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Health & Parenting

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Bye-Bye Diapers?

New potty training method suggests that some infants can be toilet trained before their first birthday.

Not so Fast... continued...

McCoy says that her greatest concern is the unrealistic expectations that the parent may have as well as the potential for struggles around an issue that ultimately only the child can control. "In older children, we see voluntary withholding that leads to constipation, inappropriate soiling, and voiding dysfunction if they are pressured into toilet learning before they are ready," she tells WebMD. "The same difficulties are potential problems for the child under 1."

A recent study in Pediatrics showed that the average age for completing toileting in girls is about 32 months and in boys is about 35 months. "I think there are subsets within the population that successfully accomplish toileting at earlier ages (18-24 months), but the trend really continues to be between 2 and 3 years of age," she says. "A generation ago I believe there was the same push to early training, but as with many things, the pendulum swings."

While "it is fine to expose the child to toileting and establish a routine, be neutral with regard to expectation," she advises. "In other words, no pressure to perform, no stress around it, and it's OK to give up and try again when the child is older."

Even Davidson agrees with this. "I think it's an approach that is not right for every family," she says. "I don't think it's good to do it in a goal-oriented way and expect by X date that your child will be fully potty trained. But I think for a family who wants to learn a child's cues and help a child learn to respond to cues, it's neat and really amazing to see a young infant let you know they have to use the bathroom."

What Would Freud Say?

Father of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud, may very well turn over in his grave if he heard of diaper-free babies. According to Freud, a child can have problems later in life if the toilet training doesn't go well, or is too strict. For example, an adult might strive for perfection or excessive cleanliness because they were too harshly toilet trained.

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