How We Started Potty Training Our 19 Month Old

Hi everyone! As promised, now that we are going on two weeks of potty training, I wanted to post about why we started potty training when we did, how we started, and how we are reinforcing what we have taught Peyton. This isn’t something I anticipated doing for a WHILE but when the time comes, the time comes and you just have to jump on it if you’re able to!

If you don’t already know, I used to work with children from ages 15 months-2. There was only 1 child that I had in the few years that I worked there that was ever potty training. In this age range, there tends to be a “window of opportunity” when the child shows interest in the potty. Most times, parents just aren’t able to start due to work, other children, or some other circumstance. It’s a very small window of time, so it’s easy to miss! So this isn’t super common. At least not in the U.S.

Here are some of the general signs that children may show when they are “ready”.

  1. Letting you know when they have a dirty diaper. For example, they can come up to you and say “poop, poop” and point to their diaper. That is telling you that they are aware of what happened and they want it out!
  2. Hiding in a corner to pee or poop. This tells you that they are starting to learn the sensation of that “right before” feeling. They feel the need for “privacy”.
  3. Interest in the potty in general. They may want to flush the potty or watch you go.
  4. Staying dry for longer periods of time.

Just because a child shows 1 sign, doesn’t necessarily mean that they are ready to potty train. If you start and it’s going horribly wrong, stop and try again in 6-8 weeks.

I’ll start from the beginning of what we did to get her ready. We bought a little potty months ago. I wanted her to see it, get used to it, and to not be afraid of it. I wanted her to sit on it (with clothes on), flush it, and just get to know what it was for. The potty we bought is more of a realistic looking potty. It looks like a very small porcelain toilet lol It’s the “Summer Infant My Size Potty”. I started to let her flush our toilet so she wasn’t intimidated by the loud noise and I’d let her follow me into the bathroom and explain what was happening. It may seem weird to some but it is important that they start to understand the concept.

So two weeks ago, Aaron and I were standing in the kitchen talking about who knows what. Peyton came up to us and pointed to herself. So immediately I was like “let’s sit her on the potty!” She was hesitant at first but she sat there for a bit and then all of a sudden, she pooped! Me and Aaron couldn’t stop laughing lol We couldn’t believe it! So luckily, it was the beginning of the longer weekend. I knew I’d have Aaron’s help with me being SUPER pregnant. We decided, lets just give this a shot! We immediately took off her diaper and hid all the others. We said bye bye to her diaper and let her run around in her birthday suit. We told her to let us know when she had to go pee pee or poop. Needless to say, there were MANY MANY accidents that day. It was super overwhelming and I thought maybe we shouldn’t be doing this. It was VERY easy to get discouraged and give up and put a diaper on her. (If you’re serious about potty training, DO NOT put a diaper back on them. It’s just going to confuse them). I didn’t want to give up quite yet since we were attempting the “3 day potty training method”. So, day 2 came. It was a little better! I knew she would have to go and would ask her and she would say no, but then sometimes pee right on the floor. At this point, I was going nuts but I tried not to show it. But she definitely went on the potty more on the 2nd day than the 1st and would ALWAYS poop on the potty. That was encouraging! We were able to see her “cue” for poop very easily so we would run her right there mid push lmao We also made sure to reward her every single time. We would say “You did it!” “Yay!” and do a potty dance. Do whatever makes your kid excited. Make it a BIG DEAL. Then day 3 came and it was WORSE than the day before. I thought she was just over it and kept getting frustrated when we would ask her if she had to go. She didn’t want to sit on it and she had more accidents that day. I decided to put undies on her. I wanted her to pee in them and feel uncomfortable. We bought her “Frozen” undies and we would tell her that Olaf likes to stay DRY. Day 4… complete turn around. She did amazing and had maybe an accident or two. It was like a switch went off. She told us every single time she had to go. We even left the house for a little bit.

So the basics. Anytime she had an accident, we would never punish her or yell or seem frustrated. We would say “Oops! You had an accident! Let’s clean it up”. We had her “help us” clean up the accident and then we would ask her “where does pee pee go?” And she would point to her potty! So we knew she was getting the concept pretty quickly. She just needed to learn that “right before” sensation. Accidents are a part of the process. You need to allow them to happen so they can learn from them! I should add that we moved the potty from the bathroom to the living room. It acted as a reminder for her. We also wouldn’t tell her “it’s okay!” when she had an accident. It’s NOT okay lol You can explain that they made a mistake in a nice way without yelling and humiliating them but also not making them feel what they did was “okay”.

With the 3 day method, we found that bringing her to the potty every 15 minutes was not only annoying, but it was pissing her off. The potty was becoming an aversion and that is the LAST thing you want. So we immediately switched it up. (Every child is different. We found that this wasn’t working for us but that way may work for you and your child!) We waited it out. I would ask her maybe every 30 minutes if she had to go and if she said no, I gave her that power of choice. “Okay then! We can try later”. We let her have her  accidents and after a SHORT time, she was starting to get it and would start whining and we knew she had to go and we would run her to the potty. After the whining, she just started pointing to herself every single time and we would take her right away. I let her lead and I think that worked best for us. Again, every child is different. Peyton is extremely strong willed and independent. I knew we had to adjust the method and this was the best way. Give HER the choice. Adjust to your child. You know them best 🙂

For the most part of week 1, we stayed home and didn’t leave. This is why it can be hard for other parents. Peyton definitely needed more than 3 days. It’s not a miracle 3 day method. Some kids may take longer than others and after that time frame, it’s an on going thing. It’s going to take a lot of time to REALLY get it down. You literally have to cancel all of your plans and stick to potty training 100%. You need to watch them at all times to catch ANY cues. Going out and about was a struggle because she wasn’t telling us she had to go and she would pee in her car seat. Bringing her little potty to her grandparents houses wasn’t a fun thing either. SO I decided to look at portable travel potty seat covers. This way, she could get used to going in a “big potty” in case we were out at Target or at someone else’s house.

Let me tell you, that thing is a lifesaver. I finally got her to pee on it at home and right then I removed her “little potty”. She now goes on the big potty 100% of the time. She went on it in a gas station, at her Aunt Tara’s work, and at her grandparents house. She is completely comfortable going anywhere now because of that thing. MUST HAVE. Yesterday, she told us IN THE CAR that she had to go. She was whining and we asked her if she had to go pee pee and she shook her head yes. We stopped at a gas station as quick as possible and she did it! HUGE milestone lol This is the cover we have. It is a little annoying sometimes because it tends to slip and slide a LITTLE bit. But it’s portable, you can fold it and put it in a bag and take it anywhere with you.

Here is the Amazon link:


Some other notes. We keep her in a diaper for sleep times. We call them “overnight undies” now though. She is still very young. She sleeps from 7:30 p.m. – 7 a.m. There is no way she can hold her bladder for that long at this age. We are okay with her being in a pull up or diaper for sleep times ONLY. Training for that will be for another day!

Feel free to leave a comment on here for any questions you may have that I may not have addressed! I’m always willing to help! 🙂

3 thoughts on “How We Started Potty Training Our 19 Month Old

  1. I’m so glad I ran into this post. My daughter will be turning 18 months next month and she’s recently been showing signs that she is ready for potty training. My husband and I have been speaking about getting her a potty to begin training her but, I was a little unsure about the whole thing. After reading this post, I feel a little more at ease and content with starting her on it at this young age. Also, thanks for sharing the potty you used and the seat cover! Excellent post!


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