Why Do American Children Spend So Much Time in Diapers? Follow the Money

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The length of time that American children spend in diapers has doubled over the last 60 years, and diaper manufacturers are a big reason for this change.

 

These days, mothers leaving the hospital with their newborns are loaded up with “free” diapers, not realizing that hospitals usually get the diapers for free, but actually charge patients for them on medical bills.

 

In most cases, the diapers being handed out are the disposable variety, whose cost can add up for parents who end up shelling out more than a thousand dollars a year for them on average.

 

It used to be that American kids were potty trained (and out of diapers) by 18 months of age. This was the case in the 1950s. But by 2001 the average age of potty training rose to 35 months for girls and 39 months for boys. Some parents report that their children aren’t potty trained until they are three-, four- even five-years old.

 

The longer kids stay in diapers, the more money companies like Procter & Gamble make off delayed potty training.

 

Why are children taking longer now to use the toilet?

 

Urologist Jean Jacques Wyndaele, chair of the University of Antwerp’s Department of Urology, who has studied potty training in healthy children for more than 12 years, says modern, disposable diapers make it more difficult for children to make the transition.

 

“[D]iapers that have the most absorbency are the worst for potty training,” Wyndaele told AlterNet. “Potty training is about awareness and sensation. If you break the link and take away the sensation, you have a problem. The diapers have not helped. They have broken this link. The feeling that ‘Something has to happen’ and ‘Now I’m wet’ is no longer there for the child.”

 

Wyndaele adds that the longer a child is in diapers, the more likely they will develop problems, including anxiety, accidents and even higher incidents of disease transmission, like hepatitis B.

-Noel Brinkerhoff

 

To Learn More:

How Doctors and Hospitals Help Corporations Cash In On a Diaper Scam (by Jennifer Margulis, AlterNet)

Comments

Mike 3 years ago
Some kid's brains can't help it. Our 5 year old has autism and didn't finally stop using diapers until he was 4.
Mom of 2 3 years ago
I agree, it is amazing that people are taking such a longer amount of time to train their children now. Although I did use disposable diapers for my 2, I was very keen to potty train at night and day at the same time as soon as was possible to reduce diaper expenses. I bought a Conni bed pad for night time accidents which totally protected their mattresses. I absolutely believe that by taking them out of diapers during the day and night at the same time helped with their training, and reduced my disposable diapers expenses sooner than I would have otherwise achieved.

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