7 Signs Your Child Is Ready for Potty Training

Let’s face it, after changing diapers for 2 years, many of us mamas are ready to be done. Particularly as the child is eating more like an adult and his bowels… uh… reflect this. Throw in a pregnancy with a little morning sickness and changing a dirty diaper is a form of torture.

But, the question is, when do you start potty training? Some moms start nearly at birth with Elimination Communication. Some moms wait till the child is 2. Some let the older siblings teach the younger child.

Based on my experience and research… I decided to potty train my boy when he was showing signs of readiness. I think this is the gentlest and smoothest approach for baby and mama.

So, how do you know your child may be ready?

Well, here are the top 7 signs.

1. Child takes pride in accomplishments and likes some independence

This shows emotionally, they would be prepared for something like potty training. Griffin started playing for longer periods independently and didn’t mind sitting down for a poopy by himself for 10-15 minutes. If your child isn’t showing these sign posts, try to think of little tasks that they can do for themselves like feeding the family fish or dog, or dropping a letter in the mailbox, and see if they like the feeling of accomplishment. Gently encourage appropriate independence.

2. Child will occasionally have “dry periods”

I remember Griffin would sometimes wake up from nap with a dry diaper. This shows us that they have some form of bladder control and that their anatomy is able to hold urine, making it physically possible to potty train.

3. Child doesn’t like wearing dirty diapers

At some point, children won’t like the feeling of wet diapers or big poops in their pants. Cuz let’s face it, they output is getting rather large, no matter how absorbent your diaper is. Griffin didn’t seem to mind too much but once we potty trained, he hated if he had an accident. Didn’t like that feeling at all, which helps the whole process.

4. Child notices others going potty

Griffin started noticing when his daddy or I would go potty. He’d even come into the bathroom and comment on it. Sometimes, he’d want to see it or flush the toilet afterwards. Encourage these kind of interactions! You’re teaching your boy or girl how the process works.

Griffin would also notice when my parent’s dog Hershey would go potty. He loved watching this. He’d then imitate by lifting his leg or squatting on the grass. He also thought it was silly when we’d pick up Hershey’s poop and he’d call it “stinky” and giggle. Again, these are all great things for child to see. If you don’t have pets, maybe go to zoo or watch a video that shows this natural process.


5. Child says they’re going potty

Randomly, Griffin started saying “I’m going pee pee” as he stood still and smiled. Or he’d say “I just peed!” These were cues to me that he was understanding how his body functioned and when he was actually going.

6. It becomes obvious when they go #2

Griffin’s whole demeanor would change if he had to go number 2. He’d stand alone and make grunting noises. It was so obvious to everyone is was almost comical. His bowels were becoming big enough that it was a minor event.

Griffin started isolating himself when he went number 2. He wanted privacy and to be alone. Sometimes, he would actually go into the bathroom and shut the door and poo in his diaper. This is a big red flag and a sign that child is ready to start potty training.

7. Child will try out potty

If your child is willing to sit on the potty, that’s a great sign! Encourage it. Whereas if your boy or girl show big resistance to the idea, I would wait a month or two and try again.

Where to go from here…

If you’re noticing some of these signals, encourage them. Talk to child about potty and the whole process. If you haven’t already, buy a few potties and place around house. Encourage them to use them. Tell them this is their potty and their potty only. Help them feel proud about this development. Get children books that talk about potty training. Our favorite was called “Even Fire Fighters Have to Go Potty.” Some people love the Elmo toilet, song and book. I’ll put some links below of good resources/tools to help you.

Also, start talking about how they will be potty trained soon. How they won’t be using the diaper anymore. Get them excited about this new development and give them ample warning so they can adjust to idea and actually have some anticipation.

If at any time during this process. they seem to shut down, become afraid, regress, act out, then slow it all down and try again in a month or two. The last thing we want is to make this process traumatizing. Also, be aware of other life changes like a move, preschool or new sibling. I wanted to get Griffin potty trained well before our baby and move came so he could adjust to this new normal. Many kids will regress if it’s too close to a major change. Baby steps.

But, if your child is showing interest, and somewhat excitement, then you’re ready to try potty training. Stay tuned for my next post where I will share tips on how to do this.

How about YOU?

How did you know when your son or daughter was ready to be potty trained? Share it with us in the comments below so we can learn from each other!

About the Author

Genevieve Howland is a childbirth educator and breastfeeding advocate. She is the bestselling author of The Mama Natural Week-by-Week Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth and creator of the Mama Natural Birth Course. A mother of three, graduate of the University of Colorado, and YouTuber with over 75,000,000 views, she helps mothers and moms-to-be lead healthier and more natural lives.


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  1. My two year old grandson just started taking his penis out and peeing in his bed and on the floor every time he has to pee,so I am assuming he is ready to start potty training.At least I am hoping that’s what it means.

