Because I Said So!

The Completely Manufactured Fiasco That Is Toilet Training in the New Millennium

March 05, 2024 John Rosemond Season 1 Episode 47
Because I Said So!
The Completely Manufactured Fiasco That Is Toilet Training in the New Millennium
Because I Said So! with John Rosemond
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Yes, indeedy, the experts have done it again...to wit, they have turned something simple into something complicated.

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Speaker 1:

You got yourself some children. They all be running wild, driving you crazy. They're keeping you up all night long. You better turn on your radio dial up to John Roadman's show. Because I said so, welcome. Or, as the case may be, welcome back to Because I Said so, the only podcast on the entire world wide web where you will hear the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, about psychology, America's mental health industry in general, child rearing, which we now call parenting, which isn't child rearing at all, and children and families and marriages, and occasionally even toy schnauzers named Hannah From you'll hear all this from, by the way, a guy who, by training and license, is in fact a psychologist. So I know psychology from the inside. So what I'm going to tell you is an insider's view Of what has got to be the most destructive profession ever conceived in the diabolical mind of man. So I'm going to begin with this. However, several people recently have asked about the song that opens this podcast and closes it. It's a song called Because I Said so, and people have said who is that? Well, that's me.

Speaker 1:

A little known fact about moi is that I played for seven years in a rock and roll band. I was their lead singer. My stage instrument Was blues harmonica. We were a very blues oriented rock and roll band, sort of in the tradition of the early Rolling Stones. No pre-some girls people, pre-some girls, way pre-some girls, rolling Stones, you know bad company, that sort of thing. Yeah, seven years my wife and I met. In fact my wife Willie me and EE Wilma Met because she came to hear the band play and I noticed her from the stage noticing me. I was, if I dare say so, myself a very theatrical lead singer. I moved all over the stage, which is why I didn't play guitar on stage. I would write on the guitar and then hand the song to the band and we would learn the song together and then we would play it. But when we played it in front of people, no, no, no, no, no, I was Sans' guitar. I was holding only in my hands a blues harmonica and anyway.

Speaker 1:

So I in 1992, by the way went into the studio with a band called the Sponge Tones, looked them up, sponge Tones, one word Out of Charlotte, north Carolina, a critics choice band that never achieved the notoriety they should have achieved the fame. So I approached them in 1992 and because I'd heard them play several times and I knew from hearing them play that they understood the paradigms that I used when I wrote a song. And I had harbored this fantasy ever since being in the band in my college and graduate school days and early married days as well. I really supported us early on playing rock and roll and I had harbored this fantasy of recording a full-length CD of all original music penned by MWAH, both the lyrics and the chords and the arrangement and everything else. And songwriting continues to be a hobby of mine. I just I write songs all the time, usually while driving down the road, for some reason, and I've talked to other songwriters who do the same thing driving down the road. Melodies will occur to me, words will occur to me, and then they'll start coming together and I write a song between Raleigh and Newburn, north Carolina, or something like that, on the road.

Speaker 1:

And I had plenty of songs at that point in 1992 that I thought were recommendable, listenable, and so I approached the Spongebob Towns. I actually had to audition for them. I passed the audition and we went into Reflection Sound Studios in Charlotte and it took us about four months to complete the album because I was also on the road doing a lot of public speaking at the time, and the CD Ten Songs it runs just shy of 40 minutes received excellent reviews where it was reviewed. One reviewer said that one of the songs on the album was the best song of its kind that he had ever heard, and the song is called Euphoria U-F-O-R-I-A and it's just a garage band song. It's. You know, it's garage band rock and roll and you know, just real free and upbeat. So anyway, when it came time to launch this program, I realized that I had somewhere a recording of a song that I had done with one member of the Spongebob Towns. He and I played all the instruments, we did all the vocals, we just multi-tracked, and that the song was called Because I Said so and I had written it for a radio program that I attempted in the 1990s. That never worked out, and an independent radio program never worked out really. And so I found the recording of Because I Said so and that's what you're hearing at the beginning of this podcast and at the end of the podcast that's me on lead vocals, that's me on background vocals and that's Jamie Hoover of the Spongebob Towns, one of the most incredible musicians I've ever met in my life playing drums, bass and guitar and no, not all at once. He's not quite that good.

Speaker 1:

Well, anyway, today I'm going to talk about in the parenting part of this. I'm going to talk about toilet training, toilet training, toilet training once a straightforward process that most parents were able to accomplish with their children before their children were two years old, rather reliably and rather easily, I mean within three to five days. Children in the 1940s and 50s were toilet trained. That's when I was toilet trained. I mean I was. My mother said she doesn't really even remember toilet training me, but she has this dim sense, or had this dim sense, of it taking like several days. So that is, that was the fate of toilet training, if you will, prior to American parents beginning to listen to experts tell them how to raise children and how to accomplish the various hurdles involved in raising a child. That's the way it was done when common sense ruled in the raising of children.

