Potty Training Best Between Ages 2 and 3
If you’re ready to ditch your toddler’s diapers or training pants for good, the best time to start potty training maybe between the second and third birthdays.
A new study suggests 27 to 32 months is the ideal window for moving your child out of diapers. Children who were toilet trained after 32 months were more likely to have urge incontinence — daytime wetting and bed-wetting — between ages 4 and 12.
Researchers also discovered that it’s important not to start potty training too soon. Potty training children younger than 27 months generally doesn’t work and simply prolongs the process.
“There are two schools of thought on potty training. One is to try to train the kids very, very early, and another says you should wait until kids are older and demonstrating signs of being ready. But there has never been a study scientifically showing when is the best time,” says lead study author Dr. Joseph Barone, the chief of urology at Bristol-Myers Squibb Children’s Hospital in New Brunswick, N.J. “This study gives parents an idea of when it’s a good time to train,” he says.
If you feel like you’ve been changing diapers forever, you’re not alone. Over the last few decades, the mean age of potting training has crept up in the U.S. and other countries, including Brazil, Switzerland and China. In 1980, the mean age American children were toilet-trained was 26 months. In 2003, it was 36.8 months.
One possible explanation for later potty training is the widespread availability and convenience of disposable diapers, the study authors suggest. The report appeared in the December 2009 issue of the Journal of Pediatric Urology.