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When to Start Potty Training

When Was Your Child Potty Trained?

My 2.5-year-old has always been right on, if not ahead of, schedule when it comes to her milestones. She got her first tooth at 5 months, started walking right at a year, and I can hardly remember a time when she didn't talk. But when it comes to potty training, she's just not that into it.

I've been feeling a little sheepish when it comes to her total lack of toilet training, so you can imagine my surprise when, at my daughter's latest check-up, my doctor told me she didn't think I should even start to train her until she turned 3. According to my pediatrician, potty training a child too early, especially before they express interest on their own, can lead to urinary tract problems, constipation issues, and lots of headaches for mom and dad. She shared that her own daughters weren't potty trained until they were 4! I left the appointment feeling better about my own situation, but I've still found myself wanting to push my little one toward the potty sooner rather than later.

What was your theory about potty training? Wait or start early? Leave us a comment below, and also weigh in on what age your little one was potty trained.

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Bridget1374636242 Bridget1374636242 1 year

As far as having a child starting early or later, it all depends on the child itself. Probably majority parents would like to have their child fully potty trained by around 2. a lot of parents I know say and feel that the earlier the better. that is how i was personally. and, but as far as when a child should be potty trained, has nothing to do with the parents wants and, but just when the child is ready. when the child shows signs that he is interested, the child is disinterested in the diaper, taking it off, etc., than give the potty training a try, if that is not so with the child under 3 than so be it to that. again potty training has all to do with when the child is ready to learn not when the parent is ready.

April14377653 April14377653 1 year

Like most on here, it depends on the child. I am a big believer in the speech/ toiletting link. In other words, if they have good speech, toiletting should be easier because they need the cognition to understand the concept. My first girl had fantastic speech at a young age and was trained at 18mths in 3wks. Never wet the bed or her underwear. Our second daughter did not have a good handle on speech until she was three. She was trained in a couple of mths when she was 3.5. Our youngest is a whole new bag of tricks. He is 4 this December and has expressive-receptive speech delay and possibly Autism Spectrum Disorder (in assessment). He is only just starting to use sentences and whether it's a sensory thing or not, he hates the potty and the toilet seat/ ladder thing in the loo. I've tried the ol' potty in front of the tv thing to no avail. He just isn't ready yet and it's too distressing for him (he screams).. Sad thing is (and I don't think it's just our centre) the kindergarten aren't keen on a non toilet trained child attending and we have just been rejected for funding for a support worker for him. We live in the bush and it's the only one around for miles. It sure is frustrating! Just another thing I have to be patient with lol..

FashanBecker FashanBecker 1 year

I introduced my two girls at the age of 2 to the potty. I let them help pick it out and decorated them with stickers of their choice. Then the potties sat in the bathroom. I showed them how the stuffed animals went on them and when they were ready to try them they did. I didn't force them or push I just gave them a tiny nudge.

JenniBateson JenniBateson 1 year

In France our children have the chance to go to school at 3 .... BUT only if they are clean! So at 2.5 the game begins, I have done it with 2 boys and had ups and downs, my daughter will be one tomorrow and when she is 3 I have to go back to work (I'm on parental leave) I would prefer she went to school rather than the other option nursery (where most of the children are under 3) as this is normal in France (she will be with children her own age). So at 2/2.5 she will start using the potty and hopefully she will be easier than my boys! lol. I just want to add that neither of my boys have urinary tract problems or constipation issues.

sidraalvi sidraalvi 1 year

it's different for every child, you have to try when they are old enough to understand, but sometimes they are just scared, my daughter turned 2 in november 28. and we used the two weeks of Christmas holidays to train her. taking her to toilet every little while and spreading extra sheets on bed at night it took her two whole weeks she had an accident 2 times throughout those weeks and that was that she is 5 years old now we have been trying to teach her to clean herself! my son is turning 2 in December and I am in absolute noo rush to teach him, after diapers are off you wait for them to call you on the toilet yelling im doneeeeeeeeeeeeeee ! :)

TosiaDtew TosiaDtew 1 year

My daughter is just over 2.5 and we are waiting till she's ready. Not only have I seen the UTI and constipation problems in friends' children, but we are expecting her baby brother in February (a month before she turns 3) and I've read a lot about regression issues. So rather than forcing her we'll wait till she's ready because I also read the opposite of regression is a child who starts to display new talents to gain the attention they feel they are missing i.e. Deciding to impress Mummy and Daddy by potty training!!! We'll see how it goes honestly as long as she's potty trained by the time she starts school I'll be happy!!! Till then no rush!!!

