At what age can I potty train my child? (and should I do EC or potty training?)
This post was originally posted on July 23, 2018, and has been fully updated on April 21, 2020 to include an audio (Podcast) version, a video (YouTube) version, and to include some basic updates. Enjoy! xx Andrea
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New parents in the western world are constantly wondering: when can I begin potty training?
(Some don’t even realize that, with the right information, they can even begin potty training their baby.)
In this article I will share what ages are best to begin potty training your child.
We’ll look at options for the first year of life (yes! you heard me right), the 12-18 month range, and 18 months and beyond.
Which potty training age is TRULY most beneficial to your child's health?
There is a lot of crap out there on the internet about potty training, pun absolutely intended. It can boggle the mind.
And there are a lot of marketing-fueled lies circulating (with the primary aim of selling more diapers).
So. Because the current society is so convinced of certain mistruths, we need to push those aside right now.
Before we dive into which potty training method works best for each age range (super-detailed info below), let’s first get something crystal- clear:
Early potty training will NOT damage your child in any way.
There is no scientific study that actually proves that early potty training will harm your child (contrary to Dr Hodges’ marketing influence, which is based on a study that doesn’t say early potty training will damage them, but that incomplete emptying of the bladder will. Read more about this misinformation here.)
Late potty training (starting at 2 years old and up) CAN potentially damage your child, in many ways.
(Read this article that compares and cites all the science that proves this, inarguably.)
• If your child is already over 18 months old, get educated and begin potty training this week.
• If your child is less than 18 months old, it can only BENEFIT your child to begin TODAY, in some way, big or small.
The science supports it.
Again, I will break the ages down further, below, so keep on reading.
And the most healthy time to begin?
Early, early, early. As early as birth.
(As early as wherever YOU are when you read this post.)
Establishing healthy potty use and attitudes from an early age is beneficial to your child, on so many levels.
Parents: YOU get to choose, from birth, whether to train your baby into using the diaper as a full-time toilet, or using the toilet as a full-time toilet.
(Read more about this choice here.)
Full permission granted to choose what works for you (and a little bit of learning might be necessary so you can feel confident executing this decision!).
Okay, now that this myth is completely disproven, we can confidently move in to answer the question: “At what age can I potty train my child?”
How to decide which age to begin potty training your child
There are 3 different age ranges where you can comfortably begin toilet training your child. It just so happens that the ranges begin right at birth, so the decision really just comes down to:
(1) educating yourself about the options,
(2) deciding what you and your family value as far as infant hygiene and healthy toileting habits go, as part of the big picture of raising a baby,
(3) considering your level of motivation to give your baby the best start possible on all levels: feeding, sleep, pottying, and engagement with people and nature, and
(4) considering your mental and physical wellbeing, level of support, and positive encouragement from others.
Let's take a look at these 4 aspects now.
1) Educate yourself about your potty training options
I think that the biggest block people have about starting potty training is not knowing where to begin, which is #1 above: education.
Below I'm going to break up the different toileting start ages, define each for you, and then direct you to the top resources on each topic. From there, you can make the decision of what is right for you.
(If you're motivated to begin right away with one of the below methods, you can leave this blog post through one of the below links...and never come back!)
After this, we'll cover #2, family values about toileting and hygiene.
Before we type-it-out, here is a nice image that shows you quickly which method works for which age:
Top method for starting potty training at 0-12 months
The method you would use for starting potty learning with babies 0-12 months is called "elimination communication." It is a way of tending to your child's natural instincts for cleanliness by learning and responding to the signals, rhythms, and preferences of your baby.
It is not hard to do, and you can do it part-time! And the earlier you start, the sooner you integrate this into your life and it becomes your "normal"...no potty training usually necessary.
Learn more about elimination communication on my EC 101 page here.
Or dive in with my popular book here.
Best method for starting potty training at 11-16 months
To start potty training with 11-16 month (likely) walking babies, which is actually considered by Montessori school of thought to be the "sensitive period" (the BEST time!) to begin toilet learning, you would use either pure EC or a hybrid of EC/potty training.
This is a time period where you can both begin and wrap up toilet learning all within one developmental stage!
Learn more about why starting at 12-18 months is great with this post and video here.
Or, grab my book which comes with the hybrid EC/potty training plan as a bonus download. In it, you can learn about starting and using "pure EC" (which is what I've always done with my babies to practice and wrap up EC) and you can also learn the hybrid plan, which is great for more "advanced" babies or parents who have to get the kiddo into daycare asap.
