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How Long Did Potty Training Take?

By July 18, 2006

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One of my favorite blogs is Our Everyday Things. Leonny has a toddler, Anya, and is expecting another child in about a month. She's been working to potty train Anya and wrote me the other day seeking advice. I thought I'd put the question to you guys so you can leave some comments and share your experiences. She writes,

I write about toilet training little Anya and how it's been going on my blog, but I'm often curious to know how long do other kids take to be 100 percent toilet trained. I mean, completely toilet trained and what other moms go through during the training days (or should I say, weeks and months!)

I'll let you know how long it took my son as well as share some other stories I've heard from parents about how long it takes to potty train a toddler. It's good to see that what we think takes a set amount of time across all children really varies widely. It helps keep expectations in check. More stories are welcome, of course.

July 20, 2006 at 2:08 pm
(1) LeAnn says:

My stepson was about 3 and a half before he was completely accident free. What really did the trick was putting food coloring in his little potty, so when he went it would change colors!

July 21, 2006 at 6:35 am
(2) Susan says:

My son is 31 months, totally knows what the potty is for, sometimes likes to sit on it but adamantly refuses when we ask him if he actually wants to use it. He clearly does not. It is a game for him. When he gets upset when we change his diaper we tell him when he is ready to use the potty we won’t have to change his diaper…when he is ready to use the potty like a big boy, he won’t need a diaper. But we never push. We just always ask when we know it’s the right time for him to go. He has now started to tell us he has peed or pooped. We know one day (as with all things so far) he will announce he is ready and the time will be right to get him on the potty.
I think it is an issue of control. Once they feel in control of the situation they will do it.

July 21, 2006 at 4:58 pm
(3) Beth says:

I should add that my son was more than physically capable with regards to potty training. On our failed attempt 6 months before he was trained he was able to hold his bms and urine for very long stretches of time. It was totally a case of him having control over the situation…and knowing it.

July 22, 2006 at 10:50 pm
(4) tiffany says:

i have a 3 year old son and when it came to potty training i left him train himself.. they will go when they are ready to go.. i think when u force them they backslide and end up in diaphers again. i come from a family of 8 and the ones that were bribed to go backslided and the ones that were left go on there own went when they were ready. i dont think its a overnight thing either it takes time let them set there pace after all nothing else happens overnight in reality. as for accidents the only accidents he has is when he has nightmares. they will go when they are ready and theres no harm in a 3 year old in diaphers or pullups no ones perfect or the same.

July 24, 2006 at 1:52 am
(5) Jacky says:

May anyone out there please advice me. My son is 4 yrs and not fully potty trained. I have tried all tricks I could think of and those I got from friends, but I just can’t get my boy to be interested. I know I should not push him, but sometimes it can be very frustrating.
How will I know when he is ready?

July 24, 2006 at 2:01 pm
(6) Leonny says:

Thanks for the advice and stories, everyone!

Basically, I started training Anya when she’s 23 months old since she’s also showed quite a few signs of readiness.

The first 2.5 months were filled with many many accidents. I was about to postpone the whole training until somehow it simply got better.

Now, at 28 months, she never has any BM accidents and only one urine accident in the past one month (she still wears diapers at night though). I take her out withOUT her diapers 97% of the time too now since I find out that if she wears her diapers again for too long, she somehow starts to wee in them again and ‘forget’ to tell me that she needs to go (even when she’s already diaperless afterwards).

My challenge now:
she tells me she wants to wee, but she doesn’t want to anymore when we’re in the toilet. This happens a few times each day and honestly, with a bulging tummy right now, it does get quite tough for me.

July 25, 2006 at 1:25 pm
(7) Gary says:

Our daughter is almost 4.5 years old and is completely potty trained in the day but has numerous accidents at night. I should hasten to add my wife is 3.5 weeks away from delivering our second baby and I think our daughter is jealous. Anyone have any tips–we already stop liquids 2 hours before bed and lavish praise on her should she make it through the night (which happens infrequently). There was a period for about a month where she had only one accident but the closer we get to delivery the more accidents. Should we revert back to pull-ups? We are tired (and so are the sheets and blankets) and washing them all the time. HELP!!

July 26, 2006 at 8:45 am
(8) Kathie says:

My son is almost 16 months, he’s starting to show signs of wanting to go on the potty. Especially interested in watching daddy when he uses the big potty. We bought him a potty just over a week ago, and if he thinks I’m not watching, he’ll go and sit on it on his own. We aren’t using it yet, but I think if this continues as it has been we might be starting to use it in the next few weeks.

