Since children do not have the ability to teach themselves how to eliminate in a hygienic location, potty training is something that every parent must do as part of their child’s care, whether they live in a tribal culture or developed nation. Age of potty training varies around the world, from starting at birth to starting at preschool age, but the benefits are the same, no matter when you begin or where you live.
Society dictates that people beyond early childhood should not eliminate in a diaper. Therefore, it’s necessary to teach children to eliminate in a toilet so that we do not offend our peers. This societal pressure even comes from other parents when a parent considers when it’s no longer acceptable for a child to use a diaper. However, when that societal pressure begins, greatly depends on what culture you live in. In some cultures, potty training starts in infancy and a child in diapers at age one or two would be considered social unacceptable by peers. In the United States, it’s not until a child is about 4 years old that diapers are considered socially unacceptable.
That societal pressure to use a toilet can be felt in even the youngest of children. According to pediatrician Jill M. Lekovic in the book “Diaper-Free Before 3”, even preschoolers feel the societal pressure to be potty trained. Lekovic states that potty-trained preschoolers are more independent than preschoolers who are not potty-trained, and that being potty trained for the toilet gives them, “an amazing amount of confidence in the world of preschool socialization.” Potty training helps give a child a positive self-image and control over her own body.
Toilet and potty training offers several health benefits. Some studies, including the 2002 study, entitled, “Results of a questionnaire evaluating the effects of different methods of toilet training on achieving bladder control” published in the "British Journal of Urology and a 2009 study published in the “Journal of Pediatric Urology,” show that later toilet training is associated with an increased risk for urinary and bowel problems, like urinary tract infections and lack of bladder control. Potty-trained children also spread fewer fecal related diseases, such as infectious diarrhea, which is especially important in daycare and preschools, for the health of all children.
Potty training is also a way to go green. Disposable diapers contribute to landfills and may never decompose. In addition, a lot of resources go into making disposable diapers. Cloth diapers also have an environmental impact in the amount of water, energy resources and soap used to clean the diapers. Potty training saves resources and energy -- and fewer materials end up in the garbage.
- Diaper-Free Before 3; Jill M. Lekovic, M.D.; 2006
- Early-Start Potty Training; Linda Sona, PhD; 2005
- Results of a Questionnaire Evaluating the Effects of Different Methods of Toilet Training on Achieving Bladder Control; British Journal of Urology; 2002
- Later Toilet Training is Associated with Urge Incontinence in Children; Journal of Pediatric Urology; 2009
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