We Call Bullshit On Potty Training In The US

This article, originally titled The Economics of American Potty Training, appears here courtesy of our content partner, Mama Fish Saves

Over the past few weeks, Daddy Fish and I went through a parenting rite of passage. We potty trained 20-month-old Fuss Fish. All in all, it wasn’t as bad as we feared. Yes, day one had a couple of pees on the floor. Day two had an attempted squat in the laundry room. But by day three, Fuss was rocking his new Tiny Undies and communicating like a champ. He had a normal amount of accidents as he got the hang of his new found big boy status. I shed a few hormone laden momma tears about not being able to call him a baby anymore.

But this isn’t a mommy blog, so why in the world am I talking about potty training? Well, money sticks its fingers in everywhere. And the diaper game is no exception.

When we told our friends we were ditching diapers, a number of them told us, “but he’s still so little!” Our pediatrician, whom we love, warned us not to force it. She said that some verbal toddlers can talk about the potty, but that we shouldn’t assume that means they are ready to potty train. This seemed very odd to me. So I did what I do and started my research.

The Rise of the Disposable Diaper

When I started to research potty training, one shocking fact stuck out to me:

Globally, more than 50% of babies are potty trained by 12 months old.

12 months? How could this possibly be true? Fuss only had a handful of words at 12 months. Most American parents don’t even start potty training until age two or beyond. I’ve seen the average potty trained age quoted from 30-36 months, with one estimate putting the average age for boys at 39 months today. The majority of the world’s children being potty trained at 12 months seemed insane to me.

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