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Press Kit - Lessons from the Toilet School:
A Family-Centered Approach to Toilet Training

Book Overview

Lessons from the Toilet School: A Family-Centered Approach to Toilet Training
by Ann Coleman Stadtler, DNP, RN, CPNP and Claudia Quigg, ME

Edited by Emily Chudzik and Tyler Porter, and designed by Sarah Suits and Shelby Truax.

ISBN 978-0-9909921-9-6
paperback © 2017 • 168 pages (6" X 9”)

Bronze Man Books (Millikin University, Decatur, Ill) is pleased to announce the publication of a new book for parents and care providers, Lessons from Toilet School: a Family Centered Approach to Toilet Training. While many books in this genre are narrowly prescriptive, this book provides support to families seeking to better understand the developmental processes of toilet training. Each family's experience is unique and each child's experience is unique.

Every parent raising a young child eventually asks this question: is my child ready for toilet training? Lessons from Toilet School: A Family-Centered Approach to Toilet Training helps families address this question by looking for signs of readiness in the child. This book recognizes those signs of readiness, but it also explores the bigger picture of your family's experience. How will toilet training your child fit into the life of your busy family? How might it impact relationships? What special considerations will you need to make for your own unique child? Overall, how can you create a plan that makes sense for your child and your family?


Print-ready Flyers & Posters

2-up (8x11.5) order form flyer - Lessons from Toilet School: A Family Centered Approach to Toilet Training (300 dpi PDF)

About the Author - Ann Coleman Stadtler (print poster PDF)

About the Author - Claudia Quigg (print poster PDF)


Book Covers

Lessons from Toilet SchoolFront cover (6x9) 72 dpi JPG

Lessons from Toilet School Front cover (thumbnail) 72 dpi JPG

Lessons from Toilet School Back cover (6x9) 72 dpi PNG


Author Photographs

Claudia Quigg          Claudia Quigg

Author Claudia Quigg - b&w photograph 72 dpi (4x6) JPG               Author Claudia Quigg - b&w photograph 72 dpi (3x2) JPG


Claudia Quigg          Ann Coleman Stadtler

Author Ann Stadtler - b&w photograph 72 dpi (4x6) JPG     Author Ann Stadtler - b&w photograph 72 dpi (3x2) JPG


Authors Introduction

You love your baby more than the moon and the stars, and you would do anything to ensure her healthy development. You supported her through sleepless nights and teething and cried tears of joy at her first smile and first steps.

Now, you stand and watch as she fills her potty chair with blocks and sets her teddy bear on its seat. You think you're ready to help her learn toilet training, but you're not quite sure how to begin.

Toilet training results from a whole series of developments in your child's journey to independence. Learning to control her bladder and bowels is part of self-regulation as she leaves infancy behind for the wonderful world of being a big kid. It typically includes a long process of small steps as children and parents work toward toilet mastery with well-earned pride and success at the end.

Dr. Ann Stadtler was always very interested in supporting families with toilet training in her primary care pediatric practice. With Dr. T. Berry Brazelton of Harvard Medical School, Ann was one of the founders of the Brazelton Touchpoints Center, an international professional development program at Boston Children's Hospital.

Through Touchpoints, Ann became acquainted with Claudia Quigg, founder of Baby TALK, a national parent support model. Ann and Claudia serve together as faculty for the Brazelton Touchpoints Program. Both Ann and Claudia found great gratification in supporting parents through early childhood, including providing information and tips to parents before they started the toilet training process. They believed that setting families up for success from the beginning was the healthiest developmental path.

Yet, for some families who did not find support or simply got off track, this path toward toilet mastery is dotted with land mines. A variety of challenges may lead children—and their parents—to feel like toilet training failures.

In 1998, Ann was coordinating the Pediatric Pain and Incontinence Clinic at Boston Children's Hospital. There, she saw more and more very verbal four- to six-year-olds who were still struggling for toilet mastery. Many of them had simply gotten off course in their toilet training process with rather disastrous results, including constipation, toileting accidents, and plenty of frustration.

She and others developed a program for these kids and their parents which they began to call “Toilet School.” Toilet School is an innovative approach which has been replicated in several other settings.

