John's Articles

Why Hanna Sleeps With Us

Posted on 5/9/2023

My wife, Willie (nee Wilma), and I are the happy caretakers of a happy seventeen-month-old pure white toy schnauzer, Hanna. Hanna occupies the center of our attention. If you spent a day in our...

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Don't Turn Little Issues Into Big Problems

Posted on 4/11/2023

Q: My almost-3-year-old, when I begin to do something, will yell, “I WILL DO IT!” When it’s something he can do, fine, but if it’s not, then I just say, “No, Mommy will do it” and that’s the end...

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Starting Toilet Training Early Pays Off

Posted on 12/27/2022

Q: My grandmother maintains that her children – my mother and her two siblings, all born in the 1950s – were completely toilet trained at 18 months. Her terse explanation: “I just gave...

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The Problem With Pull-Ups

Posted on 11/1/2022

I finally tracked down the fellow who invented the so-called “pull-up.” His name is Lucapher (Big Lou) Saytan. Reputedly, Mr. Saytan lives in an underground bunker from which he develops and...

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Help Big Brother Understand Baby’s Limits

Posted on 8/2/2022

Q: Our soon to be 5-year-old son enjoys playing with his 14-month-old brother, but there have been three times recently when the baby has started crying and when I check, big brother has a guilty...

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Son’s Crying Is Normal

Posted on 2/22/2022

Q: Our 11-month-old son has started crying at just about anything he doesn’t understand. In our playgroup, if another child or an adult so much as looks at him the “wrong” way, he melts down....

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With Sippy Cups, Stick to the Short Term

Posted on 7/20/2021

Research finds that so-called “sippy cups” – spill-free cups used by most American preschoolers – are linked to speech problems as well as early dental issues. A sippy cup’s spout depresses a...

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On Picky Eaters

Posted on 11/4/2020

It’s funny, sort of, the things some parents want to believe. An example concerns children who’ve developed full-blown “eating disorders” by age three. “My child was exhibiting food...

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10-Month-Old Tosses Food for Mealtime Fun

Posted on 8/4/2020

Q: Our 10-month-old son has recently discovered the joys of throwing finger food on the floor at mealtimes. He doesn’t seem to care if I feed it to him myself, one piece at a time, but isn't it...

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Some Benchmarks on Toilet Training

Posted on 6/9/2020

“There’s no one-size-fits-all model of childrearing for all the world’s parents,” opines Alma Gottlieb, Professor Emerita of Anthropology at the University of Illinois. Gottlieb was quoted in an...

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Should You Ask Your Baby's Permission Before Changing Their Diaper?

Posted on 5/23/2018

Competition amongst the membership of the International Association of the Weird and Even Weirder for the Most Bizarre Idea of All Time has finally, after more than five decades of...

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Parental Anxiety

Posted on 8/12/2014

On one of my websites I, along with a team of certified parent coaches, answer questions submitted by parents. In the last two days, 67 percent of the questions have concerned toilet...

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Diapers at night

Posted on 7/22/2014

Q: Using your advice, I successfully toilet-trained my daughter by age 16 months. It is now three months later and we are still using diapers at naps and nighttime. At her nap, which lasts...

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150 Word Toilet Training Program

Posted on 12/10/2013

Q: My 18-month-old kicks me and hits me when I try to change his diaper. He doesn't do this for his father or grandparents. Should I hold his legs down until he gives up or will this worsen...

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Toilet Training Without Tantrums Note

Posted on 10/25/2013

Editor's Comment: John gets so many questions about toilet training. I am reprinting a column from two years ago; with an additional note. Almost every question received about toilet training has...

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18-Month-Old is a Table Terror!

Posted on 2/26/2013

Q: Our 18 month old is a table terror! While I'm preparing dinner, she walks around acting like she's starving, but as soon as we sit her in her highchair she takes a few bites and then wants...

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One Year Old Slapping Parents and Screaming

Posted on 11/8/2011

Punishment may fail with toddlers, but try a firm 'no' Q: My 1-year-old has started slapping us. He also screams a lot, often for no reason, or at least we can't figure out the reason. He won't...

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16-Month-Old Son - Read to Child When Ready

Posted on 6/14/2011

Read to toddlers when they're ready Q: In your book on 2-year-olds, you recommend reading to a child from early on. My problem is that every time I attempt to read to my 16-month-old son he...

