Oh boy! We move to the latest hot topic in parenting: pressure to potty train our children earlier and earlier! Check out this recent ABC Good Morning America segment featuring mom of three Elizabeth Hasselback and several New York City Moms.
As a dad, I can’t say that I find this to be a controversial topic worthy of the Potty Wars title. My son is 2 1/2 and enjoys going into his favorite poop spot and telling me to give him some privacy so he can take care of business. Before taking a bath, he enjoys standing on his step stool and peeing in the toilet…but, aside from that, he gets zero pressure from me. Let’s be honest, my son is not going to be 10 years old and still wearing a diaper. He will be ready at some point, but I would be disappointed if I were pressured by a nursery school or peer pressured by other parent friends for me to start stressing my little guy to get with the program. Is it just me? Is it just dads that are more relaxed about it (notice that this entire segment focuses specifically on mothers)? Is it because I am the father of a toddler boy who may be developmentally behind some of the girls his age? Potty Wars indeed.
It was surprising to learn that 90% of 2 1/2-year-olds were potty trained in the 1960s, but now only 22% are potty trained by that same age. The segment includes some drastic programs (appalling to me), including a fast-track program for potty training as well as boot camps. I realize potty training is going to be an interesting transition for our family and may require work that will be frustrating at times. Consequently, shouldn’t it be a proud milestone – one that is accomplished naturally, without societal or peer pressure?
I am not turned off by potty training completely. Sure, I am well aware of it and the challenges that parents face with the process. I have the Elmo Potty Training Book with the sticker reward system on-hand for potential use in the near future. I am even planning to attend a webinar with our dads’ group about potty training. Many of our dads group members with kids that are 2+ aren’t able to get together in a room with our kids to have a discussion about the sensitive topic, so we thought we would try a webinar with Janeen Hayward (of Swellbeing), our go-to expert for reasonable and practical parenting advice. “The evidence of potty pressure is everywhere: on bookstore shelves, on mommy (parenting) blogs. There are potty chairs and cushions of every conceivable shape and size. There are even potty training iPhone apps.”
Not sure why ABC did not think to get some feedback on the Potty Wars topic from dads (as well as moms). Interested to hear some thoughts on the topic here?