Developmental Screenings for Children are Important

If you are a parent or guardian of a child, you know the importance of regular doctor visits. In addition to the standard components of a visit, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that pediatricians talk with families about their child’s development at every well-child visit between birth and 3 years old, and conduct developmental screenings at 9, 18 and 30 months of age.

During the first three years of a child’s life, their brain undergoes a remarkable period of development, and these years are considered the most important in a child’s development. These years are an important time for developmental monitoring and screening.  According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), developmental monitoring observes how your child grows and changes over time and whether a child is meeting typical developmental milestones in playing, learning, speaking, behaving, and moving. A milestone checklist such as the one on MKSA’s website is a useful tool for this. All family members can participate in developmental monitoring. If you feel your child is not developing like other children of the same age, speak with your child’s pediatrician. At well-visits, doctors will do developmental monitoring and will ask you questions and will talk and play with your child. Childcare providers can also be a valuable source of information on your child’s development.

Developmental screening is a more in-depth look at your child’s development. Parents will complete a questionnaire about their child and your child may get a brief test. Screenings may be done by a doctor as well as other professionals in healthcare, early childhood education or school settings. Developmental screening is more formal and done less often than monitoring. Your child should be screened if you or your doctor have a concern, but developmental screening is a regular part of some well visits for all children. The AAP recommends developmental and behavioral screening for all children during well visits at the following ages:  9 months, 18 months, and 30 months. AAP also recommends that all children be screened specifically for autism spectrum disorder during well visits at 18 and 24 months. If your child is at a higher risk for developmental problems due to preterm birth, low birthweight, family history or other factors, your doctor may discuss additional screening.

Parents are sometimes hesitant about developmental screenings, believing that doctors are looking for problems. The opposite is often true. Parents—especially first-time parents—often have many questions about their child’s development. All aspects of a child’s development and life are considered, and doctors often reassure parents that behaviors and development are in fact typical. And if there is a concern, early help does make a difference.

If a developmental screening identifies an area of concern, a formal developmental evaluation may be suggested. An evaluation will identify and diagnose developmental delays and conditions and determine if a child is eligible for early intervention services. A developmental delay means a child has not reached age-appropriate milestones in one or more developmental areas. If the delay is significant enough to meet eligibility criteria, early intervention services are available at no out-of-pocket cost. To learn more about this, click here.

Many families have delayed well-child visits due to the pandemic, resulting in missed screenings. Schedules were altered, and ‘getting back to normal’ should include resuming regular checkups for children. Many milestones can only be measured by doctors in person. Parents can also discuss any concerns they may have about their child, and receive guidance, and resources if necessary. If well-visits were missed, now is the time to reconnect with your child’s doctor and discuss any concerns.

If you have any questions about your child’s development, MKSA is here to answer your questions. Please reach out by email at or call 516-731-5588.


Note: The information in this article is for informational purposes only. It is not an attempt to diagnose or treat any medical condition. Always consult your child’s pediatrician with any specific medical questions. MKSA is also available to answer questions about child development. Contact us at 516-731-5588 or


 Sources: Developmental Monitoring and Screening Developmental Screening

Top 9 Potty Training Questions and Answers

Potty training is one of many significant childhood rites of passage. As with all milestones, some children meet them early, some later, and many in the wide range of normal in between both extremes. Most children however, show an interest in potty training around the age of 2. The process may be quick or it may take some time, but there are some general tip-offs that your child is ready. Throughout this gloriously frustrating process are many questions. Compiled below are some of the more common potty training questions and answers. If you have specific concerns, please speak with your child’s pediatrician first.
1. When do most children learn to use the toilet?
While most children can begin potty training by age 2, it is important to remember that each child is an individual and develops at his own rate. Generally speaking, you can expect your child to achieve daytime control sometime between ages 2 and 3, and nighttime control between ages 3 and 4-1/2.

2. What are the signs of readiness for potty training?
Some—but not necessarily all—of the following are signs: pausing and making sounds and grimaces when having a bowel movement, being regular in bowel movements, staying dry for an hour or two in the daytime, waking up dry from a nap, complaining when wet or soiled, being aware that urine and feces come from his body, telling the parent when he has had or is having a bowel movement, wanting to imitate adults and be grown up, being able to undress/dress by himself and being able to understand/follow directions.

3. How can I prepare my child for potty training?
During your everyday activities, point out when he is having a bowel movement or is urinating; teach him that urine and feces come from the body; teach him the words you want to use for bathroom functions; allow him to observe others using the toilet; and read books about toilet training.

4. What should I do about accidents?
Accidents will happen—and are to be expected. Be relaxed about them. Express no anger or disapproval; don’t scold, shame or punish him. You might say “Oh, your pants are wet. Let’s change into some dry ones.” Clean up calmly and reassure him that “next time you’ll remember to use the potty.”

5. If my child has been clean and dry for a while and suddenly begins having many accidents, what should I do?
Regressions to wetting and/or soiling are not uncommon in toddlers and are usually a reaction to stress. Look for sources of pressure in the child’s life—separation from a parent, a new baby, starting nursery school, moving, etc.—and try to ease tension by providing reassurance. If this persists, speak with your pediatrician.

6. What are the best words to use for potty training?
Think carefully about the words you teach your child for body parts, urine and bowel movements. Not only will you hear these words daily throughout the preschool years, but he is sure to repeat them often to relatives, neighbors, teachers and friends. Be sure to use words you want to hear frequently!

To encourage a healthy body image, use anatomically correct names for all body parts. When an elbow is an elbow, but a penis is a “weenie,” children often wonder why one part of their body is so special that it can’t be called by its real name. On the other hand, most people don’t use terms like “urine” or “feces” to explain their bathroom needs. “Pee pee,” “wee wee,” “wet,” and “tinkle” are more commonly understood childhood descriptions of urination, while “poo poo,” “doo doo,” “BM,” “poop,” and “doody” are the usual choices for a bowel movement. In addition, simply saying “going potty” can be confusing to a child because it doesn’t differentiate urination from defecation.

7. What should I do about my child wetting the bed?
This is a common problem for many young children. They often are very sound sleepers and have small bladders that can’t hold all of the urine made during the night. Suggestions include:
-limit the amount of liquids your child drinks 2 hours before bedtime
-have your child try to use the toilet just before going to bed and as soon as he wakes up
-cover the child’s mattress with a rubber pad
-praise him when he stays dry
-respond gently when he does have an accident; getting angry doesn’t help either of you
-tell him to use the toilet if he wakes up in the middle of the night; remind him he can come and get you for help

8. What books can you recommend for toilet learners?
No More Diapers! by Jo Graham Brooks, MD
Once Upon a Potty by Alona Frankel
Going to the Potty by Fred Rogers
Potty Time! by Betty Reichmeier
Everyone Poops by Taro Gomi
Uh Oh! Gotta Go! by Bob McGrath
I Have to Go: Featuring Jim Henson’s Sesame Street Muppets by Anna Ross

9. Any other last words of encouragement for parents/caregivers?
It’s important to remember that potty training is a process, not a race. Children need extra patience and positive reminders during this time. Accidents and regressions are normal. Potty training is a natural development and cannot be rushed; this is just one step of many important life skills to be learned. Our job as parents/caregivers is to give children confidence to achieve success not only here but in all aspects of development. For more information on child development, visit Good luck!