  2. My 22 month old seems very ready to start potty training. She is constantly undressing herself, takes off her diaper whenever it’s wet, wants to sit on the toilet – & has been doing this for over a month. Problem is that I would prefer waiting another month & half to start the process because I’ll be off from my teaching job then & will have the time to dedicate to this (which now I don’t!). However I’ve heard that if you wait too long you can miss the developmental ׳window׳. Is it better to go with her flow & start now even if I don’t have 3 consecutive days to work with her? Is it ok to wait almost another 2 months or am i setting this up for problems?

  3. I have a question! Please help!
    My almost 2 and half year old poops in her diaper and then wants to sit on the potty, use half a roll of toilet paper and a half hour of time wiping. Is this normal? Its frustrating to me cause she just ends up getting poop all over her fingers and wont let me wipe her or help. But if shes not going into the actual potty itself, I’m of the mindset to treat it just like a regular diaper change. What’s the best approach here? She’s not really trained to pee yet, she seems to miss that que and pees through her underpants onto the floor. 🙁 feeling well out of my league over here. Thanks for any input!

    • Personally I would treat it like a diaper change and wait a month or so to try again and see if she’s ready at that point.

  4. I have to laugh at all this commotion about toilet/potty training of babies. I and my wife raised 2 children and neither were in nappy’s by the age of 18 months. Do you want to know the secret of toilet training. Let them see you going to the toilet. My first born Geoffrey would follow daddy everywhere, including to the toilet. He soon recognised that that was the place to go and started dropping his nappy himself and going on the toilet. Funny hide your bodies from children and they will fear everything. Let them see everything and they will develop into interesting liberated beings.

    • My oldest (who is now 6) used to follow me and my husband into the bathroom and watch. It took him until the age of 4 to finally get the gist of it. Of course, he’s also autistic so that may have been a factor. We currently have twin 2.5 yr olds who remove their diaper and pee everywhere. They are non verbal (only say 3 letter words) and imitate each other. So if one person on the floor, the other will temove his fresh diaper and run around naked until he pees too! Add on a 1 yr old and we’ll…. You see where I’m going with this right? My husband works 2 jobs so the little time he spends at home is spent sleeping or getting ready for work. I’m pretty much on my own with 4 boys of various stages and only the oldest knows how to speak! I’m changing diapers 4 times in the same 5 minutes span with the twins alone… The infant doesn’t even go that often! My oldest still managed to spray EVERYWHERE and the 3 younger ones have explosive bowel movements in their sleep. I’m so tired of changing diapers, cleaning up bowel movements and washing bedsheets multiple times everyday…. Maybe you have tips beyond just “this worked for us so you should do it too!” Ya know, cuz not everyone has kids that are developmentally “normal”

    • I assure you, that’s not “the secret of potty training.”
      My 29 month old has been watching us use the potty since he was just a little thing, and he’s always shown great interest in it, but won’t actually do it on his own.
      We’re trying very hard to get him to use the toilet but he just keeps urinating all over the house.
      Some kids, believe it or not, don’t just magically pick up on how to use the potty. Good for you, that your two kids learned it so easily. That’s not the actual norm, so seriously, consider yourself lucky.

  5. My 16 month old has been holding her pee and grabbing her diaper a lot. She also likes being independent and follows myself and daddy to the bathroom. I tried putting her on her toilet and is scared… is she truly ready? She seems to be scared of new things anyways.

    • I don’t think she is ready. My daughter had all the signs of being “ready” but when it came time to actually sit on the potty she’d cry. It traumatized her. We waited a while and go her just used to sitting on the potty (not trying to make her go). One say she just decided she wanted to wear big girl panties and hasn’t gone back to diapers since. Take your daughter to the bathroom with you and make it a sort of game for her to sit in her potty while you sit on yours. Sing songs.

  6. I’ve watched your videos on you tube and keep coming across you! I need help! my 15mo old was going pee occasionally in her potty chair (I’ve been very “slow” and also inconsistent…My goal was, I just wanted to let her get used to the idea, and learn to communicate when she is going potty and poo as a starter). I taught her the the sign language and words for pee and poo. but she started running away from me anytime she had to poo. she would tell me “poo poo” and when I would ask if she wanted the potty, or tell her I need change her diaper, she’d get away from me fast! what is going on? and what should I do?

    • She may not be ready. Give her a few more months, then try again.

  7. Hi I love hearing other moms stories. I’m finishing up week one of potty training. He is 26mo and showed all your signs. He took it as far as telling me he was pushing and made me cheer when he filled his diaper. He is doing very good. He has has many no accident days but as days go on he holds it longer. I know this is natural and a good thing that he holds it but it gets to point where he grabs him self saying “ouch or no pee pee stop it” I tell him go sit on potty and he does or even goes and sits without me telling him. Which is great but he won’t go and this could go on for hours until he finally sits and goes. He has to be told “wait more more more” or else he will jump up after tiny squirt abd conrinues to be uncomfortable. Pooping he does same thing and will finally go on potty with much encouragement from me “that it’s ok just let it out”. We went out to restaurant he asked to go potty twice and didn’t go but stayed dry. I’m spending so so long from the moment he starts saying ouch and wiggling and going back and forth to potty until he actually goes. He will sometimes sit easily but will sometimes have tantrums if I encourage him to keep sitting without a show on distracting him. It seems he’s just too busy to stop and go. Do I need to stop and start again later.

