Potty training, a study in human behavior

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Azrin, Nathan,Ph.D. & Foxx, Richard, M., Ph.D. Toilet Training In Less Than a Day. New York: Pocket Books, 1974.

Toilet training is difficult for both parent and child. Based on the research of two psychologists, Nathan Azrin and Richard Foxx, the average child can be fully trained in less than four hours. They began their training with mentally handicapped adults and successfully taught 95% in three days. With the added emphasis on language and verbal rehearsal they attempted to teach children and were astounded at the results. Their methods eliminate the fear damaging the child's psyche by making toilet training a pleasant experience. The child is not simply toilet 'trained', he is toilet 'educated', that is, the complete process from knowing it's time to emptying the pot and flushing the waste down, all unsupervised. Any parent would agree, this is incredible. They use a combination of the same principals used in Practical Applications of Psychology.

The overall objective is to teach the child to toilet himself with the same independence as an adult without the need for reminders, continued praise, or assistance. This method is rapid because of the variety of learning techniques. Learning by imitation, learning by teaching, a partial reinforcement schedule with rewards that increase the need and the negative reinforcement of disapproval are all employed.

Children learn best by imitation and teaching with the aid of a hollow doll. The child gives the doll a drink then is told the doll has to 'peepee' and he must help her. After the child assists in removing the doll's pants, the liquid is released. The child must observe the flow of liquid. into the potty chair. The adult and the child then praise the doll and the child then assists the doll in redressing and emptying the...