What age can children be potty trained?
Every child is different but children can be potty trained anywhere from 18 months to 3 years of age. The average age is between 22 to 27 months.
Are we getting later in potty training children?
In 1957, the average age to start training was 11 months and 90% of children were dry during the day by the age of two. Today, most children are not reliably dry until the average age of four.
Why are we potty training so late?
There are number of reasons parents of today are potty training so late. The introduction and the ease of using disposable nappies means parents are keeping children in nappies longer. Prior to disposable nappies, cloth nappies were used. This constant demand to wash, created an incentive for parents to finish training their child as soon as possible. Modern nappies no longer pose this problem. Plus, modern nappies are so good at drawing moisture away from the body, children no longer recognise when they are wet. Then there’s the issue of disjointed care with more parents working and more children in childcare or in mixed care of friends and family making any sort of bathroom routine irregular.
Are there disadvantages to potty training late?
When young children become dependent on nappies, they don’t learn how to recognise the need for the bathroom. This in turn, can lead to bladder and bowel control issues as they get older.
70% of British primary school teachers noticed a rise in the number of three to seven-year-olds wetting themselves during the school day. It is believed that these children were either potty trained much later in life and cannot recognise the need to go to the bathroom, or not fully trained to begin with.
When will I know if my child is ready?
If your child is communicating when they have soiled their nappy or showing signs of discomfort then they have recognised when they have urinated or had a bowel motion. This is an indication that they may be ready.
Your child may show signs of being curious about the potty or toilet. Communication, temperament of the child and bladder control must all come into consideration when questioning if a child is ready.
How do I know if my child is physically capable of using the potty?
When your child is showing signs of having some control over their bladder and bowels, you may notice:
- Longer dry periods – Your toddler goes a few hours without wetting or makes it through a nap with a dry nappy.
- No bowel movement at night – Most toddlers no longer poo in their sleep. This is a good sign they are gaining control!
- If your child is telling you when he is about to urinate or have a bowel motion, he has a clear understanding of the urge to go.
- Everyone likes their privacy while they poo. Leaving the room or hiding shows that your toddler is aware of what he or she is doing. This is a sign they may be ready.
How do I know if my child is mentally ready to use the potty?
Some signs that your child may be emotionally or mentally ready for potty training include:
- Telling you when he’s just gone in his nappy
- Shows an interest in using the potty
- Is willing to sit on the potty
- Asking to use the potty
- Asking to put on underwear
- A desire to do things for him or herself
Remember, your child may only show one or two of these signs. It is at this point that you should attempt to begin training.
Is potty training a learned behaviour or one that will develop naturally?
There is a window of opportunity when a child is emotionally, physically and psychologically ready to be toilet trained. Parents need to be aware of when the time is right for their child and to check in at various ages of the child’s development. If a child is not ready at 2 years of age, try again a couple of months later. Like many developmental stages, guidance is key. Parents will need to direct and assist children throughout the process.
How do I encourage potty training?
Take your child shopping with you and have them select ‘big kid underwear’. Whether you choose to use a potty or a child sized toilet seat, allow your child to select one they are happy with (perhaps one with their favourite character on it)
Read or sing to your child while they sit on the potty or toilet. Making positive and fun connections to the use of the toilet can keep your child interested throughout the learning process.
Give plenty of praise. Remind the child of the benefits of now using the toilet (no wet feeling in their pants, ease of movement, becoming a ‘big kid’ etc…)
Don’t scold the child for accidents. Reassure him or her that accidents are a part of the learning process and they will get less and less. Remind your child that you too were once a child and had lots of accidents of your own.
What if my child regresses?
Many children regress. Sometimes the novelty of using a toilet or potty has worn off, sometimes the child is distracted with using a toy or doing an activity and doesn’t make it in time. Don’t worry. Be consistent. Most regressions usually resolve themselves within 2 weeks with consistent training.