In THE first few decades of this century the dominant doctrine about toilet training was that it should be started at an early age and should be carried on in a fairly rigid way. The conscientious mother was taught to believe that cleanliness and regularity were virtues to be had at all costs. Since the late thirties and early forties, when pediatricians became aware of psychiatric thought and the relation between early training and the development of personality was more fully recognized, the teaching of parents has gradually changed. Along with the idea of self-regulation of eating came the idea of self-regulation of elimination.
In the Well Child Clinic mothers are helped to understand the importance of watching for signs of readiness in a baby before any new task is undertaken. In the case of toilet training the mother is advised to wait until the baby can sit up well,
ROBERTS KE, SCHOELLKOPF JA. EATING, SLEEPING, AND ELIMINATION PRACTICES OF A GROUP OF TWO-AND-ONE-HALF-YEAR OLD CHILDREN: IV. Elimination Practices: Bowel. AMA Am J Dis Child. 1951;82(2):137–143. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1951.02040040146004
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