toilet training

  1. Non-parent here but just observing that I see an awful lot of
    3 1/2 to 4 year old kids in diapers these days. I read that 90% of baby boomers were toilet trained by 24 months. I had a niece still in diapers for bowel and bladder at age 4....parents wanted to put her in pre-school but were refused until she was trained. 3 weeks later, out of diapers!

    I bring this up because I am in a community health position and people ask me everything under the sun. I am aware that with attachment parenting a lot of old milestones have changed (longer breastfeeding, etc) but I am not sure why toilet training would have doubled in length in 40 years. Any insight?
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    About Enright

    Joined: Jan '01; Posts: 167; Likes: 6
    RN, government consultant


  3. by   wanna B an RN
    I think the problem is that parents are not home as much as they were in the past to potty train their children. They're at work. All three of my four kids (one is an infant), were trained by age two, but I can't take all the credit. The majority of their "training" was done by their babysitters. I consider myself lucky.
  4. by   Janet Barclay
    All kids are different. my daughter was trained at 2, my son closer to 3and a half. I think one of the differences is that parents used to train themselves, not the child. The kid was stuck on the potty every two hours whether they needed to go or not. BLAST, it took me 15 years as a nurse to get over that, LOL. Now I have a bladder as big as an elephant
  5. by   aimeee
    I wonder if it might have something to do with the new diapers. Part of toilet training is that the kid has to be motivated to use the potty instead of the diaper. Maybe the fact that the new diapers pull most of the wetness away from the skin removes the motivation of being in an uncomfortably wet diaper.

    My daughter was quite reliably trained by age 2 and my son took a bit longer. We used the cloth training pants. The kids ran around with no pants on a lot of the time so they could quickly and easily use the potty by themselves when the urge struck.
  6. by   MollyJ
    Family psychologist, Dr. John Rosemond has weighed in on this one and he (I think this is the right word) blames it on ultra-absorbent diapers because it steals the cue to learn (loss of the sensation of disagreeable wetness). I think he cites some research on the problem (that, in fact, the age of continence is rising).

    I think this is a classic example of the way family needs and desires evolve over time. Because mother's do not wash poopy and wet diapers themselves and because disposables work so well, there is less impetus to get the kid out of diapers. Now, I have seen families notice that buying disposables for 2 kids was way too expensive and suddenly it was TIME to potty train the elder. Bet you've seen that too, Enright.

    All I know is that, even though I periodically offered it, my son didn't care about being wet or poopy until he was three and then he potty trained. And I wasn't willing to make it a hill to die on before that time.

    My opinion is that there has to be some physiologic things in place before a child can attain bladder control. One pediatrician I know (an old guy) said that in his experience a child didn't attain that until he could pedal a tricycle, so he used that as his signal to say, "Time to potty train." Some kids HATE the sensation of being wet or poopy and they figure it out really quick. My kid pooh-ed in his pants (not diapers) ONCE and I gave him the opportunity to clean out his own underwear in the toilet. Gee, it never happened again. So I think that says something about ownership of the problem (which is a big thing for Rosemond, too). Most resources say the kid must have a word for urination or pooping to be ready, too.

    I think the fact that families with working moms and dads spend so little "ordinary" time together is a contributor, too. Potty training requires being able to connect the stimulus of the full bladder with going to the bathroom (in a timely fashion) and most kids are going to be most comfortable with their little kid potties. So many families are constantly on the go and it is simply more expedient to let the kid pee or poop in the diaper. This mixed message of pee in your diaper at the grocery store or the soccer game, but tell me at home so we can get you to the toilet is too confusing.

    If you want to read more about Rosemond on potty training, he does have a web site and might have some of his opinions there, though I cannot say for sure. Again, to me this has as much to do with the kid as the family and when they are willing to "work on it."