The Beginning of Potty Training

You guys!  I have a secret to tell you that you may or may not know (I didn’t realize until last week) – you can potty train your kiddos starting around 12-15 months and get them out of diapers well before 2 years old.  This is the greatest news I’ve heard in a while.


There is a woman in Denver – Patience Bleskan who is basically my go-to for all things babies/kids related.  She is possibly the smartest woman I know.  Anyways, she teaches a class called “Diaper Free Before 3.”  I always knew I wanted to take it because I knew virtually nothing about potty training, but I was planning on taking it around Aiden’s 2nd birthday.  I found out that she recommends taking it between 12-15 months, so I signed up in a whim for this weekend and this is what I found out…

Background Information

  • In the U.S. we are basically the last ones to potty train our kids for a variety of reasons.  For instance, in Africa, they begin shortly after birth.  Cubans are finished by 12-18 months, Indian and Chinese people train their kids completely by 2 years old, and Germans do it between 16-24 months.
  • In the U.S., we used to potty train much earlier – as in the range of 24 months but now it is up to beyond 3 years old.  This is primarily because Procter & Gamble and Johnson & Johnson needed more market share once people had mostly switched over from cloth to disposable diapers, so they decided to produce diapers in bigger sizes and fund studies that said to wait longer to potty train your kids.  The biggest size of diapers that were made prior to the early 90’s were size 3; they now go up to size 6 or 7.  How’s that for a marketing technique?!

Three Aspects to Potty Training

  • Neurological - This is the pathway that is created from the brain to the bladder and pelvic floor muscles that tells us when we have to go to the bathroom.  This pathway is complete in all kids by the time they are 18 months and like most muscles and pathways in our body needs to be used by 30-32 months to “keep it working.”  It’s kinda like a use it or lose it type of thing.  Kids that are potty trained later can have problems where they don’t feel the urge to go to the bathroom until it’s too late.  I’ve seen this in my acupuncture clinic several times so I know it exists.
  • Physical - Kids must be able to use their pelvic floor muscles to exercise bladder and bowel control.  This also is a use it or lose it type of thing.  Kids need to practice this.
  • Cultural – Different societies view toileting unique to their respective cultures.  Our kids have been exposed to the bathroom and what goes on in there because most of us mamas don’t ever get to go to the bathroom alone!

Steps I’m Taking

I was so excited to hear that it was possible to potty train a boy earlier than somewhere in the 24-36 month range.  I was patiently waiting until I could embark on this endeavor.  If you don’t believe me, listen to this – all of Patience’s 4 kids were potty trained before they were 2 years old with her youngest being potty trained at 14 months during the day and 16 months at night as well.

1. I am talking to Aiden NON-STOP about everything that has to do with the potty.  We talk all day about the potty.  You can start talking about the potty months earlier than I did too.  I literally feel like all conversations with Aiden lead back to how exciting and cool it is to go to the bathroom on the toilet.

2. We ALWAYS have the potty in sight.  Aiden crawls on the potty, he steps inside of the potty, he takes it apart and puts it back together, he carries it, he sits on it, he throws it, he talks to it – the boy plays with it all the time to get him extremely comfortable with it so he won’t be intimidated when the time comes to actually pee in it.

3. Naked time.  For the first time yesterday, I stripped Aiden’s clothes off and let him wander for hours around the house.  This is so Aiden will understand the cause and effect of feeling a full bladder or bowel and the release of either.  I plan on doing this daily for a couple hours and letting him see what’s actually happening.  I took up the rug in our kitchen so there is just hard wood flooring in there and I don’t really let him climb on the furniture either.  It kinda freaks me out, but if this is what’s best, I’m in!  When he peed on the floor today, I just said “there is your pee. Do you remember the sensation right before that? Next time let’s try to get it in the potty.”  Then we place him on the potty, clean it up together, and flush the paper towel down the toilet and wash our hands together.

There are more steps to do after all of this, but this is where we are now and I think it’ll be a little bit before we graduate from merely being able to get some of it in the toilet.

I ordered “Once Upon A Potty,” and “Everybody Poops” to read to him lots of times during the day too.  I’m really encouraged that this will work in about 4 months (as per Patience), so hopefully by November he’ll be potty trained during the day at least.  I’ll keep you all updated!

If you are in the Denver area, take Patience’s class at The Family Room!  It’s wonderful!


When did you potty train your child?

Any words of wisdom?


9 Responses to The Beginning of Potty Training

  1. So glad I read this! We bought L two potties around his first birthday, and just last week, he actually USED one of them! Like Aiden, L likes to climb in his and toss it all around, but I figure the more comfortable he is at 16 months, the more likely he is to use it. I look forward to hearing how it goes at your house!

    • I saw that L used his potty last week – that’s awesome! There was another couple in our class who had a 20 month old that had gone in her potty for the first time that day and Patience said that they could be completely done with the daytime in 6-8 weeks.

  2. Very interesting!! My son’s almost 2.5 and we’re still in the talking about it stage. He hasn’t really shown any interest yet, and I guess I’m just not that eager to make it happen. But I’m hoping this fall he’ll see his peers doing it and get inspired! You’ll have to let us know how this method goes for you & what tips you have!

    • Yeah the class was very interesting. Like I said, I had no idea that it was possible this early! I’ll definitely keep everyone updated on our progress. I know it’ll take a long time.

  3. I’m all for getting a kid use to potty training and doing it early. Aria’s been on the potty for months. She is just slowly working her way through everything, and that is cool with us. I couldn’t have been prouder than when she figured out what siting on the potty meant. I’m hoping she’ll be potty trained before two, but also we aren’t rushing it. I just think she is doing a great job!
    We haven’t done the naked thing, but I also hadn’t thought about doing it for a few hours each day either. I figured we’d wait on that one until she could tell me she has to potty. Maybe we’ll give it a go! And have paper towels in all the rooms =)

    • That’s great for Aria! I’m not rushing it either. I know it’s going to take lots of time and I’m fine with that, but I also think it’s great to get them exposed to the whole idea. So far I’ve been cleaning up messes but luckily they have been on the hardwood floor only! I also think that Aiden had a little light click in his brain that he’s supposed to go on the potty, although there were more accidents after that. It’s a full-time job to potty train this way!

  4. I started putting my first on the toilet before bath and before and after sleep times around 10 months, but didn’t actually start potty training her fully until 27 months. I just finished potty training #2 and he is 30 months. For whatever reason, #2 (a boy) was much easier than #1 (a girl). Potty training is my least favorite part of parenting! Whatever age you do it, it’s just not fun. 🙂

    • That’s interesting that your boy was easier than your girl! I’ve always heard that it was the opposite, so that gives me good hope. Potty training is hard I’m finding!

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