    • After trying everything under the sun to stop our 3 year old daughter from withholding her poop I was at my wits end and needed to seek the help of a pro. And boy am I glad I found this http://kidpottytraining.com. It is a miracle program! We were willing to try anything and within 3 days of following the advice to a T our daughter was not withholding and now 2 weeks later diapers are a thing of the past! I can not recommend this enough, it was the best money we have ever spent! Our daughter is so much happier and we are much less stressed, not having to deal with the withholding drama any more!!!

  8. All of these reflect my son right now (he just turned 2) except he does not talk. He babbles and I know he’s saying *something* and he understands EVERYthing I’m saying. But the talking thing still isn’t happening. What would you suggest for a toddler who is showing all of these signs yet can’t talk in a language I can understand?

    • I’m in the same situation as far as his being almost 24 months, showing lots of interest, but not talking in a way I can understand yet. We just started a little speech therapy to help him along in talking, because he definitely understands what I say and even follows directions well. He likes to watch me use the toilet, and has even taken over handing me wet wipes, flushing the toilet for me, washing his hands with me after, etc. (All just because he wants to!) So, I’m hoping once we can communicate a bit better, potty training will come really easily.

    • Emily Taylor are you still having this issue? If not, what worked for you? My son is 28 months and still has not talked. He babbles and is very smart knows exactly what I am saying and reflects the 7 thins mama natural is talking about. I just need advice, I feel stuck.

  9. My daughter is 14 months old and she goes through dry periods. She can go through the night and wake up with a dry diaper! She will grab at her diaper when she peed and grunts when she pops but she can’t walk yet so I’m not sure if I should potty train her yet. Any help?

    • 1 year is the time when they can know they need to go and hold it for a tiny bit. But if she can’t get herself to the potty I don’t see the point in trying. Just acknowledge that she is peeing or pooing and wait for her to be able to get herself to the potty. Or if she doesn’t mind, you could put her on the potty when you know she’s going but I wouldn’t worry about ti just yet.

  10. I’m convinced my kids will never be out of diapers. Neither are bothered by sitting in their own waste. They’re 6 and 2. The 2 year old is going to grow out of size 6 diapers soon. The 6 year old barely eats and isn’t much heavier than his sister. I don’t know what to do.

  11. We are currently in week 2 or 3 of potty training, our 3 year old.

    It took a looong time to get here.

    She was terrified of the potty.

    She would describe her poos to me >.<

    Then, right before her third birthday…I decided that was that. Took off her diaper, put the potty in the front room and let her do her thing.

    We've had 2 accidents at home. We haven't ventured out without a pullup or cloth diaper on. But I think we're going to try next week.

    I talked and talked and talked some more to her, about how we don't want to pee on the floor. And if you pee in pants, it will get on the floor.

    I was lucky, in that she also didn't want to get any on the floor. So she used her only option. The potty, in the front room lol

    We're currently learning how to go with pants on lol No accidents yet!

    Also, I tried before she was ready. I was getting SO mad. So, I stopped. I didn't want to traumatize her…over a toilet. We both needed to be ready at the same time.

  12. so my little man is 16 months old. he goes through dry periods, is very independent and has always been like that, but the big reason why we are thinking about potty training so early is he keeps pulling down his cloth diaper and pulling his penis out and running around like that. he doesn’t want his diaper on. i just dont know how to go about it at all. any ideas?

    • Hiya! My 16 month old has been using the potty now and again for a week now for both wees and poos. From about 14 months we put her on her potty at nappy changing time, just to get her used to it. She never used to do anything & would sit for 10secs max. That was fine, she was happy.

      Since then she’s been going for her potty & sitting on it herself. She blows raspberries if she pumps, poos or wees. I used to say “is Mackenzie gonna have a pump?” while sat on her potty and she’d push for a pump. So funny! Now she knows when she needs to poo and will go for her potty. Once she did that for a wee. I continue sitting her on it at nappy change time. She even takes it to the downstairs toilet to empty it when she hasnt used it. I also take her with me into the toilet when I use it and tell her what I’m doing and exaggerate pushing aswell lol. I also show her what she’s done in her potty, tell her what it is and praise her.