July 26, 2006 at 9:06 am
(9) Angela says:

My 20 month old is 80% potty trained. I think the secret was helping her to figure out what the potty was for (I sat her on it and cheered when she went) and letting her experience accidents (I allowed it to happen in the back yard ) and now she tells me when she wants to go. Itís been a slow process (about 3 months, pulling back when she indicated she didnít want to do it) but I was fortunate that she wants to learn now and doesnít need to be pushed, encouraged yes with stickers and praise. In my case the secret was starting before she became too obstinate. Now she makes the decision to do it!

July 26, 2006 at 10:29 am
(10) Brandi says:

Maybe someone can help me as well! I have three year old(June) twin boys. They are still in pull-ups. We tried a few months ago to use strictly big boy underware. The accidents were too many to handle. So we went back to pull-ups. One of them will hold it for pretty good and stay dry for most of the time. The other one only goes a little bit, and then once he has a dry pull-up on a little while later he wets his pull-up again. So then we go potty in the big potty, and a little while later he has another accident in his pull-ups. They both will go pee-pee in the potty, but have yet to get to the point where they tell me that they need to go before they go. Sometimes they tell me before hand and sometimes they don’t. As far as bms, I not really even trying to push that issue yet. I really want to get the pee-pee part mastered first. I hope to be able to put them in some kind of pre-school soon, but most of them won’t allow them to attend if they are not potty-trained. Any advice of help is greatly appreciated!

July 27, 2006 at 5:42 pm
(11) Laura says:

Great blog! My daughter is only six months old, so I don’t think we’re quite ready for the potty training phase quite yet. But reading everyone’s comments and what not has given me wonderful ideas on how to handle it when the time comes. It has also given me some really good ideas on what to write about next on MY blog about babies. Thank you, and keep up the good work!

July 28, 2006 at 10:57 am
(12) Nicole says:

Great comments everyone! My daughter is 21/2 years old and we have been trying to potty train off and on for about 2 months. She just started going pee pee in the potty by herself but only if I don’t say anything to her. If I ask her to go to the potty she immediately says no! I read in a book that sometimes if you let them run around naked it helps them recognize the signals and now that is the only time she will go to the potty is when she is naked. She refuses to go to the potty when she has pull-ups on. Now I don’t know what to do. It really worked to let her be naked, when she had the first accident and peed on herself she didn’t like it so when she knew she had to go she would go and do it on her own. If someone has any suggestions please pass them on! Thanx.

July 31, 2006 at 8:20 am
(13) Goretti says:

My Baby’s 9 months now.. i think there’s still time for the potty training to start.. but have a fair idea of when to begin the training.. Thanks people..

November 12, 2006 at 7:58 pm
(14) Yvonne says:

My daughter is 2 1/2 (3 in March) and we’ve had her in big girl pants for about a month and a pull up at night. Most days she wakes up dry, but she can’t seem to get telling us that she needs to go. We make her go and she usually goes when we put her on the potty, but she has only told us that she needed to go on her own about 3 times. I’m so frustrated that I want to scream. I think I’ve freaked out over the accidents enought that she’s probably damaged and I feel terrible. Thank God my husband is patient and understanding and tells her all the time that it’s okay and everyone has accidents. I can’t help but think that something is wrong with her…but after reading these posts, I feel so much better. I guess they really do “train” when THEY are ready. I’m terrified to go back to pull ups though at this point for fear of giving her an even bigger complex about it. She averages 1 accident a day…some days it’s 2. Should I stick with the big girl pants and just make her go more often? Or should we go back to pull ups untill she really says she’s ready?????? I’d really appreciate some feedback.

December 11, 2006 at 10:22 am
(15) Jennifer Monaco says:

My son will be 4 in a couple of months and he goes pee on the potty fine but I’m not so lucky with the BM. I can’t get him to go at all on the toilet so now we are back to diapers. Everyone I know with boys said that they were a lot harder to potty train than their girls but one day they just woke up and start using the potty. My girl is 21/2 and she will go potty by herself. Good luck to everyone!

August 8, 2008 at 2:54 pm
(16) Duncan says:

I have a 3 year old daughter who’s been toilet trained for about 1 year, but she still has regular accidents. Can anybody give me some advice to get past this stage

August 20, 2008 at 9:54 am
(17) Pregnant mom of toddler says:

My son is 32 months old and we have been at the potty training thing for 4 months now. I am due with my second child in 5 weeks, and have tried charts, stickers and the potty train in a day thing when he was 22 months old. He has his moments when he is really good, and only wets a couple times a day. He is so tny for his age 21.5 lbs.), and I don’t know if he was really ready when I started. I just htought since they used to have kids potty trained beofre two in teh 80′s that I could do it to. He is throwing fits about putting his underwear back on (won’t keep them on his ankles)and washing his hands a good chunk of the time and sometimes going potty too. I am feeling so frustrated. I am rinsing underwear out severeal times a day. He used to tell me if he was wet, and now he doesn’t care. He rarely has told me he has to go. We put pull-ups on when we go out, but he always wets them even if we take him to public restrooms and he goes in the toilet. He gets excited when he goes in the toilet, but I think that he thinks that is just something he is supposed to do since we do it when he goes. I am confused on what to do. Some moms have told me to go back to diapers until his is more ready because he will most likely regress when the new baby arrives. Is it worth the hassle? I am so frustrated.

