boy potty training and holding toilet paper

The title of this article (a bit too long) really should be:

Potty Training in 6-8 Months vs Potty Learning in Zero Days!

I have 4 children of my own ranging from 10-25-years-old and I also owned and operated Awesome Beginnings Childcare for 18 years. During the course of 23 years I potty trained MANY, MANY children and I helped potty learn MANY, MANY children.

What I learned over that 23 years is that potty training takes about 6-8 months (experts say the range is 6-10 months) and potty learning takes 0-2 days (90% of children master it in ZERO days)!

By zero days I mean ZERO accidents! It starts and is done/completed at the same moment – REALLY!

Why Does It Take So Long to “Potty Train” A Child?

Sometime around the age of 18 – 24 months (usually 24 months) most children show an increased interest in using the potty chair or toilet. They may take their diaper off. They may sit on the potty chair or toilet and they may even urinate in it. Usually, they have seen others use the toilet and are curious about it. They want to imitate their parents, siblings and/or peers. Often, parents get excited about this. They see this as a sign of being ready to potty train, especially since they may “schedule & catch” as many as 2 or 3 urinations per day in the potty/toilet. They decide it’s time to start the “potty training” process. They may have their toddler continue to wear diapers or disposable underwear ( i.e.: Pull Ups) or they may make the move to cloth training pants.

Unfortunately, this new curiosity almost always lasts for only a month (if that). What usually follows is the loss of the child’s curiosity, willingness and cooperation along with a lot of wet training pants for the next 6 – 10 months. They were curious but not ready. Read below about what WebMD, The Academy of Pediatrics, Kimberly Clark/Pull-Ups, and The Medical College of Wisconsin (after a 2-year study) have to say about this.

If a two-year-old was curious about a bike without training wheels and wanted to sit on it or ride it we wouldn’t interpret that as being ready to ride a bike.

What Happens during This 6-10 Months of “Failure & Frustration”?

Imagine getting a new job. You show up for your first day and your boss gives you a series of very technical tasks to accomplish that you don’t know how to do. Day in and day out you fail. Your boss may be very angry (even yell) or at the very least you can feel her disappointment. She expects you to succeed. Your peers are successful at it – why aren’t you? You feel like a failure. You no longer have confidence in yourself. This goes on for 6-10 months (yeah, right). You have started to hate this job. You have started to hate any tasks that are even somewhat technical. There is tension between you and your boss. She has to pick up the slack every time you fail (much like cleaning up a puddle of pee and doing extra laundry).

Realistically, you wouldn’t take a job that you weren’t qualified for or couldn’t learn quickly. Realistically, you would have quit or got fired. Unfortunately, a toddler doesn’t get so lucky. A toddler can’t say to her mom: “Mommy, I’m resigning from potty training. I’m not ready (qualified) yet. It’s too difficult. I can tell that you’re disappointed and frustrated. I feel frustrated too. I feel like a failure. I will master it, when I’m ready.” If only they had the skills to communicate like that.

The Average Age for Potty Training/Potty Learning Completion

WebMD says: “In a study of children who started training between 22 and 30 months of age, boys were fully trained at an average age of 38 months, while girls were trained slightly earlier, around 36 months.”

Kimberly-Clark, the maker of Pull-Ups®, says: “The average age for completion is 34 months for girls and 37.5 months for boys.” And also: “Potty training takes an average of 8 months.” And: “The typical age for the start of potty training is 24 months.”

According to the Medical College of Wisconsin, based on a two-year study, “The average age of completion of potty training is 34 months for girls and 37 1/2 months for boys.” Dr. Schum also found: “On average, the entire process of toilet training takes eight to ten months.” Dr Schum also says: “Our research found that 72 percent of parents started potty training when their child showed an interest in toilet training…” Timothy R. Schum, M.D., is the associate professor of pediatrics at the Medical College of Wisconsin and practicing pediatrician at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin.

According to The American Academy of Pediatrics “The median ages for “staying dry during the day” were 32.5 months (95% confidence interval: 30.9–33.7) and 35.0 months (95% confidence interval: 33.3–36.7) for girls and boys, respectively.”


  • At about 2-years-of-age, your child will show an interest in using the potty chair or toilet.
  • Whether you start potty training your child at 2, 2 ½ or later your child will complete potty training at about 34 – 36 months if a girl and at about 37.5-38 months if a boy.
  • Starting early means 6-10 months of accidents, frustration for both child and parent, time-consuming “training” efforts, unnecessary clean-up and laundry for parents and caregivers, tension between child and parent/caregiver and low self-esteem for the child after months of “failing”.

Why not just wait until your child is truly ready and LITERALLY have it done in minutes to 2 days? It really is that SIMPLE – REALLY – I’ve witnessed it MANY, MANY times for MANY, MANY children that I’ve helped “potty learn”! It NEVER failed! It’s a WONDERFUL experience without: stress, battles, frustration, tension, self-esteem issues, feelings of failure, multiple daily clean-ups, and the list goes on…

Of course, all children develop physically, mentally and emotionally at different paces. It’s important to do what’s right for you and your child.

Don’t miss part 2 & 3: Potty Training vs Potty Learning and How To “Potty Learn” Your Child in Less Than 3 Days! (REALLY!)

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