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Potty Training at 16 Months?!?!

10184 Views 18 Replies 16 Participants Last post by  ann_of_loxley
We had always heard that you don't start potty training until the child wants to, which is normally 24-8 months or later for boys. Our 16 month boy has been hanging around his cousin (who is just potty trained) and LOVES the potty. At first he just sat on it but now every time he sits on it, he USES it. Often (but not all the time) when he needs to go to the bathroom, he will seek out the potty. We have several friends who can't even get their child interested in the potty after trying for a long time.

My husband thinks that we should just go for it now, while he is interested. I am not sure. Is it possible for a 16 month boy to be potty trained? Is it good for him? Any advice?


Fiona with Basil
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DO IT!!!!!

From what I understand there is a window between 16 and 18 months when boys will learn to use the potty. My son is very interested but we couldn't buy a potty and the big potty freaks him out. Then we were gone for 9 days from evacing from the hurricane. I'm going tonight to buy a potty and hopefully ds will get the idea!

I say you are lucky he wants to on his own and he isn't 4 still refusing to get rid of the dipes!!
Yep, I'm sure it's possible. I'd go for it. My daughter was potty trained at 18 months. I was like you, not sure that she could be ready because of everything I had read. She was ready.

BTW, Cute name, Basil
My 18 month old is doing the same thing. He was peeing on the floor every night before bed, so I said "pee in the potty or your diaper" He says "potty", so we went for it and lo and behold--he did it! He even pooped once! We are just doing it at night now or when he asks. It is hard to get those cloth dipes off in a hurry. I need to dig up my older son's training pants!

Good luck!
Hey all! my 18 mont old ds has started telling me when he poops. I am amazed, as his older brother was content to sit in poop all day at 3 yrs old if i didn't know he pooped. So , how do I take this, and turn it into something constructiv in terms of potty training? With ds1, he was 3 1/2 when we did the training thing, so it was completely different. he had more of a cognative understanding of his body,a nd wht it did, yadda yadda. so, i'm at aloss here as to how to proceed with my 18 monthold.
any help would be great!
My 17 month old dd is doing the same thing - all last week she would jesture for me, lead me into the bathroom and put the soft potty seat on the toilet, so I would put her on and she would go! Heck today I caught her pulling down her own pants before I got there! I am going with the flow...still don't know if it is the 'real' deal, but less diapers to wash is always good! I think we are only wetting 1-2 diapers a day now!
In my belief and understanding of APing if the child makes the first gesture then that is the signal for the parent to support them and that step in their development. So, yes absolutely go for it.

I agree that it is unusual for a boy to start potty training at 16 months, but its not unheard of. I am certain that you aren't going to "hurt" him. He is the one who has, as clearly as any young toddler can, said that it is time. And on the up just may give you top most bragging rights at playgroup
: (ok, that's assuming a lot on my part)

My dd started potty training at 15-16 mos only advice if you do start is be prepared for a long haul. She's turning 2 next week and she's only been "completely" pt'd for about 3 weeks. If you want more of my pt'ing experience I'll be happy to share-- just PM.

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If he suddendly switches his mind and doesn't want to use the potty any more, then what do you really loose, right? But if it keeps up so much the better. And at least the idea is planted and he isn't afraid of the potty like some kids. Can't hurt anything, so you might as well go for it. And yea to Basil for being such a go getter.
My ds goes someplace "privte" to poop now. It cracks me p. He goes to the corner of the room and if he sees that you saw him he stands up real fast and grins.......
OK, we are going to go for it. Today he woke up, said potty, and then went #2 and #1 in the potty. Any advice for going about it?
What worked for us was removing the diapers from sight and just going for 100% diaper free. We even went diaper free for outings and for night time.

I didn't bribe or praise for using the potty and I try to make as little a deal over it as possible but I always listened to my daughter and took her to the toilet every time she needed to go…even if it was three times in a row with little or no pee/poop (poor thing). If she has an accident, we clean it up and afterwards I remind her that it would be best to use the potty.

My daughter seemed to totally forget about diapers and I decided not to mention them until about a week later, when she had a small "freak out" over going to the potty. When I asked her if she wanted a diaper she said no.

About a month into it she wanted a diaper on and wore it around until she had to pee and then she took it off to use the potty. I seriously think she forgot that she could go to the bathroom in a diaper.

We had two potties, which she used for about 5 months and now she uses the toilet. Early on, we had challenges like a 3 hour bus ride and my daughter's reluctance to pee outside but I just carried around a fresh pair of pants just in case we had an accident. The other challenges were diarrhea and constipation.

Our situation was that I ALMOST underestimated my daughter's ability to use the toilet but for some reason just went for it. I'm glad that I did. I mention this because I always have to remind myself to raise my expectations of my daughter. I tend to have rather low expectations of her, which she will live up to until I snap out of it and expect more/different/better and etc at which time she usually just rises to the occasion.