Top method for starting potty training at 15-20 months
To start toilet training a 15-20 month toddler, you've already mostly passed the EC window (although you can give it a whirl if you've got a super laid-back, not-yet-walking baby!)...and you're now sitting at what's called early start potty training. But, don't you dare feel bad! You will now spend less time potty training/doing EC and more time teaching the final pieces of independence. Like ripping off a Band-aid, potty training at 18-24 months is a much more rapid process than EC (and it should be! Toddlers crave mastery at this stage, and being lax or hands-off about toilet training at any toddler age is a disservice to your wonderful toddler!!).
Learn about early potty training on my Potty Training 101 page here.
Or, if you're ready to learn the best way to train, today, and be out of diapers within days or weeks (not months), then grab my potty training book here.
Best method for starting potty training at 20 months and up
For this, you'd also do the same as the previous age range, but it's not going to be called early potty training...just your regular ole run-of-the-mill potty training (but pls don't use a boot camp or gradual plan!). Again, do not feel badly! The earlier you begin, the sooner you'll be done, and you do NOT have to wait for readiness signs or fear that you'll harm your child by doing the training too early. That is all BS funded by the diaper companies.
You can learn more about potty training here on my Potty Training 101 page.
Or you can (and should, if you don't mind me saying so!) potty train with my popular book and get this thing done already. Full permission granted.
Alright. Now that we've covered #1, let's quickly cover #2-4 of the decision-making process for when to start toilet learning, birth thru 24+ months.
(2) Decide what you and your family value as far as infant hygiene and healthy toileting habits go, as part of the big picture of raising a baby.
Have a chat with your spouse, partner, or BFF.
Do diapers make sense, or is toileting (even part-time) going to be more in alignment with your baby-raising goals of health and happiness for your little guy or gal?
Do you understand the benefits of early toileting, and how it can positively influence your baby for his/her entire lifetime?
Have you looked at the science supporting early toilet training?
Consider what your family values in this department, which you may never have discussed until today, and then make a commitment to doing something about it starting right this moment (even a paradigm shift in your mind will be a big step!).
Integrating this decision into your family values is a sure-fire way to make sure it doesn't slip thru the cracks.
(I mean, do you let feeding your baby fall thru the cracks? Nope. Because you value it and understand it.)
(3) Consider your level of motivation to give your baby the best start possible on all levels: feeding, sleep, pottying, and engagement with people and nature.
Okay, so we just looked at our family values and had a talk with our significant people about what rank toileting has in our overall baby-raising plan.
Now, consider your motivation levels.
Are you completely sold that this is gonna be in everyone's best interest?
Do you want to save money? Time? Messy cleanup effort? The environment?
You are motivated to feed your child, provide adequate sleep, and help her/him engage with people and nature.
What is your level of motivation to help your child go to the bathroom in the proper receptacle? Give it a good honest look.
(4) Consider your mental and physical wellbeing, level of support, and positive encouragement from others.
Do you have post-partum depression? Well, I've been thru that multiple times and can tell you that EC actually helped me get thru the baby blues and helped me connect with my baby during those dark times.
Are you recovering from a C-section birth? You can totally start observing and cueing along with your baby, even if you can't yet support her/his weight on your own.
Could EC or early toilet learning make you feel better, more connected, more useful at this point? Yes!
Take an honest look at where you're at, and then surround yourself with education and support.
You can begin potty training at any age so long as you have these things in place.
(Btw, my books both come with private support groups - full of positive encouragement! - run by my Certified Coaches to help you thru any hiccups in the process...we've got you covered in case nobody in your town gives a flip about early toilet training!)
So, now that we've looked at how to decide when to begin potty training your child, let's next look over a few dangling facts and then an exact starting point.
Some quick reassuring facts (for those of you who are skimming)
Which is the best time to potty train your child? Whatever age your child currently is. That is the best time to start the learning...now!
What is the current average age of potty training completion in the US? 36-38 months average.
What is the current age of toileting independence in the rest of the world? 12 months average.
What was the toilet training age in 1957 in the US? 92% of children were toilet trained by 18 months of age.
What would happen if we reduced the toilet training age by 1 year (from 3 to 2 years old)? The diaper companies would lose approximately $8 billion/year in revenues.
Ok! We’re on the same page now. Next up...
Where do you begin?
