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What age should a child be potty trained by?

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With all of the conflicting information - and opinions - out there, how do we as parents set realistic expectations for EC and potty training? Tune in this week as Nicole cuts through all the noise to bring you the facts about what age you can expect your LO to be wrapped up by, and how you can help the process along.


You Will Hear:

  • The 5 outcomes that indicate your child has been officially potty trained
  • What age(s) completion is usually possible by
  • How to determine whether your child is capable of being wrapped-up or potty trained
  • Tips for reaching completion as soon as developmentally possible and appropriate
  • How to match your expectations of potty independence with your child’s experience and capability


Links and other resources mentioned today:


Download the Transcript

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Transcript Download - What age should a child be potty trained by?

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Resource Recommendation

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

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When did your child reach EC completion or finish potty training? Share your best tips with us!


xx Andrea

Disclosure Note: As an Amazon Associate, I earn a small commission from purchases made through the links on this page.

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 Vivien on May 23, 2023 at 11:08 am

    Hi, our son is 20 months now. We started EC when he was three months and we started putting him in trainers/undies when he was 12 months. He is getting pretty good averaging wetting one pants per day, which is mostly after napping at daycare. He is also mostly wet from waking in the morning with a dream pee two hours after he falls asleep. We bring him to potty based on timing and transition times and he never initiated, so when we forgot to bring him, he wet his pants. I do this on purpose sometimes to see if he would initiate. Sometimes he would come to us when he peed half, but more times he just keeps doing what he was doing. It seems to me that he doesnt mind being wet very much. I dont know if there is anything I can do to help him to initiate. Any advice would be appreciated.

    • Andrea Olson Andrea Olson on May 23, 2023 at 8:45 pm

      For night time training, it helps to do the dream pee and as he gets older he’ll be able to hold it overnight with no issues. Reducing liquids an hour or two before bed can also him stay dry during the night. You got this momma!

      • Avatar Kat on May 26, 2023 at 12:18 am

        We have tried a dream pee a few times (he is just over 20 months now), most recently twice in the last week. He wakes up (no matter how gentle and quiet we are), and screams his head off (whether his nappy is wet or dry); and we just end up putting a nappy back on him because dream pees obviously aren’t happening for us. Not sure there is a way around this, or just time?

        • Andrea Olson Andrea Olson on June 3, 2023 at 9:46 am

          If there is no keeping him asleep, then you could always gently wake him first in bed that way he isn’t waking up to being handled, and once he’s awake tell him it’s time to potty, take him to the potty and help him go, this might help in that your letting him know first what is happening and helping him through the process. Before bed, you could also mention to him that you will be waking him up so that he can go potty that way he can stay dry during the night, this might also help in preparing him for the night time pee.

  2. Avatar Barbara on May 23, 2023 at 1:49 pm

    I used Andrea’s Go Diaper Free book starting from when my daughter was 5 months old. At first, we did part-time EC, which later developed into full-daytime EC. She started walking around 16 months, and we did the potty training experience with Andrea’s Tiny Potty book. It worked great and took only about 3 days (because LO had most of the building blocks already, I guess). At nighttime, we ditched diapers around 28 months. She is 3.5 years old now, and sometimes, she will get a few drops of pee in her undies during experimental phases when she tries to hold it for too long. Other than that, just a handful or two of accidents over the years.
    I’m really happy to have found Go Diaper Free – it has worked beautifully for our family.

    • Andrea Olson Andrea Olson on May 23, 2023 at 8:48 pm

      Thank you so much for your support, and YAY for fewer diapers and misses!!!

  3. Avatar Rachel on May 23, 2023 at 9:09 pm

    We started easy catches at birth, when reflux lessened at 6 weeks (changes around feeds were tricky) I went full time on EC and my LO immediately started waking up dry AND sleeping hours longer, my best guess is because she was dry. She was very sensitive to being wet, it was interesting to discover a latching “problem” was simply her fussing to go pee while feeding, so EC smoothed breastfeeding out as well. I tapered out of cloth diapers in the day around 8-10mo because trainers were so much easier to use and car ride misses were far and few anyhow. I found i could double up on trainers or use a diaper cover to prevent a potential miss. I gave up cloth diapers at night because we never used them anyhow and by 14mo she no longer wanted to night potty after a short feed until 4-6am.

    Transition to solids was a bit challenging to find the right balance of foods to help her stool consistency so I used a bathtub when she wanted to poop or pee standing because she was a bit backed up. Finding the right things to play with on the potty has been key to getting her to stay since around a year, especially for pooping. I recently caved to letting her watch Ms Rachel when she has to poop because she is relaxed and goes (vs getting off and saying she has to poop again soon after).

