I don’t know why I’m so fascinated by this. Maybe because potty training is a struggle for so many of us and it comforts me to know that every parent since the beginning of time has had to “toilet” train their kid in one way or another.
It also comforts me to realize how EASY we have it as parents today…take a look at this article at ReachMe. People used to wrap their babies butts in animal skins and/or leaves, you’ve gotta work with what you’ve got! And check out what they did in the 1800s- they modernized the diaper by moving to cloth but didn’t feel the need to wash wet ones…just hung them out to dry. Can you imagine the smell?!
When we smartened up in the early 1900’s and were introduced to bacteria, the diapers started getting washed. Around that same time ReachMe’s articile notes that parents were encouraged to start potty training as young as 6 months and as early as 3 months in some cases. What the WHAT?! Moms were also encouraged to use suppositories to get baby on a schedule with bowel movements.
Thankfully in the 1950’s we realized that wasn’t the gentlest of approaches and started a more child friendly potty training techniques. The focus was more on when the child was ready…most kids were potty trained around 18 months.
Then along came disposable diapers. Some would suggest we’ve become a little lazy because of it. The typical age to START potty training now is between 22 and 30 months. All this history has lead to study after study on the best ways to potty train. There are thousands of books and methods you can look into to find what works best for your child.
One thing that reading this history helped me with as I potty trained my daughter- kids are capable of doing it. They WILL use the potty. Don’t second guess if you’ve started too early or too late, or agonize over getting that stupid singing stand alone potty from Target or the pink princess seat that sits over your toilet. Your child WILL get it. And if they don’t…maybe threatening to go back to our roots and wrapping their butt in rabbit skin will do the trick. Just kidding, that didn’t work for us either. :p