Scroll back up to where I cover the different start ages, above, for the details on free and paid resources you should begin with, or you can start with my free guides:
What supplies you'll need to begin potty training today, at any age
Lastly, I'm a practical gal, and I love sharing the tools that I've found to be the BEST of the best for easy pottying, including clothing, potties, and "back-ups" (diapers and alternatives) for EC and early potty training.
Grab my Supply List here for free and get geared up for your journey.
And, remember, I'm here for you, and so are our network of coaches!
You can begin potty training at any age, starting as early as birth. It just looks a little different at each stage. Go Diaper Free is here to educate you, no matter where you are on that spectrum.
And, no shame mama/daddy! You are where you are right now, given what you've learned so far. Now you know some more stuff about what age is best to begin potty training, so get educated and get started today. We're rooting for you!
Now I'd love to hear from you: in the comments below, please share WHEN you are going to BEGIN some sort of potty training in your house!
This is a no-judgment-zone, so feel free to be transparent and honest, even if you're struggling with this! xoxox
I came across your website when my LO was 7 months old. I started at 7.5 months when my baby was able to sit up with support and we are pretty good using potty seat now (soon going to be 9 months). Its been quick and easy.
What I am unable to do is catch his pee-pees all the time. I do part time toilet training. Can’t catch all his pees. Maybe I need to do the naked time from scratch.
What I wanted to know and is not covered in your book is once my baby (BOY) is able to stand with support, how can I cue him to pee in a standing posture. It could be in the toilet or shower cubicle.
The other issue I have is he inevitably starts playing with his foreskin whenever I put him on the potty seat. Is there any way to train him not to do it.
I am on a similar boat. We potty trained my boy at 19 months and he’s now 24 months. My husband has been getting him to pee standing up sometimes but I am not successful so I give up and have him sit instead. Hopefully we’ll hear about boys standing up soon :)
Hi, I’m just curious why you feel the need to teach him to pee standing up?
Hi Aisha! See my comment to Nidhi if you’re curious about my reply. As for you – getting a mini urinal for your bathroom may be a novel way to teach this! Here’s an option – https://godiaperfree.com/urinal – and there are plenty of others. It’s totally normal for boys to sit and pee, even at 2 years old. But if you prefer him to learn, work on it just like any other part of the process, and get the best potty seat to support this learning (even if it’s a tiny urinal!). :)
For boys playing… I just gently move his hand and softly say: “no play, just point,” and then use his hand to help him point down.
Also, in my EC, I don’t make the sss sound. He’s always indicated to me when he needs to go, and I respond to him by holding him over the potty/ toilet/ shower/ tree/ whatever, and say “go ahead and pee; go ahead and poop.”
Hope this idea helps!
Lovely ideas, Mary!!! Thank you for sharing this. I love “no play, just point.” Brilliant :)
Hi Nidhi! I have a few opinions on peeing standing up. And foreskins. First, successful potty training / potty independence for boys does not include peeing standing up, as a standard. It’s quite okay, and quite normal, for them to sit to pee until pre-teen ages. The reason is that all boys are different – some want to stand like daddy, some feel more comfortable sitting like mommy – and also that poop and pee, esp at 9 months old!, come out generally at the same time for most children, gender irrelevant.
If you want to work on peeing standing up, have dad and son go out into the yard and practice together. When your son is standing, of course!
Personal experience: my 8 year old still refuses to stand to pee, even outdoors, and he is very sensitive to gross things, which is my guess as to why. My 3 year old will (LOVES TO) pee to stand outside but prefers to sit inside.
As for foreskins – that is actually natural, 100%. Your boy is simply loosening his foreskin from the way he was born (full adhesion) and soon – ranging from months to years – it will be able to retract. Never force retraction. Your pediatrician can advise better. But, yes, he is actively loosening the skin for a very specific purpose – so let him.
If you have an issue with spray because of this (ask me how I know!!) :), simply put a toilet-wrapping mat or a towel underneath the toilet or potty seat.
You’re doing great btw!!! Yay!
We have done part time EC since 4 months. Which has been pretty easy for us (and a little bit lazy) … she’s now 16 months and I really want to start working towards getting her 100% potty trained. I definitely need I read more about how to tranaition from part time to full time, but I’m excited nervous. I keep thinking “is she ready” but really I think it should be more like “am I ready?!”
So many spelling mistakes. Sorry!!
Rosie – you nailed it! It’s about YOUR readiness, not hers. 16 months and a strong feeling to wrap it up – go for it! I do have a minicourse on wrap-up (everything in the store is currently on sale for 3 days if you see this today) – https://godiaperfree.com/minicourses/wrapup – which will help you know exactly what to do (and delete the nervousness from your day!). xx Andrea
Whats part time EC?
