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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eye-opening and encouraging book w/ great practical info
I thought this book was great. I'd been told that 18 months was early to introduce the potty to my daughter, but this book gave me the morale boost and the information that i needed. In less than a week my daughter has made great strides and we are well on our way to being diaper free.

I found the section on the history of potty training and the role of the...
Published on November 20, 2005 by Mary A. Coffin

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140 of 145 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars interesting, but not comprehensive
I am a stay-at-home mom of a 15-month-old. I am also a trained Montessori teacher. I have used cloth diapers with my son from the time he was one-month-old. I have seen many children toilet train before age 2.

So, I came to this book agreeing with some of what the author had to say. I think she makes a good case for changing our society's preconceptions...
Published on July 19, 2005 by CrochetingGardener


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140 of 145 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars interesting, but not comprehensive, July 19, 2005
This review is from: Early-Start Potty Training (Paperback)
I am a stay-at-home mom of a 15-month-old. I am also a trained Montessori teacher. I have used cloth diapers with my son from the time he was one-month-old. I have seen many children toilet train before age 2.

So, I came to this book agreeing with some of what the author had to say. I think she makes a good case for changing our society's preconceptions about toilet training, but this book is short on extensive practical advice that parents (and teachers) need.

The author does not approve of any sort of diaper, particularly disposables. However, she recommends cloth diapers as a lesser of 2 evils sort of thing. Her advice on laundering diapers is laughably out-of-date (treated wet pail, wash 3 times(!), etc.). Washing machines are far more evolved than the author realizes, and I would not use cloth diapers if it were as much trouble as she describes. She even thinks you still have to pin prefolds.

Some of the ideas in this book are useful, but it will have to be supplemented with books that go into greater detail. It cannot be the only book you read for potty training info.

If you want to read a book written by someone with very strong opinions about early potty training and the problems with diapers, then you may like this book. If you want a more balanced approach, I would pass over this one.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eye-opening and encouraging book w/ great practical info, November 20, 2005
By 
Mary A. Coffin (San Francisco, CA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Early-Start Potty Training (Paperback)
I thought this book was great. I'd been told that 18 months was early to introduce the potty to my daughter, but this book gave me the morale boost and the information that i needed. In less than a week my daughter has made great strides and we are well on our way to being diaper free.

I found the section on the history of potty training and the role of the disposable diaper industry in delaying toilet training very interesting. I used disposables, but did not feel at all rebuked by the author's tone. However I am seriously considering cloth now for my second baby. Regardless of the diaper debate, the instructions and advice were just as relevant for me as they would be for a dedicated cloth diaper mom.

Also, this book has specific advice for those starting potty training at any age level, but it's mostly for those interested in starting before age 2. pros and cons are given for starting at different ages, and i didn't feel that there was a pushy tone about starting training very young (although the arguements are persuasive for at least doing a little "elimination communication" during infancy).

For my 18 month old, I followed much of Sonna's advice while trusting my own insticts and following my daughter's cues. We moved a little more quickly than her timeline because that suited us. For our "potty sits" we ended up close together with me either behind her potty seat w/ a book in her lap or me on the step stool next to her reading picture books, and we didn't set a timer. The best thing that I did (on the book's advice) was to spend long mornings with my daughter running around pants-free and diaperless so that she could learn about elimination and she could see for herself why the potty chair is a good place to go - and so i could learn her patterns. Messy, but it really taught us a lot in a short period of time. Books and dolls were also a big help as well as serving as a potty role-model. These are basic concepts that I'd also seen in Sears' Baby Book, but Sonna goes into much more detail.

So, I would highly recommend this book as a good read and a positive, motivating force as well as for a source of practical advice. This was the only potty training book that I bought, and it has served me well so far.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Oh yes, they can learn before 2! *Updated Review, December 4, 2006
This review is from: Early-Start Potty Training (Paperback)
I heard about EC (or elimination communication) about four years ago, when my son was 9 months old. (He is now nearly four.) I didn't have any books on the topic at the time, but decided to try it anyway at home with my son as soon as he started to walk. When he started to walk two weeks before his 1st birthday, I started leaving him without diapers in the daytime, or putting him in cloth and pointing out to him when he was peeing. He was trained by 15 months. (He could go to the bathroom when it was time without reminders. I only needed to help him with some clothing for about three months more, then it was elastic waists for a while.) He was peeing and pooing on the potty, and going all day without accidents.

