Use of a diaper alarm has been found to be effective in toilet training kids, according to a new study in Antwerp, Belgium.
Thirty-nine healthy young children between 18 and 30 months old were selected at random for a wetting alarm diaper training or control placebo alarm.
Toilet behaviour was observed at different intervals. First, during a 10-hour period by independent observers before the study, then at the end of the three-week trial and finally two weeks after training.
Children in the wetting alarm diaper training group achieved independent bladder control 51.9 per cent of the time and did significantly better than the control group's 8.3 per cent.
Parents or day-care providers are informed quickly by the alarm when the diaper is soiled and wet.
The alarm thus releases care-takers from continuous observation of their charges and allows the adults to carry out their activities as long as they stay within the reach of the signal.
Toilet training is a milestone in a child's development and rearing. The potential for side-effects such as hygienic problems, skin irritation and social embarrassment continues until a child has acquired the skills associated with toilet training.
The age of initiation of toilet training has increased from under 18 months in the late 1940s to 21-36 months today, said a Neurology release.
The convenience of disposable diapers, pull-up diapers and more efficient laundry facilities may contribute to this trend. Parents may also choose to postpone toilet training out of a belief that their child is too young to be trained.
These findings appeared in the journal Neurology and Urodynamics.