When Mummy in a Tutu (opens in new tab) blogger Katie Davis read Jo Frost’s recent comments about parents being too lazy to potty train their children, she wasn’t happy - especially as she’d relied on her child’s nursery to lend a helping hand while she went to work. But, having spoken to a teacher friend, she soon realised some parents have taken this support too far...
When I became a parent, I had an understanding of the standard things that were ‘expected’ of me in the whole parenting department - feed the baby, keep the baby alive, comfort the baby, teach them right from wrong. The list goes on, and more responsibilities are continually added to it as they grow.
Something that was always on that list was potty training. I have got to say it was not one of the items on my to do list that I was looking forward to but I knew it had to be done and was almost a right of passage.
My little one goes to nursery twice a week and when I told them I’d be potty training her, they told me to make sure I sent in lots of spare clothes and pants and they’d be happy to help and support on the days she was there, which was a relief as I couldn’t afford to keep her out of nursery while potty training and thankfully it all went well.
Months later, I saw a news article online with Jo Frost, aka Supernanny, criticising parents for being lazy - as apparently some parents aren’t teaching their children the fundamentals, such as potty training. They’re leaving it up to teaching and nursery staff instead. She has labelled parents as LAZY, but is it really as black and white as all that?
I am in two minds over this whole thing. After ranting my own opinion I spoke to a teacher friend to get the other side of the story.
Tell me this… Was I lazy to allow my daughter’s nursery to help me potty train because I could not afford to take the time off work to keep her off nursery until she’d mastered the art of peeing and pooping without a nappy?!
Tell me this… Are the mothers and fathers forced to work Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm just to cover their household bills, support their family and pay nursery fees - and are therefore forced to rely upon nursery staff to teach their children potty training - lazy too?!
The answer to both, I hope, is a resounding no.
In today’s economic climate, we as parents are being forced into working more and more hours as the cost of living goes up but the increase in wage does not match. Prey (SHOULD IT BE 'PLEASE'?) tell me what on earth are these parents, including myself, meant to do?!
My initial reaction to Jo Frost’s comments was one of rage and anger in defence of parents like myself who did get support from a nursery to help teach my child the basics in life - that’s what they are there for, right?! Then, I spoke to a friend who informed me of the following…
The problem is not the parents who are working and relying on nursery staff to help. The problem is the parents who DON’T work and whose children DON’T go to nursery. These parents are sending their children to primary school still in nappies and due to the child protection rules that state that two adults must be present in the bathroom to change the nappy, schools are having to hire extra teaching assistants to order to meet the required quota of adults and stretching already failing school budgets.
Now THAT's what I call lazy. Not only will that have a knock on effect to the school and its yearly budget but surely it will affect the child too?! What child wants to start school, an already nerve-wracking experience, only to discover they are the only one their in nappies because their new classmates learnt how to use the bathroom a long time ago?!
The majority of primary schools are not even equipped with changing facilities to change a nappy and then there’s the big question of wouldn’t the teacher or TA’s time be better spent teaching and supporting their children as opposed to wiping their bums?!
In these circumstances, I’m sorry but there is simply no excuse. Potty training is not a fun experience, I’m not going to lie. You get a great workout because you are up and down so much, you build up good arm muscles cleaning up pee and poop and for a few days you’ll go through more pairs of pants than a Marks & Spencer’s shopping spree, but guess what?! It’s part of being a parent!
To all the parents working their butts off to support their family and working every single hour you can to stay above the breadline, I salute you. You’re doing an amazing job and there is no shame in getting a little help.
To all those parents sat on their butts doing nothing and laughing it off as being someone else’s problem, just stop! You chose to have children and therefore it is YOUR responsibility to raise them. Teach them the basics and don’t leave them open to embarrassment.
So, OK Jo Frost… you might have a point.