Source: Diaper-free Before 3
Potty training is an important step for a child to take. It teaches them to become more independent, and it is a huge load off your shoulders to not have to buy or change diapers too. Because of this, there can be a lot of pressure to get your kid potty trained, especially if it is required for them to get into a daycare or school. There is a lot of bad advice out there on what you need and when you should start training. This blog is here to help you decide when to transition from diapers to the toilet and to give you some advice for when you do.
Firstly, it is good to keep in mind that companies exist to make money and that diaper companies are no exception. It is in their best interest to promote delayed potty training so that parents will buy more diapers. I don’t want to cast any aspersions on diaper companies for trying to sell you their product, but it’s important to remember that diaper companies’ support of delayed training is based more on a desire to sell you something than on a desire to do what is best for you and your kid. It is perfectly reasonable to expect your child to be fully potty trained and night trained by age three and even as early as before their second birthday. The benefits to you in having your child potty trained earlier are obvious, less money spent on diapers and wipes, less time changing diapers, more activities which require potty training become available to you, etc. There are also benefits of potty training young for your child which are less obvious and I was very surprised to read about. Likewise I was surprised by the negative effects of postponing potty training. Here is what I found.
Benefits of Starting Early
1. The earlier you start the earlier you finish. If your child is showing signs of independence, going to a private place to do their business, or letting you know that they need a diaper change, they are ready to start potty training. This all typically happens at age one! When was the last time you heard someone say to start potty training at age one? Many people think that this is too young, but the only thing a child needs to be potty trained is the ability to recognize their bodily signs that they need to use it. Asking them if they need to use the bathroom and then helping them go will increase their awareness of these signs over time.
2. Some children don’t show interest in becoming potty trained on their own. Many children don’t become interested in potty training naturally. As children get older they typically start resisting potty training and it becomes more difficult to train them not easier. Plus, the longer that you wait to train the more accustomed the child grows to not having to control their bladder or bowel movements and the more difficult it is to unlearn those bad habits.
3. Increased socialization. The difference between a child who is three years old who can use the potty and one who needs to be changed by an adult is vast in the mind of a preschooler. Being potty trained gives children confidence in their control over themselves, and that reflects in their social interactions. By age three children have an increased level of social awareness. They understand that they should be able to go to the bathroom to relieve themselves, and if they can’t, they feel social anxiety. Children who can use the potty when they need to go are seen as more like the adults whereas their peers who need an adult to change them are seen as still being a baby.
Starting early is best for you and especially your child, but the best way to approach the training will be different for every child. It is however important to remember that stress and discouragement will only hurt your child’s ability to master this skill. You have to build an environment of love and care that lets your child know you aren’t discouraged when they have accidents along their potty training journey in order to facilitate learning. Some children will learn very quickly while others might have more difficulty mastering this new skill. But the bottom line is, potty training is a skill that has to be meticulously taught and learned. It is a large commitment to take your child to the toilet every time they express they need to go to the bathroom. The upfront cost of time and energy seems to make training young not worth it. It is certainly far easier to change a diaper five times a day then to take a kid to the bathroom twenty times a day, with fifteen false alarms, and then clean some soiled undies to boot. But even with the increased effort and energy from you and your child, potty training young is definitely worth it. So get your child started young and you’ll be thanking yourself in the end, even if that means more wet sheets and not so happy little accidents in your near future.