Can Early Potty Training be Dangerous?

Are you tempted to google early potty training methods when your child doesn’t seem to be progressing? Although it can be easy to lose patience, you may want to re-think rushing the process.

There has been a major change in toilet training in the last 60 years; the age at which toilet training began has been significantly postponed. In 1957, the average age to begin training was 11 months, and 90 per cent of children were dry during the day by two years old. According to the NHS, children in 2018 are not reliably dry until the age of 4. In September 2017, a survey by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers revealed a huge rise in the number of children starting school without proper training. Many teachers have claimed that this rise has caused detraction from teaching time. However, many parents still feel in competition with others to have their child potty trained quickly. Pressure may come from friends, family, or your child’s carer. Some schools are aiming to restrict their focus to purely academics, sometimes even restricting their lessons to the fully toilet-trained. Physician visits for constipation have doubled among children in the last decade or so, while hospital visits for constipation have doubled among children in the last decade or so. Hospital visits for constipation have quadrupled. In the UK, a child learns to toilet train any time after 18 months, the average age being around two and a half years. Some parents are not prepared to wait this long, or may be rushing their child beyond their capabilities. However, evidence has shown that racing into potty training can actually be a cause of later problems with the bladder and bowel.


Are you looking after an incontinent child? Read our tips and guidance on managing child incontinence.



Where are We Going Wrong?

Specialists assert that bladder training your child can actually do more harm than good. Countless health problems have been tied to early bladder training, occurring later in life. Incontinence specialist Dr Hodge asserts, “under any circumstance, potty training should not be initiated before ages three or four. He asserts, “children under age 3 should not manage their own toileting habits any more than they should manage their college funds”. Children do not take independent interest in visiting the toilet, so it can be careless to expect a child under the age of 3 to become responsible for bladder control. He asserts, “the less frequently a child visits the toilet, the more opportunity for infection-causing bacteria to develop in the bladder. Problems children can experience as a result later in life include constipation, various urinary tract infections, nocturnal enuresis and kidney problems. Constipation alone can independently be a cause of urinary and faecal incontinence, as it causes irritation. The main problem that stems from early potty training is the development of chronic holding. Chronically holding urine and faeces can cause urinary tract infections. Norland Nanny, Miranda encourages a non-judgemental view when it comes to potty training. She asserts, “above all, parents mustn’t feel guilty or pressured into training”.



Playing the Waiting Game                  

Experts asserts that a child must be psychologically ready and mature enough before you start potty training them. The age which a child is potty trained may depend on a child’s personal development, however many specialists agree that between the age 2 and 3 is ideal. Incontinence specialist Dr Donohoe recommends parents wait until their child is between 2.5 and 3.5 years old. He explains, “this is when most children have enough brain and bladder development to potty train successfully”. However, bear in mind that some children may not be ready until they are around the age of four due to disabilities or delays. You also want to avoid causing problems and pressure if your child is too young to bladder train. Paediatrician Mark Wolraich asserts, “Trying and failing can cause frustration, negativity and other problems. Training too early will only cause a cycle of frustration”. If you wait until your child is older, they will be mature enough to know the importance of going to the bathroom as soon as they need to and will not hold it too long. Although they will likely still need to be reminded about toilet trips, they are more responsible and are less likely to hold it until they are desperate. It might be wiser to spend more time enjoying your baby than worrying about potty training.



Are you Struggling to Potty Train your Child? Try the Following Tips:

  • Praise your child for each step, even the small ones and the ones that aren’t completely successful.
  • Keep your child in easy-to-remove clothing, for example, trousers that she can pull down without having to unbutton anything.
  • Give your child lots of praise at each stage of learning.
  • Never leave your child in wet or soiled nappies, as this will only make things worse.
  • Stay upbeat and positive. This is your child’s accomplishment, not yours.




Originally posted 2018-08-24 14:55:06.

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