Pressure to Potty Train 'Earlier and Earlier'

Moms are being pressured by preschools to potty train their toddlers.

ByABC News
February 22, 2011, 1:33 PM

Feb. 23, 2011 — -- Preschool is typically synonymous with 3-year-olds learning to take on letters, numbers, and colors -- not school administrators.

That's why an Arlington, Va. mother – Betsy Rosenblatt Rosso – says she was shocked when the principal of her daughter, Zoe's, preschool said the 3-year-old had violated the school's potty training policy and needed to stay home from school for a month, owing to one too many accidents.

The incident set off an internet firestorm.

"It is (wrong) to emotionally abuse a child for wetting their pants!" wrote one mother.

"I agree with the school. I should think by 3 a child should be fully potty trained," wrote another.

New York Mom Leslie Venokur, co-founder of Big City Moms, one of the biggest mom support groups in the nation, says the Virgina incident is symptomatic of a mounting potty war – the growing pressure moms are feeling to potty train their children younger and faster.

"Parents are potty training their kids earlier and earlier," Venokur said.

The trend is all part of the roller coaster ride potty training has gone through since the dawn of disposable diapers. In 1962, an estimated 90 percent of children were out of diapers by age two and a half. By 1998, that number had plummeted to just 22 percent.

Venokur, joined by five other moms of toddlers, told me modern day mothers are again feeling the heat to ditch the diapers.

"I mean, whether it's my friends or my family, you are seeing a lot of kids fully potty trained at two years old, two and a half, and not really the-- the three to four's age. And I think we all do have a little pressure because of it," said Keren Springer, the mother of twin one-year-old daughters.

"Well, it's a very -- pressure-filled society for raising children in general. So that's just one more thing that we're expected to have our children do earlier and earlier," said Keren Springer, the mother of toddler sons.