The Thinking Parent:
Potty Training Later?
By Jennifer Hahn
Previous studies have suggested that children are completing toilet training later than in preceding generations. For example, more than 97 percent of children were potty trained by age three in the 1950s. Currently, that number is only about 50 percent.
Researchers at the Children’s Hospital of Pennsylvania at the University of Pennsylvania evaluated the factors associated with later toilet training. Participants were 378 children between the ages of 17 and 19 months. Parents were interviewed every two to three months until their children completed daytime toilet training.
The average age of toilet training was about 36 months. However, 16 percent of children were not daytime trained until after 42 months. Three factors consistently were found to be associated with later toilet training. One was initially starting potty training at a later age. A second was refusing to have a bowel movement in the toilet. The third was frequent constipation.
Source: Blum, N.J., Taubman, B., & Nemeth, N., July 2004, Why is toilet training occurring at older ages? A study of factors associated with later training. The Journal of Pediatrics, 145, 107-111.
© Jennifer Hahn
NFO contributor Dr. Jennifer Hahn is the editor of The Thinking Parent, a quarterly publication reviewing research of interest to parents: child development and parenting, pregnancy and childbirth, physical health, mental health and education. With more than 12 years of experience in research at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Dr. Hahn received her Ph.D. from the University of Maryland Baltimore County and completed her residency at the University of Virginia Health Sciences Center. She is the mother of two daughters.
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