Potty 'Accidents' Gets 3-Year-Old Kicked Out of Preschool

Potty training can be either the easiest thing in the world or one of the biggest struggles of the toddler years. With my daughter, she was completely trained by 2.5 and never had an accident. She did it herself and never looked back.

My son is now that age, enrolled in part-time preschool and still a little mixed on the whole potty thing. He goes when he wants to, but lately he has preferred to use his diapers. And that's OK with me. We still have a long time before he "needs" to be trained. His current school is happy to take children still in diapers who are older than 2. 

But next year, he will be trained. And he better be. The school we want to get him into requires it. They are not alone. Many, many preschools require potty training, so much so that one school in Virginia recently suspended a 3-year-old for having "too many accidents."


I desperately want to be on the side of the parents and the child in this case. Potty training is individual. It is normal for children to have accidents long after they are "trained," even up to age 5 and shaming them -- calling their name in front of the school or suspending them -- is a sure fire way to create lifelong issues.

All that said, I still have to side with the school. The rules are in place not to be punitive and unfair, but in order to protect all of the children. A few years ago, when my daughter was little, she was in a co-op and the rules there were sometimes followed (and sometimes not), but one of the big ones was that each child had to be able to traverse stairs independently.

The school had accepted a child who could not and because of that, he needed a tremendous amount of extra help. This meant that very often, I was holding his hand or carrying him when I should have been helping a few children at a time. It was dangerous.

According to the Washington Post:

Charmaine Ciardi, a Bethesda child development psychologist, said preschool potty policies vary widely because of state licensing requirements for hygiene, financing for staff, or simply staff preferences. In this time when people are more sensitive with issues of nudity and sexuality and children, some people are more reluctant to change a child, she said.

If you have a problem with the policy, then find another school. I say this a little uncomfortably given I may be in a position to force my 2-year-old son to potty train this summer. Hopefully he will be ready, but if he is not, we may have a struggle.

Still, I have to accept that the rules are in place in order to serve the greater good of all the children and we have the option of paying a different tuition to find a place where diapers can be changed.

It is not ideal for all children, but it is the policy and it ought to be followed. Accidents happen, but too many accidents mean a child is not "fully potty trained."

Do you think the suspension makes sense?


Image via jencu/Flickr

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