When is the Best Time for Potty Training?



There are many milestones in the average child’s life that happen at fairly predictable points:  They begin eating solid foods between 4-6 months (if mushy rice cereal counts as “solid”), they walk sometime around one year, and they become irrational little tantrum-throwing monsters between the ages of 2 and 3.  You know, generally speaking.

Potty training is an entirely different story.  Some children have mastered the fine art of the potty well before their 2nd birthdays, while others head into preschool still sporting  Pull-Ups. There’s no right or wrong here, moms.  It all has to do with the personality and the motivation of the potential potty user in question.  Case in point, SMB’s own Sarah posted  her “unofficial, unscientific potty training case study” that’s a real treat to read!

My eldest, now 16 (great Mom, thanks for blogging about this), was the easiest baby ever.  Easy until we got to potty training.  He just did NOT want to be without a diaper, Pull-Up or some such wetness absorbing apparatus.  We went through AN ENTIRE YEAR of washing the car seat cover and steam cleaning the carpet and sofa.  Honestly, it was one of the most stressful situations I had experienced as a mother–I felt helpless.  There was no magic bullet, no sure-fire way to make this happen for my child.  He didn’t want it. He was happy in a diaper. He had no motivation, so I helped him find it.

I enrolled him in preschool.

To be fair, I didn’t enroll him in preschool JUST to potty train him–at this point, my son was       3 1/2 years old and I was actively looking at potential schools.  The problem was this:  every school I contacted wanted for children to be fully potty trained before enrollment.  I felt distraught.  How was I ever going to get my son into a suitable preschool if he refused to get on the potty train?!

Basically, my thought process went like this:  1) He will see a classroom full of children his age using the bathroom instead of getting diaper changes. This will motivate him.  2) Kids that age still have LOTS of “accidents”, right? so, if he wets his pants once or twice a day, it would be totally normal, especially considering the newness of the classroom setting for him. 3) I will pack three spare outfits in his backpack every day until he gets it.

He was potty trained by the end of the first week. Motivation is indeed a powerful thing.

Fast forward to my middle child, who has just turned 22 months old.  She has spent the past week taking her diaper off and replacing it with a bright pink tutu.  She runs around yelling “tutu!!!!!” at the top of her lungs and proclaims “pee-pee, pee-pee” when she wants to get sit on her potty seat. Yesterday, my husband took her to run an errand and it wasn’t until he got home an hour later that we realized she’d managed to wrangle her diaper out of a one-piece romper like a baby Houdini. She’s pretty much potty training herself.

So when is the best time to potty train your child?  Your guess is as good as mine!  tp-recycled

When did you potty train your kiddo?

Everyone has a hilarious (or horrendous) story about potty training–I would LOVE to hear yours!! Please share!


  1. My son, and only child, is now 3 1/2. I was upset because all of his peers (basically all cousins) are girls, and they seemed to be talking, walking, and being potty trained way earlier. A good friend of mine who is a pediatrician (she has 2 teenage children), told me to just wait until he was ready. I had no idea what that really meant, but finally, my son started to ask to go potty and he is now potty trained during the day and wears a pull up at night. It can be frustrating to try and potty train when they are not fully ready.


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