Potty training is one of the difficult milestone challenges that all parents need to endure. There will be some tears.
There will also be a need for a Swiffer Sweeper to clean your bathroom titles. And there may be a day or two where your toddler is awkwardly walking around pantsless. It’s all part of the journey.
The scary part for parents is that there are often cutoff dates if a child isn’t potty trained. For example, many schools and day cares will only accept 3-year-olds into their program if they’re adequately potty trained by the fall start date. It can turn into a lot of pressure if your child isn’t ready — or is simply too stubborn to do so.
Actress Kristen Bell chose to discuss the potty training schedules she endured with both of her daughters. Kristen has two children with husband Dax Shepard — Lincoln is 7, and Delta is 5½. The two actually started having children before formally getting married in October 2013. Usually, Kristen is the first one to share crazy kid stories. It’s almost a little surprising, especially since she’s an advocate of making sure the children of celebrities have their privacy. But since stories about Dax and Kristen come out so often, hopefully this one may get buried — for Delta’s sake.
Kristen admitted that Delta, who’s on her way to turning 6, is still in diapers. She noted that in comparison to Lincoln, it’s been a lot harder getting Delta to use the potty. The age is a little surprising to some, especially since sources like Healthline believe that the best time to really work on the skill is between 18 months and 3 years.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that every child will get there by 3. At that point, it’s easy to talk your toddler through the process. However, a strong-willed toddler may feel as if there’s a lack of control having to use something outside of a diaper. Even children who successfully know how to use the potty can often regress.
It can cause a lot of stress for parents, but there are plenty of resources out there that are geared to help. Not using diapers on a daily basis is a huge money saver for parents, especially parents of multiples. Plus, it’s a milestone that every child eventually hits on their quest toward adolescence.
Kristen revealed the news to her friends Maya Rudolph and Casey Wilson on her web series Momsplaining With Kristen Bell. “My oldest daughter at 21 months, we merely suggested that she use the toilet in the other room and [she] never wore another diaper beyond that,” Kristen said of her daughter Lincoln. A situation like that is literally the definition of “living the dream” for parents.
“We were lying in bed giggling about this, my husband and I, like, ‘Why does everyone make a big deal out of this potty training? It’s so easy. Just tell the kid to use the toilet.'” But they really lucked out. For most children, it takes some time and patience — which they obviously have been experiencing with Delta.
“Currently, my youngest is 5½, still in diapers,” Kristen said. She admitted how every child is different, which parents of multiple children will agree with. However, her admitting that it’s been so long is a little controversial for some moms out there. While people shouldn’t mom shame, it’s an age that many people wouldn’t expect kids to still be in diapers.
To put her age in standard terms, children are usually 6, turning 7, in first grade. That’s also the grade where they usually learn how to read, which is yet another milestone skill that requires a lot of time and dedication. However, surely Kristen has been working with her to solve this issue.
In fact, many people think that Americans potty train too soon. The Cleveland Clinic states that by pushing children to use the potty when they’re not ready might eventually cause bladder issues. The best time to really work on it, according to pediatric urologist Jeffrey Donohoe, MD, is between 2½ and 3½.
“That’s when most children have enough brain and bladder development to potty train successfully,” the doctor stated. But that doesn’t mean that children are still out of the woods. Accidents are expected until around the age of 5. It takes kids some time to learn about urgency and how to listen and respond to their body in time.
Bedwetting is also an issue that’s common with potty-trained children. In general, it can be hard for your body to get the right signals when you’re asleep. It’s something all of us eventually learn to master. So when does Dr. Donohoe suggest seeing a doctor to rule out a bigger problem?
He states that you should be giving “reasonable time to master potty training on their own.” But the overall belief is that if a child is still having issues at the age of 5, it may be time to loop in their pediatrician. Hopefully with a little extra help, they can make sure the stalling isn’t due to a more serious concern.
Kristen has shared other wild stories about Delta before. If anything, it seems like she’s got a bit of an independent streak. One story Kristen shared recently is how she left Delta alone in the bathtub, and she managed to get Vaseline in her hair. It took several washes, products, and days to finally get back to normal.
Back when Delta was 3, Kristen admitted that she locked Delta’s door when trying to get her to sleep. “[Delta] decided to stop sleeping about nine months ago,” she told reporters, according to Today’s Parent. “And every night, when we put her to bed, she turns the lights on, which annoys the 4-year-old [Lincoln], and she will move furniture, and she bangs on the door with different, hard toys. We switched the doorknob. We turned the lock on the outside.”
Even though she admitted that the door was unlocked again once she finally got to sleep, Kristen got a lot of criticism that she may not have been expecting. But the most important thing to remember is that every household runs a little differently. It’s hard for parents who haven’t been in a similar situation to judge others. Like most of us, Kristen is figuring things out day by day.