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Toilet Training of Healthy Young Toddlers: A Randomized Trial Between a Daytime Wetting Alarm and Timed Potty Training

Vermandel, Alexandra MPT*; Weyler, Joost MD, PhD; De Wachter, Stefan MD, PhD; Wyndaele, Jean-Jacques MD, PhD, DSci*

Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics: June 2008 - Volume 29 - Issue 3 - p 191-196
doi: 10.1097/DBP.0b013e31816c433a
Original Article

Objective: Toilet training (TT) is important for every child, but there is no agreement on what is the best training method. We evaluated in a randomized way the comprehensive use of a daytime wetting alarm at home for 5 days in healthy children and compared it with timed potty training.

Methods: Thirty-nine children, between 20 and 36 months of age, were randomized to wetting alarm diaper training (WAD-T; n = 20) or timed potty training (TP-T; n = 19). Toilet behavior was observed by parents and independent observers before, at the end, and after 2 weeks of training. Late evaluation at 1 month was done by telephone.

Results: The WAD-T group did significantly better than the TP-T group at the end training (p = .041), at 14 days (p = .027), and 1 month after training (p = .027). Independent bladder control was achieved in 88.9% of the WAD-T group.

Conclusions: The WAD-T method is a structured, child-friendly, highly effective option for TT young healthy children. It offers the parents clear guidelines, a limited time needed to complete TT, a high success rate, and minor emotional conflicts. Results must now be confirmed in a larger sample size.

From the Departments of *Urology and †Epidemiology, University Antwerp, and Department Healthcare Hogeschool Antwerpen.

Received October 2007; accepted January 2008.

Correspondence: Jean-Jacques Wyndaele, MD, PhD, University of Antwerp, Department of Urology, Wilrijkstraat 10, B-2650 Edegem, Belgium; e-mail:

© 2008 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.