*** I'm editing because I was in a rush earlier and I wanted to be sure that I didn't come across like I was the one who was responsible for my daughter's potty "training". I'm not, nor do I think I am. I think we helped her in the exact right ways, which enabled her to do it herself. We were lucky that she has very good bladder control and can communicate well with us.

One additional tid-bit, when my daughter first held her pee at night, she really freaked out. Luckily, I knew the type of panic she was having because she did the same thing the first time she was hungry and didn't recognize the feeling in her body. It's strange to imaging that they have to learn what hunger or a full bladder feels like. My daughter interprets things like that as pain the first times she feels them.
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You know if you talk to any one older than 60, they would tell you that they started potty training at 12 months old, and the majority of babys were TRAINED by 18 months.

In fact around the world, the average age for training is BEFORE 20 months.

30 years ago you had to get a doctors perscription for disposable diapers bigger than 25 lbs. Its only in the last 20 years that this idea of not potty training until later ever got started or that you could somehow cause "psychological damage" to a child by introducing a potty too soon.
I took away my son's daytime diapers at 17 months. Hey kid, you can walk, you can run, you're obviously with it up there, so go on and put the waste where it belongs. Much better IMO than to wait for the twos when children decide it's all about them.

Some suggestions:
Switch to pull ups for nights and naps and call them night night panties (as distinct from diapers) as he is unlikely to be able to be dry at night, though it may only take a month or so for daytime to be really, really good.
Plan to bare bottom for a few days. Then you will still want to bare bottom in the house for a while. You may want to borrow a dress or two from a friend's daughter for trips out (in the old days boys always wore dresses at that age). Thereafter, no underpants but use extremely loose fitting, elastic waist pants or shorts.

Initially you should have several potties. The baby bjorn little potty is very convenient. Unless you have a very small house you will want more than one on each level of living space. When they have more experience and control you can get rid of them.

Expect accidents; if you have area rugs, pull them up for a bit. If you have carpets, you're going to have to be vigilent. It's best to plan a lot of activities in uncarpeted areas for the first week.

Play outside a lot the first week (pantless in the backyard) and declare the backyard an OK place to go. This is a good learning opportunity. Men go outside all the time anyway. LOL
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I think it's awesome that he's wanting to use the potty on his own and that he has a mom who trusts him to know what he's ready for.

I don't have any real advice on how to do it- some pp's advice sounds good. I was thinking though, you might check out the EC forum to get some ideas. I stumbled onto that idea when ds was about 10 mo and starting to dislike diaper changes. Now(he's just 13 months) I just give him lots of opportunities throughout the day and just the other day he brought me a diaper and then crawled into the bathroom. I got him on the potty and he went- I was impressed with his communication. I'm sure your son will show you his way and will do great.

I did read the book Diaper Free By Three that you might be interested in.
My understanding is that only a generation or two ago, children were potty trained by 12 mo. Children from other countries are commonly potty trained by that age as well. If he's showing interest, go for it!

Originally Posted by LloydMoffett View Post
My husband thinks that we should just go for it now, while he is interested. I am not sure. Is it possible for a 16 month boy to be potty trained? Is it good for him? Any advice?


Fiona with Basil
Absolutely go for it. His window of learning is obviously open. Try going diaper free - that's the best way. My daughter was totally out of diapers by 22 months. My son has been telling me when he pees/poos since 14 months, though he's only actually "used" the potty a handful of times, he knows what its for. I'd imagine he'll be out of diapers before 2 as well as soon as I get brave enough to just dive right into the diaper free thing again.

There's really no reason to follow an age-specific schedule. Follow your child.
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Though not the same as potty learning, we do EC and my DS is 12 months and all poops are in the potty and he pees quite often there as well. He knows what it's for and would happily sit there all day if he could, but the point was to read his cues and if he's happy to do it we offer the potty to him at regular times during the day. There's no pressure to do it and if he doesn't want to that's okay too. Our goal isn't really to potty learn early but that is one of the outcomes a lot of the time with EC. I second checking out the EC board for some ideas.
If he is showing the signs then GO FOR IT!!!

DD1 was potty trained by 15mths. She did it on her own. She had HATED her diapers from day 1 so when she turned a yr I got her a potty and just let her be naked a lot, in no time she was potty trained. So lots of naked time and lots of being goofy and doing the potty dance (as we call a little shake of the butt singing "I pee pee'd in the potty").

Good luck and go w/ his cues..
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When a child wants to and when a child is 'ready' is all about perspective.
The EC forum is a great place for a different persepective! EC is an approach and its never too late to start though there are better times to start.
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