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How Other Countries Potty Train Their Children
February 28, 2018
Category: Potty Training,

What is Potty Training Like Around the World?

Naturally, no country or culture is standardized in its approach to potty training. Check out these examples of potty training techniques used all over the globe.


Young children in China wear an outfit that resembles a onesie and has a split crotch. If the child indicates a need to go to the bathroom, the parent opens the crotch area and holds the child in a way to prevent self-soiling and the child goes on the ground. Apparently, it doesn’t seem to matter where the child is or doing.


In Germany, as a child must be potty trained to attend school, children are potty trained by age 3. Germans emphasize cleanliness, so little boys are taught to sit down on the potty to prevent making a mess that often occurs when boys stand up to pee.  


Potty training is not a real term in rural Indonesia. Diapers are expensive and not easily available. Babies are free to urinate wherever they are standing or placed. Mothers and grandmothers are there to do a swift clean-up after. These children learn to use the bathroom quickly and appropriately, whether that means the squatty potty, a ditch, or beside a rice field.

The Netherlands

Children are potty trained between 2-3 years old in groups at daycare. There are little toilets and pots that all the kids use together. Parents and daycare providers work together with the children and the process goes smoothly. Daycare staff do not encourage parents to push kids too early. However, all children must be trained by age four before they start school full time.


In Sudan, potty training is done early. It helps that these mothers carry their babies on their backs often, so they either must figure out how to read their baby’s signals or they will get peed on! By age 2, most children are potty trained, except those who can afford diapers. Then, they may take much longer.

United Kingdom

Grandmothers are eager for their grandchildren to potty train, but mothers lean more toward the ‘when they are ready’ attitude. There is a current trend toward more child-centered parenting and so there seems to be less pressure than in the past. But older mothers say potty training used to be highly competitive in the UK, with many parents using the Gina Ford method to accomplish training in a single week.

Finland and other Northern European Countries

In Finland and many other Northern European countries, children are routinely held over the potty after every meal from infancy onward.  Many European countries tend to leave potty training completion until about 2 years old. The older European generation believes children should be potty trained by 6 months.

United States of America

Without a doubt, it seems culture has the main impact on potty training around the world. As there is more diversity and more products available for potty training in the United States, numerous methods offer different approaches for parent. These can be determined by family lifestyle and the child’s personality and temperament. Global ideas are often incorporated into many of the potty training methods used by parents in the United States. At T’s Learning Center, providing excellent childcare in St. Augustine, we pay close attention to your child’s unique personality and temperament towards all the new experiences a child is exposed every day!

An Interesting Theory?

According to Dr. Sydney Spiesel, "The average age of toilet training around the world seems to be directly proportional to the latitude. It seems bizarre and a crazy notion, but the reality is, the further you go from the equator, the colder things are, and I think that that's the central issue."

In other words, tiny tots living closer to the equator might potty train at younger ages than those farther from the equator, based on Spiesel's idea.

Most children figure it out on their own!

How do you know when your child might be ready for toilet training?

One of the first things you notice is that a child stops pooping at night. Then, a child starts to control bowel movements during the day!

Often, toddlers will go run and have a poop behind the couch or somewhere hidden, and that's a sign that they have control and recognize it. Once children showed signs of that first stage of continence awareness, take them to the toilet every couple of hours and just let them go. You will notice that they will get drier and drier and show an interest in the toilet.  Simply put, most kids just figure it out on their own."

Sometimes, a battle of the wills may ensue. The parent usually loses, so do not stress too much about toilet training troubles! Bottom line – how many un-toilet-trained adults have you come across? It’s going to happen!

The most important thing to keep in mind – and the staff and teachers at T’s Learning Center, providing the best childcare in Jacksonville, emphasize –  as long as potty training is a positive experience for the infant or toddler;  as long as it is done with humor and flexibility; as long as the child’s needs and abilities are honored; and as long as it does not have a negative impact on your relationship with your young child, it’s going to turn out OK, almost no matter how you play it.