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  Easy Potty Training - REVISED EDITION

How Clothing Affects Toilet Training

Only 40 years ago, ninety percent of 2 ½ year olds were toiled trained in America; by 1997 it had fallen to only 22%.

What has happened?

Are our children less capable of being continent than their parents or grandparents?

One of the main reasons seems to be the prolonged use of disposable diapers. Toddlers in cloth diapers became much more aware of their elimination processes, and toilet trained much quicker than toddlers in disposables.

Perhaps it is also the fact that nowadays we dress little boys and girls alike in trousers and tops, or dungerees, which are harder for the children to manage by themselves.

How They Did Things In The Past

The Victorians also dressed boys and girls alike...in dresses. This continued until the boys were toilet trained, so it was a big thing for the boy, at around age three, to finally get out of his sisters' skirts, and go into shorts or knickerbockers. It was very easy for a boy or girl in dress to stand or squat down and ‘go' without having to mess around with buttons and zips and without wearing any underwear.

And remember, seamed underpants didn't come in, even for adults, until the middle to late 19th century. Until then, adults would either wear no underwear at all or drawers which covered the legs and went around the waist, but were not seamed underneath.

Potty Training In Other Countries

In many warm countries, village people leave their babies diaperless and bare-bottomed if only because they can't afford to clothe their children completely. Combined with the natural surroundings the baby can ‘go' with little or no adult help. The toddler becomes more and more aware of their bodily needs and basically self trains.

In a lot of countries, where babies are carried around on the mothers' backs, babies are toilet trained early, around the age of one year. This is usually when another baby arrives and so the first baby toliet trained and weaned at around the same time.

The Chinese in rural China have traditionally had clothing with a slit in the back, enabling babies and toddlers to squat-and-go on the ground without wetting or soiling themselves, and without parental help, at least in theory.

It may not be practical or wise to let a child run around bare-bottomed in the middle of winter, even in a centrally heated apartment, but you might want to consider putting a toddler out in the yard on a hot summer's day with a bare bottom.


In any event, research at the University of Kansas showed that putting toddlers in underwear, rather than diapers or training pants enabled the children to be continent much more easily. The toddlers were more conscious of being wet and therefore were more able and willing to communicate their needs to ‘go potty.'

You too can be free of diapers!

Read our site to see how, if you or your mother were toilet trained by age 2 ½ , your baby can be too!

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