Toilet training is a process that every child must go through, but there is often confusion among parents and caregivers about which training method is best to use. Toilet training methods can usually be divided into two categories: systematic control and passive-permissiveness. Systematic control is a method based on operant conditioning and is intended to train children faster. Passive-permissive training is a child-centered approach that focuses on training at children's natural pace. This article is a review of the academic research associated with the two methods, and is a summary of the risks and benefits involved with each. Findings suggest that passive-permissive training is a better method than systematic control due to the risks associated with the latter. These risks include parental stress, child distress, and potential child abuse. Such risks are inadequately counterbalanced by the sole benefit of a slightly earlier training age. These conclusions provide support for the use of passive-permissive training methods over systematic control methods.

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