"Window of Interest" for Potty Training

Updated on January 31, 2013
A.C. asks from Atlanta, GA
12 answers

My daughter is suddenly (within the last two weeks) showing a lot of interest in the potty, making note of when she needs diaper changes, etc. However, we weren't planning to potty train her for a little while yet (she's not quite two and a half years old), and it's not really a good time for me, because we have a lot of different events and travel coming up in the next month. I have been through potty-training before with my older child, and I know it will require time and diligence from me as well as from her.

I am worried, though, that I am going to miss her "window of interest." If I ignore the signals she is sending out now, will she lose interest in potty training? Will it make it harder later?

What can I do next?

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answers from Athens on

Many children are already potty trained by the age of two. She is ready so you should not stiffle her by it not being convenient for you. She might give up and may be in Kindergarten wearing pull ups.

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answers from Rochester on

My daughter (who will be three at the beginning of May) knows when she needs a diaper change, and will tell me, but has absolutely no interest (yet) in training. I'm not going to push it, because with my first child...she had NO interest until she was almost three, and then one day said "Mommy, I'm not going to wear a diaper anymore." And that was that. No accidents. Nothing. She still had to wear a diaper at night for about six months afterwards, but daytime training involved (at least for her) no training at all.

I don't think there's a "window" of interest. It's not like if you wait a month, she'll all of a sudden said "NO!" and go in a diaper until she's six.

However, if she's ready, and you know it, go for it. If it's requiring time and diligence, in my opinion, a child is not ready.

And I've never heard of anyone, honestly, successfully training a child at 15 months. Putting a child on a potty every hour or two until they go, and then repeating the process...that's not training.

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answers from Houston on

On a light hearted note our toddler was showing interest in potty training recently. He wanted to take off his diaper, sit on the potty, watch us in action, etc. Then he digressed by insisting on his teddy bear being trained. He would drag his teddy bear into the bathroom and perch him on the potty chair like we did with him. Since the bear wears baby diapers, he would practice taking those on and off too. After a couple of days, he proudly declared the bear "done" and threw out the bear diapers. I guess you could say I am proud to announce to the world his bear Alfred is out of diapers and in big bear britches. I can only hope it goes so smoothly when our toddler decides it is his turn.

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answers from Detroit on

if she is ready..really ready..she will train in less than a week.

both of my kids took 3 days... stay home for 3 days and train her.

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answers from Atlanta on

If she's already showing interest she might be half trained already. Keep her in the pull-ups for a little while but start asking if she needs to go. Let her pick out her own new big girl panties. You never know, she might just start doing it. I did the 3 day boot camp with my first. Started it with the second. He wasn't interested. I stopped with plans of trying in another month, but within 2 weeks he just started doing it on his own. Night training took a while longer. I wouldn't miss the chance if I were in your position. She just might need a little encouragement and do it on her own. Good luck!

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answers from Memphis on

I started early with my son and he wasnt ready and it was just bad...the training lasted on and off for over a year. If she is interested, give it 2-3 days, start by putting her on potty at frequent intervals and rewarding her. If she responds, I think u should pursue it. If you realize she is not interested, you can let it go. I think it is worth exploring how interested she is though.

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answers from Chicago on

Just do it. There is never a good time to potty train.

If you ignore the signs, yes, you are teaching her that peeing and pooping in her pants is OK. But I'm weird, I start potty learning at 15 months or so, when they start taking off their diaper. I see this as a sign that there is a window.

Just wanted to add that lots of kids train young. My kids were both pee trained at 18 months, and this didn't not mean that I was taking them. They took themselves! In fact, I dragged a potty seat to New Jersey from Chicago to continue our training with my son, and while on vacation, my son started taking himself! They both also night trained at 21 months. Never had an accident after that.

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answers from Dallas on

Nope - she will learn. Do not panic. My son learned in about a month when he was just over 3 years old. He was at daycare so he saw other kids (let her come to the bathroom with you) all "grown up" wearing underwear. We did pull-ups so he could practice getting pants down/up. Then when he had that under control, we did underwear during the day. There were a few messes, but not a lot. Relax. Take your time. Personally, if they can't pull their pants down/up by themselves, they're not really ready, but practice and awareness are always a good thing.

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answers from Oklahoma City on

WIndows open and windows close. Just because she's showing interest in this right now does not mean you shouldn't just let her try and not totally focus on it. She will lose interest, yes but she will also have another window open for this at some point.

Just because this window is open right now does not mean she'll do it then retain it either. She may just as well do it until the window of interest closes then go back to her level right now. That is somehtint that I've seen over and over again in all my years of child care. Parents say their child needs to be trained right now because they showed interest in it at home. So we'd work with them even though they were too young. Then we'd get them really doing well and SLAM! that window closed and they didn't even know if their clothes were dripping wet. So all that work was for nothing. Of course we'd be blamed too. We "must have done something" to the child during the bathroom time so now they get upset and throw a fit when mom or dad takes them to the bathroom.

She'll be fine if you wait until you're ready. The later she starts the quicker she'll pick it up too.

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answers from Los Angeles on

I would try. At my guy's 18 month checkup I was already thinking ahead to potty training so asked his ped about putting out a potty. Her response was that it would put too much pressure on him.

At 19/20 months he was telling me when he was wet or pooped, taking off his diaper, not wanting a diaper on and so on...and I did nothing. At 21 months he lost interest and I then read about running with the window of opportunity/interest and using it as an advantage to potty train for more compliance/less resistance. So he picked out a potty, we set it out, he played with it and ultimately resisted. I backed off a couple of weeks, tried again, he resisted. My father was very ill so we then took a month or so off, and he then pee trained in a few days, day and night (his choice, I'd been content to wait.) Poop he held and I had to seek advice online, yet he was done and poop trained at 26 months. I truly feel had I trained at the time he was interested it would have gone more smoothly, I know I personally blew my window of opportunity, he lost interest and it was harder, can't say what your outcome would be.

Yes, it's true it will require time and diligence on both your parts, but if she's ready it might just take her a few days. My daughter pee trained herself at 18 months in a day, another grandson totally trained at 27 months, day and night, pee and poop in 4 days. I'd try and see how she takes to it, if she doesn't get it or refuses then back off and train later. Otherwise, how will you know?

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answers from Seattle on

If she's really ready, she might even train (virtually by herself) in a day.

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answers from Augusta on

If she is genuinely ready she should be potty trained within a few days. We have four kids and we tried to force the first one along, ended up fighting for months. With the other three we waited until they were ready and there was literally no process at all-- they all just started using the potty. All before age three. I would be willing to say that it was luck but 3 kids is a lot to have go that well;)

My advice would be wait until she is dry in the mornings, avoid using pull-ups or diapers ever, and follow her lead. Good luck!

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