Friday, May 7, 2010

Potty Training in Other Cultures

Potty Training Around the World

Parents introduce the potty but let children go at their own pace. Most give up diapers by age 3, Cordula Zastera says.

Children tend to go on the potty at a younger age — at 1 to 1 1/2, according to Isidra Mencos — perhaps because babies in Cuba wear cloth diapers almost exclusively. (Cloth diapers are less comfortable when wet than super-absorbent disposable diapers.)

The issue of potty training has sparked a generational clash, according to BabyCenter editor Sasha Miller. "Most parents now potty-train when their child is around 2 years old, but grandparents say it should be done at 6 months, because that's when they did it. They raised their own babies in old-fashioned terry cloth diapers, and often had them closer together than we do today. So getting the older baby out of nappies was a priority — and old habits die hard.

India and China
In both India and China, parents start the toilet training process very early. When babies are a few months old, their parents regularly hold them over the potty, and say shhhh or make a similar sound to signal that it's time to go. "It may take some time," says Vidya Sen, "but once a habit is formed, the baby will happily oblige every time." In China, according to Joy Jia, small children often wear special pants with a split in the back so they can easily relieve themselves.

United States
Most U.S. children are potty-trained between the ages of 2 and 3. Parents are advised to watch for signs of readiness and let the kids set the pace, says BabyCenter editor Linda Murray. A small but vocal group of parents around the country have recently begun advocating early potty training. This method, known as elimination communication, is similar to the approach followed in India and China.

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