Toilet training, or potty training, is the process of training a young child to use the toilet for urination and defecation, though training may start with a smaller toilet bowl-shaped device (often known as a potty). Cultural factors play a large part in what age is deemed appropriate, with the expectation for being potty trained ranging from 12 months for some tribes in Africa to 36 months in the modern United States. Most children can control their bowel before their bladder, boys typically start and finish later than girls, and it usually takes boys longer to learn to stay dry throughout the night.[vague]
Most people advise that toilet training is a mutual task, requiring cooperation, agreement and understanding between child and the caregiver, and the best potty training techniques emphasize consistency and positive reinforcement over punishment – making it enjoyable for the child. There are articles suggesting that it is easier to toilet train a child when he/she is at least 18 months old, and for boys it is better to wait even longer since they usually lack the necessary language and fine motor skills. This time frame is much easier to use because of the child wanting to please his/her parents. Another method of toilet training is elimination communication.
It is also important to know that according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, more child abuse occurs during potty training than any other developmental step. That's why it is essential to be well informed on how to approach this task, and also try to introduce the potty well before the training starts. There are many tools, such as books and apps, that can be used.
History in the United States
Until the mid-1900s, the vast majority of babies finished toilet training by 2 years, and achieved nighttime dryness by 3 years. Since then, the age for toilet training has increased dramatically. The convenience of disposable diapers, pull-up diapers and more efficient laundry facilities may contribute to this trend.
The US Department of Labor Children’s Bureau put out a series of publications called Infant Care starting in 1914, and recommended toilet training to be started in the first year until the 1951 edition. In 1914, parents were advised to start toilet training by the third month "with the utmost gentleness". A somewhat harsh method that used suppositories to put the baby on a strict schedule of bowel movements was advocated in 1929 and 1935. In 1938, parents were advised to start bowel training "as early as the sixth month". By 1951, fears of psychological ramifications of early training surfaced and parents were advised to wait "between one and a half to two years" to commence training. However, in 1957, the average age of starting toilet training was still under one year, at 11 months, and 90% of children were dry during the day by 2 years.
In 2002, the average age that parents recognized their child "showing an interest in using the potty" was 24–25 months, and daytime dryness was achieved on average at almost 3 years of age. In 2011 both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Canadian Paediatric Society recommend starting when a child is 18 months old and shows interest in the process. Nighttime accidents are now considered normal until 5 or 6 years of age.
Potty training in Vietnam
Evidence from Vietnam suggests that more sophisticated communication between parents and their babies may permit potty training to start and be completed much earlier than is done in the West. In a two year study, Swedish researchers followed 47 Vietnamese infants and their mothers in Vietnam where potty training starts at birth and infants are usually trained by nine months of age. The technique is based on learning to be sensitive to when the baby needs to urinate. "The woman then makes a special whistling sound to remind her baby. The whistling method starts at birth and serves as an increasingly powerful means of communication as time goes on." According to the study, most babies can use the potty on their own by nine months of age if they are reminded, and they can generally take care of all their toileting needs by the age of two.
This type of practice is referred to as Elimination Communication. The 4 keys to Elimination Communication include: the baby's signals, the baby's natural timing, common potty timing, and the parents' intuition. It is believed that a deeper bond is created between child and parent through the strengthening of this communication. 
- Elimination communication
- Pants Pankuro, an education animated series in Japan used to educate on toilet training
- Infant potty training method
- Potty Training - How To Potty Train Boys Or Girls
Footnotes and citations
- Devries, MW; Devries, MR (1977). "Cultural relativity of toilet training readiness: A perspective from East Africa". Pediatrics 60 (2): 170–7. PMID 887331.
- Blum NJ, Taubman B, Nemeth N. "Relationship between age at initiation of toilet training and duration of training: A prospective study". Pediatrics 111: 81. PMID 10617723.
- Schum, T. R.; Kolb, T. M.; McAuliffe, T. L.; Simms, M. D.; Underhill, R. L.; Lewis, M. (2002). "Sequential acquisition of toilet training skills: A descriptive study of gender and age differences in normal children". Pediatrics 109 (3): e48. doi:10.1542/peds.109.3.e48. PMID 11875176.
- Toilet Training Your Child. FamilyDoctor.org. Retrieved on 2012-01-23.
- Surviving Toilet Training. Childwelfare.gov. Retrieved on 2012-01-23.
- Health: Toddlers and toilet training. BBC. Retrieved on 2012-01-23.
- Potty training app. pottytrainingapp.com . Retrieved on 2013-09-23.
- Sears, Robert R., Eleanor Maccoby, and Harry Levin (1957). Patterns of Child Rearing. pp. 102–137. Evanston IL: Row, Peterson, and Co. 
- Children's Bureau Historical Publications, United States Department of Labor (1914–1938). Infant Care. Children's Bureau Publication.
- Toilet Training. aap.org