on the potty and get frustrated because the pee wasn't coming.

But you can introduce him to the potty at any time. I exposed my kids to their potty chairs on the early side and let them get over the play factor first. In the beginning it was just a "Hey, want to to try the potty." and if they wanted to great, otherwise I didn't push it. Or I'd take them with me into the bathroom so they could see what it's all about.

When it looked like they knew how to make the pee come out on demand and I saw that they could keep their diapers dry, then I became more active in potty training. I used a timer in the beginning and we would try every 20 minutes to start....especially when I put them in underwear. It was sort of a modified potty training boot camp....real casual in the beginning and then there came a point where I just dove in and said, "Let's go for it." We had 1 false start with each kid, where they each got frustrated and I backed off and tried another "no more diaper" weekend 2-3 weeks later. Mine weren't really trained until 3.5ish. It was a slow process but it was relatively stress free...just inconvenient at times.

I also suggest waiting until after you move to really dive into potty training. I think it's fine to expose him to it now and see how it goes, but changes like a new house can sometimes cause regressions. Plus I imagined it would be convenient for you not to have to worry about if he is going to wet his pants while you are getting ready for the move and actually moving.



answers from Detroit on

with my son... he was 2 years 10 months.

he wasnt acting ready.. but he was in the toddler room at day care .. 1 teacher per 4 kids.. at age 3 he would move up to the 3 year room 1 teacher 10 kids.. so I knew i had to train him before he moved up.. as the toddler teacher had the time to take him potty every hour..where as the 3 year teacher did not have time to help train him.

I just put him in cotton training pants.. told him not to pee in his pants. I had 12 pairs of thick cotton training pants.. 6 pairs were wet by noon.. but it got better on the 3rd day.. he "got it" pants were dry...

in the beginning.. mom is trained.. you have to take him potty every 30 miinutes.. then every 45 minutes.. then it moves to an hour.. do not expect the child to recognize the sensation that they have to go pee.. you set a timer and take him.. dont ask if he has to go take him.. no pull ups.. they make training take forever.. you want him to pee in cotton pants so it feels wet and yucky..

I would try now.. if he gets it in a few days.. he is ready.. if you struggle for a week or more.. he is not ready.. wait till things settle down in the new house.. no stress everyone is potty trained by kindergarten..



answers from Seattle on

It totally varies. My first basically trained herself in a day when she was a little over 2yo. But her body was totally ready. She can still go forever without peeing.

With our second, at around 2.25 yo, we weakly tried to potty train her, but it wasn't going great. We backed off completely, and at 2.5yo, on a family trip, she apparently decided she was ready and just started using the potty to pee and poop. Again, on her own.

Basically, their little bodies develop at different times. When they're ready (physically and emotionally) they might very well train themselves if left to their own devices.

A couple of notes/disclaimers:
1) We talked about peeing/pooping regularly and had a kid potty in the house that we talked about.
2) Both girls regularly saw me (or their nanny) go potty. The youngest also saw her big sister going a lot. They knew what the potty was for and essentially how to use it at an early age.
3) Being potty trained does not mean they don't wear a pull-up at night. That takes a bit longer. Our now 3yo is still in nightly pullups.
4) When I say they go on their own, that means they say they need to go. I still needed to help with clothes and wiping for quite a while.

Good luck!



answers from Savannah on

I would try now, and if it works itself out pretty quickly, then great! If it is not working out, wait until after the move and try again. I would leave he potty chair out starting now though. Some kids get freaked out by it and that way, it ends up being familiar. Good luck!

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions