Study Up on Potty Training
5/28/2008 | by
What's "normal" when it comes to potty training? Should it take a month? A year? What age should it start?–and finish? By following hundreds of potty trainers through the process, the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) went straight to the source in an unprecedented study that revealed some long-awaited answers and a whole new approach to training.
- Every child progresses at his/her own pace.
- Potty training takes an average of 8 months.
- The average age for completion is 34 months for girls and 37.5 months for boys.
- The typical age for the start of potty training is 24 months.
- Switching back into diapers after you have moved to training pants may actually slow potty training progress.
- When it comes to success, things like temperament, development, use of daycare, previous toilet training experience or having an older sibling around actually have no impact on progress.
Is Your Child Ready?
The study revealed the typical age to begin potty training is around 24 months. Around this age, a child may start to exhibit the signs of readiness. If your child displays two or more of these signs, he or she may be ready to start potty training.
Tips For Mom, Dad & Other Caregivers
A positive attitude goes a long way with potty training success. The study revealed these techniques:
- Making the big switch from diapers to disposable training pants, cloth training pants or underwear
- Praise for progress
- Reminders to use the potty
- Being consistent
- Offering rewards
The study found techniques that are not effective:
- Use of force, spanking
- Making your child sit on the potty for long periods of time
- Running water while seated on the toilet or potty
Kids Set The Pace
Every child trains at their own pace. While the exact time frame is different for everyone, the research defined three basic stages of potty training all kids go through:
- Readiness This is the time to start teaching potty training basics, checking for interest and creating it with potty training books or videos. This is the perfect time to take your child on a shopping trip for potty training tools. (Average age: 24-27 months)
- Routine Building Routine Building Once your child shows two or more signs of readiness, begin coaching your child with familiar potty routines. Moving your child out of diapers is an important step in this stage.
- Reminders to go to the potty
- A trip to the toilet at certain times
- Rewarding successes. (Average age: 27-30 months)
- Completion Encourage independence by teaching skills such as wiping and hand washing. At this stage, your child begins to remember to go potty on his or her own. (Average age: 30-36 months)
The MCW Study was conducted from 1996 to 1998. Parents of 267 toddlers filled out and returned 10,741 weekly surveys to give researchers a comprehensive picture of the toilet