The Real Poop on Potty Training
From potty training horror stories…to widely-quoted training “rules”…to claims that sound too good to be true, it’s enough to overwhelm any parent. Don’t be daunted by all the chatter and buzz. Let’s take a closer look at some of the common claims.
Claim: Parents Should Start Potty Training Kids by Age 2
Actually, most experts overwhelmingly agree that parents should start toilet training when toddlers show signs of potty training readiness. There’s no set age, although most kids demonstrate physical and cognitive readiness sometime between 18-30 months. Let your child set the pace. It’s not a competitive sport.
Claim: You Can Potty Train Your Child in 3 Days (or 1 Day, or 1 Week)
Some parents report success with these three day potty training programs. In a nutshell, they involve devoting yourself 100% to the business of potty training during that period. Your priority becomes getting your child on the potty at short, fixed intervals. Our take: dedication and consistency does support learning…but only if kids are ready. However, expecting a child to master such a big life transition in such a short time is a lot to ask. Most experts say that it takes kids about 3-6 months to truly get the hang of it.
Claim: Potty Training Boys is Harder than Girls
We haven’t been able to find any studies that back up this idea, although it’s been out there forever. We did find a study that says boys achieve training a little later than girls: at an average of 31 months versus 29 months[i]. No one really knows why. But why get stuck on this? Why not focus instead on making potty training as painless and low-stress as possible. Read our potty training tips for boys.
Claim: Training Pants Are All the Same
Actually, they aren’t. For training pants to work, they must 1) be easy for kids to pull down fast and 2) allow kids to experience the sensation of wetness when they go in them. That wetness teaches body awareness. So training pants that are basically pull-on diapers may be more convenient, but they’re less effective than fabric, feel-wet training pants. How do we know? Because we researched this extensively before developing our own Smarter Training Pants, which balance leakage protection with letting kids feel wet.
Claim: You Can Potty Train a Baby
It’s not exactly potty training, but some parents practice “elimination communication,” a system long popular in other cultures. In short, parents learn to read their young infants’ cues that they’re about to go, race to the bathroom, and hold them over the toilet. With this method, some parents use diapers (but often sparingly) and some don’t.
Proponents say that it enhances parent/child bonding and that it’s healthier for babies and the environment. Critics point out that it requires intense dedication and can be unhygienic. Some experts also feel it’s not truly training so much as conditioning babies, which can create problems later. If it interests you, we’d encourage you to research it fully and then talk to your pediatrician.
Claim: Potty Training Is Really Hard!
It’s all in how you look at it. Potty training is one of childhood’s larger transitions, and all rites of passage can be challenging. Some kids will have a harder time achieving this particular milestone than others, but it may not be nearly as tough as you think.
We think the key is to make it as easy and low-stress, and set your child up for success. To that end, check out our potty training tips and all our potty training solutions. If you try one of our products, please come back and leave a review, so fellow parents—not to mention our solutions team—can benefit from your experience. And…good luck!
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