Worldwide potty training age

A Look at Potty Training Ages Around the World

Potty Training Age Around the World: A Cultural Perspective

Potty training is a universal milestone in a child's development, but the age at which it occurs and the methods employed vary significantly across different cultures and countries. While there are some common principles underlying potty training, such as readiness signs and the importance of patience and consistency, cultural factors, traditions, and societal norms heavily influence when and how this process takes place. In this comprehensive exploration, we will delve into potty training age practices from countries all over the world, shedding light on the diverse approaches to this essential childhood transition.

One common misrepresentation online is that the US is behind most of the world potty training since 50% of the world train by one year of age while on average in the US kids are trained at 37.2 months. While it is true, that 50% of the world potty trains by age one, the 50% is comprised of people from under developed nations and the impoverished segments of industrialized nations that are unable to afford disposable diapers, modern toilet facilities or sanitation.

However, for the industrialized nations, research indicates that the potty training age for the segments of population that have the financial means to pay for diapers, toilet facilities and sanitation tend to be about three years of age regardless of the country. Access to the necessities is the determining factor of whether children are trained early or late.

United States

In the United States, potty training typically begins between the ages of 2 and 3, although there is no strict rule. Parents often rely on cues of readiness, such as showing interest in the toilet, expressing discomfort with dirty diapers, or staying dry for extended periods. While some parents use potty training chairs or seats, others opt for child-sized toilet seats. Potty training is often seen as a family affair, with parents, grandparents, and caregivers all participating in the process. Positive reinforcement, such as praise and small rewards, is a common strategy.

What is the average potty training age of children in the US?

The average potty training age according to Schum is 37.2 months and most experts estimate this to be an accurate estimate of the potty training age in the US.

What is the average age girls are potty trained in the US?

According to research by Timothy Schum, MD, an associate professor of pediatrics at the Medical College of Wisconsin, girls are potty trained on average at 35 months.

What age are boys potty trained on average in the US?

Research by Schum indicates In the United States, boys are typically potty trained later than girls, baby boys in US give up diapers at 39 months on average.

What is the average potty training age worldwide?

The average age for potty training can vary widely. Generally, in less developed regions that lack access to disposable diapers and sanitation, toilet training starts soon after birth and is completed before one year of age. For developed nations the age tends to be much later often completed around 3 years of age or later.

The potty training age of different nations around the world:

United Kingdom

 In the United Kingdom, potty training practices are similar to those in the United States. Most children begin potty training between the ages of 2 and 3. The readiness signs approach is commonly followed, and parents use a combination of child-sized potties and toilet seats. In the UK, there is a cultural emphasis on teaching children proper hygiene, including thorough handwashing, as part of the potty training process.


In Vietnam, most parents start the process immediately and potty train soon after their baby is born. A study of Vietnamese mothers and their newborns found that by 9 months, all babies were using the potty, and they were fully trained by 2 years. The secret is a method known as elimination communication or diaperless toilet training.


Potty training in China often starts earlier than in Western countries, typically around 1 year of age. This early initiation is influenced by the practice of using split-crotch pants, known as "kaidangku," which make it easier for children to relieve themselves. Parents encourage their children to use a potty or squat toilet. Chinese culture places significant importance on toilet training, as it is associated with cleanliness and proper manners.


 In Japan, potty training typically starts around 1 to 1.5 years of age. Parents use a variety of tools, including child-sized potties and toilet seat reducers. Japanese culture places a strong emphasis on cleanliness, so children are taught to wash their hands thoroughly as part of the process. Additionally, there is a cultural tradition known as "chon-mage," where a small tuft of hair is left on the child's head until they complete potty training, symbolizing their growth and development.


 Potty training in Sweden often begins later, around 2.5 to 3 years of age. The Swedish approach is known for its child-centered philosophy, where children are encouraged to take the lead when they feel ready. Diapers are typically used longer, and children may even attend preschool in diapers until they are ready to transition to underwear. Swedish parents prioritize creating a comfortable and stress-free environment for potty training.


In India, potty training varies depending on the region and culture. In urban areas, practices are similar to those in Western countries, with potty training beginning around the age of 2 to 3. In more traditional or rural settings, children may start potty training earlier, often between 1 and 2 years of age. The method used also depends on the availability of modern toilets versus squat toilets or open defecation. Indian parents often use positive reinforcement and cultural beliefs to encourage potty training.


In Brazil, potty training usually begins around the age of 2 to 2.5. Brazilian parents often use child-sized potties or toilet seat reducers. Brazilian culture places importance on hygiene and cleanliness, so teaching children proper handwashing is a significant part of the process. Many Brazilian families live in multi-generational households, making potty training a collaborative effort involving grandparents and caregivers.


Potty training in Russia typically starts later, around 2.5 to 3 years of age. Russian parents often use child-sized potties, and the process is considered a family endeavor. Russian culture emphasizes teaching children personal responsibility, and parents prioritize teaching proper hygiene and cleanliness as part of potty training.


In Nigeria, potty training practices can vary widely between urban and rural areas and among different ethnic groups. In urban areas, potty training is often similar to Western practices, with children starting around the age of 2 to 3. In rural areas, practices may begin earlier, sometimes before 2 years of age. Traditional methods, such as using a small pot or hole in the ground, are still prevalent in some regions. The process is influenced by cultural beliefs, and family involvement is crucial.

South Korea

Potty training in South Korea typically starts early, around 1 to 1.5 years of age. South Korean parents use child-sized potties or squat toilets, and the process is seen as a crucial milestone. South Korean culture places a strong emphasis on cleanliness and hygiene, and children are taught to wash their hands meticulously.


In Mexico, potty training usually begins between the ages of 2 and 3, similar to practices in the United States. Mexican parents use a mix of child-sized potties and toilet seat reducers. Family involvement is significant, and potty training is considered a collective effort. Mexican culture values the development of good hygiene habits during this process.


In Australia, potty training practices closely mirror those in the United States and the United Kingdom. Children typically start between the ages of 2 and 3, with parents relying on cues of readiness. Child-sized potties and toilet seat reducers are commonly used, and positive reinforcement is a prevalent strategy.

Saudi Arabia

In Saudi Arabia, potty training often begins earlier, around 1.5 to 2 years of age. Parents use child-sized potties or squat toilets. The process is seen as an essential step in teaching children cleanliness and proper hygiene, which are highly valued in Saudi Arabian culture. Family involvement is integral to the process.


In Turkey, a developing nation the potty training age increases with the mother’s income and education level varying from 16 to 28 months.


The Iranian Journal of Pediatrics published a study that indicated the average potty training age was 24 to 27 months.


A study in Kenya indicated that children were potty trained by 4 to 5 months of age as mothers observed signs the infant needed to urinate or defecate and placed them in a position to do so.


Potty training is an essential childhood milestone that is challenging for parent and child alike. While it is true that 50% of the world is potty trained by one year of age. A common misrepresentation of the statistics states that the US is well behind the rest of the world when it comes to potty training age with an average age of 37.2 months. The US potty trains at about the same age as most developed nations with access to disposable diapers, toilet facilities and sanitation. The under developed nations and impoverished segments of the population of industrialized nations do not have access to disposable diapers, modern toilet facilities or sanitation. Out of necessity the impoverished people all tend to start potty training soon after birth and complete training by one year of age which is the 50% of the world that the US is said to lag behind, which is obviously misleading.


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