Potty Training a One Year Old – While two years old is usually the the time that families start potty training their toddler, may families are happy to learn that potty training a one year old is possible. Not every baby is ready to start potty training at 12, 18 or 20 months but some definitely are. We will show you the signs that your one year old is ready, how often a one year old should use a potty, potty training must haves and so much more.

Can you Potty Train A One Year Old?

Contrary to belief, you CAN potty train a one year old successfully. Imagine having your child out of diapers and going to the potty! In many countries, babies are potty trained at young ages. Diapers are few and far between and cloth diapers can be timely and expensive for some families. So parents opt to potty training their child early.

Differences Between Potty Training A Two Year Old and a One Year Old

Though your one year old can be taught to potty train, they will show that they are ready to go potty in a different way than a two year old. Firstly, a two year old can communicate easier than a one year old. They have a greater vocabulary. A two year old may be able to tell you in so many words that they need to go to the potty.

Secondly, your two year old may be able to walk better! Why does this matter in potty training? Well, your little two year old can make it to the potty faster. Their fine motor skills and gross motor skills are more stronger. Your two year old can use hand signals, rush to the toilet and so much more. A one year old may move slower and not be able to recognize the urgency of a background break.

Lastly, the urgency. a toddler may make the connection that they have to go to the potty. They may have the ability to give themselves time to make it to the potty. Some one year olds may not be able to make the connection in time so they are more susceptible to more accidents. However, there are many two year olds who have a lot of accidents! It all depends on the child.

Age does matter sometimes in potty training but often times it matters when the child is ready to start potty training.

Why some One Year Olds Are Ready To Potty Train

While some one year olds are not ready to potty train, plenty of one year olds are ready to potty train but parents just are not aware of the signs. There are many scenarios why a one year old is ready to potty train. Here are a few reasons why a one year old is ready to potty train.

They Are Emulating Older Siblings and Parents

Your little one is very observant from the moment that they are born. They are studying you and your entire family. They love you and are interested to learn from you. When they see you going to the bathroom, they too want to try. Seeing older siblings may intrigue them to try to go to the potty.

They May Feel Restrictive in Their Diaper

Diapers are great, but many diapers do not allow a child to fully move. If they were diaper free, they could move around more easily and have more freedom. If it means toilet training, they are willing to give it a go!

One Year Olds May Be Sick of Being In Mess

As a parent, you are doing great cleaning your baby regularly. However, as soon as they poop or pee, they don’t want to be in their diaper anymore. It’s messy and gross and it is obvious that your one year old is ready to get rid of the diaper and start potty training!

How Do I Know If My One Year Old Is Ready to Potty Train

There are many signs your child will show that they are ready to potty train. These signs can be subtle or very straight forward. Let’s dive in on these signs to show your baby is ready to potty train.

They Recognize They Have To Pee or Poo

Your child is starting to realize and recognize the signs that they have to go to the potty. They may exclaim “pee!” or “poo!” Alternatively, many babies will grab their gentiles, knowing their is a sensation that they have to go to the bathroom. This is very good as it shows your child can decipher the feeling of having to go with the sensation of going. They know its coming. If your child can recognize the sensation to go to the bathroom, it means that they could be ready to start potty training.

They Are Taking Off Their Diaper Right After They Go

Do you notice that your one year old is starting to take off their diaper right after they have gone pee or poo? This can be a messy situation for the parent and some may find it frustrating. However, this is a good sign that your one year old may be ready to potty train!

Your child does not want to be in their mess for very long. So they take their diaper off. However, it is a good sign that they are realizing the sensation of going pee or poo. When it is resting in their diaper, they don’t like it. So your child takes off their diaper! Now if you redirect your little one to the washroom, they will start to realize that potty time happens in washroom and not in their diaper.

They Strain To Poo

If you notice your child is straining a bit to push out a number two, this is a great time to begin a potty training process. Bringing them to the potty in the bathroom encourages a pattern and your child will start to realize when they feel the strain, its time to go to the potty.

These are just some of the signs to show that your child is ready to potty train, even though they are one year old!

Is My One Year Old Too Early To Potty Train

Many companies, especially diaper companies will tell you that your child is too early to potty train at one. The truth is, it depends on each and every child! Some children are ready early while others need a few years before they are able to potty train. Some children are ready at one year old and some need time and may learn when they enter preschool.

