The average baby uses nearly 3,000 diapers in the first 2 years of life. That comes to quite a bit of money, effort and smell for parents, so it’s no wonder they want to get their children potty trained as soon as possible. However, the will to rid a household of diapers isn’t enough of a reason to start potty training. First you must understand what age you should start potty training.
Dr. T. Berry Brazelton of Harvard Medical School conducted a large study to determine the average age of potty training. Brazelton discovered that more than 80 percent of children were using the potty, consistently during the day, by 28 months of age. They were completely potty trained by age 3. Dr. Brazelton also found that most parents began potty training near their child’s second birthday.
The No. 1 factor in knowing what age to start potty training is the child’s own interest in using the toilet. While many pediatricians consider 18 months a fine time to begin potty training, most children aren’t ready at this age. The result of starting potty training too soon is a long, frustrating road of frequent accidents and limited success. Ultimately, you can bring a child to the toilet but you can’t make him use it.
Typically, children with siblings will begin potty training younger than only children. This is due to the modeling that younger siblings receive from their brothers and sisters. To encourage younger siblings to begin potty training, take advantage of this phenomenon. Let the older sibling teach the younger one about using the potty, and she may grow an interest in potty training closer to 18 months than 2 years.
Potty training can’t begin until a child shows signs of readiness. These signs can include waking up dry after a nap, the propensity to imitate others, a will to please others, the ability to walk, predictable bowel movements and the will to wear adult underwear or use the potty. If at least half of these readiness signs are present, it’s a good time to start potty training.
Testing the Waters
If you’re unsure whether a child is the right age to start potty training, it’s a great idea to first test the waters. Talk to your child about the potty. If he seems the slightest bit interested, sit him on his potty chair to see if perchance he will use it. Repeat this occasionally until the child seems to gain an interest.
Although potty training has to be on the child’s schedule, it’s understandable that most parents don’t want to wait too long to get the process started. To get a head start on potty training, it’s important to start potty promotion at a young age. The perfect time for this is near the time she learns to walk. Begin stocking your shelves with potty training books and movies and use them often. Talk about the need to go potty and show enthusiasm each time she wakes up dry. Your excitement to use the potty will ultimately translate to her interest in using the potty, and you may be able to start potty training before age 2.