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No, My Daughter is Not Potty Trained, Thanks for Asking

By ilanawiles |

The older my daughter gets (she is now two and a half), the more I get asked the same question.

“Is she potty trained yet?”

No, no she is not.

The next question is usually directed to her.

“Mazzy, don’t you want to use the potty like a BIG GIRL??”

No, no she does not.

If Mazzy wanted to use the potty like a big girl, don’t you think she would be potty trained? And don’t you think that I, Mazzy’s mother, the person who is with her every day, knows whether or not she is ready? (That’s her, pictured up top, using her potty as a hat, by the way.)

When Mazzy was just fifteen months old, she started to tell us when she had to go to the bathroom. I took this as a sign. Of course my daughter would train early— she’s brilliant! And I can’t pretend that having a kid trained before two didn’t seem like the ultimate in parental bragging rights.

I bought a potty and some potty-related children’s books. I taught her all about the potty-making process— the sitting, the toilet paper, the flushing. She found it all fascinating.

But never once did she actually pee or poop in the potty.

Basically, she liked to use the bathroom as a lounge where she could hang out pantless and I could read her books. And as she got older, she started using the potty as an excuse to put off bedtime.

“Time for bed!”

“I have to potty!”

An hour later, when it was clear nothing was happening in that potty, she’d still expect an unabbreviated bedtime routine.

Back then, I don’t think she ever really understood what we were asking her to do. Flash forward to present day and now I’m pretty sure she gets it, but she still doesn’t want to use the potty. In fact, she has stopped telling us when she has to poop. If I see her “poop face” and ask if she has to go to the potty, she runs and hides.

Now some people would say the way to potty train is to switch to underwear, go cold turkey, deal with the mess and then come out the other side.

I disagree. My daughter clearly does not want to be potty trained, therefore she is not ready to be potty trained. And I’m not going to force her.

I witnessed two of my good friends try to put their two-year-olds on some sort of system (one did a reward system and the other did a 3-day crash course) and both failed. The kid with the reward system got angry and rebelled and the kid on the crash course spent a few weeks trained and then started having accidents all over the place.

Maybe it’s laziness, but I prefer to wait for my daughter to participate willingly so there will be much less of a struggle. And let’s be honest, a lot less to clean up off the floor.

In fact, a story recently ran on Babble in which a pediatric urologist named Steve Hodges said that training a child before the age of three can be harmful. Apparently, before three, a child’s bladder has not grown to its full size and will develop faster and stronger if it can fill and empty uninhibited.

He is quoted as saying, ”Children under age 3 should not manage their own toileting habits any more than they should manage their college funds.” He also says that daycare and preschools requiring two-year-olds to be potty trained in order to attend, are being irresponsible.

Well. Obviously this is just the opinion of one doctor. But you can bet, I threw his findings out there this past weekend when my stepmother inquired about my daughter’s potty training progress.

“Oh didn’t you hear? Potty training before three is detrimental to a child’s health. Yes, it was on ABC News. NOW BACK OFF!”

Read more of Ilana’s writing at Mommy Shorts.
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About ilanawiles



Ilana Wiles writes Mommy Shorts, a humor blog geared towards new parents. She is one of Babble's Top 100 Mom Blogs and one of The Huffington Post's top 20 women to follow on Instagram. She lives in NYC with her husband, 2-year-old daughter and a newborn baby girl. Read bio and latest posts → Read ilanawiles's latest posts →

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15 thoughts on “No, My Daughter is Not Potty Trained, Thanks for Asking

  1. Nani says:

    I am right there with you on this. My 3 year old IS potty trained but it wasn’t until she was ready. At 2 and a half we weren’t even thinking about it because she wasn’t ready (believe me I was all excited when she mentioned a potty.. we don’t wanna talk about THOSE accidents.. thanks)

    as she got closer to three she started showing signs of readiness, but with a lot of accidents so we held back and bam! 4 months before her birthday she took to it like fish in water and never looked back. I was actually worried about her potty training so soon but, so far have just run with it (making sure to clean up after her)

    When your little one is ready she’ll let you know and until then tell everyone else to shut their traps.

