A Toilet Training Debate

Mazy - posted on 08/24/2011 ( 3 moms have responded )




I have been reading a lot of opinions on when & how to toilet train a child, and I am finding that a lot people are okay with waiting. There seem to be a lot of reasons for this, but one that I have come across several times now really gets to me: "It's their body". This is what I've seen/heard/read a bunch of woman say when referring to waiting until the child is ready themselves or waiting (sometimes until age 4 or longer).

What I want to know is, if you're saying that it is the child's body & you are respecting it by not "forcing" them into learning to use the toilet until it's on their terms, do you use this idea when it comes to other things such as hair cuts, dressing, bathing or immunizations? I mean, all of those things involve the child's body as well...are those child-led as well?

I'm also curious to hear from parents with older kids, or grandparents, to see how this children turned out. Is there anyone out there who has a teenage that toilet trained himself, and how is he? Is everything still respectful & are they just as independent? In retrospect, would anyone do anything differently?


Jodi - posted on 08/24/2011




I personally don't see what the issue is with waiting. I did try to toilet train earlier with my son and he simply wasn't ready. It IS their body, and if they aren't ready, why would you want to force them?

I intitally tried when he was about 2, and to be perfectly honest, it was a hassle. He wasn't consistent (because he wasn't ready), he would have so many accidents when we were out and about (because he wasn't ready), and he would have sit forever trying to go because that's what he thought I expected, but he just couldn't go (because he wasn't ready). It really was a fairly pointless exercise and quite stressful for everyone involved. I retried when he was about 3, and he trained in 2 weeks and has never had an accident since (he is now 14, so it is unlikely he will :P).

So, with my daughter, I just decided to leave it. I introduced the potty and allowed her to make the decision herself whether she was ready or not. Once she started deciding she wanted to use it regularly (again, about 3), I introduced a sticker chart and off we went. It was painless and not at all stressful for anyone, and she trained in no time at all.

Anyway, that's just my experience. A toddler is the only one with control over their bodily functions. It gets frustrating for everyone when we decide to take control of it. So yeah, I say "it's their body". If we let them make the decision, then it is so much easier. Rather than trying to control it, we just give them the tools and incentive to make that decision along the way and don't stress over it.


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I didn't potty train my son because they are his bodily functions to be in control of.... I certainly do have some control over my kids and the decisions they make, but I haven't yet figured out how to control another human beings bodily functions.... ;)

Granted, the kid I didn't potty train is only 3.5 right now, but since he was fully day and night trained at the same age that his twin sisters (who started potty training at 18 months) were just finally out of day time pull ups.... I'll take it.

Lady Heather - posted on 08/24/2011




I don't force my kid because I don't think it will work. I've tried some things people suggested and none of it has worked so far so I'm just waiting and will try again in a month or two. All the other things you listed have absolutely nothing to do with development so I'm not sure that you can really compare them. Toilet training is often dependent on the child being physically and emotionally ready. You don't need to be physically and emotionally ready to learn how to get your hair cut. It just gets cut and it's done.

My daughter is 26 months old and I know a lot of kids her age are potty trained. That's great for them. They were obviously ready. My daughter still doesn't even tell me that she has to go pee or complain if she has wet underwear. She's just not there yet. And contrary to what some parents think, she's not stupid and neither am I. Frankly I get a little laugh out of parents who think they have come up with some grand method to potty training like sticker rewards or letting the kid run naked. Anybody can come up with that stuff, but it's only going to work if your kid is actually able to do it.

I guess I don't see what the big deal is. I was nearly 4 before I potty trained. I'm an intelligent and pretty successful person. I'm sure my parents would tell you they wouldn't have done anything differently with me. My sister and brother potty trained between 2 and 2.5 years so they were well aware of "how" to potty train. I just took longer to get to that point. Didn't hurt me any.

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