ErikaMcCartin1407815309 ErikaMcCartin1407815309 1 year

I waited until she was ready. That didn't mean we didn't try for a day or two. If she kept having accidents we put the diapers back on and tried 3 months later. She is 3.5 years old and still wears a diaper at night. I have tried a few nights without then, but after 3 nights of changing sheets and a crying uncomfortable little girl we put the diapers back on. We may try again in December. Also when she is slightly constipated I let her use a diaper, otherwise she will continue to try to hold it in. I'd rather her have empty bowels then be constipated because she doesn't want to poop in the toilet. Today she pooped in the toilet and I made a big deal about it so she may be ready.

JenniferHawes JenniferHawes 1 year

My cousin's son has horrible constipation issues, because of early potty training. They started trying before he was ready, and he didn't want to poop in his underpants, so he wouldn't poop at all. They ended up having to give him Miralax every day, just to get him to go. When he did have to go, it hurt, which turned into it's own ordeal every time.

jenniferwilson16259 jenniferwilson16259 1 year

Because they learn to hold it which leads to conspation and Uti's. That happened to my daughter.

elenrosas1392327570 elenrosas1392327570 1 year

why constipation and urinary infections how?

Amanda-EmmaHanson1385919375 Amanda-EmmaHanson1385919375 2 years
my 7 year odl trained at 3 and a half, but my 4 year old still isn't trained yet. I've decided to just leave him to it and let him tell me, the potty is in the room if he wants to try and we put him on the toilet at bath time, but other than that we have given up.
Suberu1362840143 Suberu1362840143 2 years
We started attempting to encourage potty training at 2(the age everyone started) We got books, a squishy soft seat with handles, stool and portable potty. She just wasn't interested! So we didn't push it, she didn't seem ready, she didn't know when she was going and got upset when she had accidents, so I figured how could she possibly be ready? We tried again several times, but didn't push it. Everyone was acting like we were bad parents for not FORCING her to learn! As if there was an age limit! Then at nearly 3.5 years old, she decided she was using the potty, and we encouraged her, she was totally ready, it took no effort on our part, no upset on hers, she did the work, and it took TWO WEEKS to have her fully toilet trained! A few months later and people who had started training at 2 were still arguing with their 4 year olds(offering bribes, taking away privileges) and having to put nappies on them at night because they had continued/regressed to bed wetting! Nearly 2 years on and potty training has never been a big deal for us like it was for other people, our child has never regressed and never has accidents, enough said!
JanessaLloyd JanessaLloyd 2 years
With each child the age has been different but our method the same. Wait until they initiate it. We encourage them, for example our almost 2.5 year old right now, we show her the potty, when she says she needs to go stinky we ask her if she wants to use it, we let her sit on it whenever she wants, but we will not force the issue until she is ready. My easiest child was my oldest boy, who one day at 2.5 years old, decided he was done with diapers, and within that week was potty trained night and day. My oldest child, a girl took a little longer than that, and had several accidents, but was night potty trained easily, my little 4 year old, lets just say he's finally getting it in the day mostly, but night time is impossible for him, he sleeps too soundly. It really isn't something you can force, from what I have seen, and so we don't. It is so much less stressful to take a laid back approach.
SallyBackhaus SallyBackhaus 2 years
You can choose a time arbitrarily and fight with the kid nonstop until they're really ready (causing all sorts of headaches for both of you and possible long term health problems for your child) or you can leave it alone until they're ready and they'll train themselves in a week or two. That was 1 1/2 for my first (yes I was a lucky mommy) and 3 1/2 for my second. I'm also a very lucky mommy in that both of my girls completely ignored the "norms" and were dry at night well before they were completely dry all day.
LacieBenz LacieBenz 2 years
our daughter asked to use the potty at around 18 months old, without every really having been introduced (other than going to the washroom with me when i had to go). she would easily have been trained by 2 without pressure if her daycare actually worked with us instead of leaning her in the pullup as a diaper and ignoring her requests to potty. in the end it took me staying home with her (leaving that daycare, of course) for about 2 weeks for her to be fully day trained - night trained was by about 2.5 years old.
MelindaBell93617 MelindaBell93617 2 years
My older two boys were potty trained by 2 and a half, myyoungest son was 3 ( he was lazy baby), and my daughter was potty trained by 3. A lot of it depends on the kids and I never pushed mine. Yes I tried at earlier ages but they weren't ready and I didn't force it. You're child will let u know.
RivkaMorowitz1371642774 RivkaMorowitz1371642774 2 years
Correction. the law states that the school must accept all children even though He or she are not toilet trained. It is the responsibility of the preschools staff to plan out the toilet training with the parents and provide the ideal environment to do so.
