No body tells this to mom and dad before they become parents. But one of the greatest dreams of any parent is the day that their children are able to go to the bathroom and do their business on their own.
But when is the right time to potty train the children?
Most specialists advise that parents should wait until the child is around two years old, so he or she is physically and mentally ready for potty training. Some children show signals that they are ready for training when they are approximately 18 months old.
Before parents start the process, it is important that parents pay close attention to their kids and notice if the child is ready for potty training.
It happens that many parents introduce toilet training to their children before that period and many do end up succeeding. But is the body of a child ready for that? Is it possible that the child will have some problems in the future if he or she is trained too early?
We made a list of problems that parents need to look out for when they decide to do early potty training with their children. Check it out!
14 Training Can Actually Take Longer
According to Michigan Medicine University, parents should not feel pressed to potty training their children before they are 18 months since it will take longer. An average potty training lasts from three to six months and if you start the process too early, it can take longer, since small children aren’t able to control their bladder yet.
It’s is also common that small kids show some resistance and have more problems to express their own needs. That is one of the reasons the potty training in small infants can consume more time.
Parents who choose to potty training their children early, don’t need to get rid of the diapers at once, but just part of the day, especially in hours that the parents can be around. If the child goes to daycare, for example, try to keep his diapers on and only take it away when he is at home.
13 Can Cause Bladder Issues
“ Toilet training is a highly complex training that is normally completed during the first 4 or 6 years of life”, says Richard Fotter at the book Pediatric Urology. According to the publication, emptying the bladder is a reflex for young infants and it takes time for them to control that aspect of life and recognize the meaning of the signals of their bodies.
12 months children are able to understand that they need to go the toilet and when they are about 18 months, they start to be able to control that. It’s important that your child is able to understand the connection between the feeling of fullness in their bladder and rectum and the act of going to the toilet.
Besides that, a child’s bladder stills growing until they are three years old and give it the freedom of filling and emptying uninhibited allows the bladder to grow stronger and faster. And early training is interrupting this natural process and can cause bladder issues in the future.
12 May Lead To Constipation
Another disadvantage of try to potty train your kid too early is that the process can lead to constipation. According to Journal of Neurogastroenterology and Motility, the number of children with constipation quadrupled in the last decade.
A study from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Centre followed 112 children aged between 3 and 10 years during six months. The research concluded that those who were potty trained before 2 years had three times more chances to suffer from constipation if compared to children who started the process when they were 2 or 3 years old.
Constipation can bring some issues for the children. The fullness in the bowels causes a pressure at the bladder and makes it’s harder for children to control the pee. If the pressure is a constant thing, it will also affect the bladder’s development.
11 Kidneys Can Be Put At Risk
The Kidney is responsible for producing urine, that is later sent to the bladder. Recent researches indicated that potty training too early can emphasize or even be the cause of urinary incontinence. That means that choosing the right time to take the diapers away from your children is very important for the health of their kidneys.
Experts recommend that parents should wait until the child is at least two years old to introduce the potty training in the little ones routine. When children are potty trained before two years old, it’s common that they present problems like urinary incontinence or holding back the urine for too long. Sometimes you won’t notice the damages before the child is about four of five years old.
Urinary incontinence can really complicate the toilet training process. Besides the inconvenience, it can also bring frustration to the child that is learning to control his\her bladder.
10 More Trips To The Doctors
In an article talking about the damages of potty training too early, the Pediatric Urologist Steve Hodges says that his clinic receives a massive number of patients who have different types of health issues because of holding habits. Most of them went through the process of early potty training ( before they were two years old).
In his article, Hodges defends that potty training in infants below two years old can be the root of “all toilet problems, including daytime pee and poop accidents, bedwetting, urinary frequency and urinary tract infections”.
As a result, those children are more likely to pay more visits to the doctors because of those issues. However, Hodges also believes that the number of kids in the clinics doesn't really represent the reality since many parents face potty problems as something normal and underestimate the long term issues they can cause and don’t bring them to the doctor.
9 More Accidents To Clean Up
An average potty training takes from three to six months. But it’s not a constant path and it’s normal that children take some steps back, specially if your child is very young. According to Michigan Medicine University , by the age of six, 90% of the children don’t wet the bed during the night. But, as most parents know, achieve a “dry night” is a long process.
As said before, it’s normal that small children aren’t able to have control of their bladders so accidents will happen and again: they will be more often if the child is too young, because their bladder is not strong enough.
Parents that chose to introduce that process in an earlier stage of their children’s lives, should be prepared to deal with that. Something important in any age is that parents never shame their children for toilet accidents and make them feel they have failed.
8 Increases The Chances Of UTIs
According to Dr Eric Jones, from the Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children's Hospital, approximately 8% of girls until seven years old have suffered from urinary tract infection. The percentage may look small, but it represents the one million of annual visits in pediatric clinics and 14% of emergency cases for girls.