In other countries all over the world, babies are potty trained at one year old. Parents do not have the money for diapers or it is not something they need to potty train their child. Therefore, in other countries, children do not use diapers and go on the toilet, communicating with their parents through sign language, speaking or physically going to the toilet.

how often should a one year old potty

When a child hits one year old, a parent can expect urination between four to eight times a day. This does not include a poop! Parents who are potty training a one year old will have to make themselves available through out the day to assist in potty training.

signs your baby is not ready to potty train

Some parents may be so keen to potty train their child that they are not looking for the clear signs that their one year old is not ready to potty train. Here are some signs to show you that your child is not yet ready to start potty training at one year old.

They Do Not Recognize When They Need To Go To The Washroom

With babies and toddlers, some of them are not aware that they have to go pee or poo until they are in the act of urinating. When a child does not recognize that they need to go to the washroom, When a child is unaware that they have to go potty, they are unable to tell you that they are ready to go potty.

They May Have Developmental Delays

If your child has developmental delays, don’t force them to potty train. Every child has their own journey and right now there is a different journey your child is on. Potty training might cause stress and anxiety for your child who has developmental delays. Talk to your doctor and care team on what you should be teaching your child. Secondly, check with your doctor or care team how to help your child potty train slowly when they are ready.

Your One Year Old Fusses When You Try To Train

Is your child terrified of the potty? This is both stressful to parents and children alike but it is normal. Some children are not ready to leave the comfort of their diaper. They are fearful to sit over a big hole and go to the washroom. To us, it is just a regular routine but to your child, this is something that is brand new and is scary. If they are fussing it could include but not be limited to: Tantrums, hitting, screaming, crying, sobbing, running away and showing signs of stress and anxiety. If you force them to potty train, not only will you not yield any results, but you create a fear of the washroom with the child and can actually postpone their potty training journey instead of speeding it up.

potty training must haves

Getting ready to potty train a one year old means getting some essentials and making sure that you are in a good headspace for potty training. From tears to tantrums, anything is possible in the potty training world. Here are some potty training must haves to help you on your journey to potty train a one year old.

A potty

This one seems obvious but with so many potties on the market, you don’t know which one to get! We love a potty that has a lid thatcan convert to a top for the toilet. The potty seat can change to a stool when your child stops going on the potty and starts using the toilet.

Personally, we don’t like potty seats that strap onto the toilet with a snap. We like ones with a rubber base that do not move while your child is sitting on the toilet. Secondly, we prefer toilet seats that are easy to remove when an adult has to use the toilet. However, these potty seats do not move while the child is sitting on them. They are not slippery. The rubber base helps keep the seat in place.

The stool is very helpful for your child to get up and down with your supervision.


Things can get quite messy with potty training! Start off with wipes for your child. They will be used to wet wipes like they did when they were wearing diapers. This makes it an easy transition when starting to potty. It also makes it easier for you to wipe those pesky number twos.


Many children feel special when they get their first pair of underwear. It may feel funny at first, but they will get used to wearing it rather quickly. If they are showing strong mobility skills and great gross motor skills, teach them to pull their underwear up and down.

Board Books About Pottying

Inspire your child with board books about pottying. There are so many great board books that review the step by step of a little toddler having to go to the potty. Be animated when you read to grab your child’s attention. Read the book at least once a day to your child. Extra bonus points if you read the book to your child in the bathroom. The visual will be extra helpful and help them visualize themselves going to the potty.

Some of their favorite childhood stars like Elmo have great videos on potty training. This could be a motivation for your one year old potty trainer.


This one is tough for parents and one year olds alike. Firstly, even the most keen one year old will be frustrated while learning to potty train. For one year olds, they do not have the communication skills to express fear, sadness, frustration and boredom. Many little ones scream, cry or tantrum without explaining themselves. This is normal and even though it can be frustrating, sad and a helpless feeling for a parent, a parent must keep it together.

Yelling never helps. A child will become even more lost in their emotions and not want to potty train anymore. The best way to be is patient, understanding and be willing to stop potty training if it is too much for you or the toddler.

