Potty training, like feeding choices and picking a school, is one of the challenges of parenting. Deciding when to potty train and whether your little one is ready are the keys to success. Several factors can play into your decision and help determine whether saying bye-bye to diapers is a fun and easy process or one that will have both of you in tears.
The typical age of potty training has changed dramatically since disposable diapers were introduced. Just a few generations ago, children were typically potty trained before 18 months old. Today, anywhere between 2 1/2 and 3 years old is much more common. You should not expect to be rid of diapers before your child is 2 years old.
Earlier potty training reduces the time spent in diapers and the waste added to landfills. Chemicals and wetness may irritate sensitive skin. Older toddlers may train more independently and somewhat more quickly. They may also require fewer reminders and less adult assistance with toileting.
Look for signs of readiness in your child, whether she is 18 months old or nearly 3. She should be showing curiosity about her body and toileting, as well as a desire to imitate the behavior of those around him. She should express a desire to have a wet or soiled diaper changed quickly. Ideally, potty training will begin when your child is open, willing and cooperative.
There are potential drawbacks to both early and later potty training. Early potty training may require a long period of managing accidents, putting the little one on the toilet and may even be difficult if your young toddler is in day care. Older toddlers may be reluctant to train, unwilling to use the toilet and more prone to refusing to use the toilet.
Some people are taking an even earlier approach to toilet training, with infant potty training or elimination communication. In this instance, parents watch even young infants for signs that they need to eliminate, then encourage them to relieve themselves in a small potty chair rather than a diaper. This method reduces environmental waste, discomfort for baby and makes toilet learning an ongoing process throughout the baby’s first years.
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