Potty Training Then and Now
2/25/2007 | by Jen Singer
My mother swears that she potty trained me by 14 months and my brother by 18 months. I can’t remember back that far, so I just have to take her word for it, even though, deep down, I’m hoping it’s a little white lie.
My own kids didn’t potty train until three months before their third birthdays, though for a while there, I thought my younger son might go earlier. When he started peeing in the potty shortly after his second birthday, I congratulated myself and began celebrating the end of diaper-changing.
But my revelry was a bit premature. It turns out that what I had thought was my toddler’s sign of potty training readiness was really just him wanting to imitate his big brother. To him, it was a novelty, one that he soon gave up for another nine months. That’s when it became clear to me that my toddler was going to potty train on his own schedule.
I’m sure this all seemed entirely too late to my mother, but she never said so. She did remind me more than once that I was potty trained shortly after I learned how to walk. My kids, on the other hand, were walking, talking almost preschoolers before we completed the potty training process. And guess what? That’s pretty normal nowadays.
Though every kid trains on his own schedule, the average age these days for children to be fully potty trained – day and night – is 34 months for girls and 37 months for boys. That’s because potty training experts now believe that parents should look for signs of readiness before starting potty training, because, ultimately, our children are in charge of their own bodies.
I believe that waiting until my son was truly ready to give potty training a go likely shortened the amount of time we spent training. Once he went from potty-as-novelty to potty-readiness, the potty training went quickly and (mostly) smoothly. And I got to celebrate in due time – no matter what my mother might have thought of it.