Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital
New Brunswick • Somerset

Robert Wood Johnson Researchers Pinpoint Best Time to Begin Toilet Training for Children

January 7, 2010

(New Brunswick, NJ) - 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.

Joseph Barone, MD

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 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.”

Dona Schneider, PhD, MPH, Professor and Associate Dean for programs at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University and Professor of Epidemiology at the UMDNJ-School of Public Health also contributed to the study.

Related links

Please visit www.bmsch.org to learn more about The Bristol-Myers Squibb Children’s Hospital at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. For a referral to a physician affiliated with RWJUH and BMSCH, please call 1-888-MD-RWJUH. For the latest news and updates about our academic medical center, follow us on Twitter at www.rwjuh.edu/twitter and Facebook at www.rwjuh.edu/facebook.

About Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital

Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH) is a 965-bed academic medical center with campuses in New Brunswick and Somerville, NJ. Its Centers of Excellence include cardiovascular care from minimally invasive heart surgery to transplantation, cancer care, stroke care, neuroscience, joint replacement, and women’s and children’s care including The Bristol-Myers Squibb Children’s Hospital at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (www.bmsch.org). As the flagship Cancer Hospital of Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey and the principal teaching hospital of Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Brunswick, RWJUH is an innovative leader in advancing state-of-the-art care. A Level 1 Trauma Center and the only Pediatric Trauma Center in the state, RWJUH’s New Brunswick campus serves as a national resource in its ground-breaking approaches to emergency preparedness.

RWJUH has been ranked among the best hospitals in America by U.S. News & World Report seven times and has been selected by the publication as a high performing hospital in numerous specialties. The Bristol-Myers Squibb Children’s Hospital has been ranked among the best hospitals in America by U.S. News & World Report for three consecutive years.

Both the New Brunswick and Somerset campuses have earned significant national recognition for clinical quality and patient safety, including the prestigious Magnet® Award for Nursing Excellence, an “A” patient safety rating from the Leapfrog Group and “Most Wired” designation by Hospitals and Health Networks Magazine. The Joint Commission and the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services have designated the New Brunswick Campus as a Comprehensive Stroke Center and the Somerset Campus as a Primary Stroke Center.

The American College of Surgeons’ Commission on Cancer has rated RWJUH New Brunswick among the nation’s best comprehensive cancer centers and designated the Steeplechase Cancer Center at RWJ Somerset as a Comprehensive Community Cancer Center. The Joint Surgery Center at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset has earned the Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval for total knee and total hip replacement surgery.