A big boy like that should be in underwear.

by gurumommy on June 7, 2010

in hot topics

A mom tells about why she doesn’t like being judged by the checkout girl at Target for buying pull-ups in a large size for her Kindergartner!  In ‘Why I don’t care if my Kindergartner goes to school in pull-ups’, Nicole Howey (babble.com) writes that she gets comments and stares from the cashier at Target for buying size 5T Pull-Ups.

“A big boy like that should be in underwear.”
The cashier at Target looks at me askance. She shakes her head, dragging the package of size 5T Pull-Ups past the bar code scanner with the same level of enthusiasm as a member of the American Lung Association being forced to ring up a carton of Marlboros.
I hate being tsk’ed at, but maybe she has a point. Right now, my nearly four-year-old son, Dashiell, is hanging onto the front of the cart, gnawing on a fruit leather and explaining to me in exhaustive detail why having three identical Batman action figures is not enough. If I don’t take proactive potty action soon, fast forward 10 years and there he could be, still hanging on the cart, still gnawing on a fruit leather, still obsessed with Batman and… sporting Toy Story 7-themed training pants in XXL.

Okay, I admit it: Of all the worries I am already cultivating in preparation for my son’s eventual adolescence, incontinence is not one of them. I am not remotely concerned about his slow development in relation to all things potty (with the exception of poop jokes, a bathroom area in which he excels). And it is slow: Depending on which website you peruse, the average age of toilet training for boys ranges from about 31 to 38 months. At 46 months old, Dashiell is long in the (baby) tooth to be sporting diapers. According to his preschool teachers, everyone else in his class is running around happy and dry in their X-Men and Ni Hao Kai-Lan underwear. And yet the only genuine distress I’ve felt over this is in relation to the landfill waste that results from using pull-ups.
In this laissez-faire attitude toward the toilet, I am apparently unusual. Potty training — and the anxiety related to it — is big business: Toilet Training in Less Than a Day is a bestseller on Amazon; there are chapters of the organization Diaper Free Baby in over 35 states; and sites like Pottytrainingconcepts.com sell charts, pee-on-demand dolls, and “toilet-time targets” (for your son or daughter to aim at). And then there’s the Potty Mate, which allows you to record encouraging audio messages that play back when your child unfurls the toilet paper roll (like, say, “Nice #2 there, Junior!”). I’d venture to say I’d rather have my son potty-train at age 5 than think that the Charmin should be speaking to him. Cavalier is not the word most people would use to describe my parenting. But when it comes to poop, I’m laid back.
Clearly, there are legions of parents champing at the bit to get their kids out of Pampers before they’ve moved onto solid foods. I have no love for changing diapers myself, certainly, but I don’t hate it half as much as assembling lunchboxes filled with foods both my children and Michael Pollan would approve of — a far more time-consuming and annoying mothering duty.
Cavalier is not the word most people would use to describe other aspects of my parenting. I’m a bit of a stick in the mud about fast food and soda, and free-range child advocates like Lenore Skenazy would disapprove of my overprotective tendency to sneak peeks at my eight-year-old daughter every time she ventures down our unthreatening suburban street by herself. But when it comes to poop, I’m laid back.
My eldest child, after all, was late to use the toilet as well. I didn’t get bent out of shape about it; I just waited until she felt ready to use it. She was four when she finally deigned to sit on the throne, and once she did, that was that. I expect the same thing will happen with my son. At the moment, he’s perfectly contented to sit, flipping through a book, atop a full, smelly load. But one of these days, he will realize with a jolt: Hey, this stuff is pretty disgusting. And then lo and behold, like the millennia of humans preceding him, I’m guessing he’ll decide that depositing this unpleasant material somewhere else is a pretty terrific idea.
Personally, I take enormous solace in the notion that proper waste disposal is one of those things that Dashiell will just pick up over time (there is a reason that very few 12-year-olds are running around in diapers). It’s actually something I can be pretty confident about him learning even if I don’t lift a finger to help — which, frankly, is a nice change of pace.

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