      We had no intention on doing this so early. Twice she went into the kitchen at 14months old to poo (I stepped in it with just socks on the 1st time) so we decided to ‘introduce’ her to a potty. She took to it straight away and is now starting to understand why she uses it. I’m not sure how to carry on with this now r.e pull ups etc so going to get advice from my health visitor

  13. Hey! How close (in your opinion) is too close to a birth?

    I am starting to see signs and think my 22 month old will be ready ‘soon’ but she’s not quite there. I am having a baby in September, 4 months away. If she gets potty trained in 2 months, is 2 months enough time before another ‘life changing’ event? A little worried as we are possibly moving a few months after baby is born…,

    • It’s all so individual that it’s hard to give any specific guidelines. I’d say that, if she really seems ready, go for it! Even if there are some big events coming up. But, if she’s reluctant or not quite there, don’t push it of course. Good luck!

  14. I am so thankful to have found this. My 11 month old has been curious about the potty and started hiding and grunting with number two diapers a month ago. We caught her and immediately took her to the potty tonight. I heard the potty singing and didn’t know why, as my husband said she didn’t go, so I checked it out. Lo and behold, she peed in the potty! she has had some overnight and naptime dry diapers for a couple of months. I posted it on social media tonight, and a friend with a 13 month old cautioned that early training can cause UTIs and kidney issues. Since she has been signaling for a couple of months, and she led the way, I’m not sure if I should read into what the friend says. Any thoughts? I was an early potty trainer (14 months) and her pediatrician gave the green light last week.

    • Do not read into what your friend said. Follow your little one’s cues and everything will be fine.

    • How has potty training with your baby gone? My 13 month old has just started signing diaper and crawling to the changing table. So I started taking her to the toilet. Sometimes she pees a tiny bit, sometimes she farts, sometimes nothing. Occasionally we get dry spells after naps or not super wet diapers in the morning. I don’t want to miss this “window of opportunity” I always hear people talking about, I just didn’t think it would happen for a few more months… Any suggestions? She isn’t walking yet, but I expect it soon. But do I just keep taking her to the toilet whenever she signs diaper and she eventually gets the gist of it? Even if we were there recently. Any suggestions?

      • She also has been grunting to poop and recently caught her hiding under the table to poop. I think today she might have signed that she needed to poop. I just wasn’t sure what she was signing…

  15. We’re almost done with week 2 with my 18 month old! (I guess he’s almost 19 months old now!) If I bring him every 25-30 mins, he goes right when he sits down. Diapers for nap and night time. Accidents happen if I don’t bring him to the potty. BUT he will come get me. He’s so sweet about it, he’ll come up, point to his wet undies, and say “mama…mama…” lol! So he definitely knows, and is smart enough to come tell me! First two days were horrendous and I almost gave up, but that 3rd day we had ZERO accidents, so I kept going. AND today he went for the first time in public–at a church of all places! haha! We’re working on number two in the potty though. Hard work, but washing cloth diapers was getting tiring.

    • Very encouraging. Today was horrendous as day 1 with my only chid. She’s 22 months and put up a fight. She’s testing me and stubborn about this particular phase. Good to read it got better by day 3 I’ll hold in there. But I seriously almost gave up. I know she is ready and capable but I know we have recently made big changes (dropped the pacifier, moved to big girl room, got a live in nanny and all were so easy transitions) and I think she senses that I’m pregnant with #2. But I have faith she can do it. Consistency.

  16. Hi, my son is almost 20 months n im in my first week of toilet training him.. for the past 4 days he’s only done one accident a day.. He calls the toilet Nono.. Anyways he’s not too bad with going to the toilet n gave me no hard time at all with the number 2.. But he says Nono all the time.. How do I get him to say it only wen he actually needs to go

  17. Hi! Looking for advice pls. Mine is very curious and doesn’t like to be told what to do. When she was 18m, I tried the 3 day method and did about 4 days and at end, she understood she needed to tell me right before she goes. She’d say pss pss but most times, too close so no chance to get into potty. A few times she would’ve made it in but didn’t want to sit on potty, resisted a lot and cried so I stopped pushing it. She didn’t like feeling of being wet and would show me to change her. Poop she didn’t mind if in her pants lol. I stopped and haven’t tried again.. Now she will at times sit on potty with clothes on and go pss pss. I’ll make a big deal out of it and praise her for sitting on potty. So that’s where we are at.. I’m hoping to try again when she’s 22months. She’s 19m now. I left the potty out in the kitchen and sometimes, she’ll run over and sit on it and go pss pss. I take her to watch me when I’m in the bathroom. It’s like she understands what potty is for, most times tells me she peed/pooped but when it comes to actually doing it on the potty, refuses to. I’ve completely dropped the topic since I tried. Lately, she’ll call me and touch her diaper to show me she pooped. Should I be putting her on the potty at intervals instead of relying on her to tell me? What do I do about her resisting sitting on potty?? Would love to hear your thoughts 😉

    • ok what worked 4 us was dumping the poop from the diaper in the potty. then we say cuz thats where poop goes. worked with my two older ones and they were potty trained at 20 m my baby is almost 18m and is peeing on the potty!!! but won’t talk???? whatever every kid is so different have fun

  18. Hi Genevieve! Would you or any of your followers have tips on potty training twin girls? I believe they are ready. I just don’t know how to start. They are used to their potty chairs and have both used my toilet with a training seat on it but I haven’t officially started the training because when I am trying to let one girl use the toilet the other is distracting. I put them both on he toilet things get messy or it’s still too distracting. And I have no help. No option of help either.

