PR: Later Potty Training Spells Trouble for Children, Parents and Environment

May 16, 2008

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Later Potty Training Spells Trouble for Children, Parents and Environment

Americans potty training far later than any other country, a detrimental trend one program aims to change.

Atlanta, GA May 13, 2008

Potty training in the United States is being completed later and later due in large part to the convenience of the disposable diaper-now available in sizes large enough to accommodate 5- to 6-year-old children. The problem with this trend is that later training is more difficult for parents, creates emotional and health problems for children, and contributes billions of pounds of unnecessary diapers to our landfills. By bringing the power of their best-selling Baby Signs® Program to potty training, developmental psychologists Dr. Linda Acredolo and Dr. Susan Goodwyn are endeavoring to reverse this trend with a innovative new approach that makes it not only possible, but fun and easy to start potty training as early as 12 months-and be successful.

Startling Trend Toward Later Training

Up until the 1960s, 95% percent of all children were potty trained by the age of 18 months. Since the advent of the disposable diaper, the average age of potty training in the United States has risen to 37 months-an all-time historical high. This age is more than double the average age of toilet training in almost 50 countries worldwide. Moreover, the trend toward later potty training is likely to continue given the recent release of a size 7 diaper for children over 40 pounds, the average weight of a 5- to 6-year-old.

Later Training Is Problematic for Parents and Children

Since the 1960s, diaper companies have actively promoted a “modern approach” to potty training in which parents are advised to wait until their child is “ready”-sometime after age 2-to start training. This advice implies that later potty training will be easier, with children practically training themselves. In truth, potty training after 2 is actually more difficult. Why? Because, as the term “the terrible twos” implies, this is an age when children begin to say “No!” to everything. As a result, potty training all too often becomes a battle of wills, especially because eliminating in a diaper has become a well-ingrained habit that’s hard to break and also because parents, frantic over looming preschool deadlines, frequently resort to pressure tactics.  There are other consequences of late training as well, according to Dr. Goodwyn. “After age 2, children develop the ability to experience shame and embarrassment about bodily functions which can lead to additional problems, such as low self-esteem and stool-withholding, a tendency that can result in chronic constipation.”

Later Training Is Bad for the Environment

Later potty training also results in many more diapers in our landfills-1500-2000 more per child per year. And while some parents believe that changing to cloth diapers alleviates the negative impact on the environment, many experts cite serious concerns about the increased use of energy, water and chemicals required for laundering cloth diapers.

New Approach Aims to Reverse Trend

Concerned about the detrimental effects of later and later potty training, Dr. Goodwyn and Dr. Acredolo developed an innovative new approach-Potty Training Made Easy with the Baby Signs® Program-that makes early training not only possible, but also fun and easy for parents and babies. Based on their 2-year investigation of potty training practices, they concluded that the ideal age to start potty training is around 12 months. “Because this is a time when verbal language is limited,” says Dr. Acredolo, “and because effective communication is important to successful potty training, we saw a natural role for our bestselling Baby Signs® Program. By using a few simple potty-time signs, babies can easily tell their parents they need to go potty even before they can talk.”

Success at Any Age

Potty Training Made Easy with the Baby Signs® Program has been field tested with children from 9 months to 4 years with great success. Jennifer Macris, a mother of five who used the program, says, “I potty trained my four older children before using this program with my youngest son, and I can definitely say that this is the most fun and effective program out there. It works.”

Related Local Event:

Potty Party Saturday, May 31st 4pm @ Tumbletots on Spalding in Norcross

No Cost for Presentation, $5 each for childcare, Potty Kits available

To Reserve your seat on the Potty Train contact Cindy at

About Dr. Acredolo and Dr. Goodwyn

Linda Acredolo, Ph.D., is Professor Emeritus of Psychology at the University of California, Davis. Susan Goodwyn, Ph.D., is Professor Emeritus of Psychology at California State University, Stanislaus. Together, they have co-authored research articles in leading child development journals and have written three best-selling books for parents: Baby Signs, Baby Minds, and Baby Hearts.

About the Baby Signs® Program

The Baby Signs® Program is the world’s leading sign language program for hearing babies. Built upon two decades of research conducted by Dr. Acredolo and Dr. Goodwyn, much of it funded by the National Institutes of Health, the program helps babies use simple signs to communicate before they can talk, thereby decreasing frustration, enriching the parent-child bond, fostering both emotional and intellectual development-and helping babies talk sooner.



Cindy Tibbetts, Baby Signs ICI #770-399-6796 or


For interviews with Drs. Goodwyn and Acredolo, or a full press kit including images and b-roll footage, contact:

Linda Easton, Baby Signs, Inc.

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