Three years after my son was born I gave birth to a daughter. The christmas before her birth my brother gave me this book. I read it cover to cover. At two weeks old I started to catch her pee in a pot. It was easy a first. Then as she was able to go longer between eliminations, I couldn't catch it on a regular basis anymore. I left her in diapers and just put her on the potty when I changed her. Sometimes we caught some sometimes we didn't. But she began to associate the pot with elimination and with the word "potty" and the sign for toilet.

I am proud to say that just yesterday my daughter crawled up to me saying "mamamama" I was wondering what she wanted so I picked her up, and asked her if she wanted to eat (while showing her the sign for eating), she stared at me blankly, so I took a chance and asked her if she wanted to go potty (and showed her the sign). She became very excited. So I put her on the potty and she peed! My daughter is almost eight months old. I hope that by twelve months she will be asking for the potty consistently, so that we can eliminate diapers all together.

This book was an invaluable resource to me. I appreciated all the back ground info about why we use disposable and why people believe kids can't use the potty till two or three. I would recommend this book to others in a heart beat. Only down fall is that there isn't quite enough practical application. I would love to have heard more stories about HOW mothers did this with their kids. There is practical application, just not enough.

** UPDATE **
We have been using this method for 10 years now, and I have now potty trained 6 children to be co,pletely diaper free in the daytime before their 2nd birthdays. My sixth child is still only 16 months old, but he wears underpants, and does not have more than one accident in a week. He was the fastest learner, only taking two weeks to go from full time diapers to underpants, asking to go (without words), and using the potty exclusively in the daytime. He was also my first full time cloth diapered baby, so that might have helped with the speed of learning. Another thing that I think helped, is that I gave him marshmallows as a reward because we are moving soon, so I really wanted him to learn faster. Other than that we followed the principals in this book. I love early potty training. I've never had two in daytime diapers at the same time! But don't ask me how to nighttime train them!! I have no idea, just to let them figure it out themselves. That said my 36 mo has been nighttime trained for 3 or 4 months now. Yay!

Mrs. Meg Logan
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28 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a find!, June 30, 2005
By 
Mark Brian, 39 and counting (Dallas, TX United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Early-Start Potty Training (Paperback)
Someone gave me this book. I'm not big on the self-help book craze, but I must admit that this author (she also wrote some other child development books) opened my eyes to the cultural differences in potty training, and does a great job of detailing why here in America our children take longer to potty train than anywhere else. This book isn't just a manual and a "how to" but it's also an expose on the diaper industry. I'm suprised this hasn't been picked up by the news agencies. This so called "self-help" book is actually a fabulous read. I HIGHLY recommend it.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Realistic, practical & easy - if a little out of touch w/the CD world, December 14, 2005
This review is from: Early-Start Potty Training (Paperback)
Sonna's approach is simple and practical and she presents terrific approaches for starting potty training at any age from early infancy on up. I especially enjoy the way she presents pros and cons of starting at each age.

My daughter, for example, is now 9 months and can sit up well on a potty... this is a pro; a con is that she has become somewhat used to diapers over the last 9 months.

Sonna is quick to reassure parents that whatever their child's issues with potty training, and even if their child experiences a small setback, it's not the end of the world. Considering that a lot of child-directed anger and even abuse focuses on pottying accidents, this is extremely important.

Sonna includes, as do most authors on early potty training, descriptions of practices at other times and/or in other parts of the world. Yet she does not dwell on these but moves right on into the practicalities, applying these practices to 21st century North American life.

Sonna uses little anecdotes to introduce of each section and age group - mostly interactions between parents and others who seek to influence their potty training practices, like a traditional Russian grandmother who is surprised and sorry her young grandson is still in diapers - which I found a bit corny. But again, she doesn't linger on these and the chapters themselves are not corny at all, and full of helpful tidbits.

