It’s Not All Mary Poppins

A new one for Mary

A new experience for Mary! Doesn’t happen all that often any more. But this week? I have had a Brand New Work Experience.

As you recall, at the end of our Great Potty Adventure Week, we had one trained, one not trained, and one half-baked trained.

The parents’ response is predictable. Well, almost.

Grace’s parents continue with the potty training and home, and are eagerly awaiting my willingness to begin round two here. That’s predictable. Rory’s parents, sweet, deluded people that they are, went out and bought some Smarties, thinking that might magically tip the scales in a pro-potty direction at home. That’s also pretty predictable.

And Jazz’s parents? Parents of the ONE CHILD who is totally and completely potty trained? The child who takes herself to the potty, needs no reminders, who stays clean and dry ALL DAY LONG, EVERY DAY. (And who, as of the end of last week, had woken from her naps dry?)

This morning, Jazz comes to me. “I needa pee.”

I look at her, a bit blankly. “Well, away you go, sweetie. You don’t have to ask me.” She doesn’t have to because she doesn’t need to. All day, every day, for two weeks now, she has taken herself to the potty. She goes, she sits, she produces, she calls me while she’s there so I can help clean up. But she doesn’t ask to pee. What’s with that?

She trots over to the potty, and struggles to remove her jeans. It’s taking quite a bit more struggle than usual, I note, and when I come over to investigate, I discover…

she’s wearing a diaper.

I should have known, because, even though their child is 100% reliably toilet trained, totally independent and hasn’t had a single accident in two weeks, they keep sending her in diapers.

“You don’t need to send her in diapers,” I tell them. “Oh, no?” they say. No, really, I assure them. “She’s TOTALLY trained. Well and truly DONE with diapers!” “Well, isn’t that terrific!” they say.

And then she comes wearing diapers.

Day after day.

Do you know, in all the years I’ve been doing this, I have never before had parents who weren’t TOTALLY THRILLED to be done with diapers. I’ve had lots and lots and lots of parents who wanted potty training to begin before I felt there was much point. I’ve had lots who continued with it at home after our week trial convinced me a child wasn’t ready. I’ve had a few parents get outright annoyed with me for not continuing with pointless pottying at my home, too. In short, I’m not unused to being pushed by over-eager parents.

But I’ve never, not once, ever had a parent who needed pushing.

However, having told them a couple of times, making sure I spoke directly to each parent… I’m leaving it. Really. Does it matter to me that they’re keeping her in diapers at home?

Nope. Not at all. Given that I resent it when parents try to strong-arm me into doing things in my home that I don’t feel necessary or appropriate, I’m not about to go doing it to parents. The only environment I control is my own, and that’s fine. I just have to remember that she’s going to be wearing a diaper when she arrives, and peel it off first thing.

But people?

This is weird.

Just weird.

October 24, 2011 - Posted by | Grace, Jazz, parents, potty tales, Rory


  1. OK, that is just… decidedly weird. Are they afraid that putting her in underwear is going to cramp their style? Because that happened with me this summer the first time I had Very Quiet Boy trained. He spent a week with me having basically no accidents, wearing underwear, all that good stuff – then his parents took him on vacation and clapped him right back in diapers for two weeks because it was “too hard” to keep up with the training regime. (Re-training him the second time has been much harder, BTW.)

    Comment by Hannah | October 24, 2011 | Reply

  2. Yup, I vote for the “too hard” theory too. I had a mom who just refused to potty train because she would be traveling in the summer and it would ruin the schedule. Now the kid is four and the mom is obsessing over why the kid wont even sit on the potty. Theres that window of time where the kids will “get” it and then it closes, and they realize their control of their own bodies. Instead of trained with bribes and praise, a toddler will figure out hey I dont have to do that if I dont want to……

    Comment by Kathy | October 24, 2011 | Reply

  3. Wow. We waited until our oldest was 3, mostly because he wasn’t really showing interest, and also because from 2-3, there were a LOT of changes in his world, from moving, to a new baby, and we didn’t want training to last months. But had he shown interest at 2, even with all the changes, we’d have been all over getting him trained.

    I hope these parents aren’t going the lazy route–it’s going to mean more headache for them later on, and possibly more for you (although she seems to adjust pretty well, which is awesome). My former brother-in-law refused to potty train my nephew when he had him on weekends, so it took almost a YEAR to get him fully trained. There were times I wanted to throttle my nephew’s dad….

    Comment by MJ | October 24, 2011 | Reply

  4. Interesting.

    Is it possible she’s not using the potty at home? Or maybe her parents don’t understand that nighttime takes longer than daytime, so since she still (presumably) needs a diaper at night, they assume that also means during the day?

    I’m watching my son for signs of interest. Right now, he keeps calling the toilet a ‘baf’ so we’re staying out of that room of the house. He’s only 18 months and I don’t think any boy in my family has been trained before 33 months, so we have plenty of time. I just don’t want to miss that window everyone keeps telling me about.

    Comment by kimi | October 24, 2011 | Reply

  5. Hrm.

    Maybe Jazz is like my kid. With one particular caregiver, she seems completely trained. With another, she has an accident a day, maybe. At home with her parents? Ha! Doesn’t even want to try. The potty? *blink, blink* I have no idea what you’re talking about, parental units. Frankly, we’re stumped – we all used the same system and got three different results.

    Comment by CJ | October 25, 2011 | Reply

  6. I’ve seen it before, but I don’t really understand it. I do have a couple of theories. One is that on weekends and in the evening they are apt to be out of the house with her and frankly, finding a potty in the supermarket is a pain! Or maybe they are overprotective of their furniture? And then there is basic laziness. In some ways diapers are easier. Or maybe they are invested in keeping her the baby? In any case, I’d do what you are doing and maybe find a tactful (and untraceable) way to get her to tell her parents she doesn’t want diapers.

    Comment by jwgmom | October 25, 2011 | Reply

  7. umm… I got nothing…that’s just plain weird.

    The cost saving alone of having your child toilet trained is more than enough incentive to stop the diapers when they’re ready.

    Comment by Tammy | October 28, 2011 | Reply

  8. That really is bizarre.

    Comment by IfByYes | October 31, 2011 | Reply

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