When can you start potty training?
A quick Google search will recommend potty training any time from 18 months. In the UK, most parents start potty training when their child is between 2 and 3 years of age. However, in other countries, over 50% of all babies complete potty training by 12 months. But how do they do this?
Babies in countries like China, India, Africa, South America, Indonesia, Pakistan, Russia and Finland begin potty learning much sooner. In fact, helping a baby to wee or poo outside of a nappy in a potty or other receptacle is completely normal. By the time these babies have started walking, along with developing other skills such as language and memory, they have also learned some potty skills.
This gentle learning, known as “elimination communication”, or “baby pottying” mean that when it’s time to leave nappies behind, the child already understands what a potty is for, how to use it and is also more aware of when they will need to go. “Potty training” in the way we understand it, doesn’t really exist in these cultures. Instead, potty learning as part of global skill development is something that many cultures see as a positive way to move towards earlier independence from nappies.
Potty learning in infancy used to be something that was common in the UK before the introduction of disposable nappies. In the UK, just 50 years ago, it was normal for babies to start potty learning as soon as they could sit up and over 92% of babies were potty trained by 18 months. The knowledge of how to help very young babies use a potty and to leave nappies behind by 18 months existed in the community; a parent, grandparent, neighbour or friend would often be called upon to impart knowledge and help along the way. Thanks to disposable nappies however, this knowledge is becoming lost.
So why do we train ‘later’?
Cultural notions are actually the biggest influence on when to start potty training. In the UK, parents train later because we are now urged to “wait for readiness”. But interestingly, the very concept of “readiness” doesn’t exist in other cultures. They see babies are “ready” from birth and the learning process happens gradually, much in the same way that babies learn other skills such as crawling or walking. And there is some good science behind starting earlier – research shows that earlier potty training is better for babies bladders and bowels, not to mention reducing the impact of disposables on the environment. Earlier potty training also means these skills are developed at an age when a toddler is most receptive to learning them.
What does it involve?
Baby pottying does not mean using no nappies at all, but thinking differently about them. It involves helping young babies to use a potty at certain times, as much or as little as you want to. From 18 months, you can take a gentle potty training approach to help your child leave nappies behind from good.
Would you like to learn more?
At Little Bunny Bear we offer:
– Potty Learning classes from 0-18 months
– Potty Training classes over 18 months+
– 1-2-1 sessions
– Meetups and a Facebook support group for parents and carers to ask for advice, share information and tips regarding potty/toilet training
You can find out more and book a class via www.littlebunnybear.com/gopotty