Better Late Than Early?

Better Late Than Early?

When is the best age to start toilet learning in children? A study published in the April 2003 issue of Pediatrics reports that starting intensive toilet training before 27 monthsdid nothing to hasten the time that toilet learning was completed – all it did was to lengthen the months of toilet learning. Intensive toilet training was defined as asking the child more than 3 times a day to use the toilet.

This study was conducted by researchers from Children’s Hospital Philadelphia among hundreds of middle-class children living in the Philadelphia suburbs. The results might have been quite different in other groups or in other countries. Even in similar groups, individual children mature at different rates and in different ways. Still, this report reminds us that kids will learn to use the potty when they are ready, and not before. Our job us to teach them and support them, not to force them.

Dr. Alan Greene

Dr. Greene is a practicing physician, author, national and international TEDx speaker, and global health advocate. He is a graduate of Princeton University and University of California San Francisco.

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