Are western babies behind the times? Back in the 1950s, 95% of US children were potty trained by 18 months, now it is a mere 4%. Recently I decided to potty train my 18-month daughter and find it interesting that by this older standard, she is actually late in training! It is even stranger that in the US we potty train by age 3, yet worldwide the average age is 2. Why is this? Are babies less capable than they used to be? I would say no. I believe there are a couple of reasons to the delay in toilet training.
- Babies used cloth diapers. Statistically children who use cloth potty train faster than when using disposable. I’m not exactly sure why this is, but my theory is that the baby watches you dump the fecal matter into the toilet and makes the connection- waste goes in the potty. Not only that, but they can feel the wetness in cloth while in disposables the gel absorbs so they don’t notice. I would also say a mother is much more driven to potty train if she has to wash all those nasty diapers.
- Pampers had a “qualified speaker” insist that training children should be up to the child when they are “ready.” To push them would hurt their psyche. Having this said by the people who profit most by the continuance of a non-potty trained child is suspicious at best. The the campaigns of using disposable until a child is ready- pushed a whole society from potty training until the child is at least 2.
- Mothers train a child to use the bathroom considerably more than the father. Most mothers also work out of the home cutting into the potty training time. This isn’t necessarily a negative it is simply a fact. This creates a void though since a mother is now expected to work and balance potty training. A day care is not usually the ones to train so a mother is left with few hours to establish training. It becomes easier to wait until the child can be quickly and easily trained.
All this being said, I really can’t say that children should be pushed earlier or later to potty train. We live in a very different era than the 1950s. However, I do believe it isn’t an issue of capability, but perhaps lack of time and resources to train a child. It is has been one week of potty training and I have been putting Eowyn on the toilet frequently. She mostly walks around naked or in underwear during the day. Yes, she does pee on the floor a fair amount, but she also notices the wetness and isn’t fond of it. She has successfully peed in the toilet at least once every day. This to me is a huge success and though it may take time, I look forward to the day that I will only be changing my son’s diapers.
The link below-interesting story of mother’s who potty train super early. Not saying whistling works-but wow these children can be trained really early.