Many small children, even on early age, are able to hold their needs for long hours because of daycare and elementary school routine. However, holding pee and poop for so many hours can be the cause some serious problems. If the kid doesn’t have the chance to pee when hehe needs, they will be more exposed to bacterias that may damage their bladders. As a result, they may have urinary tract infections.
Some schools have strict rules to limit access to their bathroom, something that goes against the advice of many specialists.
7 Parents And Baby Become More Stressed
Introducing new habits is never something easy and potty training at any age uses to be a sensitive subject, a source of stress and anxiety. It all starts before the training when you hear from your parents, sisters, cousins, friends, work colleagues ( and the lists goes on), that they were able to take the diapers away from the children easily and very early.
When you realize that your child doesn’t seem to follow the steps of other toilet prodigies and the process it much more difficult than people portrayed to you, you will get stressed and it will be a domino effect. The high-level stress in the household will overwhelm everybody, including the children.
Parents shouldn’t feel pressured to get rid of the diapers so soon and they should not press their children either. It’s not a race and each kid has their own time.
6 There's More Demanded Attention
As we said before, children are able to know the feeling of fullness in their bladder when they are about 12 months. When they are 18 months, they start to have some control of their bladder. So If you decide for an early potty training, you should be aware that emptying the bladder for your kid is a reflex, not something he is really able to control yet.
That means that they will demand much more attention than a child that is able to fully express their feelings, needs and understand what is going on their bodies. So parents should be more aware of the time they children use to pee and poo and remind them to go to the toilet.
This process can be tiring for the parents and it can take a while until they get in use to their children toilet routine.
5 Problems Can Arise Outside The House
It’s never enough to stress the importance of the child face toilet accidents as something natural. If the child feels from the parents that are just something that can happen, he/she will be more secure to deal with it and makes the process less stressful for the child.
However, if the child doesn’t feel secure, it can cause problems outside the house as well. If the child has a toilet accident outside the house and in public - at the daycare, in a shopping mall or in a birthday party for example - it can cause embarrassment and social issues at any age.
A small child will hardly stop playing with other children or any activity when they are having too much fun because they need to go to the toilet. Even if the parents decide for the early toilet training, they don’t need to do it full time. When you know that your child will be too busy having fun to think about going to the toilet, why not use a diaper?
4 There's No Control Before 18 Months
As we said before, it takes approximately 12 months for the child to understand the feeling of fullness in their bladder and bowels. They just start to have control of their sphincter when they are about 18 months. So the early potty training can only make the process learning longer and go against the natural development of the child’s body.
Our body has an anal and urinary sphincter. For the potty training being really successful both need to be physically mature and it’s important that parents understand - and respect - the limits of their kids' bodies.
Parents should also take into consideration that when the child gets older, the eating habits also become more constant and its reflects on the bowels movements. The bowel control during the night comes when the child is around two years old.
3 Kids Will Become Fearful
Any parent knows that children have a vivid imagination, Some fear seems to be inexplicable. The monsters can be under the bed, inside the closet and, why not, inside the toilet. So don’t underestimate the fear of your child. When you make it sound just like a silly thing, the chances of the potty training be more complicated are huge.
It’s normal that small children are afraid of falling or even sitting on it and show some resistance. Ignore the fear of a child can also lead the child to take some steps back and increase the chances of having toilet accidents more often.
Smaller children tend to be more resistant to the idea of using the potty. If the child is too small, give him/her time to get in use to the idea and see that there is nothing to fear about it.
2 Along With Growing Frustrations
Toilet accidents will happen along the way and it’s completely normal. It’s also common that parents feel frustrated and ask themselves what they are doing wrong. But they shouldn’t. And if you feel that it’s too early for your child, just postpone it for a few months, until they are ready.
However, if you can’t help the feeling of frustration, try to share it with other adults. When children have toilet accidents they shouldn’t be repressed because they did not something wrong. Something you absolutely don’t need is that your child links potty training to frustrating and tense moments. There are great chances that they will sense the parents' frustrations and feel they let their parents down.
Forcing your children to get rid of the diapers when they aren’t ready yet can create a lot of frustration and even affect their emotional development, especially toward the parents.
1 It Shouldn't Be A Competition
All parents are proud of the achievements of their children. But there isn’t un-failable recipe when you are raising a child. It’s important to understand that each kid has their own time, not only for using the toilet - but also for talking, walking and many other things.
We all want our children to make progress, but don’t face it as a competition. If the child of your neighbor succeeded in the toilet easily, good for them! But other children can’t be used to measure the success of your children. If fact, even among siblings you can notice differences.
Each person has a different rhythm and parents should respect it. You will notice that your child is ready to start potty training when he/she bowel movements are stable, pees a fair amount at once and he is also well coordinated enough to walk.