It's day 6 of potty training at the Fry household. My son is days away from being 12 months old. The majority of his pees and poos happen within 3 minutes of us taking him off the potty. Any advice on getting him to use the potty when he needs to go? It's like he doesn't want to go pee/poo into the potty or something, we can't figure it out. We're doing the naked method of potty training.

Extra info:

  • We catch > 50% of his poos, but have only caught a few of his pees.
  • He likes the potty and will usually sit on it for several minutes while we read him a book, or play with him.
  • We are not being coercive, uptight, or shaming, and we have made the decision that potty training him is good for him, so any suggestions that he's "not ready" will be ignored.
  • When we say "potty" and/or use the sign for potty, he usually looks at his potty, which indicates he knows what we're talking about.
  • Does he recognize he needs to go? From what I understand that's the biggest hurdle is teaching them to recognize what bodily sensations equal "I have to go pee/poop".
    – Marisa
    Commented Nov 6, 2017 at 19:42
  • Are you sure that he a) not only knows what a potty is, but also what it's really used for (no, not sitting on it being read to) b) can recognize the bodily urge to "go" c) can control his bladder and colon, i.e. "let it flow" at will?
    – Stephie
    Commented Nov 6, 2017 at 21:22
  • @Marisa I don't know, how would I know? Stephie I'm not sure of any of those things, how could I be?
    – Jason
    Commented Nov 6, 2017 at 21:33
  • It might help to outline what kind of communication he is capable of. He understands some words and signs, does he use any back? Does he point to where he feels other things, say from pain or hunger or illness? If so it may be you can ask him. Also 50% at 6 days seems fairly good, are you following a particular EC guide that expects better?
    – user26011
    Commented Nov 7, 2017 at 0:03
  • The only signs he's using at this point are clapping and waving. He doesn't point to anything yet. 50% refers to the poos that we catch, which are entirely due to our diligence, watching for his cues then putting him on the potty while he's going. I'm comparing our experience with a number of blogs that talk about potty training within a week.
    – Jason
    Commented Nov 7, 2017 at 11:03

4 Answers 4


Assuming you have eliminated medical concerns, the way I went about this was to make it a game and reward him when the mess hit the toilet instead of their pants or on the floor.

Take a handful of Cheerios and put them it the toilet, and have him try to aim for them. My son had fun doing this, and it turned what was perceived by him as a chore into a fun game. If he hit a few, he got a reward such a healthy snack of his choosing.

Short answer: Find a way to make him interested it doing it.

  • Rewards work in the short term but aren't healthy long term as it creates a dependence on the reward. The ultimate reward is knowing you are doing the right thing for the right reasons. Commented Nov 10, 2017 at 19:10
  • @strongbutgood Agreed. This approach worked fairly quick, and once potty trained the need went away.
    – user29389
    Commented Nov 10, 2017 at 19:12

Every child is different so patience is the key. Try and make it something fun. If the baby is waiting till after you have sit him on the toilet it may be because the pressure is off so he feels comfortable.

Are you anxious when he's sitting on the potty? Do you want him to get it done so you can go back to what you're doing? That can also have something to do with your problem. Try and take deep breaths, reading a book while you wait. He won't feel as pressured and before you know it, boom. Don't forget to celebrate his achievement.


Try setting him on a more strict potty regimen. For example, give him lots of fluids throughout the day and let his bladder run rampant. Take him to the potty often and set up a reward system for anytime he even goes just a little bit in the potty.

My baby cousin that I helped potty trained loved getting gold stars on a sheet of paper with his name on it and when he had enough stars I took him out for ice cream at his favorite ice cream parlor.


Just like it takes fully grown adults 28 days to create a habit, it is the same with new born children. In short, it will take time.

The cognitive thought processes of a 12 month old are extremely simple and at this age their learning is centred around pattern recognition. "When I sit on the potty and poo, it feels good and my parents encourage me." I prefer to think of potty training as habit forming. Our kids don't understand the wider social and health implications of not making use of sanitation, and we don't expect them to, but we still expect them to do the right thing by using the toilet as soon as it is possible.

Back to my first statement, we have had our boy on since six months (he is nine months now) and he will push out both if possible but still doesn't hold on when not on the potty and especially when playing. We found with our older kids that they "regressed" when they were undergoing big learning phases like walking or various play - we put it down to them having lots to think about.

So, stick with it! Don't get frustrated if he isn't getting it straight away, frustration will not help at all. Your extra info points to how you as parents are trying to be as relaxed and natural about it, and that's perfect.

Regarding EC results expressed by blogs: Remember that everyone is different and has different needs. You can certainly compare your experience with a number of blogs that are advertising their success as a minimum number of days to expect results, but you wouldn't expect every child to perform the same way. Give yourself 28 days as a minimum and take notes to see if indeed you have any improvement. Regardless, once you start you shouldn't stop given it is a habit you want to continue.

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