      • Oh I forget to mention there’s a section on twins. There’s actually a section on everything. There isn’t a topic this program doesn’t cover. That’s why I loved it. It helped me through the whole process

      • A note regarding the above link. This is a link is to a video advertisement for the program, not to the program itself.

        • I just watched it and learned that too – bummer! Would love a free, reliable resource to help!

    • Have you tried using two potty seats back to back?

  19. I never potty trained my kids or had dirty napppies. At the age of 2 my daughter used to climb out of bed and climb the toilet completely on her own. Let me know if you want to know how

    • I have a 2 year old and he needs pottytrain I think he is ready

    • How? Nonverbal Communication? I didn’t hear about that until now and my son is 17 months and am seeking guidance as how to direct him. I let him be naked or diaperless when the weather is nice. Thanks!

    • Please may I know the technique/Method? My LO is almost 3, good with wee but stubborn about poop!

  20. My son is 15 months old. We brought out the training potty where he plays when he turned 1. He got comfortable with it and sat on it a lot. Now, it’s in the bathroom. Every time I go, I put him on it. He says “tee tee!”and claps his hands. I put him on it before his bath every night, when he wakes up in the morning and after his nap, and after every meal/snack. He has gone a few times and I make a HUGE deal out of it. He tells me as soon as he goes in his diaper and points up stairs and says “diapuh!” I’m waiting to get pregnant with the next until he is completely potty trained. Fingers crossed!! 🙂

  21. I just started potty training my 14 month old yesterday! She’s foiling awesome an has only had 2 accidents today.
    I am teaching her sign laungue for potty everytime I sit her down. She’s super into being called a big girl. So it’s been really easy for me.
    She wears undies (cover over at naps and bed) when she has an accident. I tell her it’s ok, but wash her off with cold water. This has helped with accidents!
    Just do what you feel right is for your child though! Don’t push it if they aren’t ready.

  22. My daughter does most of these but she still doesnt speak much. She is 15 months and I take her and put her on her little potty when i go and she goes and smiles and even tries to wipe with the wipes i give her. Since she doesnt speak much my only que is her pulling at her diaper(which she doesnt always do). Is there a way I can get her to tell me without speaking or is this just something I will have to wait on?

  23. So you start when they are born but they are not really fully potty trained till 17 months or so??? Thats seems like an awful long time and alot of work. I like my method a little better get them panties for their 2 birthday and tell them dont pee or poop on barbie, helo kitty, etc. she’ll cry, worked within days for both my girls. Boy was a bit harder spiderman suffered a little lol!!!

    • This made me crack up. Poor spider man. Haha. I like the idea. I think I will give this a try 🙂

  24. Hi, I really appreciate all your advice, but infortunatly it can’t help me with my youngest son Zayden. He is four. I started to potty train him when he was 3. He was a fast learner when it came time for him to pee, With hardly ever any accidents for the exception of night time bed wetting. As for him going number 2 ,oh well ,that is a whole different story. He will Not! We have tried absolutly everything, from prize rewarding, he has also went and picked out his own rewards. Meaning I have taken him to the store with me, he saw a toy he wanted and asked, “mommy can I have this toy please, I really want this one”. (He was use to getting whatever he wanted whenever we went to the store) Anyways, I told him I would buy the toy (& I did) but he could not have it until he went poop on the potty. He will ok I will, but when it comes time to he will absolutly not. I will remind him of the toy and he will say fine I don’t want! He will start crying and begging me for a diaper, eventually I would cave in bc I felt sorry for him. It had to be uncomfortable for him. I have tried every advice under the sun so it seems. Alot of plp just say to me, “Don’t give him a diaper, he can’t hold it in forever”, It absolutly broke my heart to do it to him but I did. Even that did not help,Sorry to be so graphic but I had him stay naked bc he would just go in is underwear if they were on. Well even naked he was determined not to use the potty, he held it in until he couldnt hold it in anymore and itwas leaking from him. I tried to put him on the potty ,he started to fight me. At that point I gave in and put the diaper on him. I forgot to mention that he has done it one time back when we first started, he was scared but he did it. We praised and praised him along with a reward. He was happy I thought we succeeded. But,ever since that day I have went through this @$!# with him. What do I do? All of his friends do it, but he doesn’t care. He is not my only child, he is the youngest of four, 2 girls 2 boys, My oldest son was a little bit harder for me than my girls, but nothing like Zayden. Please help me ,I don’t know what to do. My fear is that I am in the wrong for pushing him so much. Can he just really just not be ready? Thank you

    • So sorry to hear mama! I would most definitely take a step back and let him guide the process. It sounds like there’s a major battle of wills going on and this is a sensitive issue for him. I think it’s important to honor our kids processes and not push our agenda too much. Your child will eventually go number 2 in the toilet. He really will! It’s not worth pushing it so much that it becomes traumatic. If I were in your situation, I would put on the diaper and let HIM decide when he’s ready to use the potty. I bet it will be sooner than you think. Once we let go of our will, they usually can give up the struggle themselves.

