How to toilet train successfully

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How to toilet train successfully

You know, one of the challenges about toilet training is that we are in a hurry to get it done and get through it, and yet, we have to respect the child’s pace. In our society, I think, we still see success in toilet training as a sign of success as a parent. And then, of course, there is the mess and the expense and so of course we want to get through it. But unfortunately, that can become pressure for us and pressure for the child that can backfire and get in the way of the most important thing to support the child’s toilet training, which is having it be at the child’s pace. So often we get fooled somewhere around 18, 19, 20 months by some of the false alerts when the child goes off into the corner of the room and grunts or points and so we think, “Well, the child has an awareness, so they’re ready.” Probably not. Usually it’s sometime between 2 and 3 years of age that they are ready. In the Brazelton White Series book on toilet training, you can see the whole list of the signs inviting this and the steeps to move your child through toilet training. But the key point is to do it at the child’s pace and not at ours.

See Joshua Sparrow, MD's video on How to toilet train successfully...


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Joshua Sparrow, MD

Child Psychiatrist & Author

A child psychiatrist, Dr. Sparrow’s care in the 1990s for children hospitalized for severe psychiatric disturbances, often associated with physical and sexual abuse, and for developmental delays aggravated by social and economic deprivation, prompted his interest in community-based prevention and health promotion. At the Brazelton Touchpoints Center, his work focuses on cultural adaptations of family support programs, organizational professional development, and aligning systems of care with community strengths and priorities, and has included collaborative consultation with the Harlem Children's Zone and American Indian Early Head Start Programs, among many others. He has lectured extensively nationally and internationally on related topics and has consulted on media programming for children and parents, including PBS’s Frontlines and Discovery Kids. Co-author with Dr. T. Berry Brazelton of 8 books and the weekly New York Times Syndicated column, “Families Today,” Dr. Sparrow has also served as a contributing editor to Scholastic Services’ Parent and Child magazine. In 2006, he revised with Dr. Brazelton Touchpoints: Birth to Three, 2nd Edition and in 2010, co-edited Nurturing Children and Families: Building on the Legacy of T. B. Brazelton, a textbook on the ongoing generativeness of Brazelton’s seminal research in a wide range of fields. Dr. Sparrow has authored numerous other scholarly works, teaches and lectures nationally and internationally, and is frequently called upon for his expertise by national and international media. Prior to attending medical school, Dr. Sparrow worked for several years as a preschool teacher and journalist in New York City.

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