Toddler Toilet Training Resource

Understand the basics of Potty Training, how to get started, and how to be done in 7 days!

What's the right age to begin toilet training?

Just two generations ago parents were finished potty training their toddlers by 18 months. Since the advent of the disposable diaper in 1959, that age has more than doubled, however, children are just as capable now as they were in the 50s and before of completing toilet training at an early age.

How do we know this? Well, let's take a look at some toilet training aka potty training stats from the past:

“92% of children in 1957 were toilet trained by 18 months
(NY Times, 1999)

“98 percent of children are completely daytime independent by age 4”
(NY Times, 1999)

How do these statistics compare to todays numbers?

“More than 50% of children around the world are toilet trained at about 1 year of age”
(Contemporary Pediatrics, 2004)

“The current average age of potty training completion in the US is 35 months for girls, 39 months for boys."
(Ambulatory Pediatrics Journal, 2001)

You have full permission to potty train at your child’s current age, wherever you are today, whether you see markers of “readiness” or not. Readiness is a myth created by diaper companies in 1962, promoted by T. Berry Brazelton (head of the Pampers Institute), and is a phenomenon of only the past 60 years.

Did you know?

In 1957, over 92% of American children were potty trained by 18 months.

Ready to finish toilet training?

Get the book that has helped hundreds of parents around the world. A super simplified, step-by-step handbook to non-coercive yet quick potty training.

Quick and Gentle Start to Finish

The Right Parenting Mindset

A misconception in our current parenting culture, regarding toilet training is that gentle means gradual or child-led. When it comes to toilet training, this simply doesn't work.

Potty training isn't about "doing the right thing" and becoming the best parent possible in the eyes of others. It's about focusing on the goal and ending the need for diapers. The psychology of a toddler requires a different approach. Turns out that clear, firm boundaries and direct, simple instructions cause less confusion and more pride for our little darlings at these ages.

Firm does not mean harmful or abrasive. Firm simply means “clear, steadfast, and consistent.” To match a toddler’s need for mastery and hunger for knowledge we must create a special kind of environment, one in which the toddler feels safe, capable, empowered, and honored. An environment where the toddler thrives. Therefore, gentle in this case is clear, steadfast, and quick. Like ripping off a Band-Aid instead of peeling it back slowly. Which is less painful?

1. Be physical
2. Be consistent
3. Be steadfast
4. Be kind

Getting Started with Toilet Training

Potty training toilet in bathroom

It all Begins with a Single Starting Point

We live in an age of information overload. Everyone has an opinion and shouts it from the rooftops, and if you go counter-culture, you will be judged. It's just how it is.

With toilet training, you need to be solid...because if your child senses your fear and doubt, he too will feel afraid and doubtful about potty training. And we don't want that.

Toilet Training Basics

Very basically, potty training is all about teaching. It is on-the-job training. It is 100% instinctual to urinate and defecate, yet it is 100% social as to where to put that waste, and how. We must teach, and be consistent, and repeat, repeat, repeat the process until it becomes second nature.

Potty training is a good deal of up-front work followed by consistent reinforcement. Quick and direct is much less painful than long, drawn-out, "gentle" toilet training. It is important that you be able to to teach your child the basics and consistently reinforce the basics without rewards, gimmicks, or M&Ms, until your child is completely independent.

Attitude is everything!

Your attitude, as the parent, affects potty training more than anything. I have a few guidelines I like to encourage so that you get the best result in the least amount of time possible. These include:

  • Be physical (teach by doing, moving, demonstrating)
  • Be consistent (repetition is your friend)
  • Be steadfast (do not go back to diapers)
  • Be kind (obviously)
  • Be clear (focus!)
  • Be short-winded (overtalking = fear)
  • Be patient (she will get it!)
  • Be positive (another obvious one)
  • Be non-coercive (rewards and stickers, spankings and scolding, do not belong here)
  • Be united (with your partner, caregiver, family)
Toddler using toilet

"Great, easy to follow guide to potty training. Outlines where to start and what signs to look for to know if your child is ready for the next step. Also, a great book if you did any EC with your child. Tells you how to wrap it up."

"This book is fantastic! It is a very easy read and well written. The advice is solid and can also be carried into other parts of parenting as well! Want to ditch the diapers once and for all? Andrea has some great words of wisdom."

"This book gives very clear guidance in what to do, how to do it and when. It is fully supported by up to date research evidence. We went nappy free and it took 2 weeks to complete - our baby boy was 21 months at the time."

4 roads to potty time

Part of toilet training is you learning your child. Just like Elimination Communication with a baby, you'll learn different things about your toddler.

1. Your child's signals or "pee-pee dance"

2. Your child's timing or natural potty rhythm

3. Common transition times that most kids need to pee

4. Your own potty intuition or gut feeling

Once you identify these 4 things supporting your child in reaching diaper independence much easier and success is often right around the corner.

Ages & What to Expect

Again, you can start potty training at any age. You can expect to get out of it what you put into it. If you prioritize, for example, early reading or sign language in your home, you will reap the reward of those efforts. If you place toilet training above everything else, you will reap the reward of that effort more quickly.

The earlier you start, the earlier you're finished. So, start NOW. Regardless of season, whether you work outside the home or use caregivers or daycare, regardless of a new baby coming. We all make excuses but it's going to be easier to do it as soon as possible. Toddlers only get more and more independent, causing potty training to get more and more difficult.

So go ahead, give it a try. Getting started earlier than later is simpler than you think and will pay off much sooner. I recommend picking up a potty and seat reducer to make life a little easier, then click the button below!