    • You said he was the youngest? I had close friend go through this with hers. She was getting ready to start kindergarten! Would hidd fight recuse. Even taking the diaper completly away didn’t work. She was the youngest. One night during cuddles time with moma she told moms that if she went poo on the potty she wouldn’t be mamas baby anymore!! So with some reassurances she eventually did! Perhaps that’s what’s holding him back. If he can hold it in he is DEFINATLY capable Moma. Best of luck im sure he’ll get it & he’ll find out he’s always gonna be Momas baby no matter how much of a big boy he is.

    • My daughter refused to #2 on the potty & would ask for a diaper. I would initially refuse & try various methods to get her to use potty but would eventually give it to her on one condition…she could only have a diaper if she sat on the potty while using it. That eventually became the way she went poo, which was a fine compromise for both of us. After a week or so, I cut a large hole in the back of each of her diapers & put it on her in a way she wouldn’t notice the hole. The first time she used the diaper with the secret hole & the poo fell in the potty, she was so happy she went poo on the potty. Then sitting on the potty with a diaper that had a hole became her new way to poo for a few days. Then one day I asked her if she wanted to try without the diaper & she agreed and never asked for a diaper again.

  25. We love these tips and are looking for your links with more information. (songs, books, potty) Where are they?

  26. My parents are originally from India and my mom potty trained my sister and me at 13 mos and 15 mos. My sister’s Pakistani-Canadian in-laws potty trained their babies at 12 months (for poo) and about 15 months for pee. Having said that though, my British-born cousin (also with South Asian parents) waited until her kids were around 3.5 before she felt the need to potty train them. I guess it’s whatever works for your family. And as with anything in life, personal experience, culture, lifestyle and religion will play a role in how your family approaches anything.

    • Wow! Your parents were on the ball! And your and your sis were fast learners 😉

      • Can you please post the other potty training links (how to potty train, etc) at the end of this post? You mentioned that they would be posted there and there are none. Thanks!

  27. I am certainly no expert, since we only have 2 boys, one 2 1/2 year old who is fully potty trained (except for nighttime) and a 5 month old.

    In a nutshell, this is what we did with our 2 1/2 year old son: we tried EC with him, but it was just too stressful and overwhelming early on (we had a lot going on in our life, including a move across country, etc!). So we let that go for a while, but what I think was important: every time he went poop, or if we noticed him going pee, we did the ASL potty sign and asked him if he needed to go the bathroom. I think that kept him aware of what was going on with his body. At 14 – 15 months, he was showing obvious signs of bowel movements, so we started setting him on the toilet. We tried a mini potty for toddlers, but he didn’t like that. He wanted to go on the “big toilet” so we bought a removeable toilet seat insert for the big toilet. By the time he was 16 months, he was pretty much completely “trained” for #2.

    Around the same time, we tried a lot of diaper free time, and he began to learn to release pee sometimes when we took him to the toilet. Lots of positive praise! But he just wasn’t ready to be completely pee trained at that point. I think this is the one mistake we made: we might have pushed him a little too hard. We learned the hard way, backed off that for a few months, except for occasionally setting him on the toilet and making it a really fun time (puppet shows, reading books, singing songs, treats, etc…). That worked really well. As he learned to talk around 20 – 22 months, he started sometimes telling me when he went pee, and I made a huge deal about how great that was–body awareness!! At the age of 2, we started putting him in underwear, and it worked well for a few weeks, as long as we took him to the toilet frequently, but he still wasn’t telling us that he needed to go. We had to anticipate it. Then he got quite sick with the croup, and he “regressed” and we put him back in diapers for a couple of months, while still taking him to the toilet regularly. He went through a phase where he was too busy to want to sit on the toilet, so we introduced giving him a healthy little treat, like a organic graham cracker bunny, for sitting on the toilet for a few seconds, whether or not he actually did anything. That really helped!

    Then a few weeks after his little brother was born, at 2 years 5 months old, he started suddenly holding his pee longer and occasionally telling us that he needed to go right before it happened! Yay! Within a few weeks, he was fully potty trained. Now, at 2 years 9 months, he stays dry through naps and never has an accident. He still usually goes once in the night, but hubby has been waking up and taking him to the toilet and changing his diaper, so I am sure it will only be a matter of time before he makes it through the night.

