"The Dangers of Potty Training Too Early"

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alwayssmile's picture
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"The Dangers of Potty Training Too Early"

http://www.babble.com/toddler/toddler-health-safety/dangers-potty-training-early/index.aspx#

Here's an interesting article on one doctor's perspective on why it's dangerous to potty train early. Since we've been a very civil board about more hot button topics than PTing, I figure we can discuss this pretty well. Thoughts?

Lurkers, please stay in the spirit of the board with being friendly and accepting of varying opinions. Biggrin

alwayssmile's picture
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Well, he first irritates me because he doesn't understand the difference between EC and early forced potty training. There are different ways to go about potty training and I feel like he's lumping all early trainers together, no matter how they go about it. I also kinda feel like he's saying everyone from the first couple of thousand years of human life, where early potty training was the norm, almost all had bladder and constipation issues of some kind. If those trained early today have higher incidents of bladder problems, wouldn't it stand to reason that pretty more people had them when almost everyone trained early?
Mind you Aiden isn't PT and I don't feel that early potty training is right for every single child and every single family. I just don't believe in his argument nearly as much as he does. Interesting perspective though and great reminder that forcing a child who clearly is fighting PTing isn't the best route. Not to mention definitely bad to discipline a child for accidents!

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This guy is a piece of work. Everything he says is based on his opinion, not on facts, statistics, or even sound parenting advice. Yes, kids don't like to interrupt play to go potty. Do you cherish taking time out of your day to poop? Yes, holding your pee or poop too long can be damaging to ANYONE but PTing doesn't mean your kid necessarily pees or poops any less frequently than he/she would in diapers. OF COURSE he sees lots of kids with bladder problems, he's a pediatric urologist! Do you regularly take your healthy child to a pediatric urologist? Perhaps children prone to bladder problems are more likely to potty train early for other reasons. Did Dr PottyPants think of that? No.

I agree, Jackie. He's not clear on what EC is and he is lumping all PTing styles together. Its not just children in Europe that potty train earlier (didn't you love the condescending reference to Europeans?). Children all over the world routinely ditch diapers (if they use them at all) MUCH earlier than American children. Its not that American children are some how functionally inferior to these billions of other kids. They have the same bowels and the same urge. What's different is that they have American parents. American parents who use disposable diapers that disrupt a child's ability to detect when they've soiled themselves. American parents who work and therefore aren't around the child 100% of the time to cue in on their efforts to communicate the need to use the bathroom. American parents who are terrified of getting a little poop in their floor. American parents who are too busy ranting about PTing on their pregnancy forum to realize her 18mo is trying to tell her to let her out of her highchair to she can go pee. Wink I've been giving T the opportunity to use the potty since she was 3 months old. In no way am I forcing my child to use the potty and I would never yell at my child for having an "accident". Learning to use the potty in our modern American society is a process. How to go about that process is up to the parent and so long as its done in a loving way that responds to a child's needs then its NOT "dangerous". At least no more dangerous than extended breastfeeding, proper baby-wearing, and baby-led weaning.

ange84's picture
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You have both said everything so well. I got a book out from the library not long ago on toilet training boys which had a similar attitude to this article, basically it said there is no way a boy can be toilet trained before 3 and to not even bother trying to intorduce the potty until 2.5. Every child is sdifferent and I can tell by Ronin's reaction when he has an accident he is getting ready to be toilet trained, prior to know it has just been a slow introduction to the toilet. He was afraid of the big toilet for awhile so that time we used in early toilet training helped get over thhose fears for him.

I also agree with Erin, I wouldn't be going to see a specialist unless my child had an issue and therefore his personal date and observations are very biased. Even taking data from GP's would be biased because you would be taking them a sick child, not a well child in those instances.

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I dont know. I think alot of it "sounds" like it makes sense (I realize there is a lack of evidence and what not). Although I think you're right, strict scheduled potty training is what he's talking about, so I think those of you who are doing it here are NOT doing it like that.

I asked a friend recently about potty training her 2 year old. She said she's not ready yet, and she's rather potty train in 2 days once she's ready then struggle with it for 10 months. THat sort of makes sense to me.

I can see both sides of the argument really. But I do agree he is talking about "extreme" potty training that has these results.

