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what is the latest 'healthy' age to potty train a child?

(15 Posts)
zebramummy Thu 23-Jul-09 20:51:04

just came up at a playdate today - another mum said that she felt that anyone over three was being put at a serious disadvantage and would need therapy one day to deal with the damage this causes to their self-esteem. pls tell me that this is a load of b**** angry

petunia Thu 23-Jul-09 21:38:34

I'd say it is 'healthy' when the child is ready, doesn't matter whether the child is 18months or over 3. In my experience, I think there's more damage and grief from forcing potty training on a child that isn't ready, rather than waiting. I have 3 DDs. DD1 was a nightmare to potty train but I felt I had to start training her (back in 2002), when she was 2 years 10 months, because the playgroup she was starting at wouldn't take children still in nappies (they take them from aged 2 now, in nappies or not). She didn't really 'get' potty training until she was 3 years, 3 months (after she started at playgroup) and I actually think it was forcing it that caused 'serious disadvantage' because looking back, I don't think she was ready. The result is that even now (aged 10), she still has a few accidents. DD2 was the same age as DD1 when she 'got' the potty training idea, but because we didn't have playgroup forcing the potty training issue, things were a lot more relaxed, she was a lot easier and never has accidents. And now DD3 is the same age- 3 years, 3 months, and I'm trying to potty train her now. I haven't tried before now simply by going on what happened with her sisters and because she has a language delay, I'm not even sure whether she'll get potty training now or if I'll have to delay it and try again in a few weeks.

"..serious disavantage and needing therapy" I thought I'd heard some cr@p in my time!

sausagerolemodel Thu 23-Jul-09 21:51:48

wouldn't it be easier if we didn't teach them to crap in nappies for more than two years first though? Potty training age in UK 40 years ago was (apparently) around 18 months. It is no coincidence, (in my humble opinion), that the rise in marketing of disposable nappies has shown a corresponding rise in "potty training age" to almost 3. I mean it would hardly benefit pampers or huggies (or whoever) to persuade us to get our DCs out of nappies early would it?

Hollyoaks Thu 23-Jul-09 21:55:31

My dds 18mo and she cant even say wee wee or papa, she laughs when we sit her on the potty and makes a weewee sound but doesnt really get it. I dont think shes ready, she'll get there in her own time, no big deal.

ches Fri 24-Jul-09 04:13:42

I think that the age you start makes no difference as long as you're taking a relaxed approach to it and have reasonable expectations of what your child can do based on their stage of development. I started when my DS was 14 months old and "wee wee" was one of his first words. Loads of children younger are able to sign that they need to go long before they can talk.

IMO the late potty training is partly Huggies/Pampers' fault, and partly because disposables reduced the incentive to potty train around 18 months and when parents tried at 2 years they found their children were in a very normal, but very negative, developmental stage. They get through that stage and into a much more cooperative one in the late 2s, early 3s. However, by that stage they've known what wee/poo was and have learned that a nappy is where it goes, hence all these desperate threads about children who will only poo in a nappy. For many children, the sudden transition is v. hard.

If I were suddenly told I couldn't write with my right hand anymore it would take me a lot longer than a week to write legibly with my left, and it completely flummoxes me that people expect small children to figure it out. I also find it bizarre that people expect babies to sleep through the night and accuse them of being able to manipulate, but don't think children are capable of weeing/pooing in a toilet until they're pushing pre-school.

ches Fri 24-Jul-09 04:15:54

Sorry, I meant to say, lots of young babies/toddlers are able to ask non-verbally, but are not yet capable of being reliable.

girlywhirly Fri 24-Jul-09 13:14:05

I agree with sausage. I think that disp. nappies are so absorbent that the child barely realises they've wet. And so it's no surprise that they freak when they have wee pouring down their legs when the nappy is off. Same with poo, it is close to them in the nappy, and then they can't cope with the 'dropping away' sensation on the potty. I think that children need to be aware of their bodily functions before they can ever hope to learn to control them.

Surely popping a child on a potty for a couple of minutes at each nappy change from babyhood would accustom them to these sensations, and it would just be part of the daily routine? The nappies would be on in between. If the baby was shown what they had done in the potty, and praised for it, surely they would come to realise as a toddler that this was a good thing Mummy being pleased with them? As there is no pressure and no getting cross if they don't do anything.

