Potty Training Window: What is it? & Did You Miss it?

child in a potty

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The potty training window.

Is it the little window kids look through to entertain themselves while potty training? Is it the window that allows parents to keep an eye on their kids without having to hang out in the bathroom?

No. It’s the perfect timeframe for potty training your child.

When is the Potty Training Window?

The potty training window occurs between 20 and 30 months. It varies for each child, but most are physically and emotionally able to start potty training by age two. Starting earlier often leads to frustration. Starting later could take longer due to habits and individualization.

Potty Training Before the Window Opens

The potty training window hits no earlier than 20 months. We all know that mom who insists her newborn is potty trained.

There are even guides for toilet training infants available to parents who want to be frustrated all the time.

You cannot potty train an infant. You can train yourself to know when your infant is about to evacuate, and then place the infant on the potty.

These are not the same things. When your child reaches the potty training window, they will need to relearn what you thought you already taught them.

They need to know for themselves when to go to the toilet. That is something that an infant cannot master.

But what about all of those parents who swear by infant toilet training? There aren’t many studies on infant toilet training because the practice is so rare.

The reason for this is that infants cannot control bowel movements before the age of 12 months. They cannot control their bladders until closer to 18 months.

When You Miss the Window

When I was a teenager, my primary source of income was babysitting.

One of my young charges was a five-year-old named Christopher who still wore diapers.

He had no physical issues that caused his lack of potty training. He simply had parents who waited until he showed signs of readiness, which never happened.

I am pleased to report that now, at age 37, he is potty trained. It was a battle well fought.

Waiting until after the window to potty train your child will not be easy. By the time a toddler is three, they develop their own, individual identity.

This is great. It is something that should be applauded. Unfortunately, for most threenagers, that identity is very stubborn.

They have gotten used to using a diaper, they are comfortable with it and they are not going to change things now.

Your battle isn’t lost if you wait until after that 30 month point to start potty training. You will still be successful with late potty training but it won’t be easy.

Whereas it takes about six months to potty train the average two-year-old, it takes at least a year to train a child that is three or older, on average.

The Perfect Window for Potty Training

Experts say the perfect time to potty train is between 20 and 30 months. Basically, around age two.

Your doctor may suggest that you look for signs of potty training readiness. This can present in a number of different ways:

Knowledge of Soiled Diaper

Even an infant will begin to cry when their diaper is wet and/or full. However, a toddler will often use their words or ask to be changed. They may even try to remove the diaper themselves, which is fun for no one.

Hiding While Voiding

Kids who show signs of potty training readiness will start to associate voiding their bladder or bowels with privacy. My son hid behind a chair each time he needed to go. This was my clear sign that he was ready for the potty.

Interest in the Toilet

A toddler who is ready to potty train will sometimes start trying to train themselves. They may ask about the big toilet or ask for their potty.

The Desire to Wear Underwear

A child might want to get rid of diapers and wear pull ups or underwear. This is a great time to start potty training because they are motivated to graduate away from diapers.

What if your child never shows these signs?

Don’t worry, but don’t wait. My daughter didn’t show any of the normal signs for potty training readiness. She never asked for her diaper to be changed.

When she voided, she never hid. She would look me right in the eyes, poop, and then continue with her day.

Still, when she turned two, we started the potty training process. Within three months, she was fully potty trained.

Key Takeaways

Aim for the potty training window with your child. If you aim and miss, there is no reason to give up.

You might need more patience, but that’s all part of being a parent. Do you have any of your own potty training questions to share? Ask in the comments!

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Christina Hay
Christina Hay
4 months ago

My little one is 2 1/2 she hides to go #2. She was going on potty but she just stopped and won’t use the potty for #1 she cry’s or runns away. Saying no did we missed the window or what we did wrong