Toilet School met with tremendous success with all kids, including those who had special learning needs, such as children with Down syndrome and children on the autism spectrum. Still operating to this day, Toilet School continues to come alongside families to support toilet mastery, even for children whose parents had lost hope.

Upon reflection, Toilet School has supplied many lessons about how all kids gain this essential skill set. Ann has become one of our nation's leading authorities on supporting children's efforts for toilet mastery. She has been consulted by national television and newspaper outlets on this important topic, and her article on toilet training won the Parenting Publication of America Award.

Ann and Claudia came to understand that a little support at a critical time could set parents and children up for success, thus preventing the toilet train- ing challenges our Toilet School families endured.

Prevention is the key to avoiding derailment in every aspect of development, and toilet mastery is no exception. Both in Ann's pediatric practice and in Claudia's parent-toddler groups, partnering with families as toilet training was dawning gave us the opportunity to help families avoid many pitfalls.

The purpose of this book is to share the wisdom of these parents and children, as well as the benefit of science and best practice from the world of child and family development. We hope that your family can use this knowledge to usher your child painlessly though what should be, after all, a very natural process.

Toilet training families have been our most impactful teachers. A particularly compelling story from one family helped us understand the complexity of some families' struggle. Four-year-old Rachel told Ann one day in Toilet School that what she was afraid of was the raccoon in her toilet. When Ann asked who else saw the raccoon, Rachel told her that the lion did. She said it roared at the raccoon. Rachel also said that her parents saw the lion roar at the rac- coon and yelled at the lion for doing so. Finally, Ann asked Rachel where she was when this happened, to which she responded, “Hiding behind the door.”

Ann asked if she could tell Rachel's mother the story that evening after Toilet School. Ann repeated the story to Rachel's mother while Rachel sat on her mother's lap. Her mother started to cry, hugged Rachel and said, “I am so sorry. Our bathroom has been like a zoo and Dad and I have yelled at you. We just didn't know how to help you and now we are all figuring it out together.”

Ann prompted, “And the raccoon?” After a pause, Rachel's mother said, ”We did have a rabid raccoon on our lawn last year and the police came and shot it and took it away.”

There's so much to learn from Rachel's story about how children try to figure out the world. Every new development is a challenge, but it is also a chance for parents and children to grow in their relationship. Toilet training requires the rapid learning of new skills for both of them.

Parents base toilet training practices on their culture, their peers, the demands of their childcare situation, their careers, economics, and trusted others. Parents use toilet training—as every other skill they teach their children— to convey their values and priorities.

Children who arrive at the task of toilet training have achieved much developmentally, but they are still in the process of learning many new things. They bring their individual temperaments and their own unique learning styles. They bring their role in the family. They may bring some special needs if they function in a way that is not typical, such as children on the autism spectrum.

Mostly, you and your child bring what you've learned about living and working together. You bring your ability to read each other's cues and to make meaning of one another's expectations.

Toilet training is, after all, a family affair! It's affected by your child's development, your perspective, and the system of support around your family. Each family's experience of the process is unique, and within a family, each child's experience is unique.

Parents are not meant to parent alone, but with support from a network of people who can help. Our hope is that we'll be part of the support you deserve as you toilet train your child, whatever method you choose. As professionals collaborating with young families, Ann and Claudia have walked with thousands of parents on the journey of toilet training their children. We have listened to a variety of methods, celebrated a myriad of success stories, and marveled over how each family makes this transition in a way that is uniquely their own.

Like Rachel's mother, it is our wish that you will pause and think about your method and what it means for each family member. Your informed reflection will enable you to learn about your beloved child's perspective as you lead him to master his own toilet skills.

Let's get this “potty” started!

Ann & Claudia


Authors Conclusion

Where are you and your child on your family's toilet training journey? Are you just at the beginning, gazing out at the road ahead, unsure of what awaits you there? Are you climbing a steep hill of disappointments, concerned that you may never reach the top? Are you on the home stretch, almost able to see the finish line of your child's toilet mastery?

Wherever you are on this journey, remember that you and your family are on a path no one has ever walked before. Your unique child and the complex make-up of your family's functioning make this experience the only one of its kind. No set of rules can assure you overnight success, and no one can tell you exactly how it will play out.

