Researchers at The Bristol-Myers Squibb Children's Hospital (BMSCH) at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH) and UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School (UMDNJ-RWJMS) have completed a study that pinpoints the period between 24 and 32 months of age as most effective time frame for parents to begin toilet training lessons with their children. Additionally, the study indicates that the timing appeared to matter more than the specific training method used.
The results were published in the Journal of Pediatric Urology. Researchers observed 150 children divided into two groups, which included children between the ages of 4 and 12 who had experienced some form of urge incontinence. They determined that children within the group who received toilet training after 32 months of age showed more incidences of bed-wetting, day-wetting and other urge incontinence issues.
According to Joseph Barone, MD, Surgeon-in-Chief at BMSCH and Associate Professor and Chief of the Division of Urology for the Department of Surgery at UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, the study is the first of its kind to provide parents with a specific time frame for their children's toilet training. In addition to his roles at BMSCH and UMDNJ-RWJMS, Dr. Barone is a board-certified surgeon with the The Robert Wood Johnson Medical Group, UMDNJ-RWJMS' multidisciplinary faculty practice with 500 physicians encompassing more than 200 subspecialties.
"It gives parents a guideline for the best time to begin training with their children," Dr. Barone explains. "Parents do not need to feel pressure, but they can be proactive and start training exercises before the child is 32 months old."
Incontinence issues such as bed wetting or day wetting can lead to emotional problems and potentially interfere with a child's peer relationships. The psychological effects can extend to parents as well.
"Parents may have feelings of guilt because they feel they did something wrong and contributed to the problem," Dr. Barone said. "These problems can affect both parent and child and may have a long-term psychological impact on both if the issues are not addressed."
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