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Book Review: Toilet Training without Tantrums by John Rosemond

Updated on June 18, 2014
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Main Premise

John Rosemond subscribes to a toilet training program that he dubs "N75" which translates to "Naked and $75". In this strategy, you keep the child naked in order for them to learn that wetting yourself = uncomfortable = wouldn't you rather just use the toilet and be dry and then the $75 kicks in when you have to hire someone to come clean your carpets afterwards.

I believe Rosemond succeeds at giving parents a practical guide to toilet training that is primarily stress-free. However, there are some issues I had throughout.

Issues with the Book as a Whole

When you purchase this book, you assume you are going to get a guide to toilet training your child, which you do get. However, I think Rosemond could have spent more of his book on issues with toilet training or practice advice rather than what he does spend it on, which is a history of toilet training practices and an entire chapter that specifically looks at the possibility of infant toilet training.

How it is working for us

We started N75 when my daughter was just about 20 months old. After one week and seemingly no successes, I wanted to pull my hair out. That is when I read the section about using a timer, and that worked really well for us. After awhile we stopped using the timer and for a while it seemed like she was pretty much ready to go. However, she reverted back and we went back to the timer.

Now, 3 months later, we seem to be getting the hang of it for the most part (occasional accidents, mostly due to laughing) with the odd exception that when it comes to a bowel movement, my daughter just will freeze and you have to literally walk her to the toilet.

I have been fortunate that she isn't afraid to use an adult toilet so we have been fine with going out, but she isn't very vocal yet (we are working on more than one language) so she isn't yet able to express when she needs to go other than whining perhaps. One fun tip: if you are out and the toilets are those automatic flushing kind, just put something over the sensor until your child is done (a piece of clothing works easily enough).

I've decided not to work on the nighttime "training" until after she is is two and we have totally mastered the daytime training.

Things I like about the program:

  • The only prize for using the toilet is the natural consequence of using the toilet - a dry bottom. There is no candies, stickers, or other such things.
  • The program is also natural in that it mostly just "happens" - specifically, I have heard of other systems where you literally are following the kid around for a few days and constantly talking about using the toilet.
  • The window of time is reasonable: 6 weeks- 3 months. I know we all want our kids to be super stars at everything but my daughter is finally pretty much getting it and we are at 3 months.
  • Rosemond provides a couple other useful strategies for parents, especially for parents of children who are older than the ideal window of 18-24 months and whose children are now rebelling against the idea of using the toilet.

Issues with N75

In general, I have to say that I like this program. I also like how Rosemond addresses people like me, micro-managers, and gives us tips for how to use the program without stressing about it- which is key. Many people I am sure have had complete success with this program, but here are some issues I had.

  • One key element is that the child be naked and that toilet training occur when the child is 18-24 months. I know this is a 6 month window but we cut it kind of close in our slightly cold climate here in Nebraska. Also, being naked is difficult with a child with eczema - we really had to step up our "no scratching!" and lotioning game.
  • Our daughter seemed to get the concept somewhat quickly (i.e. 8 weeks) and had a whole week of no accidents. I was about ready to call it done when she started having daily accidents again. Rosemond doesn't really address how to deal with a child who clearly knows what to do but chooses not to do it.
  • Although Rosemond suggests starting children at 18 months, he often seems to assume that children at 18 months can do more than my child can. For example, my child cannot tell me when she needs to use the restroom, but she can go over to it and use it on her own. I think he should emphasize the importance of some kind of potty signal or getting the child to say the word potty when they need to use the bathroom which would help further down the line.
  • Rosemond describes how to help children being nighttime toilet trained, but again, seems to base the strategy on what older children too. For example, Rosemond says that you should keep a towel near the child's bed and train them to dry themselves off if they have an accident at night. I doubt my 23 month old could do this (or 21 month old if I had started earlier), and even if she could, he never mentions how she is supposed to be able to see well enough to get up and grab a towel.
  • I'm going to have to spend a lot more than $75 to clean my carpets.

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