Mommy SOS | Potty Training


Years before thinking about having children, Kevin and I met a couple who, being pregnant with their first, told us about their plans to go diaper free with their baby.  Huh?

Well, I have no clue how that turned out for them, since we moved and lost touch.  But, I was so curious, that I started researching what in the world they were talking about.  Turns out many countries go diaper free with their babies.  Cross my heart.  I could NOT make this up.  Not only that, but I learned that Europe, though a majority of families use diapers, potty train their little ones much earlier than we do in the states.

Most American peditricians will say to potty train between 2.5 and 3 years old.  “Wait until they are ready” is a pretty common phrase.  Hmmm...

I have been so facinated by the different approaches that I took special note when reading “The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems”.  Well, she’s been right on just about everything else (for me), why would she lead me astray on this topic?  The late Tracy Hogg (pronounced like the pig), talks about the “ideal” time for potty training…  She says that if you begin between 9 and 12 months old, that is the best time to start.  She says that you will be “training” longer, but the child will be fully trained by 18 months.  Makes me want to just try it to see if it works.  But, it sounds like A LOT of work!

The more I read, the more I realize that there are a thousand approaches.  So, it’s time that you share what really works.  You ladies who’ve actually been through potty training are the experts here!  So tell us…  How old were your children when you started?  What method did you use?  Would you do the same thing again or try something different?  Spill it…



  1. Funny you should ask….I’ve been thinking about this lately. For my son, who is now 5, I decided from birth that we would wait until he was three years old. Common knowledge says that boys aren’t ready until at least three. Well. he started to show interest at 2.5, so we tried it. It failed. He was great on day 1, but by day 2 he had NO interest in even looking at the toilet. So without batting an eye, I said okay, we’ll wait a few more months. At 2.75 we tried again. This time he was ready. I did the “potty training in a day” method, but stretched it out to a few days. He trained really quickly. Going #2 took a bit longer to train, but he was accident free for the most part.

    My two pieces of advice (for a boy, anyway): 1) do NOT use a baby potty until the child is comfortable with going on a regular size john. You do NOT want to be tied to the baby potty to the point where the child can not and will not go on a regular toilet. I introduced the mini potty only after my son was completely competent at going on the regular toilet. The reason I introduced it was for going #2. It is hard for a little one to push it out when his legs don’t touch the floor! 2) do NOT use pullups. Yes, you’ll have to wash a few (okay several) pairs of underwear. (Note: for the accidents involving #2, I just threw the underwear away. It wasn’t worth the $1.98 to me to salvage!) Anyway, pullups just train your child to have accidents and encourage laziness.

    Fast forward to this week. My son is now five. But my daughter just turned two. She is not even talking yet, but she wants to learn to go potty. She instigated this herself. I was planning on waiting until closer to three years old, but she has other plans. I find myself not really sure what to do. I am still putting her in diapers, but she a few times during the day (first thing in the morning, before nap, after nap, before bed), so asks to go to the potty. Most of the time, she is successful. Going against my $2 piece of advice above, I think I will use pullups for my daughter, because she WANTS to learn and WANTS to be successful. I don’t think she will be lazy like my son and think, “Oh, I’ll just go ahead and go because I really have a diaper on and it won’t make me feel gross afterwards.”

    Time will tell how my daughter ends up doing. I simply can’t believe she is already peeing on the potty and she’s not even 25 months yet!

  2. I never even thought to start potty training between 9-12 months. But after I read this I started thinking about how curious P has been getting about the toilet and about going to the bathroom and all of that. I guess maybe I will invest in a little kiddo potty, and try it out. Hey- if I could have him potty trained by the time his little sister gets here, that would be so cool. (not that I would hold my breath)

  3. LOL. I waited until they were ready with my first two (both boys). They were both over 3 and they both potty trained in just a few days. My firstborn potty trained FULLY (meaning no overnight accidents) in under a week. Heavenly. Well worth the wait to not have to deal with accident problems.