RivkaMorowitz1371642774 RivkaMorowitz1371642774 2 years
Girls at 22 months to 26 months. Boys at 30 months to 3 years. My 3 + year old that has downs syndrome requested to potty train two month shy of his 3rd birthday. Surprising everyone , He sat on the potty and didn't get up until he was done. Then we found out that when he is angry at us he will pee himself on purpose. That showed us that he definitely has control. So, It was different from regular toilet training. We had to work backwards. He knew how to use the potty but not to pull his pants down and up. He didn't tell us he had to pee. he would wander into the bathroom and we had to remember that he knew how to go on the toilet. At the same time his sister would sit on the toilet and did very well but insisted she needed a diaper. Only when we dared to let my son stay out of a diaper in the afternoon my daughter decided to take off her diaper. The first child that I was part of his toilet training was my little brother. We had move from the US to Israel and my Mom was very sick with dysentery. There were no disposable diapers. 1978. So, the moment he turned two and showed an inkling towards the toilet we took of the diaper cold turkey. My job then as a 6 year old was to run with him to the bathroom every time he said Pee. He would almost make it and end up peeing next to the toilet. At the time I decided toilet training is not for me. I found that most people find toilet training a traumatizing time, but , in Israel it is unacceptable to go to preschool - 3 year olds - not toilet trained even though there is a law since 2002 that children that are not toilet trained can not get accepted into school. The teachers still illegally call the parents in to the school the moment a child mises. Leaving the child in the mess.
Ginger91942 Ginger91942 2 years
We bought a seat that went over the toilet. We still didn't force him. Slowly he would tell us he had to go. Finally one day something clicked for peeing and pooping. And from that day he was potty trained. He did have accidents. But we let him take his time and when it clicked it really did. He was and is one of those children that if he was forced he would instead fight or back track.
Ginger91942 Ginger91942 2 years
We introduced the potty at 2 but didn't force it. He finally told us at 3 he didn't want a potty chair. He wanted to use the big toilet like us. So we bought him one. We still didn't force it
Elisabeth60124 Elisabeth60124 2 years
With my boys it was a matter of being home for 2 weeks and taking the to the potty a lot. They were about 2 1/2. My daughter was ready at 25 months. She was always taking her clothes off and she wouldn't go on the floor so she ran to the bathroom. She would wear pullups at night until she decided one night she didn't want to wear them. Even from birth she didn't really go while asleep. It would always be almost 10 minutes after she woke up. My only suggestion would be to not get mad (I did show disappointment/sadness not unkindly) when they have accidents and be happy when they make it. I didn't do reward systems so I don't how/if that might work.
JackieRosenzveig JackieRosenzveig 2 years
I feel quite strongly that for most kids, it's best to expose kids to potty training concepts by talking about it when you or other siblings use the toilet, reading them stories about it (my favorite "Once upon a potty"), buying a potty and letting them know it's theirs when they want to use it, but NOT in any way suggesting that they start or comparing them to other kids who may have already started. Once a child is sufficiently aware of the option to use the toilet, they will EVENTUALLY ask to try the potty themselves. Whenever they want to try, let them try, but don't actually switch them to underwear until they tell you they no longer want a diaper. At that point, they will almost definitely potty train very quickly, without the need for all kinds of prizes or punishments. Doesn't mean no accidents, but it will be MUCH less painful than if you attempt to potty train them when they aren't fully physically or emotionally ready. It's just like any other skill (walking or talking for example). They see people around them doing the skill for a long time without even attempting it, and then one day they decide it's time to give it a try, because they have the necessary physical and cognitive skills and the confidence to give it a shot, and within days or weeks, they've got that skill down pat and move on to another one.
CoMMember13615239919465 CoMMember13615239919465 2 years
My son is 28 months and I've been battling this potty training stuff for awhile so I'm glad to see I'm not alone!
Naomi1379621307 Naomi1379621307 2 years
When my son was a little under 3 years I took the diaper off completely during the day. It took just a couple of days. Then when he did not wet the diaper at night about 3 weeks, I took it off at night at well. With my daughter she was a little over 3 years. She got scared at preschool because they told her they were going to put her with younger kids since she is not potty trained. It was Friday. By Monday she was completely off. Although I waited for too long to train them, it was so easy.
BellaMpaketsane BellaMpaketsane 2 years
Im gonna start training my little girl on her second birthday, I will do it everyday until she understands it.
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