As the potty training journey begins, the question of when to start arises. The answer is simple: as soon as possible. Let us momentarily disregard the notion of waiting for "signs of readiness," which, in my perspective, serves as a marketing tool to perpetuate the purchase of disposable diapers.
Our grandmothers, who didn't have the luxury of disposable diapers, didn't delay the potty training process. In the mid-1950s, prestigious institutions like Harvard discovered that nearly 90 percent of 24-month-old American children had experienced a month without accidents. This means that successful toilet training, under the guidance of our grandmothers, typically occurred between 20 to 22 months of age. However, let's transcend this timeframe and explore the practices of other cultures.
Indigenous communities carry their babies on their backs and effortlessly guide them toward self-control at even younger ages. Therefore, we can confidently initiate potty training as soon as we feel prepared, bypassing the limitations imposed by societal expectations.
Acknowledging the differences in parenting practices across cultures is crucial, especially when it comes to potty training. Many cultures worldwide have a natural inclination to keep their children close, creating a nurturing and secure environment. These mothers intuitively attend to their child's well-being, including body temperature, food intake, and bowel movements. This close connection allows practices known as Elimination Communication (EC) to flow effortlessly.
Now, I'm not suggesting that you carry your child all day or co-sleep. However, I encourage you to adopt a similar mindset and embrace your connection with your child. Recognize that you are continually modeling their experiences and behaviors. Teach them to eat by sharing meals together. Demonstrate calmness to help them find their own peace. Guide them through the process of using the potty by actively participating with them.
Beyond the personal benefits of early potty training, we must also consider the environmental impact of disposable diapers. Each child consumes approximately 6,000 to 7,000 disposable diapers within the first 2.5 years of their life. These diapers do not simply vanish; they persist in our environment. If we genuinely care about our children's future, it is imperative to cease the purchase of disposable diapers and switch to more sustainable diapering practices.