Potty Training – Not Before 3

This new study may be of interest to parents looking to potty train their child – a new study by a pediatric urologist has suggested that if you  potty train your child before the age of three could be harming them.

Why early potty training is not advisable

Potty training kids early could harm kids says Dr Steve Hodges, a professor at Wake Forest University in North Carolina. When parents pressure their kids to control urine and bowel movements before they are ready, this could actually lead to more accidents says the urologist.

Potty TrainingThe child bladder may not be strong or mature enough to control going to the bathroom as and when they are supposed to. Holding on to bowel movements or urine may cause kidney damage, urinary tract infections and constipation says the doctor.

Instead he advises that children should experience ‘uninhibited voiding’ so that they respond to their bodies in a natural manner.  The bladder needs time to grow and mature and this process will be completed in about three to four years. During this time, uninhibited voiding can help in this growth process.

It is his view that virtually all problems connected to bowel movements or passing urine such as bed bedwetting, constipation, urinary infections and urinary frequency can be traced back to holding in urine or feces and that the children who train earliest may have the most serious problems.

Other reasons to put off toilet training

Over the last century experts have understood more and more how child psychology and physical development work. Whereas in the early part of the 20th century parents were being advised to toilet train their children as early as 3 months, by the middle of the century this was raised to 11 or 12 months of age. We now know that it is quite normal for children to achieve day time at 2 to 3 years of age.

Some experts also claim that forcing a child to control urine and bowel movement before they are ready can cause stress and that it can prolong the process of toilet training.

However there are many critics of this view who claim that there is nothing the matter with putting a child on a pot at certain times a day and waiting for them to go. So long as you’re using positive reinforcement and not using punishment and trying to make it fun for the child, there really needn’t be a problem.

It may also be easier to start the process when the child has developed necessary language skills and is at an age when he or she wants to try to please their parents.


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