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What Is A Good Age to Begin Potty Training?

Below is a brief history about the age at which children have been potty trained in the past. A well-known fact is that the age of training has been steadily increasing - in part due to the effectiveness of today's comfortable dry diapers. Experts and studies seem to concur that children are able to obtain full bladder control between 18-20 months of age.

One European company is trying to help parents train by developing a new diaper that allows the child to feel the wetness after urinating, therefore causing a sense of discomfort. If the child is uncomfortable, they will be more likely to want to NOT remain in the diaper. SCA has created a new product called the Libero Diaper. The company's press release is quoted below:

"Ready, set, go....but when? Children in diapers are getting steadily older. Super-efficient modern diapers are thought to be one reason. To make toilet training easier Libero has introduced a special potty training diaper.

Giving up diapers is a way of feeling older. Today's more effective diapers mean children wait longer before they start toilet training.In the 1950s, before the advent of disposable diapers, children were put on the potty as early as six months of age. In the 1980s, many children were toilet trained by the age of three. Today, children in the Western world are usually around four before they can totally manage on their own and go without a diaper during the day.

Comfortable diapers

One reason for this is thought to be today’s super-efficient diapers, which absorb all fluids and leave the outer layer dry. Diapers, quite simply, are not uncomfortable enough for children themselves to feel the need to get rid of a full diaper.

“There haven’t been studies of how four-year-olds, for instance, are affected by having diapers, but I can’t imagine that children think it’s fun,” says Anna- Lena Hellström, a urotherapist and lecturer at Göteborg University.

SCA has developed a special diaper to make toilet training easier, Libero Potty Training Pants. [Not Available in the US. Click to see other Training Pants.]

"The outer layer in the potty-training product is special," says Fredrik Krook, Category Marketing Manager Baby. "It keeps the moisture there so that children can feel they are wet and then react."

The potty-training diaper is available in two versions, one for boys and one for girls.

The ideal potty-training age
Toilet training is a sensitive phase that is easily disturbed by changes in children’s day-to-day lives.

“When children start preschool, when their mother or father returns to work or when they get a new brother or sister, diapers can once again feel more secure than the potty,” Hellström says.

So it may be good not to start toilet training when major changes are going on in the family. The question is whether there is an ideal age for children to give up diapers. Researchers have yet to find a specific “toilet gene” that would indicate when the time for toilet training is most appropriate, but there are several well-supported hypotheses.

German researchers have determined that on average children’s diapers stay dry during the day at 28 months and overnight at 33 months. But individual variations are considerable, and roughly 20 percent of five-year-olds don’t have full control of bladder or bowel.

A Swedish study found that all children, even infants, are aware that they are peeing. It was also observed that many children could control their bladders at the age of 18 months, a period that can thus be suitable for toilet training, according to Swedish researchers.

From SCA's corporate magazine SHAPE 2/2008
Text: Elisabet Tapio-Neuwirth

Post by Suzanne Riffel, author of "The Potty Boot Camp: Basic Training for Toddlers" - a new, fast, easy toilet training method that produces remarkable results.

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