Making the move from pull-ups to potty is a milestone for all kids – but it doesn’t come without its challenges.
The good news? Conni has a range of Training Pants for children to support Potty Training.

Americans use 27.4 billion disposable diapers each year, which is enough waste to stretch to the moon and back nine times

We asked registered nurse and midwife, Kathleen Fahy, to answer some frequently asked questions about the Potty Training process.

Conni has a range of Training Pants for kids to help with Potty Training your child.

When should Potty Training start?

The arguments around when to toilet train abound. American pediatrician Dr Alla Gordina argues infants are anatomically and physiologically ready to begin Potty Training at the time they start crawling and are ready to be successfully trained by the time they are steadily walking.

If you choose to train your child at this early stage, the goal is to show the child where to do their business. With early Potty Training you are not trying to achieve total continence all at once; just getting the pee and poop in the right place most of the time is great. The good thing about early training is that infants and young toddlers want to please you and do not mind trying new things. If your child resists sitting on the potty - don't fight, don't push; just try again in a few weeks.

I toilet trained my 22-month-old daughter easily when we were on a family caravan holiday. It was summer; I kept her in training pants and a t-shirt and told her to wee outside and at first weeing on the ground was fine. I encouraged her to pull her pants down first. Then when she was doing that easily I put a potty outside and told her what it was for. It took less than two weeks for her to be fully continent during the day. Each day she would play outside and the adults, including me, would sit and talk with her. It was easy to give her encouragement and she began to happily use the potty. It was all very calm and matter of fact. On our return from holidays there were no relapses.

Has the age that children are toilet trained changed over the years?

Yes. Today, 51 per cent of toddlers are completely day-time toilet trained at 36 months of age compared with the 1970s when over 90% of toddlers were completely trained. Children are achieving urinary and bowel control on average one year later than any previous generation.

Why are children today delayed in their Potty Training?

According to a recent study at the University of New South Wales, prolonged incontinence in children is linked to affluence and the ready availability of disposable diapers, particularly the newer versions of pull-up diapers which encourage young children to urinate and defecate in their pants. General practitioner and author Dr. Sarah Buckley refers to pull-up incontinence underpants as “anti-training pants”, because they play a role in prolonging incontinence rather than the reverse.

What are the environmental impacts of disposable diapers?

Americans use 27.4 billion disposable diapers each year, which is enough waste to stretch to the moon and back nine times. Disposable diapers represent about four per cent of all solid waste sent to landfill. In a house with a child in diapers, disposables make up about 40 per cent of household waste. No one knows how long it takes for a disposable diaper to decompose, but it is estimated to be about 250-500 years. By comparison, Conni’s washable, semi-absorbent, kids training pants can be used hundreds of times and will decay over about 20 years.

{sliderWhat are the costs involved with disposable diapers?}

Babies need about 6,000 diapers during their first two years of life, with an average of eight changes a day. Disposable diapers, which cost 24 cents each on average, will set you back about $62.50 per month or $750 per year.

I’d like to start Potty Training my child. Where do I begin?

It is important that Potty Training is pleasant for the child and that means that you have to be calm and encouraging. You need to have a plan, collect your supplies and be confident before you start.

There are three key factors for short, successful Potty Training:

1) Have a clear, confident and encouraging attitude. Be gently assertive, using phrases like, “It’s time to go to the potty now.” During potty training, never ask a child, “Do you want to go to the potty?” as it invites a refusal and then a power struggle is more likely. Keep your tone, facial expression and body language neutral when your child has an accident. Be positive and enthusiastic when they have a success.
2) Ditch the diaper. Use training pants so your toddler will feel the wetness and be uncomfortable – this is essential to learning the ‘cause and effect’ relationship between their bodily sensations of weeing or pooping and then the wetness, stickiness, smelliness of what they have done.

3) Be consistent in your approach to avoid confusing your child. Set aside time to teach your child gently. Being on holidays is a great time. Potty Training is a skill that your child needs to practice to get right so gently and consistently keep going forward.

References and further reading

Disposable nappies: are they stinking up our planet?

Diaper Facts

Goode, E. "Two Experts Do Battle over Potty Training." The New York Times,
12 January 1999.

Hellstrom, Anna-Lena. "Influence of Potty Training Habits on Dysfunctional Bladder
in Children." The Lancet 356, no. 9244 (2000): 1787.

Lehrburger, Carl. 1988. Diapers in the Waste Stream: A review of waste management and public policy issues. 1988. Sheffield, MA: self-published.

Image sourced from KidSpot article about Potty Training