Why can not the diaper be removed early

It seems an unwritten rule that you have to remove the diaper to children in the summer from two to three years. While it is true that most children control toilet training in this period, each one matures at a different pace. Social pressure for the start of school in September leads many parents to Advance diaper withdrawal even though their children have not reached sufficient maturational development.

Holding the head, crawling, walking, eating solids ... are evolutionary milestones that appear as the baby matures at the neurological level. Each milestone happens over a period of time that each child reaches at different times. There is no specific chronological age and, as a rule, the baby who achieves it at the beginning of the estimated period is as healthy as the one who does it at the end. It always happens in a progressive way, without having the option to decide the moment that best suits us or to wait for it to happen from one day to the next.


The sphincter control It is one of the evolutionary milestones that occur throughout life and is not reached at a certain age, nor can we accelerate it. We are born with a neurological immaturity that does not allow us to have control over the sphincters, as well as movements, postural control, etc.

Remove the baby's diaper: avoid forcing the situation

Currently, diaper withdrawal is accompanied by great social pressure for families and especially for children who are required to control potty training at a very young age.

It has been institutionalized the summer of two years like the time to remove the diaper. It is conditioned, fundamentally, by the imminent schooling at three years because in many schools do not want to receive children with diapers. In addition, summer is the most comfortable season for adults when carrying out this process since children wear lighter clothes and the temperature accompanies in case of escapes. But although we force our children to leave the diaper, we can not force them to control toilet training since it does not depend on their will.


When we force the situation, we are forced toentar the child in the potty at every moment or remind them every so often that they have to go to the bathroom. If the child needs that dependence on the adult to not wear a diaper, it is still not ready. It can be counterproductive, because we generate overprotection that can degenerate into a need to go to the bathroom and neglect self-control.

Before removing your baby's diaper, keep this in mind

If we are thinking of removing our child's diaper or they are pressuring us to do so, it is necessary to take into account a series of factors:

1. Maturative process in the control of sphincters
The first thing is to become aware that it is a maturing process. Since the child is born, he pees and poops, however he is not able to perceive that sensation and is not aware that he is doing it. Your bladder fills up and your sphincter muscles remain relaxed allowing urine to escape. Little by little they begin to realize that they are peeing or pooping and can get to tell them to change their diapers if they have a sufficient capacity for verbal and non-verbal communication (pointing to the diaper).


As the central nervous system matures, the child is able to feel pressure on the sphincters and, although he is not able to control them, he feels that he is peeing and communicating while doing so. Once he has acquired a greater neurophysiological development, the child can contract the sphincter muscles with enough time to go to the bathroom.

We have to be aware that this process is not continuous and there are both advances and setbacks and stagnation, as well as some stages can be longer in time than others and there is no specific age for each of them. However, we can talk about approximate periods of time since knowing them will help us to respect the individual rhythms of our children and avoid subjecting them to unnecessary pressures.

The Haizea-Llevant table, which collects the normal margin of acquisition of some fundamental skills in children from 0 to 5 years old, indicates that 50% of the children of two and a half years old, 75% of the children of three and 95% of the children of three and a half years, control sphincters. Taking into account that the American Psychiatric Association and the DSM-IV do not consider enuresis and encopresis as pathology in children under five years of age, we are talking about the remaining 5% can control sphincters between four and five years and that would enter the normal timeframe.

2. Difference between removing the diaper and controlling sphincters
Another factor to keep in mind is that it is not the same to remove the diaper than to control sphincters.Sphincter control is the complex evolution of an automatic and uncontrolled reflex that, through the process of natural neurological maturation, becomes a voluntary and controlled act. It is not educable, but responds to the acquisition of a series of prior skills that lead to this achievement being achieved differently in each child.

The diaper, meanwhile, is a tool of hygiene, purely cultural, that parents put their babies so they do not go wet and facilitate the hygiene of children while they do not have self-control over the sphincter muscles.

3. When to remove the diaper
In this way we understand that the order of the factors is fundamental to carry out this task successfully. Therefore we must wait until the child reaches a neurological maturity that allows him to have bladder and anal control and then proceed to remove the diaper that carries the only educable part of the process: the use of the urinal and the hygiene measures of our culture.

In addition, it requires the development of certain physical and cognitive abilities but above all a psychological maturity that makes it impossible to determine a specific chronological age.
It is necessary that I walk alone, sit down and get up, get on and off my clothes ...

At the cognitive level, he must have a sufficient language development that allows him to understand and use words related to his physiological needs (pee, poop *). Must be able to obey simple commands, imitate, know your body schema ...
Emotionally, there must be a predisposition and an interest in using the potty.

4. Adult paper
It is essential that adults respect the maturing rhythm of children and wait for them to be able to control voluntarily. We simply must accompany them in the conquest of this new stage showing a positive and comprehensive attitude. We can facilitate the process by teaching them to identify and name the parts of their body, provide them with the necessary vocabulary, help them to identify the sensations of wet and dry, read with them stories related to the subject, play with their dolls to sit in the potty *
We will always celebrate and encourage good results without criticizing or punishing non-achievement.

Sphincter control is an important step towards the achievement of the autonomy of the child and accelerating it can bring problems of self-esteem and insecurities. We have to transmit security and trust making them see that we love them as they are.

Cristina Palacios Hernando. Pedagogue

Video: Sunning diapers to remove stains


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