Allison Jandu is a mom to Evan, 5 years old, and Layla, 3. She describes herself as “a reliable, judgment-free resource where parents who are struggling on their potty training journey can get guidance and support.” Based on what I’ve learned about her, I couldn’t describe her better – I just wish I met her sooner!
(Mom to Watson, 3, and Ever, 9 months)
Q: When is the best time to start potty training?
A: The ideal age to start potty training is between 22 and 28 months. However, the best TIME is much more important, as you want to choose a time period that is as “normal” as possible. Meaning no major changes or events that could cause potential emotional stress for your little one such as moving, divorce, or bringing home a new sibling. Sometimes these things can cause us to miss that “ideal age” window, but that’s still okay!
Q: Who is harder to train: the kids or the parents?
A: Ha, I love this question! Equal attention should be on a parent’s preparedness and training as the child’s. The better prepared the trainer is (i.e. YOU), the better your potty training experience will go. If you have done your research (through reliable avenues), you have a set plan in place, are ready to fully commit, and surround yourself with a strong support system, your little one is bound to succeed.
Q: Should we give rewards when training? What works best?
A: I am a big fan of offering rewards! Children, actually humans in general, are very reluctant to do something they don’t want to do without gaining something in return. Very few children use the potty because it’s something they WANT to do. I like having a sticker chart as a visual representation of your child’s success, along with a small tangible reward in the beginning like a small piece of candy. I actually just wrote a blog post all about potty training rewards and why we should use them, with lists of ideas!
Q: “We have #1 down, yayeee! But #2…not so much – she refuses to do this on the potty.” Why is this a thing??
A: Pooping on the potty versus pooping in a diaper/Pull-Up/underwear is a very different, even scary, sensation for toddlers. If you think about it (be prepared to be a little grossed out here), their whole life, they are used to their poop coming out and being right up against their body in the diaper. When they poop in the potty, it comes out and away from their body – and sometimes is can feel like a part of their body is falling out! Creepy, right! In most cases, poop training naturally takes a little longer. But you can avoid problems by sitting your little one on the potty for pooping from a very early age (like 9 months +) so they get used to pooping somewhere other than a diaper before it becomes too much of a set habit.
Q: My MIL swears her 4 boys were trained by the time they were 1. She is lovely, but…I know these men; I married one, I don’t believe it. Is she “misremembering” this?
A: Haha, most likely yes. They may have been 1 (as in, less than 24 months)…But some people practice a form of early potty training called elimination communication in which parents will watch for their baby’s cues and use sound effects to “catch” pee and poop in the potty.
I typically define “potty trained” as being independent with potty usage (with the exception of maybe nighttime and wiping), taking themselves to the bathroom and/or telling you when they need to go, and for most 12-month olds or younger, that just isn’t possible.
Q: What’s the biggest misconception parents have about potty training?
A: That it’s something to dread – potty training can, and should, actually be a great bonding opportunity! This tends to be one of the only milestones that parents don’t look forward to. But I love it because it teaches your child independence, confidence, and self-pride!
Q: Is it true that girls are easier and quicker to train than boys?
A: Nope. Sex doesn’t make a bit of difference!
Q: Travel potty, little potty, toilet seat: do I need all of these things?
A: Not necessarily, though it can be helpful. I typically recommend starting out with a small floor potty because it allows your child to get on and off on their own, it’s less intimidating than the toilet, and their feet can remain flat on the floor for better poop position. However, if your child already has experience with the toilet from being at school or whatever, I would stick with that to avoid having to make the transition from potty to toilet later on. If you have a floor potty, you can use that as your travel potty too!
Q: How do I know my child is ready to learn?
A: Staying dry for longer periods during the day or even naps/overnight is the biggest indicator of potty training readiness. You also want to make sure that they are capable of understanding and following basic direction. They may also express a general interest in the bathroom/toilet when their diaper is dirty, ask for a clean diaper, and start hiding to poop. Some kids exhibit all these signs, some never exhibit any! As I said before, it is ultimately about YOU being ready to start the process!
Q: Anything else you’d like to add?
A: I want to remind all parents out there that every child is different and to never compare your potty training journey to someone else’s. The most important things you can do are fully commit, be consistent, and have confidence (in your child and in yourself!). That is the recipe to potty training success!
Learn more about Allison and her work:
Buy her book:
Follow her on Insta & FB for free tips and info:
Check out Allison’s must haves!