Potty Trained at 21 Months – Here is how we did it…

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Haha, that was just a teaser title.  We (Little Brother’s parents) really didn’t do anything to get our son to potty train so early.  In fact, I have to confess, I used to have this weird idea that kids who potty trained early were just pushed to do so by their eager parents.  I apologize for that unspoken prejudice.  I stand corrected.

People always say that boys potty train later than girls.  In fact, one pediatritian (who I was unhappy with on some other issues regarding Little Brother) told me that boys are typically 36 months before they are ready to potty train.  Now that I’ve potty trained 2 boys I am of the opinion that there really isn’t a “typical” age to potty training readiness.  Readiness is determined by a number of different factors and can be aided by some techniques that I’ll share with you next week.

So, how did we know Little Brother was ready to start potty training?

Well, it all started by happenstance. We moved to San Antonio in August and I just had the movers put the potty chair in the bathroom until I could find a suitable place to store it.  Little Brother was only 17 months and was certainly not ready to potty train.  So I though.  He instantly took a fascination to the potty chair, and would lift the lid and sit on it several times a day saying “go potty”.

A few weeks after that the real potty training began.  One day when I was in the kitchen I heard Big Brother talking to Little Brother in the bathroom. I peaked in to see what was going on only to see Big Brother (4) had taken off Little Brother’s diaper and was giving him Potty Training 101 (the lab section).  Little Brother stood up, and, to my amazement, I saw that he had peed in his potty!

After that Little Brother began telling us when he was wet or messy, then he progressed to saying “I go pee pee” whenever he needed to go.  We ran into trouble with #2 however and The Husband, Mr. Psychology, said he was probably becoming anal retentive because we were potty training him too early. 😛  I had another theory.  Little Brother has a lot of food sensitivites and he had recently been having a bad reaction to something I’d been feeding him.  The day after I eliminated the culprit food Little Brother got over his fear of #2 and it has been smooth sailing from then on.

There are several things I did to help him along (I’ll share those in the next potty training post), but we are content to follow his lead and let him progress at his natural pace.  He still isn’t very reliable when we are out and about and I don’t think we are anywhere near naptime and nighttime trained, but I’m in no rush and am still amazed that I’ll have a kid out of diapers (for the most part) before he’s 2.


About Amy @ Oh So Savvy Mom

Amy is mom to three, wife to one, and a sister and aunt to many. Her family is a former military family now settled in Lehi, Utah. Oh So Savvy Mom began as a way for Amy to share parenting and product advice with others. Just as she has evolved, Oh So Savvy Mom has evolved into a resource for Healthy Living for Families, Food, Parenting, and Family Travel.


  1. That's pretty awesome. My son is 17 months. I think i'm going to get the potty and put it in the bathroom, just to have it there and see what happens. Thanks for sharing, I can't wait to see your other tips. Lindsey from babiesbooksandsigns.com
    • Thanks for reading Lindsey. I had to postpone the potty training tips post so I could dedicate time to my family during the holidays. Look for it soon though. I think having the potty chair out in the bathroom is great for piquing a toddler's interest.
  2. Way to go on the early potty training!! My sons were both 3 1/2 before they were fully trained. I guess you're right that each child is different.
    • I definitely think the timeline for each child is different. This son who I talked about in this post now often stays dry during naptime. I don't think it will be long before he can do underwear at nap and night time. My 4.5 year old, on the other hand, still wears pull-ups at night because of frequent accidents.
  3. This post couldn't have come at a better time for me! Our littler one is 20 months and LOVES sitting on the potty. He'll go anytime we put him there, too. We've decided to hold off on potty training just a little longer because he hasn't at all grasped onto pulling down his pants. But I know when he's ready it won't be a struggle. Your experience is encouraging!
    • My son can't pull down most of his pants either. Most of the time I go into the bathroom with him to help him with his pants (and to make sure he doesn't pee all over the floor instead of in his potty :) Most of the time though he wears sweats at home or goes naked from the waist down (this is one of my tips I'll share in my upcoming potty training post). Good luck with your little one.