Start Potty Training Your Child Between 2 and 3, Study Says

Jan 25, 2010
If you think about potty training your child, the best time would be between ages two and three, specialists reveal.

The study conducted by Dr. Joseph Barone, chief of urology at Bristol-Myers Squibb Children's Hospital in New Brunswick, N. J. says that the time when to start to potty train a child is more important than method.

Scientists questioned the parents of 157 children aged between 4 and 12, diagnosed with urge incontinence, about the time when they started potty training and the method they applied. The study also included the answers of the parents of 58 children without incontinence problems, taking into account gender, race, age and other factors.

The results of the study showed that potty training a child after 32 months is more likely to lead to incontinence problems, such as bedwetting and daytime wetting, while potty training before the child reaches 27 months was not effective. The best age to potty train a child is between 27 and 32 months, scientists say.

There are two basic approaches of potty training a child. According to the first approach, it is best to potty train your child at an early age, while the second idea is to potty train when your child is older and shows the signs of readiness. Previous studies suggest that early potty training may not be effective, because it makes the process even longer and tiresome for a child and the parents.

During the study, the parents were asked to choose among three different methods of potty training. The child-oriented method of potty training included waiting for the child's readiness and making the child regulate the process. The parent-guided methods of potty training was oriented on parent's readiness and included potty training at regular intervals, while the third method used the combination of the two methods of potty training.

The findings of the study show that the method of potty training is not linked to the occurrence of daytime wetting or bedwetting problems in children later in life.

Specialists say that while the time of potty training is important, child's readiness should be a key factor. The child is ready to potty training when:
  • is able to stay dry for several hours during the day
  • can explain that he or she wants to go using words or gestures or facial expression
  • is able to understand and follow what parents say
  • is able to take off their pants
  • shows some interest in potty.