Tuesday, September 28, 2010

What To Expect When You're Infant Potty Training Your 9-12 Month Old

Welcome to installment 4 of our What To Expect When You're Infant Potty Training Series!


Nine to twelve months is such a cool age. I love this stage. Your babbling baby is crawling around and trying to take those first steps. It's an exhilarating time. If you've been doing baby sign language, your baby will definitely be using some signs consistently. My babies always master "more" and "please" by this age, which makes life so much easier.

Useful Tools

Remember how I said in yesterday's post that during milestones your baby will have a one track mind, and so infant potty training might become more challenging? Well, as your baby reaches the walking stage, this holds true. Your baby is also playing more now, and it can be upsetting to take him away from his play for a potty break.

The main key is to make potty breaks as much fun as the play they're leaving. This is actually not a difficult thing to do, as babies love face time with their parents.

My son loved being read to at this stage. I had this book memorized:

He thought it was the best book ever. My son was and is the textbook definition of a "high need" child. There were times that he absolutely refused to sit on the toilet. I almost gave up on infant potty training. I didn't want to stress out my kid. But then I realized it's all in the presentation. If you make infant potty training boring, or worse, stressful for your kid, you're both going to hate it. Instead, make it fun. Look at each potty break as an opportunity to get some face time in with your baby. A time to read or play peek-a-boo. With all the television and computer related distractions, we can easily miss out on face time, even if we're "only" stay at home moms.

Anyway, when we started introducing books on the potty, everything got easier. As soon as I put him on the potty and picked up the book, my son would start going. Small, holdable toys that won't easily fall into the toilet are also great. Matchbox cars do not fall into that category, for anyone wondering. I can't tell you how many I've had to fish out of the toilet. Not fun. Stick to something bigger.


When your kid is mobile it's just more challenging. He's venturing farther away from you, and you're not as much of a "helicopter mom" now that he's approaching one year old. You're going to need to make a mental note to stay "tuned in" to him.

Changing signals also presents a challenge. When he was an in-arms baby, you might have noticed him wriggling around more, or on the other hand, he might have suddenly become very still when he needed to go. These signals fade away, or at least become unnoticeable when he's crawling around on the floor.

Take some time to observe your baby. You can rely more on timing while you're figuring out his new signals. One big signal for this age is when your happy baby suddenly becomes fussy. Another big sign is a refusal to nurse even though they seem hungry.

Adding to these challenges is the introduction of solid foods and water. This can wreak havoc on your usual potty training schedule. A baby who normally poops three times a day might start pooping only once every several days. A baby who pees ever hour might go every 15 minutes if he's drinking tons of juice and water. Don't worry, you and your baby will eventually get back on a regular, predictable schedule. Just be patient.

At any point when challenges present themselves, it is tempting to go back a step. If you've got your kid in undies and you suddenly start missing, it's easy to wonder if you should go back to trainers for a while until your baby gets better at it. But take it from me, you'll have better progress if you keep them in undies. (NOTE: If you are feeling very stressed out and frustrated, then by all means, take a break!)


At this point, if you've been doing infant potty training from birth, you're getting close to the finish line. Many people wonder at what point your baby is "trained." That all depends on your definition of what trained is. Some people consider a baby trained when the vast majority of his poop and pee goes in the potty and not on himself. If that's your definition, then I'd say most babies who are infant potty trained from birth are trained by 5 months, some earlier. Of course, at age one, a baby still needs help getting on and off a toilet, although if you're using the BABYBJĂ–RN Little Potty, your baby will be able to take off the undies and sit there independently at this age, though they'll still need help with wiping.


  1. I just commented on another post and now read this one - hopefully the books will help! (Also - we have not found a toy that is more fun than the one below which makes it incredibly frustrating when he's hold it while peeing - EVERYONE and everything is covered...)

  2. Megan, thanks for stopping by my blog! Finding the right toys/books is a process. Your boy's taste might differ from my kids. Another idea is playing a game like peekaboo or guess which hand to keep your baby happy on the potty. I'm going to leave another comment specifically about regression on the other post.