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10-Month-Old Boy Bangs Head

Posted on 1/25/2011

Parents should roll with baby's rocking Q: Our first child, a 10-month-old boy, bangs his head on the headboard of his crib when we put him to bed. He doesn't cry or exhibit any distress, but...

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Preschool Education Programs

Posted on 10/12/2010

Preschool without shame? What a pity The National Association for the Education of Young Children and I don't see eye to eye on many things - maybe anything. We don't even agree on a definition...

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14-Month-Old Boy Bath-Time Fear

Posted on 3/30/2010

Quelling bath-time fear Q. My 14-month-old was taking baths just fine until about a month ago when he became enraged because I wouldn't let him stand up in the sink. Ever since, he becomes...

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13-Month-Old Girl Sleeping Issues

Posted on 7/21/2009

BABY WILL FALL ASLEEP IF YOU LET GO Q. My 13-month-old has become used to napping while I hold her, which I started when she was a small baby during a horrible bout of teething. Now she will...

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30-Month-Old Boy Toilet Training

Posted on 6/30/2009

GIVING BRIBES CAN ONLY BACKFIRE As readers already know, I am not a fan of rewards given for behaving properly. Rewards teach children how to be manipulative, to withhold proper behavior...

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Toilet Training: Just Do It

Posted on 4/28/2009

THIS GENERATION'S WAYS OF POTTY TRAINING HAS GOTTA GO What's it going to take for American parents to realize that just as it's far easier to house-train a 4-month-old puppy than a 1-year-old...

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16-Month-Old Boy Refuses to Feed Himself

Posted on 12/30/2008

PARENTS SHOULD CALMLY HELP BABY LEARN TO FEED HIMSELF Q. Our 16-month-old son refuses to feed himself. He will not even touch his food other than to throw it to the floor. If I try to put a bit...

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Early is Better Than Later For Toilet Training

Posted on 10/7/2008

EARLY IS BETTER THAN LATER FOR BABY'S TOILET TRAINING I've said many times that letting a child older than 30 months soil and wet herself several times a day is an insult to the child's...

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Toilet Training: Lose the Diapers Early

Posted on 9/2/2008

LOSE THE DIAPERS ASAP From the Great Suggestions Department: Amanda from Illinois shares a great idea concerning night-time "potty" training. She writes: "When my first daughter was day-time...

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18-Month-Old Boy Crys at Restaurants

Posted on 4/1/2008

CRYING AT RESTAURANTS IS TOUGH BEHAVIOR TO CHANGE, SO EAT IN Q. How should I handle an 18-month-old who cries at a restaurant because he wants out of his high chair to sit with me or someone...

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13 - Month - Old Child Having Difficulty Adjusting To Daycare

Posted on 11/20/2007

TAKING BUNNY AWAY ONLY ADDS TO TOT'S FEELINGS OF INSECURITY Q. I work at a day care where a 13-month-old child is having difficulty adjusting. She has a rash around her mouth from constant...

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Toddler/Preschool Classes

Posted on 1/9/2007

ALL THOSE CLASSES FOR TOTS WON'T TEACH WHAT REALLY MATTERS Q: In my hometown, various enrichment programs for children under 3 are proliferating. A 2-year-old can take ballet, music, yoga, or...

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Grandma Giving Gifts to Grandchildren

Posted on 8/22/2006

LET GRANDMA ENJOY THE FUN OF BRINGING GIFTS FOR THE CHILDREN Q: Should I stop my mom from giving my three preschool kids presents every time she visits? She is usually here once a month for...

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Baby Needs Structure, Routine; The Discipline Can Come Later

Posted on 5/2/2006

Q: Is it possible to discipline a child below the age of 2, and if so, how? A: If by "discipline" you mean teaching and enforcing proper behavior, the answer is no. Discipline of that sort is...

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Toilet Training

Posted on 3/28/2006

TOILET TRAINING MAY BECOME A THING OF THE PAST I tried to write a column but all I could manage to write was pieces of columns. So, I strung them together and, voila! A column! From the...

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Elimination Toliet Training

Posted on 10/25/2005

ADD 'ELIMINATION TRAINING' TO LIST OF PARENTING FADS The buzz in American parenting of late surrounds infant "elimination training," or training children as young as 6 months to signal their...