    It was a “live and learn” process, and I know we made some mistakes, but I do know the most important thing is, like you kept pointing out in your video, “body awareness” and also making it a very positive, fun thing for them. With our second son, we haven’t tried EC with him, but I use cloth diapers and change them frequently, and we do the ASL potty sign whenever he has a bowel movement. Hopefully he will be as easy to train as our first!

    • Just wanted to add, I have nothing against anyone: EC or child-led or anything in between! But I do feel personally that, while a child-led approach in theory is a good idea, I think it also important to assist your child in being “ready”. Not force, but encourage things, raise awareness, talk about the toilet, be proactive and taking your child to the toilet instead of waiting for your child to always tell you… after all, I have a very busy little boy, and while he is potty trained and capable of holding it a couple of hours, he often gets so busy playing he can sometimes forget to ask me!

  28. We’ve struggled with potty training over the years.. Had many accidents clear until 5 years old even. I wish someone had told me that’s his process is usually a multi year thing..my expectation was that I would potty train and that was that. I’m putting off PT ing my son at 3 bc I feel like the road is so long!! One thing that isn’t very environmentally sound but can save your sanity is to throw away poopy underwear or let caregivers do the same.. It’s already a total mess and when I had a toddler in diapers a new infant and an older child pooping their underwear – it was too much to bear out in public so Id throw away the undies and try and move on. I have to say also I changed every diaper- very rarely had sitters even family, husband never changed diapers so to keep myself from going crazy with four closely aged kids this helped me alot!

    • Candice, I’m with you on the older child pooping in underwear. We don’t throw them away but it sure is a big pain! My almost four year old is still working on potty training and it has been a long painful journey! He did not show most of those readiness signs, even at 3, despite being a very intelligent kid in many other ways. At some point we just had to go for it even though he didn’t seem ready. My 15 month old, on the other hand, poops and pees on the potty quite often, through no great effort of ours. I’m starting to lean in the earlier-is-better camp, but I think too that every kid is different and you just have to pray for patience and guidance!

      • I can sympathize. I was a much bigger sister- 12 and 14 years older than two little brothers and while my mum had her first 3 potty-trained at 2 years, 20 months and 16 months because she used cloth and would get sick of it and potty-trained us.. she used disposables with my younger brothers, did not have the same incentive and then struggled at 3-4 years old to potty train them- I found out about EC and vowed to do it. I don’t blame people for using diapers at all as that is what this society is used to but the longer you use them the more dependent both parent and child become on them. Until you end up with a 3 year old that says “you want me to do that?? I don’t think so!! I’ve been doing it in my diaper for the last 3 years and it’s gone just fine thank you very much!!”
        Incidentally I have now also watched all my non-ec friends struggle to train their kids and never had to do anything with mine because they simply became more independent with their “normal” which was to go on the potty. They’ve never willingly gone in their pants ever. two children and I can count on one hand how many poopy pants I’ve had. Babies are born ready you don’t have to wait and once I knew that I never looked back. Just my experience of course. Not everyone wants to EC and that is okay too. 🙂

      • Ive been given some of the dirtiest looks, comments from family (MIL) and called lazy. My 4 year old (53 months) still isn’t potty trained. He goes to preschool and all his classmates are trained (a few accidents) his 3 year old cousin is trained and it just doesn’t matter! He will never tell me when he needs to go, but will bring me a pull up and wipes. I’ve tried to stay patient and know this will pass but I am so ready to be done with this! I hope someone can help!!

    • Good point. I’ll be honest, in 25 years of life, I’ve probably never been 2 years without an accident myself. Having low expectations is very helpful. Potty training isn’t instant gratification, my son was potty trained by 25 months but we started like 13 months before slowly rewarding/celebrating small steps towards the behavior. I hope more people can be less afraid to start early because its not natural or most effective to learn something in a crash course.

  29. Hi Genevieve-
    I dont see the links for the next video on how to potty train or any of the links you referred to in your “7 Steps” video. I would like to know more!


    • Yes would also like to see it!

  30. In my opinion, potty training is one of the most difficult thing to teach a child. My baby is just 5 months and I really don’t mind changing her diapers until she is ready to be potty trained. I think that potty training is difficult for both mom and baby. I’ve seen my friends struggle with this process over and over. While many guidelines tells us when to do it and how to do it, looking for your child’s signs of readiness is the best determinant whether or not your child is ready to be potty trained. Thanks for a good read!

  31. So my son just turned 2, he knows when he’s peed without a diaper, tells me when he’s pooped in a diaper. Loves to flush his poops and mine saying bye bye poopoo or bye bye pee pee. I feel he’s ready to start training, however, he’s a standing pooper. He dances around on tip toes moves all over the place and sticks his butt out and leans on the couch or something else. I’ve tried a few times to encourage the potty, but he’s highly reluctant. Same thing for the toilet. How can I transition him to squatting or sitting? Ever since he’s been walking he’s been a standing pooper. Ideas welcome!!

