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How long should potty training take?

How Long Should Potty Training Take

Usually parents in the midst of potty training their toddler are the ones asking this question: how long should potty training take?

And, usually these parents are asking it because they feel like it might be taking them a bit too long (um, like, having been at it for over 6 months now).

Today I will demystify the timeframes involved with toilet training your youngster and reaching complete independence (two very different phases of the whole process).

This video is only 4 minutes long. If you don’t like changing diapers, you’ve definitely got time for this:

In it, you’ll learn:

  • how long it should take to get thru the potty training experience
  • how long it should take to get from “trained” to “independent”
  • the one thing you should not go back to, once you’ve begun, and
  • the hardest part about potty training (you’d be surprised).

If you’re contemplating potty training, in the middle of it, or wrapping up EC with PT, this video is definitely for you.

Resource Recommendation

After you’re done watching…

please share with us in the comments below how long you’ve been at potty training, and how much longer (after watching this video) you plan on taking to wrap it up.

(Or share that you’re struggling. Or you’re done. Or something totally else!)

I look forward to seeing where everyone’s at. And remember...this is a judgment-free zone! Feel free to be completely honest!


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Andrea Olson

About Andrea Olson

I'm Andrea and I spend most of my time with my 6 children (all under 12 yo) and the rest of my time teaching other new parents how to do Elimination Communication with their 0-18 month babies. I love what I do and try to make a difference in one baby or parent's life every single day. (And I love, love, love, mango gelato.)


  1. Avatar Lauren on December 8, 2017 at 10:15 am

    Ive been using the ec method with my second child on and off since birth. He is 15 mo old. With our 3rd child on the way i would love to have our son signaling and going to the potty in 5 months or less. I am catching certain pees, have struggled with poops, he wants to stand up and gets very distracted when i sit him on the potty to poop.
    Question: on the video today you mention potty training should take around 7 daysvto get the concept. During these 7 days diapers should be ditched as much as possible? I know u always recommend using diapers as bavk ups not to rely on. During these u days should i just put some pants on him and work with him as much as i can at home?

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on December 8, 2017 at 7:14 pm

      Hey Lauren!! GREAT questions. I think it’s definitely reasonable to be done with daytime diapers by then, and I would even look at doing the potty training experience with your son at 17 months IF wrapping up with pure EC or a hybrid plan does NOT work by then. My Wrapping Up EC minicourse ( may help there. Or the Tiny Potty Training Book ( is what you could use right at 17 months (read up in about a month so you’re prepared). In pure EC you might still use a diaper back-up, in hybrid EC/PT you would ditch diapers after the 1-2 days of naked observation and teaching time IF you feel like it, yet with the PT book plan, it is cold turkey (and WAY better for the child IF you’re still having that resistance stuff and standing and whatnot when the time comes). You basically switch from EC (diaper is backup) to Potty Training (no more diapers, ever). The 7 days is not set in stone. Some take 3, some take 20, just depends on the child, the age, etc. You WILL, however, be dedicating full 100% attention to the process for the first 2-5 days…so you will have to clear your schedule and do a long weekend or keep him home from care to focus on it, most likely. Trust me, it’s worth it. During the teaching time, the first move you make it to throw diapers away. So there it is! Best wishes with it…glad you’re preparing. I’ve never had 2 in diapers, but statistically I should have had 3 at once in diapers! So, it is completely doable. You just have to do it and stick with it no matter what. xx Andrea

  2. Avatar Archana on December 8, 2017 at 3:06 pm

    Andrea. Am from India. My daughter has just turned 1. And I have learnt about EC about a month ago.. finished reading your book. tried a week ago. Quit after 4or 5 days as I caught a flu and couldn’t manage. I’ve learnt a couple of things in those 5 days.. about cues timings of my daughter. Here’s my question..

    My daughter does assisted standing and crawling. She refuses to sit on the mini potty, refuses to be held in classic EC position. Should I show her the place and let her pee standing and clean up afterwards

    Also, when she starts to poop the grint or the face, if I shift her position she doesn’t go anymore, she holds it back . How to handle these please

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on December 8, 2017 at 7:19 pm

      Hi Archana! Developmentally, what you describe sounds normal for a 1 year old. Preferring to stand makes sense. You need to shift your mindset from diaper as toilet to diaper as back-up, and begin to learn her and *teach* her. I would also ask someone from any family or friends you have back home in India about how they taught their infants at such an early age. Next, I would start just with the 4 easy catches (see my youtube channel and the playlist: and ease your way into it. Yes, letting her stand to pee is fine for a while. A toilet seat reducer will be very very helpful for you – find one with characters on it like this . When she stops pooping, you should say “wait” and then calmly transport her to the toilet with reducer. Most babies this age will not poop in a mini potty if they see adults going on the big toilet. If she has never seen you poop on the big toilet, let her. Anyway, for other questions, please Join the GDF Book Owners’ Private Facebook Group (, which comes with your book, and we can help you directly! Don’t give up! xx Andrea

  3. Avatar Elizabeth Dubinsky on December 8, 2017 at 4:26 pm

    I did ec for poops with my daughter beginning at 6 months and then did the Glowacki 3 day method when my daughter was 20 months. We started on October 10 and I would say we are still potty training. I would say we are doing it full on…no diapers during the day, we even traveled for thanksgiving for a week, no diapers on the plane, no diapers at my mother in laws house even though she wanted us to. We have been gone for about 2 weeks and it feels like we are still potty training. Some days she’ll be dry and go to the potty for hours at a time, some days she pees through 3 pants in a morning. I know she knows how to use the potty because she used to use it consistently for pees, she catches 99 percent of poops, even tells us! Pees very little initiation. We know about promoting my then walking away, giving her more control, etc. i feel like we’re at a stand still and frankly it’s really difficult to watch your video that says potty training will be wrapped up in 30 days as we’ve been at it hard core for 2 months and see no relief in sight. Insight is welcomed (I’m desperate!)

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on December 8, 2017 at 7:26 pm

      Hi Elizabeth! I’m sorry that it’s hard to see that I say the potty training part should be wrapped up within about 30 days…but that is with my book and my method, not Jamie’s. I think you probably should do her method over again, start to finish, because there is something (unknown to you) that is missing in her perception of the process. This is what I would have suggested if you’d had my book, inside my private book owners’ group. So, working with what you have, I’d suggest a “do-over” – knowing that parts of it will probably click and pass quickly – and then see if that has helped. The potty independence part is definitely a time when you teach the initiation…this does take time and kind of “mindless” repetition, unemotional consistency. Hang in there! xx Andrea

      • Avatar Elizabeth Dubinsky on December 11, 2017 at 10:43 am

        Hi Andrea, Thanks for your response. I should have added that I did also buy your book! It is very useful but we are still struggling with what appears to be behaviors but not really sure. Would love to use the private support group resource- is that the Facebook page? If so, I’ll take the conversation over there.
        Thanks for your support!

  4. Avatar Jess on December 8, 2017 at 4:34 pm

    This was interesting! I just potty trained my son (using the Oh crap potty training method). He was 22.5 months when we started. After the first week he was still a bit clueless and we couldn’t stay in any longer so we hand a few outings where he wore nappies (only a handful over the next 2 weeks). I’m sure it did slow him down a bit. We stopped using any nappies at all after week 3 and he stopped having accidents a few days later. Now it’s abouy week 7, he’s fully self initiating, dry after every nap (so we stopped using a nappy then) and wakes up dry around 50-60% of mornings (we haven’t tackled night time specifically yet but he seems to be working on it himself!). I’m amazed by the progress in the last month. I’m happy enough he’s just turned two this week and is out of nappies and it only took about 4-5 weeks to reach full independence, but I do agree it might have been a little faster if I’d made some tweaks. But – not even one of my friends is potty training yet so I just feel so glad we did it at all!

    • Avatar Jess on December 8, 2017 at 4:37 pm

      Also I would 100% start earlier next time! I was about to become a SAHM though, so I just waited til I was done with work and home full time.

      • Avatar Andrea Olson on December 8, 2017 at 7:27 pm

        Jess this is so awesome!!!!! I’m stoked for you both. Thanks for sharing your experience – I am sure it will help others. :) xx Andrea

  5. Avatar Carissa on December 8, 2017 at 9:40 pm

    We wrapped up EC using the OCPT method at 15 months (during my summer break from school so I was home with him). We still use diapers for nights, naps, and long car rides. Within a week or two, it brought us from hardly any poop catches and about 50% success with pees to hardly any poop misses and just a few pee misses. So amazing! We were at about 1 miss a day for a few months there, usually pee misses, but he went back to daycare and our provider requires that he still wears his diapers because she only potties the kids based on timing rather than signals and he has occasional misses there. We also did a ton of long trips during this whole period, which made it difficult to catch everything due to car seats and such. But, it’s been really awesome to see that by 18-19 months he was almost never having any misses (except at daycare occasionally), and usually when he did, there was something going on with his digestion. Now at 21 months he is fully independent, including manipulating his own clothing, and it feels amazing! :D Thank you Andrea for making it possible for us to be out of diapers so much earlier than other parents we meet!

  6. Avatar Melinda Penner on December 8, 2017 at 10:40 pm

    Hi Andrea! I am potty training my 22 month old using your book. Although I have followed your book (and you have such good, clear instructions in it) I still feel like I’m not totally sure how we’re doing. We started this last Monday. I had thought I would move on to step 2 after one day (as I have done part time ec with her for about a year now) but I wasn’t sure she was catching on to ‘pee goes in the potty’. But Wednesday I moved on to small clothed outings and today we went grocery shopping (a one hour outing). But I’m still not sure that the part of all pee goes in the potty has clicked with her. If I initiate (natural timing, transition times, some signals) then we can get almost all pees in the potty but it doesn’t seem like she is initiating herself yet. Is this ok for potty training? I feel like probably after a while maybe she will start to initiate but is that called dragging out potty training?? I’d be glad for any help!

