General Etiquette > Family and Children

Potty training talk at the dinner table

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I need some outside perspective because I am not a parent, nor am I around the parents of young children often enough to know what is "normal" and what isn't.

So my nephew is 3.5 and has been potty trained for the last few months or so. While he was being trained he would need someone to go with him to the bathroom. Obviously when a kid is just training you don't expect them to wait for a good time to announce they need to go, so if they say "I need to pee" in the middle of dinner it's fine. However, nephew is now trained enough that he can go on his own, but last night at family dinner he asked that someone go with him. First he asked his grandmother, then his mother, than his great grandmother. All of them said he should go on his own. But he kept asking, and then started going around the table asking everyone. I started to feel uncomfortable because I was eating, and the conversation was revolving around his bathroom needs - what he needed to do specifically and that he needed someone to "help." His mother kept saying "you can go yourself" but eventually he convinced his great grandmother to take him (she has a huge soft spot for the grand kids, and will do things like hand feed him with a spoon even though he's been eating on his own for years).

My question is, at what point is it reasonable to expect that a child's bathroom habits are no longer appropriate conversation at the dinner table? My family culture is very casual and no one else seems bothered by the bathroom talk - should I accept the family culture, or would it be fine to say something like "this conversation is making me lose my appetite?"

Any comment by you would not have gone over well.  It would have made you look, inter alia, prissy. The kid is 3.5 years and still learning the nuances of potty training.*  Let the kid be a kid and in a (hopefully) short time, there will no longer be any mention of potty training at the table. 

* I will say that it sounded like the child knew how to manipulate people into helping him, which is not uncommon for that age.  Because of his behavior combined with the initial refusal to assist (which IMHO was the correct response in his training), the potty talk went on longer than usual.

I'd say that for a 3.5 year old recently potty trained child at a family dinner, this is about par for the course.

I'd also say that the main issue was that the child wanted one-on-one attention from one of the adults, because if he'd really needed to go, he'd Really Have Needed to GO! and wouldn't have had time to go around the table and ask and wait for answers.

But I do think there's a several months span of time when potty training that you can expect almost any event, meal or conversation to include some talk of the potty, no matter how much all adults involved would like to avoid it.

And if your nephew is going to the bathroom and needs no help at all, he's doing pretty darn good. I know kids who were potty trained at that age, in that they knew when they had to go and could get themselves to the bathroom on time, but who still needed some adult help with parts of the process.

I'm in the middle of potty training my son right now  >:D  While, no, it isn't a pleasant dinner time conversation it is absolutely normal.  I would actually fault the child's parent for not going and helping and dragging the whole thing out longer than necessary.  In our case, we absolutely still have to assist, because even with a step stool my son is too short to get on and off by himself.

Now if only someone could help me deal with the fact that when my kid doesn't want to take his nap or go in timeout he announces he needs to go potty....and most of the time he actually manages to produce. :o

This sounds completely normal for a 3.5 year old IMO.  Just curious but did this happen ay his own home?  I know when my DN was potty training he had no problem going by humself in his own home but seemed to have some anxiety when going in someone else's home and wanted assistance.


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