Historical Development of Toilet Training

  • Maura L. Rouse
  • Lauren B. Fishbein
  • Noha F. Minshawi
  • Jill C. Fodstad
Part of the Autism and Child Psychopathology Series book series (ACPS)


The completion of toilet training is considered to be an early childhood developmental milestone involving the development of voluntary control over the sphincters, maturation, and learning. The ultimate goal of completing toilet training in early childhood has remained relatively constant. However, the specific age at which this occurs, and the age at which initiation of training occurs, has not. History has seen differences in recommended ages of beginning toilet training from a few months to a few years old. This chapter emphasizes the history of toilet training practices in the United States. It is noted that within the United States, many cultural variations exist. Authors have documented some of the many differences in toilet training practices among people of the United States from a variety of ethnic, socioeconomic, and religious backgrounds. Over several centuries, the teachings and methods used to toilet train children in the United States have drastically changed. This chapter provides a review of these changes, focusing primarily on the nineteenth and twentieth centuries till today. The authors present factors that have influenced toilet training practices. Several major practices are discussed, including Brazelton’s ( Pediatrics 29:121–128, 1962) child-oriented toilet training method and Azrin and Foxx’s ( Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis 4:89–99, 1971) rapid toilet training. Additionally, future directions of toilet training are discussed.


Toilet training History Rapid toilet training Brazelton method Development 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maura L. Rouse
    • 1
  • Lauren B. Fishbein
    • 1
  • Noha F. Minshawi
    • 1
  • Jill C. Fodstad
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryIndiana University School of MedicineIndianapolisUSA

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