  7. Avatar Amy on December 9, 2017 at 11:23 am

    We started with EC, mostly part-time/trying full-time, with our little man from 6months til we started potty-training with your book/method at 19months (probably would have done it earlier in hindsight, like 12 months). Potty-training (started Nov 1st) took 4-5days, 2 naked and 2-3 clothing full-time with excursions; we have had a couple misses (like 0-2 a week) mostly start to pee (I think mostly me missing the cues/son resisting but not wanting to be left alone to potty yet). We did both day-time and night-time together (he will wake up and go once during the night so he stays dry upon waking/nursing in AM). Overall, he is doing well – we are just working on getting better at clothing management and him being more independent with the whole process. He even did well with a babysitter one night!
    I am very thankful for the EC and your potty-training method, Andrea, as I feel it has been the best fit for our family and the rest of our relatives/friends are shocked (but think it is pretty cool!). It really just all makes sense and I appreciate all the history/background info. I recommend you to our friends/family with little ones and potty-training.

  8. Avatar Malin on December 10, 2017 at 4:21 pm

    Our girl is 14 months old, and we’ve been doing EC light with her from the beginning. She has never given a clear sign for pee as I’ve been able to see, not physically or sound (I’ve made the “tss” sound for her ever since birth), so it’s been more a timing, intuition or by chance thing, and still is.
    Poop was different, as she normally farted beforehand and it usually was happening right after feeding so she was in my arms and I could also feel it on her body – or she would poop in the morning. So from say 3 to 12 months we had hardly any poop diapers. Great! But for the last two-ish months something has changed, and we’re now having several poop diapers a day :-O She has not been a complainer about dirty diapers either. Surprisingly, as she hasn’t really been used to having them..

    I struggle to see her poop cues, and when I do see them, she gets furious if I try to take her to the potty. If I ask her, she will not come. She also often hides, like under the table, or go into another room than me, when she has to poop.. I have been using sign for poop for quite a few months now, but she’s not using it herself as of yet.

    She has no issues with the potty, and can sit there for ages. I have tried to leave her alone in the bathroom on the potty a few times, but she calls for me. I am also a bit worried that if I leave her and she were to actually do something, she might get up and make a total mess :-O
    She’s a very independent and aware little girl who loves to try and to (impossible) things on her own, and it’s super frustrating to have ended up here, after having been so successful with EC light beforehand..
    Will definitely purchase your book about potty training, but would love to have a reply from you as well (not expecting it though, as I suppose you most be quite busy :)

    Thanks for sharing your knowledge with the world!!

  9. Avatar Leana on January 9, 2018 at 2:32 pm

    I started potty training my 5 month old a week ago. I’m doing part-time and I take her a few minutes after she finishes her bottle. This way I am catching most of her pee time. Sometimes she pees during a feeding. She follows my signal “Let’s go peepee” and “psss” then she starts. For her poo, I put her dirty diaper in the toilet to catch the poo so I don’t have to scrape it out. Any suggestions for that? Also I’m afraid to stop using diapers completely since she’s not using the toilet 100% of the time, pees a ton at night, and I don’t want to deal with accidents around the house or when out.

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on January 12, 2018 at 8:23 pm

      Hi Leana! Wonderful. I think for the potty that you’re protecting I would go ahead and let her poop into it and then dump it into the toilet. Usually poop comes out with pee, too, at that age, and so it will be easy enough to dump. If you have residue left in the potty afterward, run it under hot water from the sink and use a pump or two of soap to get it clean. Wipe with a bleach wipe if you like, after. Also, you should def check out my book for elimination communication. Going diaper-free does not mean stopping using diapers completely. It means being free from 100%, full-time dependence upon diapers. What you are doing is infant potty training, which is EC/elimination communication, and is completely developmentally-appropriate. Learn more about EC here. Enjoy! xx Andrea

  10. Avatar Sarah on April 14, 2018 at 1:36 pm

    I had heard about EC previously (and experiemented with it a bit), and it recently came back on my radar somehow, in the form of your site. My 8th baby is now 18 months old and I’ve been inspired to help her to diaper-freedom ASAP. I’ve been giving her potty-tunities at virtually every diaper change and some other times, for maybe a week. We have had NO hits and I’m starting to get a little disappointed. The potty-training method I have previously used is intensive (originally designed for mentally handicapped people, heavy on the rewards) and I don’t know if I can pull it off with 7 other kids in the house, including a very inquisitive and energetic 3 year old boy!

  11. Avatar Ashley on April 28, 2019 at 7:25 am

    I Jane been encouraging my 2-year-old to try to use the potty, but I have been met with a lot of resistance. I see now that I need to take diapers away and take a week to focus on getting it done.

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on April 29, 2019 at 1:25 am

      Yes, that will make a huge difference. As long as diapers are an option they will use it. xx Andrea

  12. Avatar Malin on April 29, 2019 at 3:05 am

    Andrea, how to deal with a 2.5 year old who doesn’t want to sit on “random” toilets? She let’s me know when she needs to go at home, but that’s the only place- she will refuse to be held on a different toilet, and we have a rather big toilet seat for her (bumbo, a ergonomic seat) which is way too big to carry arounsd.. Force is of course not an option, and I struggle to see how to do this in a gentle and respectful way out of our home..

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