Early Potty Training

When Erin came home from a 3 hour visit at a friend’s house, I didn’t expect her to have a lot of interest in the toilet.  Yet, she was showing me the common signs that potty training was near: being uncomfortable in her diaper, waking from naps dry, asking to be changed, wanting to, ehem, “help” mommy use the potty.  I was taken aback because at 14.5 months, the typical American child is no where near the age of potty training.  After a week of this, I decided to order a potty chair for Erin to just introduce the idea of eliminating in something other than a cloth strip velcroed to her tiny tush.  Then, I began to do some research.  If Erin was truly wanting to pee and poop on the potty, I didn’t want to stop her from doing it.  Why not have less diapers to change over time, right?  So, here are some interesting facts that I found:
1) American children are amongst the oldest in the world to potty train.  Many children start around a year, especially in Asia and Eastern Europe. (My mother-in-law started her boys at 14 months, right when they started to walk)

2) In the early 1900’s and leading up to the 1950’s, American children were actually potty trained by 18 months.  Most children wore cloth diapers that were hand washed due to washing machines not being readily available.  Not cleaning a dirty diaper was incentive enough for start potty training early.  In the 1950’s wash machines were readily available in American homes and now even had a spin dry cycle!  No more wringing clothes out by hand! Then, disposable diapers came and gradually became more and more absorbent.  As a result children’s initial sign of potty training readiness: being uncomfortable in a soiled diaper gradually delayed as well.

3) Between the age of 15-23 months, children are in the “age to please.” This means they want to please their parents, so why not form a new way of elimination when they are eager to please you and follow your directions? Besides, who wants to potty train a child when they are going through the “terrible twos?”

4) Babies who are cloth diapered show signs of potty readiness before those that are in disposable diapers. This is because cloth diapers are not as absorbent as “sposies” leaving children to feel wet sooner rather than later.

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