August 20, 2008 at 8:05 pm
(18) Breda says:

i started training my little girl after she turned 3 previously i had her in pull ups she was usin g te potty etc but now that she in pants she is jus having accident after accident i’ll never use pull up’s on any child again they should never hav been invented they jus totally confuse te poor child…

September 8, 2008 at 10:41 pm
(19) Lisa says:

I have a 3 year old daughter that is not potty trained yet. We’ve been working on it for about a year now and nothing is working. She goes potty on the toilet when I put her there, but she won’t let me know when she has to go. I will ask her if she has to go potty and she always tells me no, then next thing you know a few minutes later she pees her pant. I ask her what she did and she says i went potty. Im very confused why she dont want to use the potty most of the time. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

September 17, 2008 at 1:51 pm
(20) MommyOfTwinBoys says:

Lisa, I am experiencing the same problem with my 3-year & 2 month old twin boys. I set the timer for 25 minutes. If they have not had much juice or water to drink, they have dry underwear & will pee in the potty (standing up) when I take them. I reward them with M&Ms for keeping their underwear dry & stress that by pottying, it will help them keep their underwear dry the next time I check them. They have no problems peeing in the potty when I take them. However, if they have had juice or water & I set the timer for 25 minutes, they wet their underwear before the timer even goes off. At 25 minutes, I ask them if they are still dry. They reply “Uh-oh, I’m wet”. Or, if they have not had juice or water & I wait 35 minutes, they will also wet. They NEVER come to me & tell me they have to go potty. Or, if I ask them at 15 minutes if they have to go potty (while they are still dry), they say “No”. Then, at 25 minutes, I check & they are wet.

Are they just not ready yet? Can they not sense the urge to go yet? They don’t seem to be stubborn about it. I don’t sense that they are purposely wetting themselves. They seem genuinely excited when they are dry & get M&Ms. I’ve had others suggest to me to not give them as much juice or water. Yes, that would certainly solve the problem of them wetting in their underwear. For example, they can stay dry for 40-60 minutes (maybe even a little longer) when they have not had a lot of juice. I see this happen when I take them to town. They are so busy with the outing that they don’t request juice as often. They stay dry much longer. But, that still does not mean they are potty trained. When they finally do have to “go”, they still don’t tell me they have to “go”. They just finally wet their underwear. What thoughts can anyone offer on this one? Lisa & I could sure use some suggestions.

My only conclusion at this point is that I may need to back off & wait a few more weeks. Will it just finally get to the point that they suddenly say “Mommy, I gotta potty”? Being patient, but getting frustrated. Not sure if I’m doing something wrong, should be doing something different, or if they are just not ready yet…

June 30, 2010 at 9:12 am
(21) mom of a almost four yr and a 15mth old says:

My mother in laws says that we waited toooo long, and we will have to out “hard head” him. I have had to pick him up and put him on the potty. We have tried little gifts and yesterday he sat on the potty for 30min then pooped and wet himself, so my husband said that he would not watch tv or computer for the rest of the night. That seems to have worked so far…..

September 15, 2010 at 4:00 pm
(22) Gemma says:

Hi all

My daughter is 25 months and we have just started potty training last week after she decided to use the toilet for granny! she is doing great at the pees and rarely has an accident but poos are another story! She gets so distressed about them and runs back and forward to the toilet for hours! when doing then so is really unhappy and its all very stressful. I have treid putting nappies on when she needs to go but she wont poo anywhere but the toilet (of course a good thing) but just hoping she gets used to it soon! Its been a rough day.lol


December 13, 2010 at 4:28 pm
(23) Priscilla says:

I potty trained my little guy at 18 months after he was showing interest in the potty. I didn’t think it was too early for him. He did amazing. We let him rip around naked and he knew he needed to pee somewhere, so we kept reinforcing the potty and he ‘got it’ from then on. He didn’t really have many accidents from then on. He was still in a diaper at night and for nap time. He just got out of diapers all together at 30 months with no accidents at night or anything. I have another little boy who is 18 months. I’m going to start with him next week… I really believe this is the perfect age.

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