Sorry to ask because i am first time mommy of 16 months old..
Part time EC means you are choosing to do EC only part of the day. Part time EC can look very different for everyone, but it could mean only offering the potty first thing in the morning. Or only at diaper changes. Part time EC can also mean, you are only doing EC when at home with your little one. The variables are endless.
Full time means you are ECing all day, outings, and all. (This often includes night time as well, but not always.)
I have a super easy going, laid-back toddler who is almost 18 months old and not walking yet. He probably needs another month or two before he’ll be walking. I’m also pregnant with my second son and due in late September (my first born will be almost 19 months at that point). I found your website a few months ago and am so thrilled to do EC with my newborn, and almost started early potty training with my first, but felt unable to because of lack of energy, my son’s not yet walking, and the challenge of carrying him everywhere as I progressed in pregnancy. I’m worried about being so overwhelmed and exhausted during postpartum that I wont be able to potty train older and EC younger, but my current plan was to wait for older to walk before I potty trained him. When do you think is the right time for us to potty train older?
Hi Alicia! If you can muster the energy, and get someone to help you over the 3-4 days of initial work, you would be best off training now. If he can crawl, he can get to the potty. :) If that doesn’t work for you, no worries. Set a week at around 6 weeks post-partum when you clear your commitments and get someone to come help you out, and read the potty training book – https://godiaperfree.com/potty-training-book – now so you’re ready at that time. You can do the easing-in stuff now if you wish, but if you don’t have the energy, skip it. With newborn (congrats!!) simply cue along and observe and do wake-up pottytunities, part time, and when the older one is trained you guys can teach the baby together <3
Best of luck, no matter what you decide! We are here to encourage and support you!
We started around 11 months after my LO was crawling. It was starting great! Then we moved and it was a complete disaster. But I continued and now my LO is going poo consistently on the potty! ? hooray! She is 16 months old and we passed the resistance phase and are now just working with her peeing in the potty before #2 child comes in December. I love this post because it helps me with more tips to finish up training my LO and give me a sense of peace. Thank you Andrea!
Yay Keeley! I’m SO happy to hear that this post has helped give you some more tips and ideas. Btw you are doing GREAT getting back on board after a move – it’s totally normal for that to happen, and not fun, nor easy, but you did it!! And congrats on your pregnancy. I wish you the best! xx Andrea
I started part time ec ( catching just the poops) when my son was 3 weeks old- to try to relieve him from colic. And it helped! Colic didn’t magically disappear, but lasted shorter and were not so intense. And it is so true that focusing my attention on ec helped me through my baby blues postpartum. I had c-section, so it was hard for me to hold him above the sink, I used belly binder and top hat potty between my legs.
Hi Ana – thanks for sharing all of that with us. Especially chiming in on the baby blues and the colic and the c-section – you’ve basically covered all bases and have shown other mamas that *nothing* is insurmountable post-partum that would keep you from starting part time EC at that time! In fact, that EC can help you get thru it is SUCH good news. Thank you!!!! xx Andrea
Hey Andrea, so nice to hear from you again. I came across your HP shortly after the birth of my son and we started EC with 2 months. We did part time EC, because we were building our house and were a lot out and about and I didn’t feel capable of catching every pee or poo (especially during winter). It developed in some kind of hybrid EC/potty training. When we moved (around 18 months), we had to do kind of a break and only did the standards, but afterwards we continued our hybrid EC/potty training and und it morphed nearly without troubles into a potty trained child. Of course we had some accidents, but I expected more. And by the age of 2 (at the moment he is 27 months) I consider my old potty trained (last accident about 1 month ago, when he got fever after a shot).
Your books helped a lot, thanks for that.
Greetings from Austria,
P. S.: he refuses to pee standing too, but I don’t care, we could have worse problems :-D
True, there always could be worse problems! :) Thank you for sharing your experience with us all, Michaela, and thank you for your ongoing support. I think yours is a great example of what is normal when you just go with the flow, from a very young age. Very nice work!! xx Andrea
I’m so glad this email came through!
I think we are ready to potty train and get into undies.
My daughter just turned 1 a few weeks ago. We get 100 percent of poops, I dont get much signal for pee but she usually goes when offered.
What do I follow?? I own both books. Where do I find this hybrid version??? Can I just follow tiny potty training or is she too little???
