Weaning or Potty Training? Which would come first?


The question posed by a family member “when will you be done nursing?” was shortly followed by “when is he going to be out of diapers?”

and I didn’t have answers to either one of those questions.  With my first son the weaning came first because I was pregnant again and gently led him to that decision over the span of a few months because the pain was increasing.  Since he weaned fairly early at 18 months I never considered I would nurse past potty training because that event was so far off for us.

This time things are different.  I’ve gone past 18 months with Everett, then we hit the two year milestone… that is when I started thinking “Am I going to be nursing a ‘child’ wearing underwear?”  The thought is a bit uncomfortable and certainly a foreign one to myself and most Americans.  I’ve only seen babies wearing diapers at the breast.  Nowhere except the sensationalized Time cover have I seen what is obviously a child capable of using the toilet on his own still who was still nursing.  Photos and real life don’t often reveal what happens in our homes when our babies turn into toddlers, and even *gasp* preschoolers who are still breastfeeding.  The topic is taboo and quite frankly, children of this age aren’t nursed in public because their needs are not all nutritional.  The comfort and peace of nursing is just as important, if not more, than the nutrition of breast milk; they can eat and drink at the table and don’t need the milk to feed their hunger.  I haven’t nursed in public for probably a year, although I have nursed at other places than my home, including when staying with family.  I knew what they were thinking… that he should have weaned by now… but this time they kept quiet.

As for potty training… we have hit several bumps on that road.  Each time I started our diaper free adventure (I like the 3 Day-Method) Ev would get sick and we would have to stop.  Without comparing children (which parents always do…) I knew that my first son was already trained by now and had been for a few months so the expectation has been that we would already be done with that phase of life.

So here we are. The question has been answered- “Would Everett wean or potty train first?”  


Everett and Mom, age 2.5

Everett is officially out of diapers and the nursing is going strong with no end in sight. I am so thankful to have come this far because, as some of you may recall, Everett was very ill for over a week and breast milk was about all he was getting and nursing was one of the new things that could calm him down during what was obviously a painful experience.

The potty training thing has been in the works for months, but again, he has suffered from the flu, two bouts of a stomach virus, and then his Strep/Cat Scratch Fever/ HSP so each time I would begin the process he would suddenly fall ill. For a while I was suspicious that he was getting sick on purpose to get out of it! I expected the blessed event to be much more difficult and involved. Instead, he practically potty trained himself. After being shown the potty once and getting the “song and dance” that befits such an occasion, he was on track to continue each time he needed to go. He has had a few accidents but we are only using diapers at night- even his naps and outings are dry now!


Now what? I don’t have plans for weaning quite yet. Everett still seems like such a baby to me despite him now wearing tiny little underwear. He is the reason we keep going, even though I love our nursing time together, he is holding all the cards here.  I used to say I couldn’t breastfeed a baby once they got teeth (before actually becoming a parent), then it was “when they are old enough to ask for it” (a gem passed down from family), and now I have stopped having any expectations. We will be done when we are done.

Not Mom Enough… just a Mom

I enjoy sharing our breastfeeding journey here on the blog because I know how many mothers need to see it. Please be respectful of our family and, if you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all.

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  • Diana @ frontyardfoodie.com

    This made me cry a little. Thank you for putting in words all the internal reactions I have when people make insensitive comments or ask blunt and very personal questions. The way I raise my child is how I raise MY child…not how YOU would raise YOUR (or my, apparently) child.

    I nursed my first too long (just til I ran out of milk mid pregnancy and he was only 15mo!), I nursed while PREGNANT!? are you CRAZY!??! I started potty training my first too early (20 months), I don’t give my kids BOTTLES!??!, I STILL breastfeed?!?! Yeah, he just turned one and I’ve already gotten that one.

    I have a good network of moms (lots of cyber moms too) who support the same concepts of motherhood that I do but all the generation before (my inlaws mostly) have such an issue with my natural parenting and it grates me.

  • hollywilson82

    Love this! The not-past-potty-training idea seemed absolutely ridiculous to me when my first began asking to use the potty at 15-16 months and was diaper free during the day by 18 months and even at night by 20 months. I was determined from the time she was only a few months old to breastfeed until at least 2, so I just pretty much ignored that. I. like you. decided we would be done when we were done.

  • Shana Trahan

    I don’t know when I want my son to stop nursing. I don’t think I want to keep going into toddler years, but since he is only 10 months, I won’t know until we get there. What actually bothers me the most with all of it, is my husband. He was barely supportive when I got pregnant, and while he definitely thinks it is the way to go, and even told his sister that, he thinks we should stop soon. Hopefully it will all work out. 🙂

  • Caroline Calcote

    Aw, I love the photo! My boys are now 9 & 12 (almost) but I nursed both of them well past potty training. They were both potty trained before they were 2 (we used the Azrin method quite easily) but I nursed them each until they were almost 3. Wow, now that I have an almost teenager that seems like so long ago! Cherish all those sweet moments of nursing. It is fleeting regardless of how “extended” it is. xoxo

  • Paula Huie *ProductJunki

    OMG you mirror my life! 🙂 DS is 25 months now, i dont offer. he asks ever so nicely. 90% potty trained (night clothy only) same little undies same teething necklace.. although he does not technically need it anymore, his 2 yr molars are in.. it has become him 🙁 every time he nurses now i think.. will this be the last?

  • Kate

    🙂 I love this. I am still nursing my potty-trained 23 month old, 7 weeks pregnant with number 2. He is not ready for weaning at all, so it will be interesting to see how the coming months go for us. Reading stories like this really helps so much. At this point I have nursed my child longer than any other person I know, I think.

  • Tamara9211

    Thank you for this beautiful story! My daughter is 28 months and is doing awesome at potty training but has zero desire to stop nursing. I am letting her make the decision to quit. Everyone tells me to just quit or tell her no but breastfeeding is so much more than just nutritional needs. That’s her comfort, her support her way to calm down at night, our bonding time. I am only nursing when she goes to bed and those super early AM feedings but I don’t see any signs of her wanting to quit anytime soon. Yay for nursing mamas who put there little ones first!

  • Cgomez

    I am going to try to start potty training my 2 yr old and she is still full on nursing. It’s comforting to see a fellow mom and hear your story that the potty training went well and your little one is still nursing. Nursing my daughter has been such a blessing and a sweet experience. When she’s ready to move on without nursing then we’ll take that step but for now it’s still part of our lives. Thank you for sharing your story.