I think a lot of children are trained late because their parents are completely confused about the best way to go about it, there is no magic way guaranteed to work with all children, and 'advice' from well-meaning MIL's and so on making them feel guilty when nothing seems to work.

Perhaps there is an element of disadvantage in allowing children to use nappies as a toilet for 3 yrs+ and then suddenly expecting them to use a plastic thing instead. I suspect some parents find nappies easier than trying to find toilets/ potties in a rush and deal with mess/ soiled carpets etc. And there's always the possibility that other children may remark that X is still a baby 'cos he still wears nappies, but not damaging enough to need therapy in the future. It's punishment and shaming them that does that.

sausagerolemodel Sun 26-Jul-09 20:15:20

girly whirly that's exactly what I have been doing with my DD (almost 8 months). We got a potty chair from Mothercare and from quite early on always popped her on it between nappy changes. Can't recall when, but she soon got the idea and now always goes in the potty when she gets up the morning. She will usually fuss and get a bit shouty if she wants a poo any other time so we can pop her on it.Don't always get there in time but its no big deal if we do get the odd poo-ey nappy.

We are trying to teach signing so that as soon as she's able she can tell us when she wants to go, although for the reasons you state (disposables being so absorbant) I think the only way we will manage to get her to do the same for wee as well as poo is to use something less absorbant that gives her feedback.

I was originally using to use cloth nappies from birth and then chickened out of the laundry responsibilities grin so my pact with the devil was that I'd use disposables but for the shortest period possible, hence training her from earliest we could.

PS My brother is convinced it will all go backwards as soon as she can walk and doesn't have to stay on the potty any more! What do you reckon?

troutpout Sun 26-Jul-09 20:25:32

yes op...that is a load of bollox
A healthy age is when they are ready.

OnlyWantsOne Sun 26-Jul-09 20:30:46

my DD was 2 + 3 months and didnt want to wear nappies any more, but some pants that she discovered in her room... never looked back

I do feel a little sorry for a friend in RL, her son is 4 and still in nappies. (I think that is due to lazyness on all of their parts) as when he's here, I take his nappy off and he uses the loo like my DD hmm

ThingOne Sun 26-Jul-09 20:35:04

OP, I agree it's a load of bollocks. My DS1 was well over three and was simply not interested or bothered. When asked if he wanted to go for a we like his friends or daddy he just looked puzzled and said no. He was in cloth nappies and was perfectly aware when he was having a wee or a poo. He just didn't want to change how he did it.

In the end we just took the nappies away and it still took six weeks to get him to use the potty. He just didn't care.

Now he's 5.6 none of his school friends know or care who was potty trained when. Some still need nappies at night but as far as they are concerned it's totally normal.

RhinestoneCowgirl Sun 26-Jul-09 20:41:18

DS was 2 yrs 4 months when he suddenly didn't want to wear nappies (which were mostly cloth). I was 8 months pg with DD at the time and wasn't planning to start training him. However it was a completely painless experience with v few accidents, I think because he had decided to do it. I had tried half heartedly about 6 weeks before this and there were puddles everywhere - he just wasn't ready.

I think it was quite common for people to pot younger babies (once they could sit up) when cloth nappies were the norm as it cut down on laundry.

sausagerolemodel Sun 26-Jul-09 20:43:35

oh BTW i meant to add that I also think that what the OP was told is bollox - I don't think late potty training going to cause damage, its horses for courses innit?

WesternBelle Sun 26-Jul-09 20:50:11

That's just another mum's opinion zebramummy.

Are you saying that you've tried and been unsuccessful at potty training, or have you never tried?

girlywhirly Mon 27-Jul-09 14:18:21

Sausage, your brother has a point! To keep a walking DD sitting, you might have to sit with her and sing songs/recite finger rhymes/ look at picture books. See if you can get a dolls potty for her favourite dolly/teddy to sit on at the same time as DD is on hers. Distraction! You still need to be prepared for toddler refusal when they try to assert their independence and say no to everything.

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