I’m so ready to get her Independant and in undies
Hi Savanna! I’m so glad you found this helpful. Let me provide some guidance on resources. First, thank you for being a double-book owner! Yay! :) I appreciate your support.
Second, the hybrid version is in the book owners’ webpage that came with the Go Diaper Free book. Log in here – https://godiaperfree.com/upgrade/gdf-book-owner/ – password is located inside the book but email or chat with us if you get lost.
I think your LO is perfect for that hybrid plan. Yep, maybe a little too young for the TPT process, however, if you’ve skimmed or read it, that book should def give you the confidence to move forward with whatever you decide. :) You really can’t go wrong, either hybrid or TPT. Best wishes! And remember, we finished with diapers with Isadora at 13 months and she was telling us every single time at 15 months…with just pure EC. I do cover that in my wrap-up minicourse here – https://godiaperfree.com/minicourses/wrapup – if you want that route. :)
I’m due in 2 days, and anticipating this new journey of being a mother with toileting a newborn counter-culturally, or maybe better said radically. I’ve read your EC book and received my top hat potty, and I’m brushing up on the how-to components as this concept is foreign to me, and not practiced in my community. This style of elimination resonates with my core principles, so I’m stoked to attempt this from the heart. We’ll see how my daughter-to-be feels about it! lol
Glad to have conversation about it with other like-minded people.
Congrats Kaitlynn!!! She’s gonna LOVE it, I am 100% certain of this. :) You sound very prepared. If you don’t have it, I do have a newborns minicourse as well that has footage of me pottying my 4 babies from the first moments of birth – it may help you IF you haven’t had LO yet, and even if you have! Seeing is believing/learning, right? Everything is on sale for 3 days right now, too, if you need it: https://godiaperfree.com/minicourses/babymeetspotty
Best wishes and yay you have a top hat!!! :)
At 19m we’re moving from part time ec to potty training. We moved almost 4 months ago and we’ve been living in a hotel. I wanted to wait until we were moved into a new home to start potty training, but we’re making due with minimal supplies in our hotel room. We don’t have enough pants for her to do clothed training, but she’s doing well naked in the room. Any progress is progress. Can’t wait to move into our home so we can start clothed training!
Breanna – that is AMAZING progress, and even if you were not in a hotel room. I am super-impressed. I have every bit of faith in you that you’ll continue to progress during this transition. Thanks for sharing where you’re at right now!! :) xx Andrea
Glad this is out their for parents! Research articles to back my reasons can be very comforting when my community, family, & doctors all say I am wrong.
I started part time (bcs I work ft) ECing my 1st at around 6 months. I didn’t know it was EC then. I recognized my baby had to pee/poo so I took him to the toilet. Family didn’t understand but knew that arguing with me would do no good so they left it alone, tried to hide their skeptical expressions & then took great pride in showing him off potty independent at 20 months. In the community I received concerned looks, rude comments, and outright lectures about consulting my doctor before forcing my child to use the potty. My initial response to concerned citizens was “It is stupid for me to have my son shit in his pants and clean it out of a diaper when I can easily take him to the toilet. Second it is INHUMANE and DISGUSTING to deny any human being access to toileting and expect them to sit in their own excrement for any length of time.” That shut people up…but didn’t make any friends.
I found Andrea later. Picked up a handful of helpful hints that I used with my 2nd. And crafted a much more respectful response that has led to people asking more about how I miraculously trained 2 babies so young. Well, all of us who have done EC know it isn’t a miracle. It is day to day teaching, parenting, and being there.
Baby #3 coming in Nov. Looking forward to doing FT EC from birth for the first time!
Cathleen! I adore your comment. It had me laughing out loud, several times. :) Congrats on your pregnancy and on the opp to do EC full time from birth. I’m sure you’ve seen my newborn minicourse, but if not, it has lots of footage of me doing the same with my 4, and it is super duper rewarding. I loved reading your story and hope that others enjoyed it, too. :) Way to go!!!!! xx Andrea
O my! Hilarious! I have been so tempted to say just that to so many people… but Andrea is like the good angel on my shoulder begging me to say something more charitable :-)
We have 21 months old son, started EC when he was 7 months old. He wasn’t able to tell/cue us when he needed to go until a couple weeks ago, so we took him to the potty by watching the natural timing, transition times, intuition for all these time. He had bad potty pose – refused to go to potty between 17-20 months which kind of exhausted and discouraged us a bit but something shifted quickly and completely 2 weeks ago. He started to tell us when he needed to go, and if we took his pants off he would just walk into the bathroom and pee/poop in the mini potty by himself!! He was wearing a trainer at home and disposable diaper for outing and at night since he was 9 months old, but we stopped using diapers and trainers, switched to undies few weeks ago. He had just a couple misses day and night in last 6 weeks, he is doing great!