    What I love the most is from birth to now (20mo) I can tell when she has to go and our confidence in communicating has benefitted with EC. Since around 6mo she made a distinct sound when she had to go, and sometimes still uses that sound — mm mm, but with each month she learned more ways to ask like bathroom, potty, pee pee. I ditched trainers at 18mo and maybe could have sooner because aside from one day of experimenting from peeing in them, she pees less in the undies even with teething. I could spend more time helping her learn to take undies on/off but have not so keeping her without undies makes it easy for her to go on her own without me. She’ll call me over usually if undies are on..or just pee in them on the potty. She has been able to pour her pee in the potty accurately more or less since around 19mo. :)

    • Andrea Olson Andrea Olson on June 3, 2023 at 9:34 am

      That is amazing! Your story is a testimony to the fact that our little ones are very capable and do their best to communicate with us for their needs.

  4. Avatar Savannah Saunders on May 25, 2023 at 3:46 pm

    I have practiced EC from birth with both of my children and had vastly different outcomes.

    My first was a natural. He started making a raspberry sound at 4mo to tell me whenever he needed to go potty. We took him out of diapers fully at 13mo. He was fully potty trained at 17mo. I felt like this was so easy like why in the world isn’t everyone doing EC?!?!

    My second has never been able to tell us when she needs to go. She gives no signs. We took her out of diapers at 15mo when she began walking and she had a small, short-lived amount of success but then had no interest in staying dry. She wouldn’t even care every time she peed herself in her undies or trainers or plain old pants. I kept trying, because I am NOT a quitter. I read your book. I took a mini 1-day course by you. I potty trained her 3 times with the 3-day method you describe, and it never worked. It never clicked.

    At 23mo I gave up and put her fully back into diapers for the foreseeable future, only pottying her in the morning when she wakes. Not sure when I’ll try again. I feel so disappointed and defeated, and my couch, my chair, and my carpets all smell like pee from all her accidents. EC just didn’t work for her. My only thought is maybe she has ADHD. I’ve read online that can cause real challenges with potty training.

    • Avatar Savannah Saunders on May 25, 2023 at 4:59 pm

      To be clear, she is poop-trained at least. We’ve always been on the same wavelength with that, so that’s a benefit EC offered, even if peeing on the potty isn’t catching on.

      Could it be that the climate we live in has made being wet less bothersome? We live in coastal SoCal, so it never gets colder than 60 degrees. And she loves water lol.

      • Andrea Olson Andrea Olson on June 3, 2023 at 9:43 am

        That’s awesome, that you are on the same wavelength with catching those poops! For some little ones it may just take a little while longer to figure out peeing in the potty and that’s okay. Keep offering her potty time especially in the mornings to catch the first pee of the day, that might help it click for her.

    • Andrea Olson Andrea Olson on June 3, 2023 at 9:40 am

      EC is rarely a linear journey. There are ups, and downs, and sometimes there is no progress or worse we are going backwards. It’s okay, like you mentioned it might just not work for her, and that’s okay. She may need more time for it all to click for her. Try to keep getting those easy catches, like the morning one you described, or before bed, around bath times and shortly after meal times. The more she can experience going on the potty, hopefully the sooner it will click for her. You got this momma!

  5. Avatar Ester on June 27, 2023 at 6:42 am

    We started EC when my daughter was 4 months and it was an amazing experience enhancing our communication and connection. We basically never had another poo in a nappy unless she was sick. Catching wee had more ups and downs. She was walking at 11 months and we started using training pants at home but kept the nappies for night time and out of the house. At 20 months we stopped using nappies completely. At home she used the potty and would go on the toilet with help and when out she would use a public toilet.
    Now she is almost 3 and a half and she refuses to use the toilet, she will only use the potty. If we are out she will use a public toilet if she really needs to go but she often holds it until we get home (she has really great bladder control and never has accidents) .
    I’m not sure how to help her to start using the big toilet. We have two different seat reducers and step stools. She is also refusing to learn to wipe herself. I’ve also had another baby in this time (she’s almost 6 months and EC is going well although she is more of a stealth pooer). She doesn’t seem to want more independence. I’m struggling to help her. She does not respond well to being pushed and responds better to gentle encouragement in general.
    Not sure what to do.

    • Andrea Olson Andrea Olson on July 30, 2023 at 2:50 am

      Hi Esther! Yay for more connection and communication with your daughter! And congratulations on baby #2! We often see kiddos regress in some way with a new sibling. Seeing a baby get lots of attention can be hard. She sees you helping baby with the potty, why not her? She may want more independence, but also be conflicted with wanting the attention baby gets. For now I would suggest letting her potty where she wants, so long as it’s in a potty of some kind. Autonomy is big at this age, and that can translate to wanting to choose what receptacle she uses. She may be focused on the little potty because that’s what the baby gets to use. At 6 months you can probably start putting the baby on the seat reducer on the big potty, and that could help spark your older child’s interest in it. It may also be worth it to let your older daughter pick out a new potty seat reducer, maybe one with a favorite character or her favorite color. Making a game of wiping can help, or taking turns. You could also try teaching her to help you wipe the baby. You’ll get there eventually, mama. You’re doing great!

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