    My daughter – now 2.5 – has been a nightmare. She started trying to try herself and insisted upon it so I didn’t argue. It has been nothing but a headache for months now because she is very choosy about which days she gives a rip and which days she does not. 🙂 Has not been fun at all!

    • Note to Kaaren – I agree with you on the pull up issue. My 2 year old little girl was an ANGEL with training herself for those first 2 or 3 weeks (even number 2) and then she just decided to quit. I introduced pull ups and am convinced it only made matters worse but now we are so far behind, switching to panties is too much maintenance.

      • oh boy (or should I say oh girl), I have a feeling I’m heading down the same path with my girl as you did. Bummer! Any suggestions before I go too far down the path? Based on what you wrote, I’m thinking I will keep her in diapers for a few more months (she is 25 months) and not push the training until she is REALLY ready to be accident free.

  4. Great topic!

    That whole “it takes longer to train, but they train really early” thing is a total double edge sword. In a way it’s SO nice to be out of diapers, to not have the cost (or in my cloth diapering case the chore). On the other hand, potty training is one of the most un-fun parts of motherhood. Most mothers I know say that they hated this time, and it tested them more then anything else as a mother.

    I watched my Sister just “wait” it out with all three of her boys (often potty training late into their 3’s), and they did it so easily, and within a day or two with NO accidents or pull ups. She didn’t even “try” until they were old and ASKING and basically potty training themselves.

    With my first, she was REALLY interested from a year on. I didn’t really try, because I knew she wasn’t completely ready. We just had a little potty for her to sit on. When she was 20 months old I watched a Dr. Phil on training them in one day using a baby doll that pees, and Capri loves her dolls, and I thought this would totally work for her. I cleared our schedule and completely committed (which I think is the most important part), and it took her her two days to fully day train.

    She was not ready for night time training at all. It didn’t matter what we did, nap time and bedtime she wet the bed. So we moved to pull ups and like the other readers- we were in pull ups for months and months. Finally almost 10 months later I forgot to put her pull up on at bedtime and she said “Mama, I don’t need it”, and I said “okay”, and then she hasn’t wet the bed since.

    Thatcher is 6 months old, and they say that cloth diaper babies learn to potty train faster (Because they can feel when they are wet), which will be new to us because we didn’t CD with our first., but I think I might just “wait” it out, and then he will be easy and it will all be done, and we won’t be buying pull ups forever. 🙂

  5. Hello to all of the wonderful moms out there!

    First I must say I am glad to find this website and join the community…was looking to connect..

    In terms of the potty training…I dont really understand the true meaning of it…I am originally from Europe and there was never subject in my family as starting potty training…My mom just sat me and there was never any training involved…My daughter is almost 12 months now and she started doing her thing(well 99% of it) when she was 9 months into the cute pink baby potty? That’s what its called?
    She now waits every time after she eats or the morning etc…I just have to be fast lol…as long as I am and everything is on time then she just does it in her potty, playing with toys or new diaper and when she is ready she lets me know…or she just stands up now..;)
    The key in my opinion is to let the baby get used to the feeling of wet free diapers(feels nice!)and routine(sat the baby in the morning and after a meal and when you feel is right)…babies like routines and when introduced to something early they will learn and will forget that there is a diaper!
    Diapers are great on the go but at home you can save lots of money by teaching your baby to sit on potty often..That is just my opinion. Good luck!

    • This is awesome. I’m considering potty training my 14 month old early – but feel like I might be insane. However, stories like yours are a huge encouragement!! Thanks for sharing!

  6. i just started sitting my boy on the potty a month ago at 14 months. right now i sit him on his chair twice a day usually after his morning nap and after breakfast or dinner. he usually does his thing and is pretty content sitting there. i don’t really like to think of it as training but more getting him comfortable sitting on the potty. hopefully when the “training” begins it won’t be such a battle. i read a great book titled, “diaper-free before 3.” it is written by a peditrican in the valley. i too felt like i might be insane for wanting to start early but i figure if it works than i can stop buying diapers sooner rather than later. so go for it if you want to start early!

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