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Do you think it’s feasible to potty train children from birth?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on August 28, 2007

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Photo of Lorrie Coffman

“Not from my experience. I don’t think they can understand what you’re asking of them.”

Photo of Tom Gurss

“No. I don’t know how you would ever do it. I just can’t imagine.”

Photo of Zach Flurry

“I think if the parents were willing to stay at home with the children all the time, then it might be possible. But if they are going to take the child to day care or something, then there would be some problems.”

Photo of Laura Swick

“I think it could be feasible. Babies make certain noises when they’re feeling certain things, so it might work out.”

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H_Lecter 10 years ago

Sure, but you sure go through a lot of duct tape

Terri Ferguson 10 years ago

Children will be potty trained when THEY decide they want to be potty trained...

ralphralph 10 years ago

Why is this being asked? It's stupid and shouldn't be attempted. Focus on nurturing them ... sing to them, read to them, play with them, and change them frequently. Potty trained from birth? Good Grief!

alm77 10 years ago

Is there a related article? I forget what this method is called, but I know parents who have attempted this tedious form of training. Its derived from native and African (I think) tribes who tuned into their child's signals from day one. My friends philosophy was that diapers teach them to go in a diaper and then you later have to teach them to go in the potty, but the method they used depended on an infant's ability to control his bodily functions. The idea is that this ability is there, but current modern cultures have dismissed it. There was a time when people didn't have Huggies, you know. What do you think they did?

trinity 10 years ago

used cloth, alm. and yes there is a corresponding article. dunno about anybody else, but if i happened into a public restroom&saw a momma holding her tiny 14 week old infant over a SINK(as the last paragraph in the article talks about) in efforts to have the babe do its business in said sink? holy smoly, i'd definitely have words for that mom! that just ain't cricket!

guesswho 10 years ago

This is not the same as potty training. You can be aware of your baby's need to relieve himself/herself - but it needs to be taken care of in a matter of seconds - which is not time to go/find a bathroom, remove clothes, etc. It is just holding the baby away from you or squatting in the grass near the trail. Works in countries where you don't have a lot of clothes to wear or societal norms against public urination.

Peaty Romano 10 years ago

I'd be happy if they just didn't have blow-outs ever! What a silly question.

acg 10 years ago

I'm sorry but this has to be one of the dumbest things I've ever heard of.

Stew 10 years ago

The ambiguity in the question makes it sound stupid. Perhaps the question should read, "Can one begin potty training at birth?" If one considers taking the child with you when you use the bathroom as part of potty training and not the expectation that the child will go on their own at two months of age, then yes, it is feasible.

Ceallach 10 years ago

Sounds more like the parent is potty trained. I also catch a hint of "MY" child is potty trained. Check back in 8 or 10 years and see what is produced by this constant monitoring. Our tots may start showing signs of performance anxiety :)

snazzo 10 years ago

Do you realize the size of a 14 mo old? Its not exactly tiny, and I agree that I would have a few words for that mother at the sink in a public restroom. There is a toilet right around the corner! I would also wonder about the laws for "cleaning" up after your baby like blueharley mentioned, or laws like public urination. Adults definately can't do it, and we have to clean up after dogs. why? because we DON'T live in the African bush. I wonder if they'll start making "diaper-free" communes where babies are free of the laws of society. ha.

Ceallach 10 years ago

Also, in parks and public restroom sinks??? Ewwwwwwwww. Long live pampers and pull-ups!

Flap Doodle 10 years ago

In days of old, When knights were bold And toilets not invented The'd drop their load By the side of the road And go away contented.

sunflower_sue 10 years ago

I totally agree w/'s not the kiddies that are potty's the parents!

OnlyTheOne 10 years ago

Actually the baby is training the parent to watch for certain behaviors and respond accordingly.

coolmom 10 years ago

i think this is loony. my first child wasnt fully trained until age 5 but he does have downs and it took a year of consistant behavior on my part. our second a girl did it in 1 weekend because she was ready. our third child would pull down his pants to pee on a tree but refused to use the bathroom consistantly until he was 4 and for the life of me i couldnt figure out what the difference was lol. our 4th child another girl came to us at age 13 and is potty trained lol but i am assuming not at birth or anywhere close. weird people out there.

Ceallach 10 years ago

sue, that is certainly one of my favorite phrases . . I totally agree w/ Ceal

Bone777 10 years ago

I think I was trained to potty from birth. According to my mother, I pooped and peed from the get go.....

pace 10 years ago

Many people unintentually abuse their babies, not from spite but from ignorance. Some examples are not holding the little new born heads right, not understanding what the soft spot was, throwing a baby up in the air,( the brains shift in the skull and brain damage can occur, etc. etc. , , . Knowing what to expect a child to understand is information a parent needs. The hospital and midwifes should hand out child development charts so parents can better evaluate their kids and have an idea about at least average expectations. Knowing child development averages can also help a parent spot problems that might be helped early rather than too late.

I find this question bizarre.

Crispian Paul 10 years ago

Strange enough, a lot of research now says that if you try and "force" potty training before a child is ready (the "standard" is usually "can they make it through the night dry?"), it can actually delay potty training. It used to be socially that by two, a kid should be potty trained, no question. However, as doctors and other learn more about kids, there are just as many, if not more, parents who wait until their child is AT LEAST two before even trying to potty train than there are people who attempt to potty train from birth.