I was a little amused by Sonna's descriptions of using cloth diapers. She seems somewhat aware of diapers that close with velcro but in other places writes exclusively of pins and prefolds. She also has some funny ideas, as a previous reviewer pointed out, about the rigours of washing cloth. Believe me, CDing is a lot more fun than Sonna makes it out to be!

Nevertheless, I found this a most helpful and insightful book - far less "all or nothing" than several other EC and early potty training resources I've found and far more realistic and reassuring about typical setbacks.

I don't know if Sonna really told me much I didn't know already. But for its reassurances and its detailed description of the practicalities of pottying at any age, I think it's an excellent resource.
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21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An eye-opening, practical, research-based read!, February 2, 2006
This review is from: Early-Start Potty Training (Paperback)
REVIEW UPDATE TWO YEARS LATER
At the time of my initial review of this product, my youngest was barely 2. We'd had the book for over a year and had started using the method with her at birth.

The results: she was reliably toilet trained at 13 months for daytime; she'd been pretty reliable at about 8 months but not completely. Because she never woke up in the middle of the night, I didn't take her potty in the middle of the night, and so she wore a diaper until she was over 2.

The last time she wore a diaper during the day was at 15 months, when we drove to Florida for a family vacation and needed to not stop as frequently as she needed to go. It took a couple of weeks when we got back to untrain her from using the diaper.

I can only think that the reviewers who gave this book a poor rating *based on theory* instead of practice just highlight that most other potty training books are also just based on theory, as Dr. Sonna points out in the book. Those of us who have actually followed her method know that it is anything but harsh, and it works--quite well.

I'm very happy to have been able to put the money I saved on diapers and ammonia burn creams into my daughter's college savings account.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

There are several really wonderful things about this book:

1) It is research-based, unlike 99% of potty-training books out there that recommend late training, which are based on theory.

2) She gives a history of the average age of potty-training in America.

3) Dr. Sonna gives researched-based health reasons to EC (elimination communication, or infant potty-training), and how it isn't just training the parent. Finally,

4) Dr. Sonna gives research-based instructions for starting at birth, starting at 6 months, and starting at 18 months, because how you train has a lot to do with the child's age. If you missed the early training window of before 6 months, she tells what to do and why. She also has chapters on bedwetting and special situations.

Why did people start late training? She explains why this is--did you know that T. Barry Brazleton was the spokesman for Pampers when they were first introduced in 1957? Yup. :-P He has been largely responsible for brainwashing people into late potty training. In 1902, the year my grandmother was born, the big debate among doctors was whether it was ok to start at 2 months instead of at 2 weeks! With the introduction of the electric washer in the late 30's (it wasn't widespread until about 1946), the age was pushed back to about 4 months, as it was much easier to do the laundry. Dr. Spock shocked people by recommending 7-9 months when his book came out--most people thought it was way too late (and we know they were right). Then came Pampers and Brazleton recommending 18 months. No wonder my Grandma hated diapers!

Dr. Sonna says that ECing trains a child's sphincter muscles; it keeps them aware of the sensations of eliminating before, during and after. She also tells why late potty-training isn't just "caring". It's unsanitary, contributing to the rising incidences of cryptospora, giardia, e-coli, and bladder infections. The later kids are potty-trained, the more likely they are to have accidents both day and night, and a "new" condition called unstable bladder syndrome. This is simply a combination of an incompletely emptied bladder that is prone to accidents and infections. "After passing waste while walking about in diapers for so many years, many children have difficulty figuring out how to work their muscles while sitting down" (p.8) is a reason for this. Chronic constipation is on the rise. Even seemingly-innocuous "diaper rash"--the old name was "ammonia burns" and was considered a sign of neglect, not an inevitability!

What just amazed me is the average age that kids are now trained: 35 months for girls and 39 months for boys. And these are the lucky ones: some doctors are now recommending waiting till age 4 1/2!!! Teachers are now seeing kindergartners and first graders that are still in Pull Ups. Talk about setting kids up for problems with self-esteem. Honestly, is a two-year-old up to making this kind of a choice for herself, as the late-trainers advocate?

