Potty training is an emotive subject at the best of times. But a story in the news today about increasing numbers of children not being properly potty trained by the time they start school has been provoking quite the discussion on social media today.
Apparently recent research found that 70% of primary school teachers say they've seen an increase in the number of children aged between three and seven years old having toilet accidents during the school day.
Don't we all, at some stage, fear that our kids might not suss toilet training by the time they start school? Unless your child sailed through the potty training stage, of course, in which case you probably won't understand why some of us cringed into our coffee when we read this story in the news today.
It was a topic of some discussion among the Playpennies team today, with some of us feeling that the pressure to nail getting your child out of nappies is challenging enough, without articles like this making us feel like we're somehow failing if our tots aren't burning the nappies and demanding pants well before their third birthday.
On the other hand, there's an argument which says that not having your child properly potty trained by the time they start school is akin to lazy parenting.
Ouch. I can't get behind that line of thinking because I've had one of *those* potty training experiences with a child which, well, let's just say it involved a lot of laundry and lots of time spent weeping into the bath as I hosed down my little darling yet again.
So no, I don't think increased numbers of kids having toilet accidents at school simply comes down to lazy parenting. Come to think of it, I spent the best part of a year trying to get to the bottom (no pun intended) of why potty training just wasn't plain-sailing for one of my kids, so I hardly think our trouble could be written off as laziness.
Maybe we started too soon, maybe I made it harder by how I reacted when it went badly, maybe there was too much else going on in our lives. But I've also had a child who literally took potty training matters into their own hands, demanding pants and ditching nappies with zero input from me. And yes, that was also well before they were three.
So I wouldn't like to hazard a guess as to why increasing numbers of kids are struggling to nail toilet training in time for starting school. The papers are full of parenting experts sharing their theories on this - everything from nappies being too good and too affordable, making potty training harder for kids and disinclining parents to 'bother' with potty-training, to working parents having too little time to devote to tasks like potty training.
All I know is this. None of those arguments feel good if you're in the grip of potty training trials. It can feel like this stage of difficult parenting will never end, and the last thing you need to feel is further pressure to get it sorted for fear of your kid being a pariah in the school playground.
But one day, quite literally almost overnight, my 'tricky' potty trainer just suddenly sussed it and we never looked back. Yours will too.
We'd like to hear your views on this story. Feel free to share your potty training success stories - or indeed poo trials! Leave a comment below or head over to our Facebook page.