|Posted by tarastoyland on May 20, 2015 at 2:05 PM|
Early Potty Training Key to Success
John K. Rosemond
What's it going to take for American parents to realize that just as it's far easier to house train a 4-
month-old puppy than a one-year-old dog, it's far easier to toilet train a 20-month-old child than a 3-
Fifty-four years ago, according to a study conducted at the time by Harvard University, nearly 90 percent
of America's children had been successfully trained before they reached their second birthday. Today,
courtesy of several decades of toilet-babble issuing primarily from pediatrician/author T. Berry
Brazelton, parents wrongly think training a child under age two is psychologically harmful, if not
So, they wait. And they wait. And they wait. They're waiting, they tell me, for their children to show
some of Brazelton's "readiness signs," which he snatched out of the thinnest of air to make it appear
that his "child-centered" (a euphemism for upside-down) recommendations were based on solid
As a consequence of this waiting for the Godot of potties, children become ever more accustomed to
and oblivious of letting go in their diapers. When their parents finally make the attempt to entice them
to use the potty, all manner of resistance develops, including a problem that was rare fifty-plus years
ago but is ubiquitous today: refusing to use the toilet for bowel movements.
Several weeks ago, a mother asked me for advice concerning her 4-year-old who was "absolutely
refusing to poop in the potty." The child's resistance had been ongoing for some time and was
associated with late training. Mom was obviously ready to pack it in and run away from home, so I went
into my top-secret phone booth, changed into my Parentman costume, and gave Mom a set of
instructions that have proved helpful to lots of other parents in the same fix:
Stop talking to your son about using the potty. Don't even ask "Do you want to try and poop in the potty
today?" or other equally counterproductive questions.
Get rid of the diapers, pull-ups, and all associated things and resolve to never use them again.
Every day, right after your son eats a high fiber breakfast, gate him in the bathroom, naked from the
waist down, and tell him his doctor said he has to stay there until he poops in the potty.
Don't stay in the bathroom with him. Don't offer incentives, or even encouragements. After putting him
in the bathroom, make yourself scarce. Simply tell your son to call you when he poops or if he needs
Respond "coolly" to success, as if it's no big deal. Say no more than "That's good, you can come out
now." Do not give a reward or even lots of praise.
Gate him in the bathroom every day until he's having regular bowel movements in the potty.
A week later, Mom wrote, "We have success." When she introduced the plan, the little guy cried and
generally acted like he was being traumatized, but Mom stayed the course.
"You will poop in the potty," she told him, and he did; and he has been ever since.
Lesson: The mistake of late training is correctable, and my experience is that, as in this case, the
correction usually takes less than a couple of weeks. But the wear and tear in the meantime!
Copyright 2009, John K. Rosemond
*About the Author: Rosemond has written nine best-selling parenting books and is one of America's
busiest and most popular speakers, known for his sound advice, humor and easy, relaxed, engaging
style. In the past few years, John has appeared on numerous national television programs including
20/20, Good Morning America, The View, Bill Maher's Politically Incorrect, Public Eye, The Today Show,
CNN, and CBS Later Today.
Click here to visit Rosemond's Web site, www.rosemond.com
Toilet Training Success Stories
John K. Rosemond
I've said many, many times that letting a child older than 30 months soil and wet herself several times a
day is an insult to the child's intelligence. Actually, I absolutely know, and historical evidence confirms,
that it is easier to train a child at 20 months than it is to wait much past the child's second birthday. (Ask
yourself: Is it easier to house-train a 6-month-old puppy or a one-year-old dog?) As the age at which
toilet-training begins has increased (by nearly a year in the last 50 years), so have toilet-training
problems. In the mid-1950s, researchers at Harvard determined that nearly 90 percent of 24-month-olds
in the USA had been successfully trained. That so many of today's 3-year-olds are still in diapers and
"pull-ups" can only mean that today's kids aren't half as smart as kids were in my generation (and our
parents never claimed we were gifted!). I am cheered, however, to learn that there are still intelligent
children in the world, as evidenced by the following story:
The mother of a 27-month-old reads a magazine article about "readiness signs" and noting that her son
displays none of them, decides to toilet train him. Yes, you read that right. She correctly ascertained that
the writer of said article was simply engaging in "parenting correctness." Mom promptly announced to
her son that they had no more diapers; therefore, he would have to use a potty from then on. They
went out together and bought a potty and big-boy underwear.
