My son is 17 months old. We've recently started potty training.

I was wondering from other parents, how long does it usually take to fully potty train a little boy?

Thanks in advance.

  • 3
    Given my husband's targeting, more than 40 years.
    – user11447
    Nov 4 '14 at 17:37

The only answer you can really get is "as long as it takes". Every child is different. I know boys who trained in a weekend, and boys who took months or even years.

Some of the difference has to do with whether you wait until the child is completely ready (physically and mentally). 17 months is early-ish, though certainly some children to train that early. Is he able to sleep through long naps (2hr+) with a dry diaper afterwards? How often does he have a dry diaper in the morning after sleeping through the night? If the answer is 'yes' and 'sometimes' or more frequently, then he might be physically ready. If you try to train a boy who's not physically ready, it's going to take much longer.

Some of it, also, depends on your approach. Some people believe in the 'Underwear full time' method (where you just stop using diapers and let him figure it out); some don't. It's a lot of work for you for a while, especially if you're wrong about him being physically ready, because he will have a lot of accidents for a while - even the most ready children will take a few days at least. It's also mentally stressful for the child, if he's not ready mentally and/or physically. On the other hand, it's probably the "fastest" method. The arguments pro/con are similar to the 'cry it out' method of sleep training, though much less extreme - almost always the fastest option, but more stressful if the child isn't ready.

Finally, what do you define as 'fully'? Zero accidents? That might be years. Able to pee reliably, but still has #2 accidents? That's very common for a while. Able to be okay during the day but needs pull-ups at night? Extremely common, even to 4 or 5 years old for some children.

  • It also depends on motivation. I've heard multiple cases of kids who essentially trained themselves when they were told they couldn't do something they wanted to do (eg staying at Grandma's house for a weekend) until they could be trusted not to muss their clothes.
    – keshlam
    Nov 8 '14 at 3:18
  • There also a lot of stories from behavioral psychologists who trained their kids fairly early exactly the way they'd paper-train a puppy. (Putting them in the right place after each meal, waiting for them to go, and then praising them for doing so in the right place, NOT threatening them with a newspaper!) I have no opinion, but there aren't reports of that doing lasting harm, at least.
    – keshlam
    Nov 8 '14 at 3:21
  • @keshlam That's how much of the developing world does it - at around six months, no less.
    – Joe
    Nov 8 '14 at 19:57

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