Whether your child takes to it readily or resists long past the age you think diapers are acceptable, chances are that at least somewhere along the way, you've had — or will have — questions about the process. When should I start? How long should it take? And is it okay if my child isn't fully trained by the age of three?
It can be comforting to understand — at a glance — that many other parents have the same worries. Millions of Circle of Moms members have shared the age at which their children potty trained, so we can dispel some of the myths that may be making you anxious. Read on to find out what "normal" really means when it comes to potty training, and which myths about the process have some merit.
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1. Girls potty train earlier than boys
True — sort of
You’ve probably heard another mom say that girls learn to use the toilet earlier than boys. As Jan R. shared: "I believe girls learn to use the potty quicker than boys...from my experience all three of my girls were trained earlier than my lad." Our data shows that this is true — but only to a point. Girls are almost 50% more likely than boys to potty train on the early side (before the age of 2 ½), but the gap begins to narrow after the age of three, and by the age of 4, when most kids are potty trained anyway, boys and girls are equally likely to be out of diapers.
2. Potty-training should start when your child is 18 months old
Although we don’t know when the moms who reported the age of success actually started the process, it's clear that most kids are not actually using the toilet reliably until close to the age of 3. So while you can start the process as early as you want, success may elude both you and your child for quite some time, as only 7% of girls and 4% of boys are potty trained by the age of 2. California mom Marcy C. shares: “The best advice I can give you is to wait until he is showing signs that he is interested.” Mother-of-three Pam S. agrees: “I have twin boys who weren’t potty-trained until they were over three...I know it’s hard to wait, but honestly, for me it was worth it.”
3. The best age to potty train a child is 2 years old.
If there’s a sweet spot for learning to use the potty, it seems to be at the age of 2 ½ for both girls and boys. On average, girls are out of diapers at 2 years and 9 months, and boys at 2 years and 10 months.
4. Most kids are potty-trained by the age of 3.
While our data shows that the majority of kids (69% of girls and 53% of boys) have accomplished this milestone by the age of 3, a sizable group — almost 30% of girls and 40% of boys — remains in diapers until the age of 4. And a few stragglers — 3% of girls and 6% of boys — are perfectly happy to avoid the potty for as long as an additional year.