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Study: When and How to Potty Train?

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When our son was born, my husband and I vowed not to become “poopy parents”—you know, the kind who are obsessed with what’s in their kid’s diaper and talk about it at inappropriate times (like at adult dinner parties). Well, we knew that was going to be hard to avoid when one of the first gifts we received was a framed copy of an old magazine advertisement promising that you could potty train your baby at 8 weeks. As if. (That one never made it to the nursery wall.)? 

Now the gimlet eye of academia has turned its attention to the parental obsession with potty training, reports Time. Surprisingly, little research has been done on the effectiveness of various toilet training techniques. Over the years, parents have tried holding kids over the toilet after meals and encouraging elimination, using a regimented schedule of fluid intake and bathroom visits, trying systems of punishments and rewards, and—most recently—waiting until a kid shows interest in the process and seems ready, then just encouraging him along the way.

Dr. Darcie Kiddoo (great name!), a professor in the divisions of pediatric surgery and urology at the University of Alberta, decided to tackle the topic. She looked at all the available literature and found… there really isn’t enough evidence to recommend one technique over another. Oh well. For now, the American Academy of Pediatrics continues to recommend that parents take cues from their kids, and plan to start potty training at around 18 months… if the child seems interested and ready. 

So… how old were your kids when you were finally diaper-free (and how did you do it)?

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