Deb Pontillo

Child Psychologist

Dr. Deb Pontillo is a licensed clinical psychologist who specializes in child development, behavior, and learning. She has a highly specialized pediatric practice in San Diego, and is also voluntary Assistant Clinical Professor at the Dept. of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, at UCSD. Dr. Deb is an invited speaker, media consultant, published author, and mother of two young children (6 and 2).

Dr. Deb received her Bachelor's degree in Psychology from the University of British Columbia, received her Master's and Doctorate in Psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles, and completed her internship in the School of Medicine at the University of California, San Diego. This was followed by a specialized pediatric post-doctoral training program at Rady’s Children's Hospital. Dr. Deb was a staff child psychologist in the Developmental Evaluation Clinic at Rady’s before transitioning to full-time private practice in 2005.

Her expertise in early childhood development and behavior led to her appointment on faculty at UCSD where she provides supervisory instruction to psychiatry residents within the clinical training program. She serves as an invited speaker both for community audiences, as well as for medical professionals, through the Continuing Medical Education program. Topics of expertise range from infant/toddler/child development, behavior/parenting/discipline, social/emotional development, educational placement/learning styles, bilingual language acquisition, cognitive development, and developmental delays or disabilities. Dr. Deb has appeared on Fox news and CBS news as an expert (, and her interactive blog site encourages parents to ask questions and obtain reliable and practical parenting advice (

Episodes for this expert

  • Dealing with Sibling Rivalry

    You dream about your kids loving each other and playing together, completely content. But then reality strikes. Is fighting between siblings at an early age avoidable? And what are some common warning signs to help you manage the situation better?

  • Preparing For Another Baby

    Another baby is on the way- or perhaps you’re just planning for it. What can you do in advance to help ease the transition for both the parents and your other children? And at what age do kids really understand the idea of bringing home a new baby?

  • Encouraging Individuality with Twins

    Twins have a special bond, unlike any other relationship. They may be alike in many ways, but they are still special in their own ways. How do you encourage twin individuality while still allowing them to celebrate their unique twin qualities?

  • Potty Training: Naptime and Nighttime

    You’ve mastered potty training during the day, but naps and overnights are a completely different story. What prevents children from not being able to control the bladder during these times? And what are some great tips to improve the clean-up process?

  • Potty Training Twins: Readiness and Motivation

    It’s time to potty-train your little ones, but how do you know if they’re both ready? Are there differences in readiness between identical and fraternal twins? What are the main steps to potty-training and is there a chance of competition between your twins?

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