A parent must know the signs that we listed above that a child is not ready to potty train. Parents may have goals of potty training by eighteen months or twenty months. Some children manage this with ease while other children are nowhere near ready. It does not mean that one child is more brighter than the other. Every child has their own skillset. It just means this child is not ready at this time. But they will be ready on their own time and that is completely normal.

Staying patient and kind during this process will be a life changer for both you and the child.

Trusty Trunks

For those summer days by the pool or by the water, you want your child to continue their potty training process. There are many different options, but we love Trusty Trunks. This is great if you plan on spending your summer by the water. It helps with accidents, there will be accidents. It also keeps your child in the familiarity of under garments while they are swimming.

Potty Training Videos

Like potty training board books, potty training videos will let your child see their favorite characters on television or in books practice going to the potty. Many of these shows are available on Youtube. The main characters highlight a lot of the fears your little one may have and show how they problem solve to overcome these fears.

Elimination Communication Book

Another great resource for parents is the Elimination Communication Book . The Elimination Communication believes that some babies can be taught young or at birth to go to the bathroom without diapers. The Elimination Communication book has resources that some parents swear on that it would work.

Check For Signs To Go

Remember the signs that your child has to go to the bathroom? They could be doing a number of these signs. Since one year olds cannot communicate well, we have to look for some or all of these signs.

Straining- Your child is straining to push out a poop.

Grabbing genitals- they have to go to the washroom so they grab themselves to hold it in.

Straining and getting red in the face- Sometimes they are going to push hard.

Crying for no reason- They suddenly start to whimper or cry.

Running towards the bathroom- They have to go so they try to get into the bathroom.

Signing for potty- Your intelligent child is using sign language communication to tell you. They may miss a sign due to urgency or sign too frantically because time is running out.

These are the main signs that your child has to go to the bathroom. Similarly, some one year olds can communicate “pee” or poop” which makes it easy to know its time to go!

Timed Bowel Movements

Naturally, a child’s bowel movement can be on a natural schedule. How does this happen? It all depends on the child but some children have bowel movements at the same time everyday. Generally, if a child eats around the same time everyday, they could go to the bathroom at the same time everyday. Similarly, if they are eating similar foods, their bowel movements could be similar everyday. This is not for everyone but some parents claim that their child goes to bathroom at the same time everyday.

Mattress Protector

When potty training, their will be accidents! Having a mattress protector will help your child’s mattress stay dry and keep it around. Your child will be cleaner and be able to go back to bed faster if they have a mattress protector.

Tips To Keep A Happy Potty Trainer

There are many ways to introduce potty training to your child and keep it a positive experience for everyone. Here are some top tips to keep a happy potty trainer.

Go Naked For a While

Going au naturel is a great way for your child to get used to going to the potty quickly. They may not understand how to pull down their pants and this eliminates a step in the potty process. Keep your child warm if it is winter and expect accidents at first. Many parents swear that having their child go bottomless helps.

Commit To Three Months

Potty training may not happen overnight. You may see small progress and a complete regress a few times. This is normal. Eventually, they will progress and stick to it. If you notice no change in three months, rest and try another time. Similarly, if you notice that your toddler is completely stressed out and resists potty training completely, this is not the time to potty train.

Don’t Force It

All good things come to those who wait! You may have a fully potty trained child in three days! Realistically, it may be a few weeks until they are used to the routine of potty training and a few months until your child is accident free.

Create A Safe Space In The Washroom

Creating a safe space in the washroom is integral for your one year old to potty train correctly. Making a space for the potty is your first step. Your child should easily get to their potty without going around anything. Secondly, keep anything they can grab out of the way. No toilet brush, chemicals or stools should be in the room. Children can get distracted and accidents can happen! Lastly, you could leave a little potty training board book by the toilet. Children love to “read” while they are on their potty.

Positive Attitude

Lastly, a positive attitude is going to help your child. Radiate positivity and a laid back demeanor. Your child can do this! You are going to be a great potty training coach. You’re not expecting a fully potty trained child in a day or even a week. Take this as an experience and opportunity to bond with your child.

Potty Training A One Year Old

For generations, parents began potty training at one year old. They did this for many reasons, but the main reason was diapers were expensive, few and far between. Now, some parents see the above signs that their child is ready to potty train. With these top tips, your one year old is ready to learn how to potty with confidence.