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I see absolutely no scientific evidence to back this up. This article is based soley on his opinion and experience as being a pediatric urologist. I agree that there may be a correlation between being constipated and having incontinence problems, however where is there any proof that early toilet-training is the cause of constipation?

I have no idea if his theories are right or not, but I tend to get worked up over extremely flawed logic. I'm still sticking with my plan to PT around 2 1/2 (if he's ready) which worked great for my DD. You can tell, as a parent, when your own child is ready, and I'm sure this is different for every child.

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Wow, I guess I never realized there were so many varied opinions on potty training. I guess I need to read up on that more.
My thought is that whether you do it early or late doesn't matter so much as making sure you aren't forcing your child to do anything they aren't ready for and don't get upset about accidents. And if my child were potty trained or potty training, I would probably remind them to go sit on the potty every so often just to try even if they didn't think they needed to go.

If I were at home during the day I would likely be starting Isabelle on some introduction to using the potty, however since I am at work, I will probably end up waiting until she is older and can hopefully train in a weekend so DH won't have quite as much to deal with. I don't think he would be ready to try training her at this point-I still need to get him on board with cutting down on bottle use.

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the way this doctor presented the information is very flawed. from what i understand there are many reasons that a person gets constipated. did he mention that he was able to rule out other reasons that his patients were constipated. it is silly articles like this that get parents self diagnosing their children which can end up being dangerous. when you are a licensed medical professional and want to write something like this way more evidence and stats are needed.

with N we are using a casual approach. for the most part he pees in the potty except for overnight. poops he hasnt done for some reason but will tell me as soon as hes done so i can change him. every persons method is different which is a good thing because every child is different.

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"jperry5683" wrote:

every persons method is different which is a good thing because every child is different.

^
This!

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*one of those crazy lurkers* ha ha! I'm very nice though!

So my son is 2yrs9month old and is just about daytime trained in about a 2 week span. I would have thought this article was hogwash until last week and then personal experience makes me rethink. Ethan wanted to PT on his own (a bunch of kids at his daycare were starting to show up in pull ups or underwear). So we said sure, let's give it a whirl. He did great with pee - very few accidents and he's pretty much fully trained for pee. Poop on the other hand was a huge process. He caused himself to get very constipated because he didn't want to poop in the toilet. He was so constipated one night that he was up all night in pain and we actually gave him stool softeners etc (I'm fairly anti-drug). He was holding it and causing problems to himself. We have managed to work through it and he now poops on the toilet, thank goodness!!!! So though the article is biased a child really can have constipation issues that arise from potty training. I also think the younger a child is, the harder it is to explain to them that holding it will make it harder to poop in the long run. Ethan did NOT understand this concept. Not sure what age a child would understand though?

Second thought is this - I wonder if a big part of PT problems in the USA are caused by poor diet? Most Americans eat far more constipating food items than the rest of the world. This would also make me wonder about early PTing in the past when people ate a lot more healthy, unprocessed food, and vegetables.

Finally, the article is not factual, I think he creates an assumption that the constipation is causing the urinary problems which is all caused by early PTing. That's a lot of assuming! Also, I personally wonder if the children with these problems are Night Potty Trained. We don't intend to train at night until DS is MUCH older just because I don't want him to have to hold his pee 10-11 hours! Night training IMHO makes sense when your child is already waking up dry.

My two cents! Smile

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This article is intresting too:
http://www.parentingscience.com/science-of-toilet-training.html

At the end it talks a bit about how PT too late may cause problems.

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"Louiseab" wrote:

This article is intresting too:
http://www.parentingscience.com/science-of-toilet-training.html

At the end it talks a bit about how PT too late may cause problems.

I like this article! And he used references!!

alwayssmile's picture
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Mel, I absolutely really feel that the currently average American diet plays a role. How many kids regularly eat fast food and other processed foods? How many of these kids that this doctor sees eats whole grains and vegetables every day? How many were BF versus FF?
Another thought I had yesterday while laying in misery (stupid cold) is that many early PTers are actually just doing day PTing, not night. Night training to many is completely different, and I think he lumped all of these thoughts in together.

TFS Louise. Smile