When to Potty Train

Updated on March 31, 2008
A.O. asks from Yuba City, CA
6 answers

I have a 21 month old son. He like to tell us when he has potty, but after. When should we really start to potty train him? I got a seat, but not sure what to do now. Do I need to read a book? I need Help!

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answers from Fresno on

Hi A.,
It sounds like he is ready to start the process, if he's able to tell you that he has just gone potty. It is actually a pretty short step from that point to being potty trained.

Now that both of my girls have gone through that stage, I think that the hardest part (for me anyway) was for ME to be ready for them to be potty trained. It is a tough process on moms, because it requires such diligent focus for a few days. I had a few "false starts" on potty training with both girls, and I really feel now that if I'd just fully committed to the process right off the bat, it would have happened faster for both of them. My mistake was to see them resist it a little bit, and I'd go back to diapers, rather than accepting that toddlers like to resist EVERYTHING, and just moving forward with potty training. I mean, if you think about it, using the toilet is a life skill, kind of like being able to eat with a fork, or dress yourself. Nobody ever got all worked up about their kids learning to use a fork, but somehow we have all come to the conclusion that our kids have to lead the potty training process. I say, you think your kid is ready, lead the charge and get that kid out of diapers! =)

That being said, what worked for me was to pick a weekend when I knew I'd be at home with nowhere to go, undress them from the waist down (no pull-ups, no underwear, no pants), and explain that starting today, they would be using the potty EVERY TIME they needed to go potty. Be prepared to sit them on the potty frequently (every 30 minutes or so, watch them like a hawk for cues that they need to go) and be enthusiastic when they actually go in the potty. Be prepared for your child to pee on the floor a few times. Don't be discouraged, and just remind them firmly that they need to make it to the potty next time. For me in both cases, once I fully committed to the process, they were daytime potty trained in 1-3 days.

Both of my daughters cried, threw tantrums, asked for their diapers back, etc during that first day of potty training. Be prepared for it, and just keep saying, "We're going to use the potty for that now!" Just keep reminding yourself, this is a life skill I'm teaching... just like eating with a fork, just like putting clothes on. Not a big deal, not worth getting emotional over, just a skill. (Because having your kid throw tantrums and pee on the floor will totally suck all the life out of you for a day or two, but it's sooooo worth it in the end!)

Good luck with the fun adventure that is potty training! =)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

i have three kids and each of them are so very different in that department.. none of my kids were 100% potty trained before 4. but were interested early. could be my fault and not being on top of it. but i want them to do it when they are ready. my youngest has a small bladder so overdrinks too fast and an accident happens even 5 min after using the bathroom. introduce it, ask him if he wants to try... read books or play music/song games while on the toilet and then i also did a potty chart.. every time she goes potty/ now it's when she stays dry, she gets a sticker or two to put on her chart. she thinks this is really neat. worked with the other two as well. you'll know when he's ready.



answers from Sacramento on

I have a 3 yr old boy (turning 3 in mid April), and my husband and I have decided he's not ready for potty training yet. Each child is different.

First of all you want to make sure you child can follow directions. Multiple directions, like put away your cars and then put your clothes in the hamper. (Just as an example)

Secondly, talking about it is good. Even if he tells you after the fact, at least he's showing interest in the subject. Tell him that he'll be on the potty like a big boy soon.

Thirdly, you want to make sure he is ready physically. I think many times we see an age and create an expectation based on other kids and not on where our own is. If you put an expectation on the child who is not ready physically, then you are setting that kid up for failure and that's when we cause unnecessary anxiety. A good rule of thumb is when your child has dry diapers in the morning for about a week, then it's time for potty training. In other words, his bladder has developed enough to hold in the liquids for a long period of time and his muscles are able relax enough to go on demand.

I've noticed with my little guy, after a bath I ask him if he wants to go and he stands there and goes in the tub (it's a good place because I can easily wash it off). It seems to be working and he's gaining confidence that this is something he can control.

I've bought the seat too and I think next week I'm going to start him on it... I'll let you know how it goes.

The only true advice I can give you is watch your child's cues, you know him better than anyone, and try not to put unrealistic expectations on him. Some kids are ready to potty train at 20 months old! Each one is different. I've had people tell me that I'm waiting too long, and I always respond... "don't worry, by college I think he'll know how to go potty on his own." What's the hurry? :-)

P.S. My boy showed interest at 20 months time too, but quickly lost interest. Don't be surprised if that happens too.



answers from Sacramento on

Hi A.!
Getting a potty seat is a great way to introduce it to him, even if he doesn't start yet. Having him sit when your going, or stand when daddy is, helps him relate.
Boys, they say, usually take a little longer. That being said, as a former preschool teacher, we began the process with the children at 2 years. Some caught on quick others learned closer to three. We never received any fully potty trained kids before two, and very few surpassed three with out being fully able to use the potty.
My daughter is 19 months and also is great at telling me, after she goes. As their language develops a little more and they are physically able to identify not just that they are going, but that they have to go, that will be the time. In the meantime, practice. :)
Good luck!



answers from Sacramento on

I would agree, there is no harm in making it available, just don't push it. My daughter is 22 months and doing really well with using the potty, but she initiates it. My son was really enthusiastic at about 18 months, doing great, then decided he was bored with it and completely regressed until he was almost 3. Then he decided one day he was done with diapers and has been trained ever since. Potty books are helpful, so are watching other kids (older siblings, friends, etc) demonstrate what you are supposed to do. I know a major reason why my daughter is doing so well with this is because she wants to be like her brother (hence she also wants to pee standing up sometimes, which just doesn't work when your a girl). If you can catch him before he goes some day and ask him if he wants to go, if he says yes, try putting him on the potty and sitting with him and reading books or singing songs. It sometimes takes a long time for them (especially boys) to figure out just what they are supposed to be doing up there, but once they have success then you can start asking him at regular times throughout the day if he wants to go potty. Good times to start are first thing in the morning, mid-morning, before nap, after nap, before dinner and before bed. Just ask him at those times throughout the day if he wants to use the potty. If he says yes, put him on, celebrate all the successes, but even if he gets on and doesn't go, praise him for trying. I would suggest just keep doing this until he starts initiating using the potty. He has to want to in order for him to be trained and not you. If he does, he is getting much closer to being ready to be fully trained. He has to be motivated otherwise it is the parent that is potty trained and you will find your entire day revolves around reminding him to go. Anyways. I know thare are a lot of schools of thought on this, but I like the gradual approach with no pressure. No need to stress kids out. Once he gets the idea from all the practice and is ready, the actual training should only take a couple of days. Follow his lead and you can't go wroing. Oh yeah, and when you switch to underwear and he has an accident, it is really important to not get upset. Good luck.



answers from Sacramento on

Funny, I started potty training my 26 month old (5th child) this morning! (No accidents, 4 successes!)YIPPEE! And I'm even having fun with this method!!! I LOVE the book "How to Potty Train in a Day". If your son can follow directions then he's probably ready. In a nutshell, your son gets a morning of your undivided attention filled with lots of opportunities for success (salty snacks/juice when dry and treats when he goes potty), and practice for what to do when he has an accident (gently direct him on how to clean it up, then quickly practice going thru the motions of going potty from 10 different places in the house). Praise, praise, praise, and more praise enforces the RIGHT behavior. He'll learn not only how to potty in the right place, but to dump it and pull up his pants by himself. Anyway, get the book for the details! Good luck! K

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