The potties-without-pressure method communicates a deep, abiding respect for children's bodies and honors each youngster's need to develop at his or her own rate. Parents do not introduce the potty until age two and one-half or three or even later, and must trust that their child possesses an inborn urge to grow up. They must have faith that their child's internal growth is continuing even when they cannot discern signs of progress. Parents confine themselves to teaching the readiness skills, letting their child watch them use the bathroom, and treating accidents with compassion, sympathy, and understanding. They never apply pressure.
As more and more parents use the potties-without-pressure method, the average age for potty training has increased dramatically. In the 1930s, parents started training infants around three months of age. In 1946, Dr. Spock suggested waiting until the baby was seven to nine months old. By the 1960s, 90 percent of children were not potty trained by age two.
In the early 1960s, author and pediatrician T. Berry Brazelton told parents to wait until their child was twenty-four to thirty months old before they started potty training. A study reported in the December 1989 issue of the
Some older toddlers virtually train themselves overnight. Others have difficulty overcoming the entrenched habit of wetting and soiling, and require a long time to be fully potty trained. It is now common for four-year-olds to still be in diapers.
In just two generations, the knowledge that it is even possible to potty train younger children has been all but lost. Jan Faull, author of