For all the moms out there who are struggling with potty training . . . you are not alone. On a recent episode of “Momsplaining with Kristen Bell,” a new web series (here), actress Kristen Bell got real and shared that her youngest daughter, Delta, who is 5 years old, still wears diapers.
Bell was chatting with fellow actresses Maya Rudolph and Casey Wilson in the episode. She said her oldest daughter, seven-year-old Lincoln, took quickly to potty training as a toddler. But it’s been a different story the second time around. She explained, “My oldest daughter, at 21 months, we merely suggested that she use the toilet in the other room. Never wore another diaper beyond that. We were lying in bed giggling about this, and my husband and I were like, ‘Why does everyone make a big deal out of this potty training? It’s so easy. Just tell the kid to use the toilet.'” Bell quickly added, “Currently, my youngest is five and a half, still in diapers.”
“It’s real relative, isn’t it?” Rudolph asked. “Yes, because every kid is so different,” Bell replied.
As a big Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard fan, I love how they keep things real no matter what reactions they receive. As soon as children reach the age of 18 months, parents are flooded with talk about potty training. Some parents experience no issues when introducing this major milestone to their toddlers. While other parents meet hesitancy, resistance, and downright refusal. 5-years-old may sound a bit old to still be in diapers, but it’s reassuring to know that even celebrities go through these challenges. It’s also important for us all to remember that every child is different and that we do not know every person’s medical history or circumstances.
Potty training is a hot parenting topic and one that is often met with confusion. Many people first believed potty training should begin once the child turned 18 months old, but the age of potty training has increased over the years.1 There are countless factors to consider before starting potty training. And many individual circumstances will affect its length and success.
A study in 1999 once led people to believe that girls have an easier time controlling their bladder, making them easier to potty train.2 But we’ve since seen that the AAP says this may not be true.3 And now experts are warning against rushing the potty training process.4 This is why there is a lot of confusion: there is no actual “right” age to begin potty training your child. It’s difficult to conclusively say some children can get the hang of it faster or slower than others.
Also, daytime and nighttime potty training are two completely different skills. Children can be fully trained in the daytime, but it may take months or even years to stay dry throughout the night. On average, children night train between the ages of 4 and 5.5 And most children are fully potty trained by the time they’re 5 to 6 years old, which may explain Kristen Bell’s situation.6
Even with all of this information, it doesn’t stop parents from judging other parents’ potty training journeys. So let’s remember that we don’t know every family’s story, experiences, or circumstances. Also, let’s be kind because these parents are already feeling self-conscious. That is why I am grateful that Bell shared her potty training experiences with her kids. That takes bravery and lets other mothers know that they are not alone.