  2. neal says:

    Our 2.5 year old Addison has been peeing on the potty like a champ for a few months now, several times a day, and always before bed time. It’s great, because she now no longer wakes up in the morning leaking out of her diaper.
    Near the first time she peed on the potty, she also pooped on the potty. It was awesome! Everything seemed to be working!
    But now, months later, when she makes the poop face, we ask, “do you want to go sit on the potty?” and she matter-of-factly says, “No, go in my diaper please.”
    Whatever. She’s picking up the potty routines, and even though she’s getting some parts of potty-training down pretty well, we’re not interested in accelerating things beyond her (and our) comfort level. If she’s still in diapers at three years old, we’re okay with that. In the meantime, it just means we’re cutting back our diaper bill, because she’s doing some of her peeing in the potty.
    I remember talking to our doctor a while ago about potty training, and he said, “sure, you can start if you want. But the likelihood is that the sooner you start, the more you’re gonna have to clean poop and pee out of your carpet.” So we let Addison use the potty mostly when she feels like it, and we’re delaying having to clean poop out of the carpet as long as possible.

  3. Erin says:

    We potty trained my son right around 2 1/2, when his baby brother was 3 months old (so more than two months ago now) and we were ready to be done with two in diapers. He’d shown signs of ‘readiness’ since he was like 15 months old, too, but when it came right down to it, I didn’t really think he was ready. But I was!! I thought he’d be stubborn and I thought it’d be horrible – but he shocked us by getting the pee thing on the very first day and by doing the poop thing by about day 5. (days 1-4 he was terrified of pooping on the toilet but we got through it!) There were accidents here and there for a few weeks, and he’s still in diapers at night, but the experience wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be.

    All I wanted to say was that she may never seem totally ready and willing but she could totally surprise you if and when you just go for it. Rewards really worked for us, though I know they don’t work on everyone.

    Also wanted to say that I follow you on Instagram and saw those stick monster things that your daughter drew and WOW. That is crazy good for a 2 1/2-year-old – so if anyone gives you crap about her not being potty trained yet, just show them that!

  4. lisacng says:

    I hear that Hodges doc everywhere. I think he has financial support from Huggies or something. Anyways, good for you for not giving into the pressure of potty training when you absolutely know your daughter the best and know when it’s time. I was actually really gung ho about the 3 day method and was gearing up to start right after my son turned 2. Then I talked to the director at daycare and she didn’t think he was ready. She said that even if they intellectually know what the potty is for, their bodies aren’t ready (just like the doc said, but I disagree on waiting til 3 since all kids develop differently). So, I’m holding off until all the 2 YO are potty training. Plus, then we have a whole year to figure it out and I don’t have to feel pressured to do it in a weekend.

  5. SoyB says:

    It’s funny how people feel so passionate and are opinionated about potty training.

    My youngest who’s not quite 2.5 just started PT at her daycare so while we didn’t start so early with our oldest, we decided to follow through on our end so it would be less confusing for her. Anyway, a lot of our friends and acquaintances are like oh, why don’t you just get it over with, take a week off, let her pee and poop at will in underwear, she’ll “get it” faster and you’ll be done in a week.

    First of all, not everyone can afford to take a week of vacation time to PT. And not all kids PT the same. Just like not all kids like the same food, same games, etc. And really, most kids are not going to be in diapers forever (yeah, I know it can feel that way, but really most tweens and teens I know aren’t wearing diapers) so really what is the big freaking deal whether it’s at 2 or 3 and whether it takes 3 days or 3 months or even more? If the parents and the child are willing to put up with it, isn’t it really up to them? So, good for you and stick to your guns. Esp, with another baby coming, you don’t need the additional stress!

  6. Melissa says:

    Grrr, I hate the nosy, judgmental comments. “Is your son walking yet?” “Is he talking yet?” Is he doing long division yet?” They make me crazy!! I agree with you and the other comments — Mazzy will be ready when she’s ready. There’s so deadline.

