In ancient days, before there were paper diapers, parents would toilet train their children. They would take the time, as early as possible, to teach the infant not to sit in his own mess.
Usually, as soon as a child could sit, he would sit on a potty and his mother, who knew him, and knew when he usually went, have him make the deposit in the chimmey. He would learn not to sit in his own mess.
As he got older he would know what was expected when he was placed on the Potty. Often, by the age of nine months the child was virtually toilet trained, and by the time he could talk he knew how to say ‘doo doo’ or a variation thereof. By the time he could walk, he would walk into the bathroom to his potty.
It was not shocking that a child of a year old was no longer in a diaper. In fact, it was shocking when a child of two was in a diaper. For toilet training was important. It taught a child how to control his impulses. The child who could ‘hold’ it until he got to the bathroom was also the one who learned patience. Was also the one who could think before he acted.
Besides the aspect of hygiene there was a vital lesson of ‘control’.
It is not shocking to learn that children of three were expected to sit at a table and eat with their parents. Athough one might cut up the food, the child could feed himself. He was expected to show table manners as well.
In short, toilet training was a ‘life lesson.’
In ancient days, of course.
Today, children are not toilet trained. And schools keep diapers.
Some old timey schools refuse to accept a child until he is toilet trained. But many know the parents can’t be bothered. They can’t be bothered to raise their children.
Parents with money can ship the kid to expensive ‘private schools’ where money is the bottom line, and education, basic living skills are not taught.
The idea of a five year old unable to control his bowels pales, of course, when they can’t behave with the control of a two year old; a two year old, of ancient days, of course.