It feels like we accomplished something big together. It was long process of wrapping up EC for us due to few months of potty pause, but now he is almost potty independent at 21 months! We can’t appreciate enough to Andrea for her guidance and encouragements!!! Thank you Andrea and all the mothers(and fathers) who have done and have been doing EC, you all were our inspiration and great support!
Hi Rie – wow! What a lovely story! Thank you so much for sharing this with all of us. You are correct – we are your community and we will continue to encourage you and each other in this beautiful practice. Your story reminds me of how non-linear EC truly is. And how rewarding it is, too. I am so happy for you guys!!
This is my third, and started him at 2 weeks old. (started other two, girls, at 2mo and 7mo) I am not yet motivated to do night though it’s super-obvious when he needs to pee– he begins to wiggle like crazy, then after he pees, he goes back to sleep. My problem is I can’t help him potty in the dark, but the light wakes him up so much that I then need to nurse him back to sleep. He’s now 4 months old, and otherwise sleeps through the night without wanting to nurse. I like the no nursing at night. Nothing in, less out. Nursing at night just produces more need to pee. But HOW do I do it with the lights off without getting pee EVERYWHERE? With the girls, night potting was a so simple as you don’t have to help them point, just hold them as usual over the potty, then back into the sidecar, and baby hardly wakes. But a boy… o boy. Any tips greatly appreciated!
Haha – yes, Mary, boys are a little more tricky at night, in the dark. My first thought is – have you tried a dimmer on your bedside lamp? If not, try one. I’ve also put a blanket over top of a lamp and used a dimmer, to make it very very dark still. My next thought is to use your finger to point his penis into the top hat potty (do you have one?) and just tuck it into the inside of the potty cozy (mine come with a cozy), and if he pees into the cozy, it will generally not leak out the side. My top hats are avail here – http://tinyundies.com/tophat – and come with the cozy and a non-slip wide rubber band to prevent nighttime spills (ask me how I know this!!!) :)
Also, you can opt to omit nighttime EC. If you’d rather preserve your energy by not night-nursing, and he goest back to sleep so easily after going, then just ignore and move on. In a few months he’ll wake up dry – you’ll be amazed!!!! xx Andrea
Hello friends. My little boy is 3.5 and we have very actively and persistently been working on peeing on the potty (pooping was NO trouble and I haven’t changed a poopy bum since 18 months). He has NO interest! Not intrinsically motivated at all. He doesn’t care if he is wet and never tells me when he has to go. I’m about to go crazy. Like actually crazy. Sometimes I think I started too early and screwed something up. Now my second is almost 20 months and is showing tons of interest and I’m refusing to do anything about it because I feel like when I tried with him it was too early and don’t want her to end up on the same boat. My little guy is bright, social, confident – I feel like I need to say that cause seriously, i sometimes feel like something is wrong with him. He says “it’s okay mom. When I’m 7 I’ll pee on the potty”! (Like as if he has a concept of age haha). Help. Help. Help.
I’m not an expert, but Andrea said in her books, that if nothing works, you have to ditch the diapers completely. Say something like “got are a big boy now, and big boys don’t wear diapers. Big boys make their pie and poo to the toilet. I show you how it works und it will be fun.” And maybe the big toilet is more ingesting than the potty? Have you tried a toilet seat reducer? My son doesn’t go to the potty, he likes the toilet better.
And if you little one shows interest, I wouldn’t refuse to teach her. Maybe that’s a kick for your older one too? If the little sister already can do it?
Hope I could help…
Omg, autocorrection at its best… Sorry!
You are a big boy now…
Pee and poo… Of course!
Your little one…
It is true, Michaela, that if nothing works, get rid of the diapers! :)
Hi Angela! So, to clarify, did you start with your first at 18 months? That is actually not considered “early” by standards of the 1950s and earlier. ;o) And I mean that as nicely as possible! You see, your confidence has been warped by the diaper industry and it boils my blood that they could do this to you, to sell more diapers. With your second, start NOW. If you have a 3rd, start at 12 months/walking, and no later than that. Ditching diapers by 12-14 months is one sure way to prevent this lack of interest, in case you weren’t aware.
