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TERESE NILSSON - Bowel and Bladder function in assisted infant toilet training - the BABITT study

PhD project participating in the National Research School in General Medicine.

At what age should children be introduced to the potty? The last decades, children are in diapers for a much longer time period. Meanwhile health care professionals experience an increase in bowel and bladder disorders among young children. We aim to evaluate any health benefits of introducing the potty during the first year of life, and to describe the process of potty training.

PhD Student

Terese Nilsson
PhD Student, Örebro University

Project overview

Project period:

Start date: 2023-01-01

Project description


The age at which children start toilet training has increased during the last decades in the Western world. Meanwhile an increase in functional disorders such as constipation, bladder dysfunction and toileting problems is reported by health care professionals.


The overall purpose is to assess whether introduction of potty (assisted infant toilet training) during the first year of life can influence the prevalence of functional bowel- and bladder disorders up to 4 year of age and to describe the toilet training process.


We conduct a randomized intervention study, the BABITT-study, at child healthcare centers in Region Dalarna, Sweden. The infants are randomized to start assisted infant toilet training at 0-2 months of age or at 9-11 months of age. The parents receive instructions on the technique and continually up to 4 years of age answer electronic questionnaires concerning their child’s health, bladder- and bowel function, experiences of parenthood and the toilet training process. At 9 months and 4 years, the participant’s rectal diameter is measured with abdominal ultrasound. The study protocol is available at ClinicalTrials.gov (NCT04082689).

We also conduct a cross sectional study of 4 year olds from the general population at child health care centers. The parents are invited to answer a corresponding electronic questionnaire to evaluate the prevalence of bowel and bladder disorders and their toilet training process. The rectal diameter measured with abdominal ultrasound will be performed on a sample of the participants.


The results from the two studies will generate knowledge of the prevalence of bowel and bladder disorders and hopefully lead to new recommendations of how and when to introduce the potty and when to perform toilet training.

University affiliation

Örebro University

Main supervisor

Barbro Hedin Skogman senior consultant at the Department of Pediatrics, Falun Hospital, Associate professor at Örebro University, and senior researcher at the Center for Clinical Research (CKF) Dalarna.

Latest update: 2023-03-10