Potty Training

Updated: Apr 21, 2020


Being potty/toilet trained is a new skill for your child to learn and one of the first steps in becoming self-sufficient! Many parents worrying about the timing and method of potty training: What is the best time for me and my child to start potty training? What is the best method? Is my child too young to be potty trained? What are the signs of readiness? 


When to begin training?


Advantages and disadvantages associated with potty training in four different age groups


Infants (0-12 months)


When exactly can training start? 


Traditionally, infant potty training begins during the first three months after birth. Others recommend a later start (3-6 months), when babies go less frequently and can sit up on their own. They can then be trained with a potty chair. 


In places like India, China, and East Africa potty training traditionally starts in early infancy. By learning to recognize their babies’ body signals, parents can anticipate when their babies go. They then hold them over a sink, bowl, toilet, or the open ground and make a characteristic sound or gesture while the baby goes. The baby associates this parental sign with discharging, and, eventually, they learn to hold back until they hear/see the characteristic sound or gesture. Of course, infant toilet training is more modest than later toilet training – the goal is to stay dry with parental supervision.


Benefits:

(1) parents no longer needing to spend time or energy on nappy changing 

(2) savings on costs   

(3) preventing nappy rashes 

(4) enhancing children’s mastery and self-esteem.  

(5) early potty training age does not lead to behavioural or personality problems

However, younger children have fewer motor skills, are less able to express their needs, and have more frequent bladder voiding thus requiring more adult supervision and longer training times. Furthermore, early training means basic training only. 


Older infants and young toddlers (12-18 months)

12-18 months could potentially be a difficult potty training age first because:


(1) older babies and toddlers may find it hard to break the nappy habit

(2) toddlers may be too excited to sit still on a potty chair. 


In one study, children aged 15-19 months were more resistant to sitting on potty chairs than were younger and older children. 


Benefits: 

Children under 18 months are often happy to please adults in comparison to children over 24 months. 


Potty training after 18 months