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

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.
And don’t miss a post! Follow Ilana on Twitter and Facebook!

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