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  • By Steve Hodges, M.D.

$1,750 for Two-Day Potty Training? It’s Nuts — And Not Because of the Money

It doesn’t shock me that some parents in New York City are spending $1,750 for two-day, outsourced potty training.

Don’t people there pay, like, $140 for a hamburger?

I don’t care how people choose to spend their money — except when it hurts kids. And this business of accelerated potty training does harm children, in ways that may not surface for a year or two down the line.

Look, I get that potty training your children is a hurdle you want to sprint over. I’ve trained two kids myself, and I still have one to go. I look forward to the day when “Do you have the diaper bag?” is not a conversation I have with my wife.

But training your child quickly should never be your goal, even if you have a preschool or summer camp deadline. When it comes to toilet training, your concern should be minimizing the child’s risk of future urinary and GI problems.

Children who are toilet trained on an accelerated schedule are far more likely to have pee accidents, poop accidents, recurrent UTIs, or bedwetting problems a few years later.

I keep reading articles that speak of toilet training as a done deal — as something that “worked” and can’t go awry after the fact.

This notion is wrong!

As I explain in a Babble post, “The Dangers of Potty Training Too Early,” knowing how to poop on the potty is not the same as responding to your body’s urges in a judicious manner.

I wish I could offer a fast-forward glimpse of those little $1,750 boot-camp graduates. Even children who “train themselves” quickly and early without any pressure from Mom or Dad frequently end up with problems.

For a typical scenario, check out a recent post by Carrots Are Orange blogger Marnie Craycroft.

I see this kind of thing every day in my practice.

My issue isn’t with outsourcing potty training; that may well be a reality if you’re a working parent, and it’s fine.

But toilet training is a natural process — emphasis on process — and it shouldn’t happen on anybody’s schedule but the child’s.

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Must-read books for kids by Steve Hodges, M.D.

• Bedwetting and Accidents Aren't Your Fault

• Jane and the Giant Poop