Potty Training Is Not a Competitive Sport

In our grandparents' era, children were potty trained much earlier than they are now. With the advent of disposable diapers, potty training became something parents stopped pushing on their kids and let the kids lead them. But then it all changed again.

Now, we have people on one side of the issue who insist children should be potty trained by the age of 2 (and some even younger) and those who believe children should potty train when they are ready.

Babble had a controversial article last week from a doctor who says early potty training (under 3) is actually a major problem. The one thing we can be clear on is this: Potty training is not a competitive sport. No matter how many mommies (and daddies) might say otherwise.


As a mom of two, I have now seen two children potty train in vastly different ways. My daughter was done with diapers at 2. She just stopped. From then on, she was trained at night, during the day, and to this day (she is now 5), I can count on one hand the number of "accidents" she has ever had.

That said, we did run into some physical problems with her in regards to elimination and, though they all sorted out, it was scary for a little while. Was early training to blame?

My son, on the other hand, took forever to be ready to train. I was practically begging him to use the potty by the time he started. But once he did, he was trained night, day, and all the time.

Asking around, it seems potty training -- like everything else to do with parenting -- is fraught. People are so insecure about it and feel the need to compete as though there were some sort of medal for a kid going in the potty.

If your 18-month-old pees in the potty during the day, but wears a diaper at night and during naps, is he really trained? I think not.

Of course, competition isn't the only reason to potty train a kid. There is also the environmental factor and not wanting to clean up poop all the time, both of which are compelling, albeit private, reasons to be less dependent on diapers.

It seems to me that maybe if there were less judging and more allowing for children to make their own choices, everyone would be happier and healthier. No mommy (or kid) ever won an Olympic medal for potty training. Every kid gets there eventually, right?

Do you think letting kids "wait" to potty train is bad?


Image via www.homejobsbymom.com/Flickr

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