Toilet Training

By: Dr. Michelle MD

Many kids are terrified of using the toilet especially for bowel movements. That’s because it has become the trend to train them at an older age. They are simply too smart and resistant to change when they are older. Toilet training is meant to develop an automatic habit that "making" is for toilets, not diapers. Children wearing the new gel type disposable diapers do not feel wet when they urinate. They sometimes feel uncomfortable when they have a soiled diaper but many do not complain. They just remain accustomed to ignoring to the whole business as they go about the tasks of toddlerhood. Late training requires them to deal with it at a time that they are more likely to have other preferences. When the kids are trained younger they simply incorporate using the toilet with their routine before they have a "mind of their own".

The average age for toilet training children has been rising steadily in the United States since the invention of the washing machine, and recently, the availability of disposable diapers. In 1950 in the U. S., the average child was trained by 18 months. Now the average age is over 30 months. In most places in the world today where mothers have to wash their own diapers, children are still trained by 18 months of age.

Toilet training requires time and effort, usually for a few focused days. Because mothers are more likely to be working outside the home, it has become much more convenient to let the child remain in diapers. Most kids will train themselves eventually, even if it takes till 4 years of age or higher.

Many psychologists write that it is better for the parent to wait until the child is "ready." Some even claim that early training leads to psychological damage. Others say that waiting till the child is over two to start training is not a good idea. The older child is much more likely to feel afraid and become resistant to the whole concept. This leads to withholding bowel movements and painful experiences when he eventually does defecate.

When a baby is put on a potty seat at age 1–1 1/2 years whenever he shows the body language indicating he is "pushing," he is not very frightened at all. He just gets used to it and associates the activity with the potty. This kind of training requires watching the child and knowing his body habits. Most kids defecate after a meal, since the natural reflex is to empty the bowels when the stomach is full. This requires the parent become adept in observing the child before he is trained to go to the potty himself. Once the child is "clean," training him to be "dry" does not usually cause fear and resistance.

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