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Early-Start Potty Training

Early-Start Potty Training

4.0 8
by Linda Sonna

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The time-tested, gentle, and successful method that introduces children to potty training as early as six months

While parents around the world successfully potty train their children well before preschool age, in the United States, we've moved away from this early introduction. However, there's no evidence that later is better—in fact, there's even


The time-tested, gentle, and successful method that introduces children to potty training as early as six months

While parents around the world successfully potty train their children well before preschool age, in the United States, we've moved away from this early introduction. However, there's no evidence that later is better—in fact, there's even significant reason to believe that later can be detrimental.

Written by a respected child psychologist, Early-Start Potty Training shows why the early-start method is preferable to the commonly used readiness method. Waiting until children show signs of readiness can hold them back from preschool, cost a fortune in diapers, and lead to health problems. The early-start method avoids these concerns by starting the process of training as early as six months old.

This easy-to-follow program provides you with:

  • Time-tested training tips for introducing toddlers—and even infants—to the potty
  • Methods for combating common problems of training delay
  • A troubleshooting plan for moving toddlers from diapers to potty independence
  • Hints on how to overcome accidents and build confidence in children

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
These two books address toilet training issues from opposite perspectives. Child psychologist Sonna believes in traditional parenting practices-which continue in some countries to this day-predating the introduction of disposable diapers. These include leaving off diapers altogether whenever possible, using cloth diapers when necessary, and introducing the potty to babies as young as a few months while "cueing" the child with a recognizable signal. Sonna contends that children trained with these traditional approaches complete potty training at a much earlier age than disposable-diapered children in modern Western countries. Her objection to conventional wisdom from pediatricians and disposable diaper companies (which suggests delaying potty training until two years of age or later) seems overstated at times; she also naively downplays the notion that busy working parents and child care providers would find the traditional approaches impractical. Nevertheless, Sonna represents a viable perspective, and her book is well worth including in the toilet-training books of any parenting collection. Pediatrician Bennett narrows his focus to bedwetting, and while he subscribes to Western-style potty training, he and Sonna concur that bedwetting can have damaging effects on children's self-esteem and social status as they age; their approaches to dealing with the problem are very similar. Bennett's "Waking Up Dry" program addresses the child directly, with frequent "Coaches' Corner" asides to parents. The intensive program includes questionnaires to determine the child's depth of motivation to become dry, a calendar to track progress, contracts and rewards, the use of a bedwetting alarm, and, sometimes, medication. Although the reading level seems high for the younger children who might participate, the author's tone is consistently positive and encouraging, both to children and their parents; recommended.-Kay Hogan Smith, Univ. of Alabam at Birmingham Lib., Lister Hill Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

McGraw-Hill Professional Publishing
Publication date:
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Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.58(d)

Meet the Author

Linda Sonna, M.Ed., Ph.D., is a professor of counseling psychology at Yorkville University with twenty years of experience working with parents and children. Dr. Sonna is the author of eight parenting books and is a public speaker.

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Early-Start Potty Training 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I never thought that late potty training was unsanitary before. A lot of my perceptions have changed after reading this book. There are several really wonderful things about it: 1) It is research-based, unlike 99% of potty-training books out there that recommend late training, which are based on theory. 2) She gives a history of the average age of potty-training in America. 3) Dr. Sonna gives researched-based health reasons to train early, and how it isn't just training the parent. Finally, 4) Dr. Sonna gives research-based instructions for starting at birth, starting at 6 months, and starting at 18 months, because how you train has a lot to do with the child's age. If you missed the early training window of before 6 months, she tells what to do and why. She also has chapters on bedwetting and special situations. Why did people start late training? She explains why this is--did you know that T. Barry Brazleton was the spokesman for Pampers when they were first introduced in 1957? Yup. :-P He has been largely responsible for brainwashing people into late potty training. In 1902, the year my grandmother was born, the big debate among doctors was whether it was ok to start at 2 months instead of at 2 weeks! With the introduction of the electric washer in the late 30's (it wasn't widespread until about 1946), the age was pushed back to about 4 months, as it was much easier to do the laundry. Dr. Spock shocked people by recommending 7-9 months when his book came out--most people thought it was way too late (and we know they were right). Then came Pampers and Brazleton recommending 18 months. No wonder my Grandma hated diapers! Dr. Sonna says that ECing trains a child's sphincter muscles it keeps them aware of the sensations of eliminating before, during and after. She also tells why late potty-training isn't just 'caring'. It's unsanitary, contributing to the rising incidences of cryptospora, giardia, e-coli, and bladder infections. The later kids are potty-trained, the more likely they are to have accidents both day and night, and a 'new' condition called unstable bladder syndrome. This is simply a combination of an incompletely emptied bladder that is prone to accidents and infections. 'After passing waste while walking about in diapers for so many years, many children have difficulty figuring out how to work their muscles while sitting down' (p.8) is a reason for this. Chronic constipation is on the rise. Even seemingly-innocuous 'diaper rash'--the old name was 'ammonia burns' and was considered a sign of neglect, not an inevitability! What just amazed me is the average age that kids are now trained: 35 months for girls and 39 months for boys. And these are the lucky ones: some doctors are now recommending waiting till age 4 1/2!!! Teachers are now seeing kindergartners and first graders that are still in Pull Ups. Talk about setting kids up for problems with self-esteem. Honestly, is a two-year-old up to making this kind of a choice for herself, as the late-trainers advocate? I am going to have to buy more copies of this to lend to friends having babies. When I asked 'is it just me, or are most parents potty-training later?' on a homeschooling web forum a few months ago, parents my age (in their 40's, some with new babies, like me) said yes, they are, and gave reasons for earlier training, if not outright ECing. Younger ones, in their 20's and 30's, echoed the theory-based late training and even said it was cruel to 'take the choice away from them'. Now I have good, researched-based information to tell them.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I always knew early potty training was better but didn't have the hard facts behind it. We have been so brain-washed by the diaper companies that we have become accustomed to having 3 & 4 year olds walking with their waste all day long. This book is great in presenting why we should start early and how. The previous reviewer did such a great job summarizing, I don't want to repeat. Just want to say that the book is well-researched and backed with actual study results, it's very easy to read and doesn't pressure or blame parents. The author offers very detailed instructions on how to start at any age, offers different options to customize the process in order to fit your and your child's needs, and describes some common problems and their solutions. But most importantly, every piece of advice makes sure that the child is not being forced during the training. On the contrary, the author emphasizes the need for being respectful of you child's reactions and threading carefully.
Of course, it doesn't promise you potty training in 1 day like other books, but the instructions are simple, totally doable and they work. 2 weeks in to the process we have registered some success and learned a whole lot. I would give this as a present to every parent I know.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago