peer reviewed studies optimal potty training age

What Peer Reviewed Research Tells Us About the Potty Training Age

What does peer reviewed research say about the optimal age to potty train?

In her recent deep dive on Parenting Science, Dr. Gwen Dewer tackled the burning question of when to kickstart potty training. Surprisingly, she found a lack of research on the optimal age, leading her to conclude that more studies are needed to pinpoint the golden age to begin the adventure.

Busting the Myth: No Psychological Damage from Early Training

While Dr. Dewer didn't pinpoint the perfect age, she did uncover something crucial – no evidence supports the notion that early potty training messes with a child's psyche. Say goodbye to the unfounded fear of psychological damage!

No Late Bloomer Benefits: The Truth About Delayed Training

Contrary to common belief, waiting until 24 months or later doesn't guarantee better outcomes. Dr. Dewer debunks the myth, stating that there's no compelling evidence supporting delayed training for improved medical results.

Research-Backed Revelation: Early Training Yields Long-Term Benefits

Recent studies lean in favor of early training, suggesting fewer long-term issues with incontinence. Dr. Dewer's insights challenge the status quo, emphasizing that early learners often have the upper hand in mastering toileting skills.

Tailoring Training: It's All About Developmental Abilities Not Age

Navigating the potty training journey is a unique experience, and while age alone doesn't provide a clear roadmap for when to start or complete the process, it serves as a tool for parents to track their child's development. It's crucial to recognize that these are loose guidelines, and parents need not worry if their child deviates from these general timelines. In fact, it's entirely normal for children to excel in one area, such as early potty training, while taking their time with other developmental milestones like walking or talking.

A Roadmap to Potty Training Success: Early Explorers: 18-24 Months

  • Signs of readiness include curiosity about the toilet, extended diaper dryness, communication about needs, and a desire for independence.

Midway Mavens: 2-3 Years

  • Look for increased independence, understanding of basics, discomfort with dirty diapers, and clear communication.

Late Bloomers: 3 Years and Beyond

  • Signs include expressing a desire to use the potty, extended periods of dryness, understanding cause and effect, and the ability to follow simple instructions.

Factors Influencing the Optimal Age: A Deep Dive

  • Developmental pace, family dynamics, cultural influences, and parental readiness all play a role in determining when to start potty training.

Tips for a Successful Expedition: Navigating the Potty Training Landscape

  • Follow cues, create a potty-friendly environment, use positive reinforcement, be patient, and maintain consistency for a smooth potty training journey.


In the grand adventure of parenting, potty training marks a significant milestone. The key takeaway? There's no magic age; it's about understanding your child's cues, creating a supportive environment, and enjoying the unique journey. So, whether your little one is an early adventurer, a midway maven, or a late bloomer. The potty training landscape awaits! 

Source: Parenting Science - Dr. Gwen Dewer: At what age should you potty train your child?

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