My son is showing signs he’s ready to potty train but it’s early, 16 months old. Is there any reason to wait?


This is one of those topics that can drive parents crazy because the experts don’t completely agree. You’ve got a range of advice from saying that infants can be trained 1 to medical reasons to wait until age three 2 when the popular age right now is 2-2½ to start training. (The popular age is influenced by day care centers requiring children to be toilet trained by age 3.)

My advice is, if you can start with no expectation of success or a timeline by when he should be trained, then go ahead. That ensures there is no pressure on him, and that you won’t feel frustrated by your own ambitious expectations. If he is showing an interest in eliminating on a potty there’s no reason not to let him do it. If he tells you when “pee is coming” or says “poopies” and you can move him to a potty, go ahead. If he makes clear facial expressions that show you he is about to go you can put him on the potty. What I would not do is place the expectation on him that he is supposed to hold it until he gets to a toilet. Then every time he goes in his diaper he experiences failure, plus, kids try to hold it too long. Probably the primary reason for the accidents that still happen occasionally in preschool and kindergarten among toilet trained children is when they don’t want to leave whatever interesting play activity they are involved in, so they try to wait too long and pee their pants. So, I would keep him in diapers, or move to pull- ups if he gets to a point of wanting (and being able to) pull his ‘pants’ up and down himself.

Also, since he is young, don’t be concerned if his interest/signs come and go. You can visit the May Clinic site for basic information on potty training.



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