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A reader has written in about something new her son is doing:
My 19-month-old grabs a diaper from his diaper bag, goes and hides in a corner, and tries to take his own diaper off. I'm wondering if this is a sign that he's ready to be potty trained. Is he ready? Or is something else going on?

I have given her some advice here about potty training readiness and perhaps her son's desire for privacy. If you have any experience with a similar situation, please leave a comment.

January 30, 2008 at 11:48 am
(1) Feliecia says:

My son 21 mths old can I potty trained him now if I wanted to

January 31, 2008 at 10:48 am
(2) Mr Mum says:

Boys at 21 mths just do not have the concept down mine has just turned three and the penny is starting to drop

January 31, 2008 at 2:38 pm
(3) Karin says:

All kids are different. Just because one child isn’t ready doesn’t mean all children at that age aren’t ready. My girlfriend’s son was potty trained at about 2 1/2 and mine is 3 and just now starting to get it. My nephew was 4 1/2 before he finally got it. It’s not a matter of parenting, it’s a matter of child readiness. Some kids can’t “hold” their pee until age three, and some can do it at 12 months or so. You know your kid.. you decide if he’s ready. If nothing else, you can try it for awhile and if it’s not working, try again in a few months.

February 1, 2008 at 12:52 pm
(4) kdk says:

I have a girl & started introducing her to the potty seat at 18 months, by 2 she was taken out of diapers. It went a lot better than I expected. But you have to be dedicated & consistant, not go back and forth, becuz my neice is 4 and just now getting it becuase she’s finally got some consistancy. good luck.

February 3, 2008 at 12:12 am
(5) AIR says:

I have a 14 month old daughter that just yesterday i went and bought her a potty so that we would have it i took her in to the bathroom and told her what it was i sat her down and she wanted nothing to do with it she stood up and peed on the floor right next to the potty. Then later on that night i tried again she peed in the potty.
my daughter today peed twice and pooped even. i do belive that all children are different i never dreamed that a child 14 months old could grasp the concept of pottying so soon.

February 6, 2008 at 11:45 am
(6) liz says:

I think there is a small window around 18 months to potty train. My daughter was very interested in it around that time so we bought the potty but we didnt “force” the training at all. Looking back we probably should have. She didnt fully potty train until around 30 months. It was a battle of wills for the last 5 months of it. One day I completely lost it on her (I know it wasnt good) and yelled “that’s it no more diapers” and she looked at me and so OK and no more accidents. According to my mom I was potty trained at 18 months and she totally believes its the diapers we have the kids in nowadays, she used cloth diapers back then so I felt the wetness. Good Luck!

February 6, 2008 at 12:01 pm
(7) Erica says:

Every kid is different. I figure it’s like learning to read. You surround your kid with it, talk about it, show them what the potty is for, make it fun and not a chore at a very young age and when it’s time to train, it will be easier.

February 6, 2008 at 12:20 pm
(8) Amy says:

I have two girls-age 15 & age 3. I did nothing different with either regarding potty training. My first daughter was potty trained by age two and my youngest daughter, again age three, is JUST finished potty training. I believe that it is COMPLETELY only when each and every different child is ready on their own that they will go outside of their diaper.
One other thing to consider: my youngest daughter told her sister that she was too big for her little girl potty chair! So she began training on all of our adult toilets! It took about four days, one accident and she is compeletly finished!! Hope some or all of this helps someone out there.

February 6, 2008 at 12:36 pm
(9) Susan Tracy says:

Go for it! A toddler is gaining an important sense of independence and capability. They need adults who communicate “You can do it!” when they attempt new skills. Toddlers are far more interested than 3-year-olds. I am a Montessori infant-toddler teacher and have helped HUNDREDS of children learn to use the bathroom. There is a “sensitive period” of interest and curiosity around 16-20 months. Better to follow the interest at this age than fight with a willful 2- or 3-year-old. The child does not need to be able to talk. I recommend the book Diaper Free Before Three by Jill Lekovic, I have an article at http://www.LTPEC.org (click on library of articles at the bottom of the page), and we do conference calls on this topic if you need guidance.