Oh my…I need a deep breath! You are doing perfectly. Your eldest is definitely doing a number on you and it should not prevent you from training your second. Your second deserves it. He is different. Your eldest is SO bright that he is saying those hilarious things (though we all agree it’s not really all that funny) and he likely knows exactly what he’s doing to shake your nerve.
So, what to do? Tell him to go potty on a regular schedule. How often does he go? Have him go at those rhythms and times. Do not ask if he needs to go. Do not expect him to ever, ever, ever tell you or just take himself. If you drop your end of the tug of war rope, he’ll drop his end…there’s nothing to tug at.
Stand your ground and (yay for poops in the potty, btw!!!) just go by a schedule and support him in this way until he turns 7 and takes himself (LOL – it probably won’t take that long).
Hang in there! And train #2! He deserves it. He is not going to be the same. And it is NOT too early – 92% of children were toilet trained by 18 months in 1957 in the US. The longer you wait, the longer it will take, every single time.
Sending encouragement! xx Andrea
Since my son was about three weeks old, I did EC with him. Continously at the beginning, not so at the moment, he’s 11 months now. Still, at childcare they do it with him regularly and at home I try to do it at leasy once a day (I’m a very busy mom of two small children, starting fulltime university). However, as he never lost the ability of knowing when he had to pee or poo and to a certain amound control it, we now are starting to put him on the toilet with the small ring on it, since he’s starting to be very interested when any of us is going “potty”.
Because of that, in childcare and at home, we go with him to the toilet, let him sit to get used to it, and we make the queue sound (pssss). Most of the times, he sits about a minute on it (the average he needs to finish his business doing EC) then he either pees or signals that he had enough. If he pees we say there goes the pee (roughly translation), if not no comment.
Together with the interest in toilet and everything around it, he starts to complain when he knows that we put the diaper on. At home I leave the diaper be, put on his pants after I made sure he peed and I offer the diaper some 15 minutes later, which he normaly accepts. This is another reason for me to start early potty training at an age of 11 months as I really don’t want to oblige him to wear diapers as he has to in childcare (they do an amazing job, they change the kids after every situation change, which is roughly every two hours or so and immediately after they pooed)
I’m sorry for the long text :-)
I started EC when my son was 2 months old. I’ve purposefully cultivated a chill attitude about it since I can get too worked up about doing things right. I decided to potty him when he woke up and after nursing and when he pooped—easy catches. When he started solids, I started missing more poops than I caught as his digestion changed and this summer he’s been uncooperative with pottying unless he’s just woken up. I wasn’t surprised though because he was getting sooo close to walking—and yesterday he took his first steps! Now that he’s reached this milestone, I plan to do some naked observation/teaching time to get back in touch with his potty rythms and move towards getting him out of diapers.
I started EC with my son at 6 weeks. It has been an adventure! But we’ve kept at it through all the stages and now at 15 months we’re ditching the diapers tomorrow and doing the hybrid plan. He’s a very active baby so I know ditching the diapers is what he needs, and I’m ready to move on too!
We started PT EC when my son was 5m. I’m gonna guess we caught half of his pees (8-10/day). Then we went on vacation, and then we moved, so he paused for several months but we kept at it (lax and then revisited when he stopped the pause). When he resumed after the pause, he didn’t full resume. He would do his morning potty when he woke up, his nap potty, and a middle of the night potty, when I would bring him from the spare bedroom into ours.
He is 1 now (birthday yesterday). About a month ago(?) I realized it’s actually easier to stop by the bathroom and have him pee on the toilet instead of using the potty every morning. He has successfully pottied on the toilet every morning since. However, he absolutely refuses the potty now, nap potties are almost non-existent, and midnight potties are totally gone. He shows almost no signs. The only one has been grabbing at his diaper, when it’s wet so I’ve been trying to go with that. I take the wet one off, offer the toilet and wait a few minutes. When he doesn’t go, I bring him back and put a diaper on him. Half of the time, if I have to go grab a diaper because I don’t have one ready, he will run away and pee on the floor. I’ve tried diaper free time to better learn his cues, but when his diaper is off he will just pee on the floor with no signs.
I know you say not to offer the potty too much (or, toilet, in my case), but I’m starting to feel like timed intervals is my only option, and who seriously has time for that? Honestly, I’d love to wrap this up, but I’d be happy with just going back to catching half a day. It seems like the only “sign” I have is every time I THINK he has to go, he does but he always makes sure it’s on the floor. I would consider a urinal if I thought it was because he wants to stand to pee but half of the time that he pees on the floor, he is just sitting.
