The idea that your child will start wanting to wear pants and use the toilet all by her/himself when s/he is three and a half years old is a very attractive idea, right?  And we are all tempted to hear what we want to hear.

Well the disposable nappy industry worked that one out and parents were had.  Around 1997-2001 it published and circulated ‘research’ to health visitors, GPs and other  health professionals.  The ‘research’ said children shouldn’t be introduced to the potty until they were three and a half years old or night trained until they were 7.  They went further and spread the myth that if a child potty trains earlier than this, they may suffer  ‘developmental delay’.  The industry later admitted that this was a major marketing mistake!  But what did it matter to them?  The market had been created for single-use, superabsorbent “potty training” pants for children up to 4 and older.

Nowadays you will see that the official advice from the NHS is to introduce the potty from 18 months.  Some paediatric continence professionals say introduce the potty even earlier.

June Rogers MBE, RN, RSCN, BA, MSc has over 20 years experience in the area of paediatric continence.  She says all children, including those with learning difficulties should be introduced to the potty from an early age although the expectation should be that those with special needs may potty train up to a year later than children who don’t have learning difficulties.  The mistake made over the last few decades has been to introduce toileting skills to children later and later. 

There’s also a myth that children that wear cloth nappies potty train earlier.  Don’t bank on it.   This is an important developmental step and our advice is to give your toddler the stimulation and support to help them achieve it.

Click HERE for advice on introducing your toddler to the potty. 

Real Nappies for London’s mission is to reduce nappy waste generated in London.  Washable nappies reduce nappy waste.  Some parents are unable to use them due to the lack of a washing machine or drying space.  We can all help our children come out of nappies – if we have good information and the skills to help our children make this development step.  We are committed to giving parents help to do it.  Please see more HERE.

We welcome your comments below.  Please join the conversation.