Going Potty Over Toilet Training

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Potty training may not be one of the highlights of parenting, but it is an unavoidable part of the job. And a pair of recent studies that appeared in Pediatrics magazine — one by Dr. Bruce Taubman, clinical associate professor of pediatrics in the School of Medicine, and the other by Dr. Nathan Blum, assistant professor of pediatrics at the Children’s Seashore House, written with Taubman and another doctor — reveal that parents whose children don’t train easily are in good company. Among the findings:

• Only four percent of the 482 children in the study were toilet trained by the time they were two years old; 22 percent were trained by the age of 30 months; 60 percent by 36 months; 88.5 percent by 42 months; and two percent were still not trained by 48 months.

• As a group, boys trained later than girls — 48 percent were not trained until after age three, compared to 30 percent of girls.

• Children who refuse to use the toilet “do not have more behavior problems” than those who are trained at the same age.

• There was “no association between the age the child was toilet trained and mother’s work status, attending day care, behavior scores, or the presence of siblings.” On the other hand, children with younger siblings were approximately twice as likely to “experience toileting refusal” as those with older siblings.

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