Tag Archives: Potty training

Why potty training in public is not performance parenting

4 Oct


Since introducing our off-grid parenting style, and appearing on the this morning show (where our daughter took centre stage by peeing through her nappy on the floor), our family have been touted as the parents who don’t do potty training. This is not entirely false, we actually don’t engage in any form of child training including sleep training and potty training since adopting the child-led parenting philosophy.

Last week I received an email from a researcher on ITV this morning that read….

“Sorry to bother you out of the blue, but we’re trying to cast a debate for Monday’s show and I was keen to get your thoughts.

In a nutshell, one of our team saw a child using a potty in the middle of a busy restaurant the other day and so we want to put together a debate on whether or not this is acceptable. I just wondered how you went about potty training your children and if you think using a potty whenever/wherever is OK?”

Conventional potty training didn’t work for our son so we took the ‘toilet learning’ approach and allowed him to transition in his own way and in his own time which took until he was around four year old. My youngest toddler has had some nappy free time this summer and doesn’t like sitting on a potty yet so we provided her with alternatives such as a waterproof mat or going out in the garden. She is now choosing to sit on a potty when she has a nappy on.

As long as children are exposed to healthy, social role modelling I believe they have an innate intelligence and desire to integrate and learn the skills they need to achieve both independence and cohesion in society, without the need for adult coercion. That said we all have different ways of achieving the same goal and for some potty training fits in perfectly with their family and their lifestyle.

The ITV this morning debate ensued on this topic of public potty training and created quite a stir.
Professional potty trainer, Amanda Jenner quite rightly pointed out that parents are potty training under stressful and chaotic environments and should not be expected to put their whole life on hold and not go out whilst their child is transitioning out of nappies.

Journalist and mum of one, Kelly Rose Bradford was quick to judge and labelled any such incidence as ‘ performance parenting’, going on to say “For me it just totally smacks of this total entitlement performance parenting, that we all seem to be totally subjected to all the time now and other people’s children’s needs come before anybody else’.

I personally wouldn’t encourage my child to go to the toilet near to where others are eating however, that doesn’t mean I would judge another who finds themselves in that situation. Perhaps the parent in question has a child who has a phobia of public toilets and there was no suitable alternative or maybe the child was desperate and couldn’t make it to the toilet in time. Would we prefer they wee all over the restaurant floor through their clothes?

Furthermore, the whole issue of eating and going to the toilet in the same place brings up the hypo racy of our society: many consider it perfectly acceptable to expect breastfeeding women to feed their child in a toilet which is surely the same thing an adult being expected to eat close to where a child is using a potty.

The whole idea of adult supremacy and that children’s needs should never take precedence over the needs of fully mature adults, seems ridiculous to me. Surely as grown adults we should be accepting that the needs of anybody’s young children come before our own preferences and opinions of what is unacceptable and unpleasant to those surrounding them….After all, there is nothing performance related about that, it’s simply called empathy and compassion!