  7. Jen says:

    Haha! My son was potty trained right at two and a half but, he was definitely ready. He would tell my while he was peeing or pooping and wanted to be changed the second he did either. Thankfully he was out of diapers 2 months before his baby brother was born, I wasn’t looking forward to buying diapers for 2.
    You’ll know when she’s ready, just follow her cues and go from there :) .

  8. Nicole says:

    I may be the odd woman out here. The study that you are talking about, I just don’t agree with. Here in the US where diapers are so plentiful our children are potty trained at a much later age. But if you go to countries where they are not, you see much younger children communicating when they need to use the potty. Saying it be detrimental to their health is silly. Its just in the last 30 years or so that disposable diapers have been around.
    It is true that people are very passionate about this subject, and the fact that I have had to stop, delete,and really try not to be judgmental many times shows me how strongly I feel about this.
    Yes I do have children in case you are thinking that I am not going through the same thing. A 4, 2 and 1 yr old. We practice EC and have since birth, so maybe that is why I feel the way I do. No I am not a hippie, vegan, gluten-free, or any thing else. I just like not cleaning poppy diapers and have not done so in a while (even with a 1 year old!)
    I don’t think that it is detrimental to her health, since we only go when she tells me she needs to (yes my 1yo tells me). And we do not force her to sit on the potty, never have-never will. Its just how she grew up, eliminating her waste over a potty and not in her pants. (Yes at birth we started, It takes time on finding a great position, but it works!)
    I’d love to answer any questions if you have them.

  9. kimberly says:

    My daughter, who is now almost 12, potty trained herself at age 3. No accidents, no mess. Went straight from diapers to panties in one day. She decided, on her own, when SHE was ready to use the potty. My son, who is 6, did the same thing at age 3 and a half, no accidents during the day, an occasional accident at night. I am now, waiting on my youngest to decide he is ready for the potty. If you wait till they are ready, it is soooo much easier and there is no “training” involved. So “boo” on the naysayers….lol

  10. Samantha W. says:

    I think as a parent you know your child best and know when they are ready to be potty trained. That being said my daughter was potty trained before 2 and was ready since we have very rarely had accidents since. To each their own, but I have to 100% disagree with that doctors findings. He was definitely compensated or something. I was potty trained at 18 months (there are pictured proof) and I have no issues with my bladder. I actually have a very strong bladder.

  11. Mrs. Cheryl Banks says:

    This is to my mother who hasn’t POTTY TRAINED A CHILD since 1973 :) I have four kids my own and three step kids one of which just turned 3 in June and has a form of Autism,a girl; one little boy that is 6 months old. I have heard all of the above and then some. Thanks for your pearls of wisdom but kindly respect our wishes and BUTT OUT! I highly doubt that they will graduate in the future from school wearing training pants. Mine are no exception when they are ready to figure out that the toliet is for something other than flushing for fun they will move on to the actual purpose. :)

  12. Danielle says:

    My daughter is almost two and a half and not potty trained. She will pee if naked and potty close but not number 2. It drove us crazy for three weeks. Tried 3 day crash, tried cold turkey for a week, nothing worked… so just stepping back. Sometimes I think she’s too busy learning other things to worry about pottying. I feel better knowing I’m not alone in agreeing with you and the urologist Steve Hodges.

  13. katy says:

    I believe this is shear laziness. Every parent deals with the struggle. It’s part of parenting. Why not encourage your daughter to do so instead of letting her do What she wants. That’s how kids get spoiled and bratty. Just my opinion.

  14. Judgy McJudgerson says:

    This is sheer laziness, since when did the inmates run the asylum? I guess you will let your 6 year old drive the car because he tells you he is ready? You are the parent, do your job and stop being the baby in the relationship. You parents nowadays are pitiful when it comes to having the balls to do the real parenting. That’s the reason kids grow up disrespectful and without any notion of self worth or self discipline, it’s really sad and pretty pathetic. So deal with those who judge you, you deserve it!

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