Parents often want to get started potty training their children as early as possible. The question often becomes how early is too early and when should you start.
A recent article in the journal Pediatrics, Relationship Between Age at Initiation of Toilet Training and Duration of Training: A Prospective Study, provides parents some help. This study found that starting intensive toilet training early, which is defined as asking your child to use the potty more than 3 times a day, resulted in kids who were potty training at a younger age than parents who started later. However, the study also found that the earlier you started, the longer it took. And kids who began intensive training before 27 months didn't necessarily finish potty training before kids who started later.
This study doesn't mean that you should wait until after 27 months to start training, but it does offer some interesting points, including that parents in the study:
- started some form of potty training at about 21 months (took out a potty chair, etc), but didn't start intense training until 29 months (asking their child to use the potty more than 3 times a day)
- finished potty training at an average of 37 months
- took about 5-10 months to complete potty training and this was even longer, about 14 months, for parents who started before their child was 24 months old. In general, the older the child was when they started potty training, the less time it took to complete training.
The study also found that most parents misjudged when their child was ready to begin training, but it didn't find any negative factors, such as constipation or encopresis, with starting too early.
I think that the main point of this article is too show that parents shouldn't be in too big of a rush to begin potty training.
In our own polls, most parents reported similar results, starting potty training at 24 months and finishing between 2 1/2 to 3 years.