Apparently, there are an increasing number of kids, with no physical or cognitive disabilities whatsoever, who are entering kindergarten without being potty-trained. This is hard to fathom. In the past, the vast majority of children were fully potty trained around three years old, give or take a couple of months.
However, today Kindergarten teachers often report to We Are Teachers that 15-20% of their classroom is not potty-trained, and that even a few first-graders are still in Pull-Ups. (Again, this does not include kids with medical issues, or physical or cognitive disabilities.) Sadly, there is a growing trend of children reaching the age of five without being potty trained.
Many teachers have taken to online sites such as Reddit to opine and vent their frustration with yet another unpleasant issue with which they must deal. Some blame the lack of training on the new phenomenon called “gentle parenting,” wherein parents hope to foster a healthy relationship with their children by validating their emotions instead of coaxing and punishing. These parents purport to respect their children’s individuality and feelings—and often believe that it is harmful to force a child to learn how to use a toilet before they express that they are ready.
One Reddit user noted: “Some parents believe that they are supposed to protect their child from every kind of discomfort, so the minute their child protests they take it as a sign their kid isn’t ready.”
“@maren.theteacher,” an educator on TikTok, took to the platform to reveal that she had noticed a “skill discrepancy” among her students, and not just when it comes to potty training. Maren, who teaches third grade, claimed that during the previous school year she had many students without disabilities or developmental delays who still did not know how to tie their shoes or zip their coats.