She writes, "I didn't hover, nor did I ask or remind him to use the potty. I was training him, not me. I was
prepared for plenty of accidents, and figured each one would be a lesson in cause and effect. When he
wet, I said something like 'Gosh! That looks uncomfortable. Let's get you changed.' I didn't force him to
clean up by himself, or scold him. I just responded matter-of-factly. He got stickers to put on the potty
and some mild praise each time he was successful, but not a party."
Three days later, the child was accident-free. His mother thought she'd been lucky, but has since had the
same experience with two subsequent children, none of whom have, she admits, "gifted and talented
Her third child, a girl, insisted upon using the potty at 18 months. Mom was a bit skeptical, but had
another accident-free child within three days. Several weeks later, the parents decided to have her use
the big toilet. Since she couldn't get up on her own, Mom or Dad had to help. Eighteen months later, the
child was still demanding assistance, and the parents were still helping. Enough is enough, they decided.
Mom demonstrated how to attach the potty seat to the big toilet and mount it using a stepstool. Mom
then told the child that there would be no more help, even if she became hysterical. Mom also informed
her daughter that if she wet herself she would clean the mess up on her own. The little girl recently told
her teacher, who had offered to help her go potty, "My mommy says I have to do it all by myself, and I
There is no mystery to this success story. First, the mother began training before her kids got so used to
messing themselves that it was no big deal. Second, she conveyed clear expectations and equally clear
instructions. Third, she responded to mistakes with a calm, matter-of-fact attitude. Most importantly,
however, she approached toilet-training with no apprehension, as if it was the most natural thing in the
world -- which, in fact, it is.
Copyright 2008, John K. Rosemond
http://faircompanies.com/blogs/view/whocides-when-to-potty-train-you-baby-or-big-diapers/ was the
following: "One of the moms lured into the training philosophy of "don't force it... when he's ready it
will happen practically overnight" had emailed the group that she's now dealing with a "strong-minded
3-year-old who really seems to enjoy resisting the process". She sent along a link to an article as well as
her advice: "Start now, don't wait, even if he doesn't prefect the process until he's three or more. Set
the groundwork as early as possible."
I clicked on the link as quickly as I could and found the Mommy Files blogger Amy Graff explaining how
she had potty trained her 2-year-old son in 3 days. Using advice from potty training guru and ex-nurse
Julie Fellom, she explained, "Children are typically ready between 15 to 27 months. This is a great age
because toddlers are compliant but ready for some independence. If you wait longer, you'll be dealing
with a temperamental, strong-minded 2-year-old who will likely resist the process."
It was a book recommendation from one of the moms that finally clued me in to the disposable-diaper
industry's role in convincing American parents to wait and wait and wait (in their disposables) until their
kid was good and ready. Linda Sonna, author of "Early Start Potty Training" explains that the "child-
oriented approach" to training began in 1961 when Procter & Gamble started test-marketing the first
disposable diaper. "The company began looking for a pediatrician to promote them", she explains in her
book, "it signed up T. Berry Brazelton, who began extolling the merits of the company's product and
recommending that parents not begin potty training before children are physically, mentally, and
Even child-raising guru Dr. Benjamin Spock fell into line with the Pampers-pitching Brazelton. "Spock
used to say younger was better, 14 months was considered late for training," Sonna discovered while
researching for her book. "In 1961 everything changed and Spock began quoting Brazelton. That was the
year Brazelton signed up with Procter & Gamble. He came out saying it was cruel to train babies too
With the power of P&G advertising budgets behind him, Hazelton's advice began to change the nation's
ideas about when a child was ready for the toilet. For one Pamper's ad, he extolled what has now
become a common concept among mothers: "Don't rush your toddler into toilet training or let anyone
else tell you it's time! It's got to be his choice!"