When the disposable diaper was invented, it brought convenience to parents everywhere. Unexpectedly though, it also caused a rise in the average age of potty-trained children. In 1957, 92% of American children were toilet-ready at 18 months. Today, more children are ready at 2 to 3 years of age. Confirming the cause of this shift, an academic review released just last August in the Journal of Pediatric Urology revealed that dependence on disposable diapers can in fact delay the time it takes for your child to develop the ability to control bladder and bowel movement.
This is why it’s so important to start potty training as early as possible. And the good news is, you don’t have to look at it as such a daunting task as you might be inclined to! In her book “Oh Crap Potty Training”, parenting expert Jamie Glowacki emphasizes that the potty training process isn’t as hard as many new parents think. In fact, you can potty train your kid early in just a few simple steps.
Below, we’ll explore some key tips from the book to help you get started.
Tip #1 – Go cold turkey
According to “Go Diaper Free” author Andrea Olson, one effective way to begin is by completely eliminating diapers from your home. Next, have your child walk around naked for a day. Focus on your child completely, so you can recognize signs indicating they have to go.
Commit to that one day completely: eat food you don’t have to cook, and put your phone aside. When you see they have to go, usher them to the bathroom and clearly state: “Pee (or poo) goes in the potty.” Recognizing the signs and acting quickly can help you train them more effectively, even as you start to ease diapers out of the equation.
Tip #2 – Cut out the underwear
According to Glowacki, the pressure of the diaper on your kid’s bottom can actually be what triggers them to release their poo. Underwear recreates this pressure, and can cause them to wet their pants. To address these issues, try going a month dressing them up in everything but underwear. This can help eliminate the trigger.
In the meantime, dress them in skirts or pants with elastic bands that are loose in the crotch area. Once you’re confident enough that they’re gaining some control, take your child out for short walks around the block and see if they can last without soiling their clothes.
Tip #3 – Spend longer periods away from the bathroom
Once your child has mastered the art of the short walk, try staying away from the bathroom for longer. If you’re going to eat out, have them pee before you leave. The same goes for naptime and bedtime. Make it a habit to have them go after they brush their teeth, so they’re all set once you put them down. And if you’re wary of any nighttime incidents, try laying down a cloth or rubber mat to protect the bed.
Tip #4 – Encourage independence
At this point, you can start reintroducing underwear into your child’s wardrobe. You can also stop being so attentive, and you can ease up on prompting them to go to the bathroom so often. You may even begin to notice that your kid starts going to the bathroom on their own!
This is when you can officially call your child potty-trained –– at least at, shall we say, a beginning level. If you take all these steps at your child’s pace, they’ll be toilet-ready in less than 3 months!
On the whole, potty training isn’t as challenging as it seems. Furthermore, it’ll help your child hit all their developmental milestones on time. As we mentioned in the previous article “Your Child’s Early Days of Development”, keeping track of these milestones is what will ensure your child grows up healthy and strong.