    • visit Jamie Glowackis site http://www.jamieglowacki.com/
      Potty training is her thing (I’m a EC girl haven’t had to potty train) her page is called “Ohcrap potty training” she has a digital book. Buy it. It’ll be the best $$ you ever spent. kids aged 18 months plus.. she’s that good.

      • Also you can get s thing called a “squatty potty” which is awesome. If he can transition from stand to squat then it may be for you.

        • Thanks E.C.MAMA! I’ll look into the book and potty. I do agree he’s starting to be ready, just maybe not quite there. He doesn’t like us looking directly at him when he’s doing his poop dance, so that’s another signs…

          • Jamie actually wrote an article about pooping and the bottom being an emotional muscle- much like having a baby is an emotional physiological event. She says she likes to “pretend to forget” something in another room and usually by the time she gets back the toddler is either finished or at the “no return” point of the bowel movement. Other kids like total privacy like the potty in next to the toilet and the door closed for their big moment and then just coming on in afterwards.. one of my boys ONLY will poop alone, the other likes company

    • Yes, Griffin had to adjust to sitting too. Sometimes, it’s trying a few different types of potties… like the squatty potty. Griffin ended up liking one that was close to ground and I think gave him good positioning.

      • seriously interesting how many kids like to be on a lower potty that allows them to squat to go. I know more that like the squat than like the chairs.

  32. we are an EC family hence my name here!! it was not harsh in anyway- you cannot force a child to hold on OR to eliminate. It starts off as observing them and when they go you make your cue noise, then after a little bit they associate this noise and the position in which you hold them with the relief of eliminating. Then the cue becomes a tool you make the noise when you think they may need to go or if you will be doing something where you can’t just drop everything if they start signaling. You can’t force them to go but you can ask them to go and most often my boys would squeeze some pees out just for me. If they didn’t- on went a diaper for the time that I couldn’t just take them potty. I started AT BIRTH, day one both babies and didn’t have to change a poopy diaper past 3-4 weeks with either of them. DS1 was completely day diaper free @ 4 months and DS2 was diaper free by almost 7 months. Ds1 “graduated” becoming 100% independent of my help just before 17 months and DS2 is 17 months now and has been “graduated” for a few weeks.

    • Good for you! I could see E.C. being very gentle if done the right way… just like anything else 🙂

      • yep.. and hey- I’m no diaperist!! :-p some of my best friends use disposables for 3-4 years! each to their own!!

  33. The signs of readiness you listed are helpful but I would add a couple other signs you can go by. Your child has a good vocabulary and regularly communicates in phrases or sentences; he or she knows how to take of clothing (or just randomly strips throughout the day); he or she can follow directions.
    I would also say that ECing can definitely be a gentle potty learning option if you follow your child’s lead. We took it very gradually and the whole process took roughly one and a half years. From birth my second daughter screamed every time she wet herself, and by the end of the day she was so stressed out she would wail for hours after wetting. She was also really obvious about pooping, and she had a very independent spirit from an early age. At two months I tried going diaper free with her, but that was more than we could handle. So a few months later I tried just taking her to pee first thing in the morning. She woke up with a dry diaper half the time, so I figured her bladder was full. I also started out at the bathroom sink since she cried when I held her over the toilet. When she went I told her she went pee and made a ssss sound. Eventually our routine evolved so that by a year old she was using the toilet in the morning to pee and poop, plus she used the toilet a few more times a day. She had also stopped screaming when her diaper was wet, but I still changed her frequently because she got diaper rash easily. By 15 months I thought she would be potty trained in just a few more months especially since she was starting talk in phrases and could say words like poopoo, peepee, and potty. Then we had to move across country (it was a nine day road trip) and everything got screwed up.
    Once we got settled in, I started again with just the morning pee. At 21 months she started stripping and it was a battle to keep a diaper on her. Finally a month later, I realized she was ready to potty train. My husband and I told her that she had to wear either panties or a diaper. She chose panties, so I just took her to the potty every half hour. A few days after we started potty training she said no diaper at night, so we went completely diaper free, even though we were going on vacation soon. (The plane ride was a little rough, because she was afraid of that toilet, but we bought her some cartoon animal pull ups and that took care of the “accidents” on the plane.) Within two to three weeks she was going to the bathroom every one and a half to two hours.
    Now she’s two weeks shy of her second birthday and I’m really excited because I get a break from diapers before baby#3 comes in December.
    My point of this lengthy comment is that EC can take a lot of time and effort, but it can be gentle if you are patient with yourself and your baby, you follow your baby’s cues, and you don’t expect an overnight success.

    • I hear you! Glad you found something gentle that worked for your family.

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