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Toilet Training Myths

Posted on 8/9/2005

TOILET TRAINING MYTHS TO IGNORE As some of my readers already know, I have declared all-out war on the absurd, destructive idea - promoted by a good number of pediatricians and mental...

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No Delay in Toilet Training

Posted on 7/26/2005

THERE'S NOT A GOOD REASON TO DELAY TOILET TRAINING My recent column on early toilet training prompted a good amount of reader response, both pro and con. Not surprisingly, the older the...

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Toilet Training

Posted on 7/12/2005

DONE PROPERLY, TOILET TRAINING CAN BEGIN 'EARLY' Q: According to my grandmother's diary, my mother was completely toilet trained by age 18 months, but my grandmother didn't explain her...

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Teaching Academics to Toddlers is Worthless

Posted on 9/7/2004

<b>Q: All of the moms in my mother's morning out group are purchasing academic "jump start" programs for their toddlers, some of whom are barely 2. What do you think of this trend, and if I don't...

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9-Month-Old Mealtime Issues

Posted on 5/11/2004

IGNORE FOOD-TOSSING TODDLER Q: We recently expanded our 9-month-old daughter's finger-food menu at mealtimes. The problem is that she's discovered how much fun it is to throw her food on the...

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18-Month-Old Clinging to Mom

Posted on 4/20/2004

IT'S NORMAL FOR TODDLERS TO CLING Q: Our 18-month-old daughter has recently started clinging to me, following me from room to room, and wanting to be held more than ever before. I expected...

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Toilet Training Must Start Early

Posted on 12/23/2003

TOILET TRAINING MUST START EARLY THE LONGER PARENTS WAIT AFTER 24 MONTHS, THE HARDER IT WILL BE Is it easier to house-train a 6-month-old puppy or a 1-year-old dog? The puppy, right? If you...

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Mom Does Not Use Sippy Cups

Posted on 10/14/2003

PARENTING NUGGETS' OFFER SOLUTIONS TO EVERYDAY CHALLENGES Every so often, through my Web site usually, a parent - well, actually, a mom - will send me an especially creative idea she stumbled...

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Children and Computers

Posted on 5/27/2003

LIMIT KIDS' PC USE TILL THEY'RE LITERATE Were he alive today, Samuel Taylor Coleridge might well have written, "PCs, PCs in every class, and no child is made to think." Psychologist Jane...

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13-Month-Old Shares His Meal with the Dog

Posted on 3/11/2003

Q: Our 13-month-old eats table food at his high chair. The problem is that he shares his meal with the dog. He throws food over the side just to watch the dog jump on it. This is actually funny,...

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"Jump-Start" Programs are Worthless

Posted on 10/29/2002

MANNERS FIRST, THEN MOUSE PADS Q: What is your opinion of the spate of computer-driven academic "jump start" programs for children as young as 3, if not younger? All of the mothers in my...

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Potty Training

Posted on 9/10/2002

DON'T BE BRAINWASHED ABOUT POTTY TRAINING As most folks know, PC stands for politically correct, but the P could just as well stand for psychologically or pediatrically. In any case, what is...

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16-Month-Old Afraid of Penis

Posted on 3/26/2002

JUST IGNORE TODDLER'S FEAR OF HIS PENIS Q: My 16-month-old has recently become afraid of his penis. A few weeks ago he accidentally peed one evening after his bath while I was toweling him off...

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Sippy Cups

Posted on 3/19/2002

DISPUTE OVER SIPPY CUPS POINTS TO LAZY PARENTING The front page of The Wall Street Journal on Feb. 12 blared the shocking news: The sippy cup - the spill-free cup used by most American...

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Toilet Training and Bedtime Issues

Posted on 11/20/2001

PARENTS ARE GOING BACK TO THE BASICS An analysis of the 3,000-plus questions submitted to date to my Web site suggests the two biggest problems besetting American parents concern the toilet and...

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Child-Proof Home for Active 15-Month-Old

Posted on 7/3/2001

JUST CHILD-PROOF HOME WHEN BABY GETS GRABBY Q. Our 15-month-old daughter has recently started climbing and getting into everything. At my mother-in-law's suggestion, we have tried popping her...

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