However, there are a few certainties you can count on:

On some level—whether he admits it or not—your child wants to achieve toilet mastery. An internal motivation leads children to desire mastery over their own bodies and lives. When children behave as if they don't want to be toilet trained, it's usually an attempt to cover their own fear of personal failure and disappointing you.

You will find success with a stepwise plan that makes sense for you and your family. Consider all the factors surrounding this new effort and think about how the system of support around your little one can scaffold him in his efforts. Take steps that make sense and will work for your family.

Sometimes, backing up a step is the surest way forward. When your child seems to feel pressure or is resisting your attempts to train him, it's okay to take a step back and give him time to regroup before resuming the effort. This is not a race, and maintaining your child's joy for life and your family's loving relationships are more important than quick toilet training. When it comes to toilet training, patience wins.

You know your child better than anyone else in the world knows him. Pay attention to your own perceptions of how things are going. Notice when he seems really engaged in moving ahead or when he seems defeated by the prospect of such a daunting task. You will know when he is ready to move to the next step. Using all that you have already learned about him, follow your own instincts in supporting the toilet training process.

Positive supports lighten your load. We hope you have a strong system of support encouraging this process. Grandparents, teachers, medical providers, and friends can all make a positive contribution. If negative or critical voices surround you, seek out others who will collaborate with you and support your plans.

Your child will find success, once step at a time. Your child will ultimately achieve toilet mastery, and when he does, his own pride will match the joy you feel. You will have assisted him in attaining a critical step in his quest in learning how to be the master of his own ship.

We are thrilled to be part of your system of support, and we would enjoy learning about your stories. Every family's process is different, and we would love your contribution as we continue to hear from families about new Lessons from Toilet School!

Our very best to you,

Ann & Claudia


What others say

“Based on decades of experience, Lessons from Toilet School makes children's experience of toilet training easier for parents to understand by translating what most young children can only communicate through their actions and in their play. When parents truly understand the child's perspective, it is easier for them to respect the child's learning process, avoid intruding on it, and gently support the child's gradual mastery as it emerges.” ~ Joshua Sparrow, MD (Director of Brazelton Touchpoints Center)

“There is so much wisdom in this book. A parent who can read it ahead but wait for the child's readiness will find success and feel proud that she and the child were able to accomplish each step together.” ~ T. Berry Brazelton, MD (Founder, Brazelton Touchpoints Center & Professor Emeritus, Harvard Medical School)


About the Editors & Designers

Emily Chudzik
Emily Chudzik - Editor

Tyler Porter
Tyler Porter - Editor

Emily Chudzik is a senior English writing major at Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois. She has been an editor for Bronze Man Books for three years and is one of the senior editors for the 2016-2017 school year. She also does editorial work for The Decaturian, Millikin's school newspaper, Millikin's Premier Writers, an anthology of first-year essays, and Collage Literary and Fine Arts Magazine. Currently, she is working as a part-time copywriter for Wiley Education Services. She is looking forward to graduating and starting her professional career. Tyler Porter is a December 2016 Millikin University graduate with a B.A. in English Writing. During his time at Millikin, Porter was named to the Dean's List four consecutive semesters and garnered the Mabel L. Griffin scholarship for showcasing unique talent in writing. In his final semester, Porter served as senior editor at Bronze Man Books. He aspires to make a living as an entertainment journalist in Nashville, Tennessee, covering the country music industry.

Sarah Suits
Sarah Suits - Graphic Book Design

Shelby Truax
Shelby Truax - Cover Design

Sarah Suits is a senior graphic design major at Millikin University and is the art director for Bronze Man Books. She has previously designed and illustrated for Bronze Man's graphic poetry chapbook, Skull Kids, and is currently employed as a graphic design intern at Grain Journal Magazine in Decatur, Illinois. Shelby Truax is a senior graphic design major with an emphasis in photography. She is involved with University Center Board, Alpha Phi Omega, and the Edge Program. She works at Millikin University as a mentor, social media developer, and office assistant, and she is also employed at a local photography studio, DR Roberts in Decatur, Illinois. Her plans for after graduation are flexible, and she hopes to be employed at a design firm.



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