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Transitioning to the big toilet: When and how to move from a mini potty to the big T.

GDF Podcast 40

Today on the Go Diaper Free Podcast we're talking about when to know that it's time to transition to the big potty and how!

Whether you are going straight from an in-arms hold or from a mini potty, transitioning to a big potty is an important, often confusing, step.

It can feel a little intimidating at first, but don't worry, I'm going to talk you through it.

Maybe your child is letting you know it's time, or you are just ready for a change. Either way! Today we'll talk about what to do when transitioning to the big potty is your goal.

You will hear:

  • Reasons to transition to the big potty
  • How change can help you move through a potty pause
  • How to transition to the big potty
  • Helpful tools to have on hand
  • How to encourage your child to move forward
  • What to do if your child resists the big potty
  • How to provide your child with safety and privacy

Links and other resources mentioned today:

Download the Transcript

If you can't listen to this episode right now (um, sleeping baby!?) and read the transcript here:

Transcript download: Transitioning to the big toilet

Watch the Video Version (new!)

If you want to watch me record today’s podcast episode, you can do that on my youtube version right here:

Thanks for Listening!

To help out the show and help more parents find out about EC:

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  • Share your thoughts by leaving a note in the comments section below!

When do you plan on transitioning to the big toilet, or have you already? Please leave a comment below with your experience!

I look forward to chatting with you in the comments.

xx Andrea

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 on April 30, 2019 at 11:10 am

    My little guy doesn’t seem interested in privacy. He’s never tried to hide or take off to do his thing (no EC until 12 months unfortunately). So.. I just pop him on the toilet and squat on the floor in front of him. Our bathroom is super small so he can reach the tub and the vanity, so huge risk of him falling off.. Anywho. My point is… he reaches for me to let me know he’s done. Is this going to become an issue in the future?

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on May 2, 2019 at 1:40 am

      I don’t think it will be an issue. Some kids don’t ever really want privacy. If he doesn’t mind and what you are doing works, keep it up! xx Andrea

  2. Avatar Natalie on April 30, 2019 at 7:34 pm

    Good energy today 😊.

    Our bedrooms are in the basement, but there’s no bathroom down there. I’m not very good at holding my baby over a kid potty (I have ordered both of yours). I do much better sitting on the adult toilet facing backwards with my baby (I read this from a Chinese American), but again there’s no bathroom in the basement.. I’d love to be able to buy an adult portable potty with extra room for both of us, that I can keep in the basement and take upstairs to dump.. If you make an affordable one, please let me know.

    Thanks for the infovideo.

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on May 2, 2019 at 1:44 am

      Hi Natalie! It will get easier to use a potty as baby gets bigger. If you feel like an adult sized seat would help, maybe you could try a bedpan? I don’t know if it would be big enough, but it might work. xx Andrea

      • Avatar Natalie on May 2, 2019 at 5:40 am

        Neat idea thanks!

  3. Avatar Siobhan on May 1, 2019 at 2:13 pm

    Thanks for this! I previously commented about a potty pause and we’ve been trying to work through that. I’ve held him on the big potty, but he’s still arching his back and whining, so I sounds like I need to buy a seat reducer and give him some privacy. The journey continues!

  4. Avatar Lia on May 1, 2019 at 8:11 pm

    Love your new video podcasts!
    I noticed that some kids sit on the toilet without a big enough stool or with legs dangling. (My oldest prefers a small stool that actually does not provide enough grounding. Same with my youngest and a toilet ladder. The legs are actually too small to sit in a proper squatting position but I don’t know of any better options.)
    And since we as EC coaches talk about the advantage of the squatting position when we hold the baby in our arms to EC or squatting on the potty, I think it would be good to mention here, too. It’d be sad to have such a good start squatting only to stop it when growing up. Because even grown ups should use a stool and squat. ;)

  5. Avatar Steph on May 3, 2019 at 12:08 am

    I started putting my son on the toilet because he flat out refused his potty. We had moved and he had some bouts of illness that made us entirely diaper dependant for a while. So, we started with a reducer.. but that didn’t go well. I realized he actually sits just fine on the toilet as is, and we’ve done it ever since. When he started eating solids (and having solids poos) we were able to figure out when he had to poo, so he’s never had more than 1 in 3 poos start in the diaper (they all at least end in the toilet). I am so thankful for you and not having to change toddler poos. Now, I just have to get him to tell me when he needs to potty. (Right now, we go by instinct and timing, but are still missing about 1 in 4).

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on May 4, 2019 at 1:39 am

      That is fantastic! Keep up the great work, the communication will come with time. xx Andrea

  6. Avatar Becca Page Rouleau on May 3, 2019 at 4:00 pm

    I just got some undies and finally a book from you! We are almost complete night time potty for our 29 month old and we are mostly diaper free for our 10 month old. Thank you!!

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on May 4, 2019 at 1:40 am

      Woohoo! That is wonderful!! I hope you enjoy the undies and book. xx Andrea

  7. Avatar Ife on May 4, 2019 at 7:26 am

    I’m really grateful for all that you’re sharing! I’m pregnant now and for the first time so I’m just taking everything in in a place of gratitude. Thank you for being a beacon!

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on May 8, 2019 at 2:23 am

      Hi Ife, Congratulations on your pregnancy! I am so glad to hear you are learning all about EC now. You will be ready to dive in once baby arrives. xx Andrea

  8. Avatar Tamra on May 4, 2019 at 2:05 pm

    I bought the mini potty on your St. Patrick’s Sale and immediately 18 mo. took ownership and began using it independently. Two days in a row she shocked me by hand delivering the toilet to me with her bm in it with a very smug smile on her face! I had to hold back my panic both times as I carefully took the hand off! I had just begun to teach her to pull her undies down. She definitely prefers the simplicity of tinyundies over the tinyups or even the trainers, but this mommy needs those 2 options still because we still have our share of misses while I’m working with my other kids, and esp. with 2 yr. molars pushing through.

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on May 8, 2019 at 2:31 am

      Hi Tamra! That is wonderful! It sounds like she was totally ready for some independence. Once those molars are in I have no doubt she will finish wrapping up. xx Andrea

  9. Avatar Kristina on May 4, 2019 at 6:34 pm

    We’ve been working through a potty pause (12.5 months old, EC since birth) and it seems like finding the right seat reducer for the big potty has made a significant difference. For a while he refused to sit on the big potty and would arch his back and kick off, but now that he’s refusing the mini potty, he seems more open to the big one. We found a cushioned seat with hand rails and a good splash guard, and he’s done well with that the past few days. Seems like it’s a constant cycle though to see where he won’t refuse to potty!

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on May 8, 2019 at 2:33 am

      Hi Kristina! I am glad to hear you found something that works. That’s why I recommend having a tiny potty and a seat reducer. They will go through phases of preferring one over the other. If you keep having a hard time with his potty pause, I do have a Potty Pause Resolution mini course. It will give you a lot of tips for working through it. xx Andrea

  10. Avatar Tabitha on July 18, 2020 at 6:41 pm

    I decided to transition to the big potty after my 9mo started trying to eat poop out of the mini potty. The first three days were very successful, no more poop eaten though a lot of toilet paper was consumed. Unfortunately on the fourth day she fell. Looks like I’ll need to get some pillows unless you have any strategies for the highly determined poop eaters out there.

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on July 19, 2020 at 5:34 pm

      Hi Tabitha! I’m so sorry your little one is making potty time tough. Try using distractions like toys, books, a toothbrush, etc. It will keep her busy and out of trouble. It helps if you can find items she doesn’t get to see any other time, just on the potty. xx Andrea

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