Winthrop Introduces Toilet-Training Program

Vol. 16, No. 3
Summer/Fall 2006

  • Scoliosis Patient Stands Taller after Complex Surgeries

  • Winthrop Specialists Named to Top Doctors List

  • Renovation Project Extended Thanks to Senator Balboni

  • Winthrop Opens Beautifully Expanded Admitting Office

  • ER & Cardiac Team's Exceptional Response Time Saves Father of Two

  • Winthrop Plays Major Role in County-Wide Emergency Preparedness Drill

  • Winthrop's Department of Pediatrics Admitted to Prestigious National Association

  • Don't let obesity take you from them

  • Cancer Survivor's Inspiring "Mask of Courage" Evokes Hope

  • Winthrop Appoints Board of Directors Chairman

  • Former Winthrop President Passes Away

  • CyberKnife Restores Mother's Hearing and Preserves Grandfather's Active Lifestyle

  • Winthrop Introduces Toilet-Training Program

  • Winthrop First LI Hospital to Pioneer Use of Advanced Physician Order Entry Technology

  • Citigroup Foundation and Garden City Family Support Cancer Center for Kids

  • Charlie's Champions Rally in Support of Cancer Center for Kids

  • Horticultural Therapy Program Branches Out Thanks to Fidelity Investments

  • West Islip Family Thanks Pediatric Center

  • Garden City Second Grader Dedicates Birthday to Young Patients

  • Jets Fans' Contributions Benefit Pediatric Patients

  • Kids for Care Hosts Dinner Supporting Pediatric ER Patients

  • Diabetes Education Center Partners with American Idol Celebrity for Important Discussion

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  • Fredric Daum, MD, Chief of Winthrop's Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition Division.

    How do you know if your child is toilet trained? According to Fredric Daum, MD, Chief of Winthrop's Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition Division, the child who is does not announce that he has to use the bathroom.

    "The child self-initiates by walking to the bathroom, closing the door, and sitting on the toilet," he explained. "He then flushes, washes his hands, and leaves the bathroom without announcing that he has just gone to the bathroom."

    Dr. Daum also advises parents to take a look at their child's stomach. Is it swollen? Does the child have large bowel movements? Is the child soiling his/her pull-up or underwear? If so, the child is most likely "stool withholding," a behavior often used to exert and maintain control. Dr. Daum directs "All About The Toilet," a program at Winthrop that provides medical consultation for families with children of all ages--including those with or without special needs such as autism or chromosomal abnormalities--who are experiencing toilet-training challenges. To date, he has helped hundreds of children achieve toilet-training success.

    "Parents usually come to me because their child is entering school and they are afraid he or she will be labeled because they are not yet trained or they may smell," Dr. Daum explained. "They come in in a panicked state: The child is otherwise thriving and functioning normally but they are absolutely refusing to use the toilet."

    Once the child is diagnosed as withholding stool, Dr. Daum sits with the parents and counsels them. He encourages parents not to feel that he is being critical of their parenting. Consultations are conducted in a friendly setting, and telephone contact in addition to return visits are encouraged until the issues are resolved.

    The Age-Old Question

    There has always been controversy about at what age a child should be completely toilet trained, according to Dr. Daum.

    "To some degree, we have been misguided by certain childcare philosophies that insist parents let a child tell them when it's time to toilet train," he explained. "It is generally agreed that children without special needs are usually trained by three to three-and-a- half-years of age. Those children with special needs, including delayed development or autism, may take longer, and may be able to achieve only certain aspects of toilet training."

    One success story involved a four-year-old boy without special needs, who was still wearing pull-ups and refusing to use the toilet. "Two weeks after starting treatment, he was self initiating and sitting on the toilet without a pull-up," Dr. Daum noted. "There are many children who have never sat on a toilet, who can even be trained in one week."

    The key to success is having the full support of the child's caregivers, including grandparents and baby-sitters. "Everyone has to be on board," he added.

    Dr. Daum cautions that parents should not feel as though they failed. They have his complete support, but they must be completely committed.

    "Toilet training can bring out the worst in us as caregivers as we try to take control, without giving in to the child," he said. "Often times I hear of parents using pull-ups on their three- or four-year-old, and sending them off to daycare with two or more sets of clothing. The child's controlling behavior changes everything he does. There's no downside to asking for help, only an upside."

    Dr. Daum holds monthly, inter-active seminars at Winthrop for parents of children dealing with a variety of toilet-training issues. These hour-long sessions enable the participants to feel comfortable discussing challenges and solutions with other parents.

    "Typically, after a couple of weeks, the participants feel much more prepared to handle the situation," he explained.

    With "All About The Toilet" Dr. Daum is there for parents every step of the way, and he works closely with the child's school, therapists and pediatricians.

    "I am committed to helping families get through this difficult experience," he said.

    Registration is required to attend an upcoming "All About The Toilet" informational session. Call (516) 663-8534 for more information.

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