The science of toilet training: What research tells us about timing

© 2007-2021 Gwen Dewar, all rights reserved When is the best time to start teaching children about toileting? Infancy? 18 months? 24 months? Or even later? What does the science of toilet training tell us? There is surprisingly little research addressing the question. And, as I note elsewhere, each age is associated with its own Read More »

Signs of toilet training readiness: When to start, and when to wait

© 2021 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved When children show signs of toilet training readiness, they may learn toileting skills more easily or quickly. But not all signs are equally helpful — or even relevant — to your family’s needs. Before you begin training, it’s important to decide on your individualized goals for potty Read More »

Bedwetting in scientific perspective: Debunking destructive myths

child sleeping bed at night

© 2010 – 2021 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved Myths about bedwetting? There are several, and they aren’t helpful. Ever heard the claim that kids wet the bed out of laziness? Or that kids require counseling — talking therapy — in order to break the “habit?” Or how about the idea that wetting the Read More »

What’s the right age to start potty training? It depends on your goals


© 2021 Gwen Dewar, all rights reserved In Western countries like the United States, many children begin toilet training sometime between 24 and 36 months.  But from an historical and cross-cultural standpoint, this timing is very late, and it comes with a downside. So what’s the right potty training age? It depends on your child, Read More »

Infant toilet training: The scientific evidence

© 2020 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved Widely practiced in traditional cultures, infant toilet training is becoming more popular in Western countries. But what are the pros and cons of early training? How do you actually do it? And what does science tell us about the development of bladder control? If you grew up Read More »

“Fast-track” toilet training techniques: An evidence-based review

© 2020 Gwen Dewar, all rights reserved “Fast track” toilet training techniques can be effective, but they aren’t right for everyone. Children shouldn’t begin unless they are healthy, motivated, and developmentally ready. And caregivers must be prepared to coach their children through hours of intensive, focused training. To determine if fast-track training is right for Read More »

Bed-wetting (nocturnal enuresis) in children: An evidence-based guide

Wet bed sheets in a child's bed, copyright 2019 Parenting Science

© 2019 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved Is bed-wetting — also known as “sleep enuresis” — a sign of illness? Does it indicate a child is lazy or defiant? Trying to get attention? Suffering from behavior problems? The answer — in most cases — is no. Kids who wet the bed aren’t lazy. Stress Read More »

Infant potty training: An alternative to “elimination communication” for babies who can sit up by themselves

Infant potty training - close-up of the feet of a baby seated on a potty chair. Image by lkonstanski

© 2008 -2019 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved When people speak of “infant potty training,” they’re often thinking of method called elimination communication. It works like this. A parent notes those times of day when a baby typically eliminates. The parent also pays attention to the sounds and movements that a baby makes shortly before voiding.  Read More »

Potty training problems and solutions: An evidence-based guide

© 2006 – 2018 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved Common potty training problems include fears and anxieties resistance to sitting on the potty refusals to use the potty an unwillingness to use toilet facilities outside the home, and accidents. What can we do about these problems?  If we plan ahead, we can prevent many Read More »

The diaper alarm: An effective tool for toilet training?

© 2017 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved The musical diaper alarm Considering all the claims and hype, there haven’t been many good experimental tests of potty training techniques. But Alexandra Vermandel and her colleagues are trying to change that. They’ve wondered if they could speed up potty training by using a diaper alarm–a device Read More »

Potty training techniques: An evidence-based guide to training methods and their success rates

© 2008 – 2014, Gwen Dewar, all rights reserved Doing research on potty training techniques? This article describes the major methods and (where such information is available) reviews the scientific evidence in favor of each one. As you’ll see below, some approaches depend on parent-led practice runs. Others rely on child-initiated trial-and-error. But all modern Read More »

Potty training tips: An evidence-based guide for the thinking parent

© 2006 – 2013 Parenting Science, all rights reserved Evidence-based potty training tips? There haven’t been many experimental studies of toilet training, but helpful research exists. Here you will find a collection of evidence-based articles, including: What research reveals about the timing of training Signs of toilet training readiness: Should you wait? How to prepare Read More »