Ugh. Sorry for the novel. I’m trying to be relaxed about it, and usually am. Just getting frustrated right now thinking about how we’re worse off now than when we started.
I’ve never interpreted “diaper free” as “naked,” but rather as “cloth undies” like the ones that Andrea has available here, or the Gerber ones (without the “waterproof” layer). That way, the pee is touching your son’s skin, and it’s uncomfortable, but it’s still obvious to you that he peed… but not impossible to clean up. If you don’t have Andrea’s book already, get it. Everything she says is so helpful. Best to you!
We have done both. Normally, we hang out around the house in our underwear (he, in a diaper) and I have hard wood floors, so naked doesn’t bother me. (Except when he was 6m and learned to stand and decided standing to pee on the couch was better than peeing on himself lol) We’ve also tried both outside. I don’t have the book yet, barely enough money to cover bills right now, but I am slowly saving for it. I’ve been reading (almost) all of the other comments here though, and am wondering if the book is what is best, or perhaps one of the mini courses?? ?
Also, I forgot to mention, when we started he was already crawling and would even crawl into my lap when he had to pee or wanted to eat. He’s been walking for 2 months now. He babbles (a LOT) but hasn’t quite actually started talking or making his own names for anything. (Except “dog”, but clearly that’s irrelevant lol)
Tried EC starting at 12 mo. attempted for 3 months. nothing (no catches-ever). now potty training at 20 mo. child is nonverbal. but 11 days in, he’s made huge strides; still naked from the waist down (he can’t remove his pants), but goes potty for both number 1 and 2!
That’s great Diana! I’m so glad potty training is going well. It’s great that you didn’t let him being nonverbal stop you, no reason to wait. There are plenty of nonverbal ways to communicate. He’ll be able to push his pants down in no time. xx Andrea
I started trying part time EC at 8 months, with hardly any catches. He just never wanted to go in the potty. ( He’d happily sit on it and read and play and nurse, but he’d hold it till he got off the potty.) He’s now 16 months, and I’m considering early potty training. But my lack of success with EC is making me hesitant, and I worry that I will fail at this too!
Hi Hillary! Don’t worry, you’ll do a wonderful job. At 16 months old you can still do EC, or you can potty train. Totally up to you. The nice thing at this age is you will be ditching diapers. Once they aren’t an option babies really progress with using the potty. xx Andrea
It is so easy to get lost on numbers and targets and when other babies are potty trained. It needs to be a very personal thing though where you are reacting to your child’s signs. These are great tips for knowing when and how to potty train.
I’m so glad you found it helpful Scarlet! xx Andrea
Hey Andrea! I read your EC book and have been practicing with my daughter since she was 9 months. She is now 16 months. All of her poops are in the tiny potty now but pees are hit or miss. I feel stuck and don’t know whether to wrap up EC or try early potty training. She is a very independent little thing!! :)
Hi! You can wrap up three ways. 1) Ditch diapers, bump up to full time EC, work on teaching skills. 2) The hybrid plan that comes with Go Diaper Free. It’s a mash up of EC and potty training. 3) Potty training. All are valid options, just choose what you feel is the best fit for your family. xx Andrea
I’ve read all your books and we’ve been part time ec omg since six months and did hybrid plan at 18 months but we had so many accidents in the car and at naps and with outings (Bc it’s hard to find a bathroom due to Covid) that I’ve kept her in diapers for that time. She knows she’s in diapers because she’s still learning and literally says pee goes in the toilet not in the car… otherwise, she is pretty good about going to the toilet but usually only tells me when she needs to poop. Otherwise, it’s mostly me bringing her on timing. Now she is two years old, what do I do? I have a feeling you’re going to say ditch the diapers completely but those accidents?!? Night time training seems years away because she drinks water all night so I won’t even bother asking about that. She has language and understanding but something is clearly missing… please help.
Hi Julie! You are right, you need to ditch those diapers completely for awake time. You can use a disposable puppy pee pad to protect the car seat. Pack extra clothes in the car. Offer the potty before and after the car. Since you are having a hard time finding bathrooms, pack a potette travel potty with you. They fold up small and will fit in a diaper bag easily. If you feel like her awareness just isn’t quite there I would run through Tiny Potty Training. It will help fill any gaps in learning. xx Andrea