Self-control is in short supply these days and people are suffering as a result. How soon can you start teaching a child this virtue? Sooner than most younger parents think, probably. According to some Australian women, toilet training is an opportunity that can be taken around the age of two.

Australian lawyer and researcher Anna Christie says today’s toddlers can expect to spend at least a year extra in nappies compared with those born before the 1980s, and it is time to liberate them from being “walking toilets”. Speaking at a University of New South Wales conference on self-control and moderation last December, Ms Christie said “extended childhood incontinence” is a result of the dominant child-centred philosophy of toilet training which encourages low expectations in parents.

Parenting writer Robin Barker agrees. In a new edition of her book, The Mighty Toddler, due out this month, she sets out an alternative to the “laid-back style” of toilet training. She says there is no reason why many toddlers cannot start daytime toilet training when they are about 18 months old.

There’s an environmental spin-off, too. Using nappies up to age four — or even later — means tons of extra waste going into landfills, creating environmental as well as social problems. ~ The Australian, Dec 6, 2008


Carolyn Moynihan

Carolyn Moynihan is the former deputy editor of MercatorNet