Speaker 1:

But in the years since I was a child, common sense has I mean, let's face it folks all but vanished concerning our collective understanding of children and parental responsibilities. It's all but vanished because my profession, psychology, has succeeded in scaring parents half to death with ideas that have no scientific validity whatsoever. That's how they we psychologists that is. That's how they make a living. They scare parents half to death by inventing and then disseminating what I call psychological boogeyman. Psychological boogeyman is an idea. It's nothing more than an idea. Furthermore, it's a highly speculative, unproven idea that, once invented and disseminated, causes parents extreme anxiety. An example of a psychological boogeyman is the completely unproven idea the toilet training is a process that, if done the wrong way or at the wrong time, will cause a child great and probably long lasting psychological harm For the rest of his life. He will shudder at the mere thought of a white porcelain object because my profession has successfully marketed this completely fabricated notion.

Speaker 1:

Today's parents and moms I mean, let's face it again, moms mostly approach toilet training with significant anxiety. Now, my mother did not approach my toilet training with significant anxiety or any at all. It was just a matter of fact thing that you did in the course of raising a child. You taught the child how to use the toilet. But today's moms, they communicate tremendous anxiety to their children Through the process of toilet training. They communicate this anxiety in their tone of voice. They communicate it by hovering over the child, by asking do you need to use the potty? Do you need to use the potty? I mean, 40 times a day. They communicate it with impatience and frustration and self-doubt and second guessing, all of which their kids pick up on, because young children are intuitively brilliant. They pick up on things really quickly. When they pick up on all this anxiety, their natural reaction is to back off, refuse to cooperate, because to cooperate is to cooperate in something that's causing the parent a great deal of stress. They don't understand that and their natural reaction and not understanding it is to refuse to cooperate.

Speaker 1:

When they were still with us, I would frequently talk with women of my mother's generation. I would question them about their approach to various child-rearing issues, including toilet training. For the overwhelming majority of them I don't think I found one person in that demographic ever who was an exception to this rule Toilet training was no big deal. It was no more complicated than teaching a young child to feed himself with a spoon and certainly no more fraught with psychological pitfall, which means it wasn't fraught with psychological pitfall at all. They generally started toilet training around 20 months give or take, and most of these women told me it took, like I said before, several days, maybe a week.

Speaker 1:

That report, by the way, is consistent with a mid-1950s study done by several universities, including Harvard, yale and Stanford, one finding of which was that in the early years of that decade, the 1950s, nearly all children 24 months of age were accident-free Nearly all children in the early 1950s 24 months of age were accident-free Accident-free at 24 months of age. And, by the way, the criteria used by Harvard, stanford, yale, et cetera, princeton was that in order to be considered accident-free, a child had to have no accidents for one month. So these children, nearly all children, american children in the early 1950s were accident-free at 24 months of age, means they were accident-free at 23 months of age. Now, the child of the 1950s wasn't smarter than today's kids. So what explains why it's the relatively rare child today who is completely toilet-trained and accident-free at age 23 or 24 months? Well, it's explained by Rosemann's parenting maxim uno numero, to wit, you cannot raise children in two entirely different ways and arrive at the same outcome. If you raise children, or, in the present case, if you approach a child-ring task, such as teaching a child to use the toilet on his own, in two entirely different ways, you will obtain two entirely different outcomes For the mom of the greatest generation, the 1950s mom, toilet-training was no big deal.

Speaker 1:

She approached it therefore very matter-of-factly. For today's mom, toilet-training is a big deal. She was fraught with psychological boogeymen, to mix my metaphors. For today's mom, the simple process of teaching a child to use the toilet is thick with psychological landmines which she must take great care not to set off. The 1950s mom approached toilet-training with authority, as in you're going to learn to use the toilet, you're going to put your pee in, your poop in the toilet and that's the only place. You're going to put it very simply stated. In other words, the mom of the early 1950s simply stated the objective to the child. Today's mom approaches the same task not with authority, but with anxiety. You cannot communicate authority if you are anxious. That's a fact.

Speaker 1:

The 1950s mom knew her child's schedule and so when he was about to pee or poop, she put him on a toilet seat, gave him a book to look at and left the room. Call me when you've pee-peed, she said as she left, or call me when you've poopied. The toilet seat was affixed to the big toilet, leaned the child back so he couldn't simply stand up and get off. Today's mom, by contrast, uses a small potty which allows the child to get off on his own, which he does. Today's mom tries to keep her child on the toilet by staying in the bathroom with him, reading songs, reading books, praising, encouraging, feeding him treats. Today's mom doesn't seem to realize that if you want a child to use the toilet on his own, you leave him alone to use the toilet on his own. You don't stand there being the maternal equivalent of a cheerleader. Of course you stand ready to provide support, but you don't hover like a helicopter. No matter the context, micromanaging draws pushback. The mom of the 1950s reported to me that the process start to finish took maybe a week. Today's moms tell me that toilet training is an arduous task that often lasts months, sometimes more than a year's worth of months.

