Dear Dr. Bill,
My 3-year-old granddaughter has no interest in using the potty. I don’t understand this, and I’m wondering if my daughter (her mother) should be concerned about it? I know she’s tried constantly to train her daughter, but the little girl doesn’t seem to get the concept. Do you have any suggestions for this family?
My suggestion is actually for you. Relax! Unless your granddaughter has some kind of a medical problem, there’s no reason to be concerned about a 3-year-old who’s not potty trained yet. The average age for potty training is 3, and that’s just an average, which means some kids are trained closer to 2, while others don’t reach that milestone until they’re 4.
Many grandparents get concerned because they think kids today are taking too long to get potty trained. That may or may not be true—our memories are notoriously fickle when it comes to remembering events that occurred 20 or 30 years ago. However, some pediatricians believe that kids ARE potty-training later, simply because of the advances in disposable diapers.
I’m sure you care about your granddaughter and want the best for her. If her pediatrician has given her a clean bill of health and ruled out any physical problems such as a bladder infection, I’d encourage you to just let nature take its course.
The toddler who succeeds in potty training is the one who WANTS to be trained. Kids forced into potty training before they’re ready can develop a negative attitude that will only delay their success.
For more advice on potty training, including some great tips on how to do it, I’d encourage you to order Focus on the Family’s “Complete Book of Baby and Child Care.”
Thanks for writing Byron. If you have a question for me about family issues or Christian living, click the “Questions” link on the Culture Connection page.