How Young Is Too Young to Potty Train?

Baby Bjorn Potty ChairMy mother-in-law told me that her second child was potty trained by the time he was 18 months oldYeah, right! I thought. 

She said that her younger child wanted to do everything her older child did -- including using the potty. It makes sense, I suppose, but I never believed her.

Until the other night.

Last weekend, my just barely 2-year-old watched his 5-year-old brother use the big potty and then gestured to the little potty I keep in the bathroom for a stepping stool.

So I stripped off his diaper, sat him down, and what do you know? He did it! He knew it too! He was so proud! Me? I was shocked. The next day he asked to do it again. Okay, well, I figured that first time was probably a fluke but I let him sit on the potty again.

Did he use the potty a second time?


No, but he's still really interested. We've started putting him on the potty chair every night before bath time, just to get used to the idea. I didn't even try that with my older kid until after he was 3, so this seems crazy, but I guess it can't hurt, right?

I turned to Dr. Google to find out when it's appropriate to start potty training and surprise! There is no one answer. Most experts seem to think you can start potty training anywhere between 18 months and 3 years. Some signs that your child might be ready include: 

  • If your baby gleefully tries to undress.
  • Curiosity about the toilet and the genitals -- theirs and yours.
  • Talking about pee and poo.
  • Awareness of when pee and poo are happening -- especially just before the fact.

I guess you may see some of these signs happening independently in a 15-month-old or 18-month-old baby, but I think these concepts are just beyond the baby stage. (So no offense to my mother-in-law, but I still don't believe her.)   

Do you think parents are in too much of a hurry to potty train their kids?


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