February 6, 2008 at 4:14 pm
(10) Linda says:

Having worked in ChildCare for almost 30 years & having worked with parents to potty train their child. YES, this is an indication that your child MAY be ready for the potty training. Are YOU ready to be there and work with him on this, at certain times throughout the day? Everyday including the weekends? You have to be willing to work with your child. It could be a phase your child is going thru or the fact that he is ready now. Has anything else in your home changed, a new pet,change in family living ,new baby,new sitter? Does your child go to a Day Care where other children are being trained? All these could be a link as to why your child is attempting this fun time in his life!
Good luck to you & your child!

February 6, 2008 at 4:24 pm
(11) Angela says:

I have fraternal twin boys who are 19 1/2 months old. One is very interested in his anatomy and the potty itself. He will wipe himself after I do on the changing table. He has taken his diaper off three times in the mornings before I’ve gotten to them and then he has peed in his bed. He also follows me, his father, and his brothers into the bathroom to see what goes on in there. The other twin completely happy to have me change his diapers and walks right by the bathroom unless his twin brother is in there. I have thought about getting the potty chair out and showing the interested twin the ropes. I too was told that I was completely potty trained by 18 months as a child. Interesting dialoge!!! Thanks!!!!

May 22, 2008 at 8:49 am
(12) leslie says:

I have three kids. 13, 5 and 19 months. The two older ones, both boys were trained by 22 and 24 months. I am starting with my daughter now. She goes several times a day,and my goal is to have her finished by 22 months. I have had all three different temperaments, but same strategy for potty training. I, too, believe they should be trained by two. If they can speak full sentences, they can certainly use the toilet. Consistency is key.

June 17, 2008 at 12:28 am
(13) Tiffany says:

my daughter is 19 month old and shell go to her room grab a diaper and her wipes lay down on the ground and takes her diaper off and continues to lay down and waits for me or her dad to finish the changing. shes very smart but i just cant get her to use the potty. ive bought her underwear,stickers, snacks etc. she just wont go! ANY TIPS?

June 18, 2008 at 11:28 am
(14) Samantha says:

My son is 21 months old also. When he was about 18 or 19 months he started do the same thing. He
would take his diaper when he was wet or if he pooped and he would come to me gesturing that he
took it off and he would try to get a new diaper
for me. Now he tells me he needs to potty after he goes potty in his diaper. But I figured out that the reason he does that is he hates the potty. he would rather use the toilet without the safety ring.

July 2, 2008 at 2:10 pm
(15) Leslie says:

Both of my boys were trained before age two. I am now working on my daughter, who is 20 months old. They are all different personality wise, but the rule in our house is no diapers at age two. I started at 19 months with all of them, and then went cold turkey at 22 months. Consistency is key for success. If you start early, then it just is a natural progression to the next level. My approach has always been,not to force, but to simply say, “Today we are going to learn to use the potty.”..and then throw the diapers. The problem is, that I have found that most parents have is they give the child control of the situation. While all the books say “don’t force”, that doesn’t mean “don’t train”

August 12, 2008 at 10:11 am
(16) helen says:

leslie thankyou because you are right! my first son was potty trained at 22 months so by the time his 2nd year came around he was outof diapers cold turkey. my 2nd son is 15 months and im starting to introduce the toilet to him so he can familiarize himself with it .after he turns 18 months we will start the potty training process. its more about the parents effort that will potty tain the child.

August 18, 2008 at 3:34 pm
(17) anita says:

I agree with consistency being the key.as for all kids being different and showing signs of readiness after 2-3 years,some even 4 years….there are countries in the world who do not use disposable diaprers and I have seen no kid above 2 wearing diapers or peeing on the floor.

January 11, 2009 at 2:08 am
(18) crrie says:

my daughter is 14 months and has been running to the pottyand taking off her pants. we have been putting her on it and she is going for the last few days. we just wernt paying attention to her signals.

January 27, 2009 at 11:46 am
(19) Shannon says:

I am really confused about this issue, also. I have fraternal twin girls and both of them repeatedly take off their diaper and sometimes wet or poop in the bed. From what I have read on here, I think I will start trying to potty train. Angela, I understand how you feel, my twins are almost 20 months!