Speaker 1:

The problems with toilet training began when a Harvard pediatrician named T Barry Brazelton began pontificating on what he called child-centered toilet training. Child-centered toilet training centered around the idea that toilet training should not take place until a child has demonstrated ten readiness signs. That included things like the child shows interest in using the toilet and the child understands the concept of object permanence, which means that a child knows that even though an object disappears behind, say, a wall, that the object is still there. Isn't that fascinating? Here we have a process to toilet training that parents have been doing successfully For thousands of years without help from professionals with capital letters after their names, and suddenly a Harvard pediatrician begins telling parents how to do it correctly. For thousands of years no one paid any attention to readiness signs, and yet children were toilet trained without great angst on anyone's part. And suddenly parents are being told by a Harvard pediatrician that they need to pay attention to readiness signs. That said Harvard pediatrician T Barry Brazelton, snatched out of thin air. Resulton also told parents that toilet training a child under the age of two that would be twenty-four months required. What he said was force. He used the word force. He said that toilet training a child under the age of two required force and the required force could cause psychological disturbances. Isn't that fascinating? In the 1950s, a study found that almost all American children had referred to it before Were toilet trained before their second birthdays. And these kids, including yours truly, seemed to be doing just fine. And we've done just fine. And yet, twenty years later, parents are being told that toilet training a child before his second birthday is going to cause psychological harm. That psychological harm exactly.

Speaker 1:

I asked T Barry Breselton that very question on a television talk show in the 1970s. When the New York Times discovered that I was disagreeing with this Harvard pediatrician you know, this psychologist out of North Carolina was disagreeing with the great and wonderful T Barry Breselton the New York Times put the disagreement on the front page and we were, we being T Barry and myself. We were subsequently invited on to a radio TV talk show, you know, like CBS Good Morning or something like that, and interviewed together back and forth. And at one point the interviewer I forget all the details, you know, leslie Stahl or somebody like that asked you know what was the problem with toilet training children under the age of two? And T Barry said well, you know, it causes, it requires force and causes psychological harm. And so when my turn came, I said Dr Breselton, you were, there's almost no doubt about it toilet training before the age of two. What psychological harm has it caused you? And he couldn't answer the question. I mean, all he did was start hamming and hawing and stumbling over words. And well, of course, he couldn't answer the question because he had made all this up. Well, anyway, because of T Barry Breselton's toilet training propaganda.

Speaker 1:

Parents began waiting beyond their children's second birthdays to toilet train them and they began experiencing numerous problems. Why? Because it's easier to house train a three month old puppy than it is to house train a one year old dog. That's why it is easier to toilet train a child before his second birthday than after, just as it is easier to house train a three month old puppy than it is to house train a one year old dog. The longer you allow a dog to pee and poop wherever and whenever, the harder it's going to be for the dog to break the habit and listen carefully. Ladies and gentlemen, the same rule applies to children. Like I said, since the 1960s, the more parents have listened to professionals tell them how to raise kids, the less common sense parents seem to have. No-transcript.

Speaker 1:

In the 1980s I began challenging Brazelton to debate. He wouldn't take me up on my offer. I mean, we were there on the same television talk show, but that was what five minutes. No, he wouldn't debate me publicly. It was good for him because in any debate with me he was going to lose. I mean, there's no doubt about it, he wasn't going to lose because of some you know magnificently brilliant aspect of my being. He was going to lose because he was wrong and could not, in a public forum, defend successfully defend his bogus ideas. And, by the way, even though Brazelton is no longer with us, his influence lives on His pediatricians today continue to tell parents to delay toilet training until well after a child's second birthday, which almost guarantees problems.

Speaker 1:

In fact, that probably explains 98 percent of the plethora of problems that American parents are experiencing when they go to toilet train their children when they're two and a half or three years old, at the advice of their pediatricians. And at the point the problems develop. And you know, it's like. You know, the kid is two and a half and he's been peeping, peeping, peeping and pooping in his diapers for two and a half years, and he doesn't see the point in doing it any other way. And so parents begin experiencing problems.

Speaker 1:

And what do they do? They go back to the same pediatricians whose advice caused the problems in the first place, and those pediatricians then refer the parents to psychologists who cause even more problems. Which is why I tell parents if you feel like you need some good child ring advice, go to your grandmother or, better yet, if she's still with us. You're great, your mother. When are we going to figure it out? Good people, the more parents seek advice from professional experts, the more problems they have.

Speaker 1:

Well, john, aren't you a professional expert? Yeah, I guess so. Well, doesn't that apply to you? Well, it may apply to me. God help me if it does, but it may apply to me. I mean seriously, folks. I believe that a great grandmother, a woman who raised her children in the late 40s and early 50s, gives better advice than the advice given by any psychologist in the world, and you can take that to the bank. Yep, I really said that, and that's a wrap You've been listening to because I said so with your host, psychological Heretic, and I love it, john Rosemond, and you can find more about me and my ministry, my mission to America's families, at johnrosemondcom Parent gurucom. I have a weekly sub-stack and obviously I have a weekly podcast, and I'm glad you joined us it today and I hope you continue doing so, because I'll continue to be here as long as my mental and physical capacities allow it. Have a good day, folks, and remember keep on rockin' in the free world, as if we don't rock it, we're in grave danger of losing it.

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