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Potty Training: The 3 things you should NOT do

Potty Training - 3 Things You Shold NOT Do

There are 3 specific things you should NOT do when potty training your toddler.

How do I know?

Well, truth be told, I have never personally potty trained any of my 4 children. I did elimination communication with each one and started them at birth, and I never had to actually potty train any of them.

I’ve used elements of potty training to help teach them to move to the bathroom, to tell me every time, and to teach them certain little steps to help wrap up EC with them, but never trained start to finish.


That said, I have helped 1,000s of parents worldwide toilet train their toddlers by researching the heck out of it, using what I know about EC and babies and toddler development, and doing what I do best: simplifying something I’ve researched to make it easier for parents to do it, and do it well. It is my biggest talent: distilling knowledge.

From all this work over the past several years, I’ve noticed 3 things you should definitely not do when potty training a kiddo. Watch this 4-minute video to learn what those things are:

In it, we’ll cover a bunch of stuff that I can’t tell you right now or it will ruin the surprises in the video!

After you’ve watched it...

Please leave a comment below with whether you’ve made any of these choices and whether they backfired (or not).

Or simply share whatever nugget you took away from this video, and what you intend to do about it.)

Again, this is a judgment-free zone! Thank you in advance! :)


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Resource Recommendation

Getting EC Back on Track: a minicourse that walks you through observation, logging, and getting back on the EC wagon

Potty Time Mastery: a minicourse that helps you get extremely good at detecting the 4 ways to know the baby has to pee

Go Diaper Free: my popular EC book that simplifies EC, beginning to end

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 Meera on December 12, 2017 at 11:22 am

    Helpful to see these pointers since for my 6 mo we didn’t manage to start EC And intend to potty train sooner than later!

  2. Avatar Leah on December 12, 2017 at 11:26 am

    Thanks Andrea for a great video! I’m a physician and totally agree that “waiting until they show signs of readiness” is crazy… but my colleagues and patients think I’m nutzo when I suggest EC. Oh well, their loss. Our son finished EC at 19 months and is now completely diaper free, even at daycare. It wasn’t hard, no coercion/treats/sticker charts required, and we are DONE with diapers a year “early!”

  3. Avatar Jolene on December 12, 2017 at 12:38 pm

    My children NEVER showed any interest or readiness. I’m glad to hear that I’ not crazy.

  4. Avatar Joy Charlton on December 13, 2017 at 3:01 am

    Feel like 90% of what ive read about waiting for the signs of showing interest in the toilet are BS! They push that statement everywhere in potty training info. We’ve been at it for a week with our almost 3 year old and it’s challenging but we’ll get there. Plan to start sooner with our 2nd child who is currently 8mos even if she isnt showing interest.

  5. Avatar G on December 13, 2017 at 3:54 am

    Hi, Andrea!
    I will soon stop reading your blog (which I really enjoy) because I have almost finished potty training my child … some time ago I sent you an email about EC…it’s mentioned in a book from 1884! Amazing, right?

  6. Avatar Annie Mo on December 14, 2017 at 10:00 am

    I started PT my grandson at about 24 months. I let him go bottom free. He got the concept and was doing well just couldn’t get him to tell me when he had to go. He would try to empty the potty on his own. Then when we transitioned to the pull ups he stopped using the potty, the concept of pulling down his pants was missed. We went back to using diapers but I would always ask if he had to go. He would go in the diaper and then run away when I realized that he needed to be changed. I have to get this right. His brother is 12 months. Neither has a regular time to go or shows signs

  7. Avatar Adria on December 20, 2017 at 8:45 pm

    My third child just turned 15 months, and I’d like to start moving away from diapers. My oldest was very easily out of diapers at 14 months, my second at 15 months. Both of them I did a little ec with. My third, not so much. Partly because I’m working outside the home now (3 days a week), and partly because life with 3 just felt too crazy. Where would you recommend I start? Would the tiny potty training book be good even though my son isn’t 18 months yet? My first was so so easy to train, and my second was definitely harder. I’m sorry to say I made some of the mistakes you mentioned! (having him go naked in the house). I’ve started doing that with my 15 month old, and am eager to learn a better way!

  8. Avatar Lisa on January 12, 2018 at 6:35 pm

    I wish I had read this months ago when my son was about 15 months maybe. He would stop and tell me oh pee if he happened to pee with his nappy off but having forgotten everything I read in your book and after a bad experience potty training my daughter I put it off. Now after a brief attempt he doesn’t even seem to notice he’s peeing. Hope I’ve not left it too late, he’ll be 2 in Feb and I’ve scheduled a date when I will have help some of the days for that week, not ideal but with no annual leave to take its the best we can do. Really kicking myself, I just knew that was the time to do it and allowed myself to listen to folk saying oh that’s really young! I know better now and have re read your book. Wish us luck!

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on January 12, 2018 at 8:36 pm

      Good luck, Lisa!!! I am in your corner. Tune everyone and everything else out. Give that one solid, concerted effort, ninja-style of course, and it will do a great deal of good. Do not feel bad about what you’ve been thru and the choices you’ve made thus far. You definitely didn’t want to repeat a bad PT experience with this child. I get it. But being hard on yourself will not help. You only know now what you know now, and now you’ve refreshed, and now you’re doing it! Best of luck and please rely on our Certified Coaches in our private Facebook Group for book owners only…they and I are rooting you on! Be easy on yourself. xx Andrea

  9. Avatar Marisol on March 30, 2018 at 12:35 am

    Hello! I’m stressing out about my 27mo son. He has never showed “signs of readiness” or interest. He has discovered his penis. lol. I will be moving in the next couple of weeks and I am considering PT now, before moving, but I am wondering if I should wait until after the move. I would not want him to regress if he becomes stressed out about the move as well.

    My question is: should I start potty training now, or wait until we are at the new place?

    My 5yo was a dream to potty train. She took all the guess work out of it and was just so quick and smart about it. My son is….a slacker, for all intents and purposes. I cloth diaper him and I enjoy it, so I feel like I have been selfish about training him.

  10. Avatar Sarah on April 14, 2018 at 1:49 pm

    I just have to say, I love listening to you talk about these things! :D I really enjoy your attitude. Tnanks so much for sharing your wisdom with us!

  11. Avatar Hillary on April 17, 2018 at 7:47 pm

    I agree with you, but the way you made this video comes across as extremely judgemental and I think will put off many new parents from exploring EC. Please try to be kind and accepting in your videos.

  12. Avatar Kathy Gyori on July 3, 2018 at 6:27 pm

    Hi Andrea! I love your passion and expertise in potty training! Thank-you! We potty trained our son using your book as a guide when he was 16 months. He is now 22 months and rarely has a accident and usually because we have forgotten to bring him to the potty. I have been looking for a new childcare provider and have found one that requires him to wear pull ups. Should I go along with this or find another childcare provider?

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