February 7, 2009 at 11:49 am
(20) Kemptville_Mom_of _2_under_2 says:

Hi there,

We introduced the potty to my first daughter at 12 months old. She was an early walker and was able to sit on the potty. However, she really wasn’t ”ready” until more recently. She is 21 months now and lets us know when she has to poop and pee. She will pull off her diaper and head to the potty saying “poo, poo, poo”. It is sometimes hit and miss, and she is obviously still in a diaper. But, i am happy to day that I haven’t had a BM to change in a diaper in 5 days. I definately think she is on her way to being completely trained. Good luck to all!!

March 4, 2009 at 12:08 am
(21) jess90003 says:


April 3, 2009 at 2:04 pm
(22) Jennifer says:

I have just started pottytraining my 20 month old daughter. I started b/c she would grab her diaper and try to pull it off and away from her when she felt the urge-I was soo excited! She has tee-teed and stinkied in the potty all in her first 2 days!! although, when I told her daycare that I was starting this, they kind of frowned and said:”well usually we don’t start helping them untill they are over 2!” I don’t really know what to do now- I don’t want to confuse her now that she is actually using the potty!

May 9, 2009 at 8:32 pm
(23) Potty Training Toddler says:

It sounds like your child may be ready to begin potty training. If he or she is aware enough and physically able to walk over and grab a diaper and try to put it on then I would say they can start.

June 22, 2009 at 10:27 am
(24) BlackBeauty says:

My son has just now turned 18-months, but he has been getting his own diaper and trying to take it off since he was 16-months. I truly believe that he is ready so I’m going to start training him this week. He loves to throw his own diaper in the trash and he loves going in the bathroom with his dad.

July 6, 2009 at 10:26 pm
(25) Camden&Colton'sMommy says:

I have fraternal twin boys (18 months old) One of them is doing the same thing. He takes his diaper off and he will even tell me when he has pooped. The other twin could care less about the whole thing. I have even went out and bought underwear, but of course he will not keep them on either.

November 17, 2009 at 1:52 pm
(26) sheena says:

My 20 month old daughter is always taking her diaper off. She will let me know when she has to go pee and poop. She lets me know when she needs her diaper changed when it is on. She rarely has accidents when her diaper is off, when she does she stops peeing and seems to be upset about it. Is she ready to be potty trained?

February 7, 2010 at 1:19 pm
(27) kim says:

can i potty train a 14 month old. is it good to start now? how do i teach him? is it best for him to watch his dad do it? or no?
First time mom lol need some help here

February 12, 2010 at 6:21 am
(28) Gina says:

My 16 month old always goes into another room or hides when she is having a poo…or if she is playing in her cot in the morning she will wait till i leave the room and most times when I come back in 5 or 10 mins later she has a poo…I’m facinatend and wonder is this just a privacy thing?I have noticed it from when she was around 12 months old

November 1, 2010 at 1:45 am
(29) jessica says:

my son is nineteen months old we just started potty training this week and so far has had peed at least once in it everyday. today was hectic due to the holiday we were not home a lot so i was expecting a fall back today however he suprised us after trick or treating he ran into to grandmas house into the bathroom and started pulling up the potty chair my husband then helped him sit on it and he peed right then and there and his pull up was dry he still has not gotten down the whole poop thing but i have good faith he will be potty trained soon :)

November 17, 2010 at 3:59 pm
(30) angie says:

There is no blanket age that fits all. I hear boys are “harder” to train. If he is trying to take off the diaper its a pretty good sign hes ready. My 19 month old started doing that a month a go, and now shes been in panties for about 2 weeks. Once you ditch the diapers DON’T go back.

June 23, 2011 at 9:09 am
(31) Happy Mama says:

Two days ago my daughter suddenly showed interest in wanting to use the potty by following me into the bathroom and squatting while I was going. So I decided to dig out the potty and let her explore. She is 20 months old and has successfully used the potty twice now. Once last night and once this morning. I think when THEY are ready they will tell/show you. I find if you put too much pressure on them then they won’t want to learn, it should be fun and excciting…not stressful!
I am so proud of her….she has an advanage because she has an older brother and is around older kids at day care who she sees using the potty all day.
So showed me signs when she was ready!!

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