Toilet training technologyBy Carrie Johnson Weimar • Published: October 16th, 2009
Category: Health in a Heartbeat
Potty training a child is traditionally one of the more difficult challenges for parents.
Leave it to scientists to offer a high-tech solution to this age-old problem.
Researchers in Belgium are working on a special alarm that alerts adults, especially day-care attendants, when a diaper is wet.
It may seem a little startling, but the alarm emits a pleasant musical sound and does not harm the children.
Toilet training is an important developmental milestone, and the potential for side-effects such as hygienic problems, skin irritation and social embarrassment continues until a child has acquired bladder control skills.
The theory behind the alarm is it allows adults to respond more quickly to dirty diapers, offering greater opportunity for appropriate encouragement.
It also helps children focus on efficient bladder control.
To test it, researchers selected thirty-nine toddlers at Belgian day-care centers. The kids, ages eighteen to thirty months, were monitored for three weeks.
Alarms were attached to a special self-adhesive strip in the diaper. When the strip became wet, the diaper emitted a ringing sound, and the child was taken to the potty and encouraged to finish.
The researchers rewarded the tots who completed their business in the proper place.
All of the children wore the same diapers, but only about half wore diapers connected to the alarm box. The results were striking. The children wearing the alarms achieved bladder control about fifty-two percent of the time. Meanwhile, only about eight point three percent of the other children were as successful.
So take heart, future parents. Toilet training may one day be as easy as ringing a bell.