Sean Livingstone 10 years ago

Training your kid to walk is already a hussle, let alone training her to control her bowel....

Bone777 10 years ago

Potty training should go hand in hand with verbal communication.
"Here is the potty. Go in the potty. Good job, you went in the potty." This isn't rocket science. I have three children and this is how it went for each one of them. Two, unless the child is developmentally disabled, is a little late to start working on potty training. It is very comparable to breast feeding a child after the age of three. I would say two, but I don't want to tick off any 'Nature mommas'. Teeth and breast feeding don't seem to be compatible.

H_Lecter 10 years ago

This should be popular in France where it is not uncommon to see acts of urination and defecation by adults and children in public.

Crispian Paul 10 years ago

Bone777 (Anonymous) says:

Potty training should go hand in hand with verbal communication. "Here is the potty. Go in the potty. Good job, you went in the potty." This isn't rocket science. I have three children and this is how it went for each one of them. Two, unless the child is developmentally disabled, is a little late to start working on potty training. It is very comparable to breast feeding a child after the age of three. I would say two, but I don't want to tick off any 'Nature mommas'. Teeth and breast feeding don't seem to be compatible.

How is it OK to breast feed until three, but two is late to start potty training? Most doctors (I work with kids and have to attend a lot of doctors appts) will tell you a child is not ready to potty train until they can stay dry overnight. That is the indicator that their bodies are PHYSICALLY ready to potty train. Not being physically ready to potty train before two has nothing to do with developmental delays. The same goes for kids who wet when they are in elementary school. Most of these kids' bladders are simply not growing as quickly as they are.
You are entitled to your opinion, but it seems like you are passing judgement on parents of kids who are not beginning potty training before two because that is what you were able to do.

luckysgirl 10 years ago

Well alright then...train a baby from birth. I would bet the person that came up with this question doesn't have children. What a silly question. My response would have been a good, long belly laugh.

bugmenot 10 years ago

I love the comment that potty training is like being pregnant - you either are or you aren't and there is no in between. This is so true, and the article I read about this whole newborn potty training nonense on CNN quoted every parent involved as saying the whole thing was pretty hit and miss. YOUR KID ISN'T POTTY TRAINED THEN. If your kid is relieving themself and it's not in a toilet it'd better be in a diaper. If you're not sure the toilet thing will happen, put a diaper on.

Bone777 10 years ago

Crispian - that is what this Blog is all about...Passing judgement on others. You are a ding-a-ling.

There is a big difference between potty training and potty trained. Start training when the kid knows what you are talking about.
The breast feeding reference was because I know a few 'milk mommas' that I didn't think would ever quit breast-feeding and didn't want to be too harsh in my 'judgement'. I said two, but I should have said 18 months tops.

concernedparent 10 years ago

I started potty training my daughter as soon as she turned 3. It took her 4 days, but only because she was ready to be potty trained.

Crispian Paul 10 years ago

Bone777, I haven't heard the word ding-a-ling since I last heard a guy call a girl "keen" and "neato". Thanks for the laugh.

Bone777 10 years ago

Crispian- Haven't heard ding-a-ling in a while? What a square...

Richard Heckler 10 years ago

Potty train infants from much time would anyone want to spend in the bathroom not ever knowing when.

matahari 10 years ago

yes, derfinately, if you've ever studied cultures where infants and adults roam naked (or near nude) they never defecate in the area they eat or live........

matahari 10 years ago

in contrast with most question posted on Journal World opinion, this is one of the more thought provoking and intelligent of inquiries~

matahari 10 years ago

some people just an envirement where the ONLY nutreints may come from breat milk it may be the difference between life and death, but you...pywacked are not open minded or wise enough to consider anything but a can of enfamil, no? I think you underestimate the intelligence (OR granting you a bit of leeway) the education to know such (most any race with common sense defecates in a river, not but ignorance, but by necessity, think about that!~

matahari 10 years ago

let me guess...... pie whacked wants to be an elementary school teacher! The rest of us KNOW when we use caps or spell a word incorrectly~

You get the message breat=brat derfinately =I am pretty sure envirement=I live here pywaket means absolutely nothing at wikipedia OR urban dictionary~

Sean Livingstone 10 years ago

Honestly, I've seen some kids potty-trained at 17 months! It's possible, but again, it really depends on how much effort and time you want to put into this.

Sean Livingstone 10 years ago


The training normally starts when baby's 2-3 months old. When I say 17 months, I was saying that they're able to go to toilet themselves without any assistance. They are able to control their bowel at about 8-9 months old.... surprisingly, even before they can walk. But it's a lot of effort....

manyblessings 10 years ago

I have heard of "elimination communication" starting nearly from birth and some claim it works well. I haven't tried it with any of mine, they all potty trained on their own timetable. In 3rd world countries, where they can't afford diapers, babies are often potty trained much earlier than they are here in the U.S. and they think we Americans are strange for keeping our babies in diapers for so long. If you HAD to potty train your child at that age you could do it.

kugrad 10 years ago

I would not have thought this was feasible, but then a couple that is friends of ours stopped by our house and their 13 month old son used the toilet (we have a kiddie potty in there). This surprised me and so I asked and found out they were using the methods described in the article. They also said that this method is commonly used in China (I don't know if that is true, but they are university folks who had researched this before trying it, so it is probably true).

Anyway, it is outside of my expereience, but it could work. I know our child could signal when she needed a diaper change before her first birthday.

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