Some reviewers have mentioned that she only mentions pinning prefolds. I did see a mention of a couple of other types of fasteners they must have missed. But the cloth diaper market changes, as any market does, so it's a good idea to do your own research on this anyhow. I don't see this as a drawback.

I am going to have to buy more copies of this to lend to friends having babies. When I asked "is it just me, or are most parents potty-training later?" on a homeschooling web forum a few months ago, parents my age (in their 40's, some with new babies, like me) said yes, they are, and gave reasons for earlier training, if not outright ECing. Younger ones, in their 20's and 30's, echoed the theory-based late training and even said it was cruel to "take the choice away from them". Now I have good, researched-based information to tell them.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Helpful and Informative, June 15, 2006
This review is from: Early-Start Potty Training (Paperback)
Great book. Sonna gives helpful advice for introducing the potty to youngsters according to their age: 0-6 months, 6-18 months, 18-24 months, and 2+ years old. She suggests that "early" potty training can be done in a very healthy, positive way that is beneficial to the child. Her opinions do clearly come through, but her conclusions about "early" versus "late" potty training are well supported by good research. In the early 1900s the big debate over potty training was whether to start at age 2 months or wait until age 3 months; and in the 1940s, the big debate was whether or not to wait until the "late" age of 7-9 months. She also talks about the study that supposedly concludes that it's better to wait much later, until the child shows "readiness" signs. She reveals that this study was conducted by the paid spokesman of Pampers disposable diapers!

I introduced the potty to my son at 18 months, without having any ideas or advice about potty training. At 19 months, he surprised me one day by pulling down his pants and peeing on the potty. I continued on with potty training, which mostly involved running around bare-bottomed and having many many accidents, as is expected. At 21 months, I finally read "Early-Start Potty Training." Her suggestions really helped, and within a week I saw major improvement. Soon he began letting me know when he needed to go-- with both pee and poop! He is still 21 months, and accidents still happen. But we are well on our way. He almost always pees when he sits on the potty; he is starting to feel when he has to go; and he is beginning to communicate this to me. This has been a very positive process. I never knew that potty training could be so fun!
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book, October 4, 2005
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Early-Start Potty Training (Paperback)
This book has been very useful while training my 16 month old daughter. Each section for age group works really well. This is one of the best books I have read on the subject. Especially if you have a little one that is interested early. ** added** She is now 22 months old in underwear and rarely has an accident. This book really helped! We still refer to sections of the book occasionaly to address potty issues. One of the better books out there.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hop on the Potty Train!, January 24, 2007
This review is from: Early-Start Potty Training (Paperback)
Dr. Sonna provides an excellent road guide for introducing the potty at a young age. I picked up the book when my daughter was 18 months, knowing that I did NOT want her to spend another year and a half in diapers like many of her peers will and are. We had already bought a potty chair and so we started right away. The methods outlined in the book are clear, easy to follow, and they WORK. Yes, this method takes a little more effort on the parent's part, but I was more than willing to do it. We were diaper free about six weeks after her 2nd birthday(and that was with a "late" start at 18 months).

The book provides methods for a gradual introduction to pottying. I would reccomend that parents of both genders be comfortable inviting their child in to have a potty sit while they use the facilities themselves. I am sure this has made our potty journey much smoother. Our daughter has learned to recognize her own body's signals and we didn't even have to "night train" her - she did it herself easily.

I would highly reccomend picking up this book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting read but not very helpful., January 13, 2010
By 
A. Kent (Cypress, TX) - See all my reviews
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Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Early-Start Potty Training (Paperback)
Just read this book and when I got to the end I was like, "so where are the instructions?".

I have a 13 month old that I wanted to start slowly working with and I was looking for a little more "how to" then what this book gave me. I really enjoyed the read but as a busy mom of a toddler I needed to spend my time reading a book that would have helped us out more.

If you are looking for a hand holding book then this book is not the right one in my humble opinion.
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Early-Start Potty Training
Early-Start Potty Training by Linda Sonna (Paperback - July 4, 2005)
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