Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Potty Training: When to Do It?

Carrie and I have chosen very different times to potty train our children, so I thought it might interest the peanut gallery to hear some of the pros and cons (at least according to her and me) for potty training early v. late. I've just begun training my 25-month old twin boys, so potty training is all I'm thinking about!

I would consider "early" potty training to be in the 18-month to 2 1/4-year old range. "Late" potty training is 3+. Then, there's a big spread in the middle that would involve issues on both the early and late sides. I've chosen to train my children early (daughter at 23 months; boys--just begun at 25 months) and Carrie's gone with the later age range (3 1/2 years for her boys).

If you haven't gotten to the potty training stage yet with your child(ren), it's worth considering the following; there really isn't a right or a wrong way to potty train as long as you do it, expect your child to obey once he/she demonstrates full capability/knowledge, and keep the peace in your household :).

Pros of Early Training (these are all generalizations):

  • less laundry/effort if your child is in cloth diapers--maybe a year and a half less!
  • less money/trash if your child is in disposables
  • child still wants to please Mommy/Daddy, so battles of the will aren't typical
  • rewards can be smaller--a Skittle, an M&M, etc.
  • you might not be out and about as much as when the child is older, so you'll have lots of home time to practice
Cons of Early Training (again, generalizations)
  • much more parental time/involvement required (child can't pull his/her pants up, child can't reach potty by him/herself, etc.)
  • can take longer just because you're often starting with a child who doesn't have tons of awareness of his/her bodily functions
Pros of Later Training
  • typically easier, if you can find the right motivation for your child
  • less parental involvement needed (child can dress him-/herself, reach the potty, etc.)
  • typically faster--the child is usually pretty aware of what's going on
Cons of Later Training
  • can result in a battle of the will; parent's approval isn't quite the be all, end all it is for a toddler
  • you have to spend that much more time/money on diapers!
  • you might be move involved in activities (like preschool) that can complicate time needed for practice/reliability

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