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Toilet training expectations and methods differ among cultures and are managed differently in institutional care than in families. Many parents are told in advance that their child is "potty-trained," only to discover to their chagrin (especially if they have come without diaper supplies) that this is not true. Most orphanages regularly schedule "potty-time" after each meal or snack. Infants even as young as 6 months may be placed on a potty - often tied on to the potty seat if too young to maintain balance -- for lengthy periods after eating. This routine minimizes the number of soiled or wet diapers over the course of the day. Adoptive parents inevitably abandon this schedule because of the irregular events during the transition period (court appearances, travel, etc.), with the result that the "potty-training" vanishes. Parents adopting children less than age 3 or even 4 years of age should prepare for diapers, at least until they return home and establish some routine in the course of the day.

Many children are remarkably apprehensive about diaper changes. Prior painful experiences during diaper changes fear of clothing removal, or simply a change in the technique of the diapering could contribute to the child's anxiety. Regardless of the cause, this fear usually abates within a short time.


From THE HANDBOOK OF INTERNATIONAL ADOPTION MEDICINE by Laurie C. Miller. © 2004 by Oxford University Press, Inc. Used by Permission.


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