Final edit: We discussed this with the daycare and it turns out our son is a very unreliable reporter - they just ask him whether he wants to go to the toilet or not. Thanks for the help!

Our son is a little over three years old and is not potty trained. We regularly put him on the toilet and he sometimes pees and sometimes does not. He does not indicate when he needs to go yet, so we're just waiting until he starts doing that.

Today, he told us that he is not allowed to poop in his diaper at the (German) daycare where he's been for almost two years now, and that he is only allowed to poop on the potty or toilet. This is all we could get him to tell us and we're a little concerned. We will ask at the daycare whether this is the case or not since our son is not the most reliable witness. We have not heard anything about this from the daycare and they have not shared any potty-training plans or expectations with us.

The whole practice of not allowing a toddler to poop in his diaper seems really weird to me. Before we go in and tell the daycare to let him poop in his diaper, I wanted to ask all of you whether anyone recognizes this as a legitimate potty-training strategy? To me it sounds like a risky strategy to say the least.

Thanks for the help!

EDIT: Thanks for the answers so far! I would also love to hear whether anyone thinks this is a legitimate potty-training strategy or, conversely, whether anyone thinks this is not a good idea.

  • 1
    Were there any expectations voiced by the daycare when you enrolled your son regarding the degree of "potty-trained-ness" they expected from children in any particular age group?
    – brhans
    Jun 5, 2018 at 19:22
  • Please include locality and how long the child has been at that particular facility. In any case, there should be an ongoing conversation between you and the care provider about potty-training. In my child's case, the expectation is that child will use the potty (no diapers), but its not a problem if the child soils the underwear - they will clean it up.
    – user61034
    Jun 5, 2018 at 19:28
  • 1
    Sounds normal. Only in America do we have kids not potty trained by 3. "Potty trained" does not mean never has an accident, only that accidents are treated as such.
    – pojo-guy
    Jun 5, 2018 at 23:17
  • Perhaps you could talk to them to find out how you can help with the potty training process at home. It will make it a much slower process if you're not doing your bit, and being consistent in your approach. Jun 6, 2018 at 8:23
  • I'm from Germany. My son is in a Kindergarten since the day he turned one year old. He's 2,5 years old and only wears diapers when he sleeps. He's potty trained on a schedule. That means, he doesn't say, when he has to go. He's put on the toilet every 60 minutes. This works quite well. Our Kindergarten strongly encourages this training. No child his age is in diapers at this daycare.
    – Korinna
    Jun 8, 2018 at 11:06

2 Answers 2


Step one should certainly be talk to the daycare.

A three year old is not a reliable witness in this sort of matter; he's going to only tell you his impression of details, and those will often be colored by his feelings. I wouldn't assume that the daycare literally forbade him from pooping in his diaper; they may well simply be trying to convince him to use the toilet. It's hard to say exactly what they told your son without asking them, unfortunately.

However, it is important how your son feels based on this. It's also important what your expectations were/are in relation to potty training. You should be the decision maker as far as what potty training is done and how; the facility can always tell you that they're not willing to take your child if you don't follow certain rules, but those should be very clear and given when you join.

It's important when you have the conversation to be direct with your concerns, to mention how your son felt about this, and to have a coherent plan for moving forward. If you're comfortable with them working on potty training, let them know that, and ask them for their strategy. Many parents prefer the daycare handle potty training, so it's likely they assumed this was true for you.

If you're not comfortable with them working on potty training, or not comfortable with their methods, you should make that clear also, and let them know what your plan is. Have a clear plan, and be able to enunciate it - even if that plan is that you'd like to wait for your son to be ready (and perhaps make it clear what the definition of "ready" is).


If he does not have the ability to control his functions yet.... aka "is not potty trained," how does the daycare prevent him from pooping in his diaper? I mean, if he can't control it, then there's no way to stop him from just pooping in his diaper, right?

If they are able to "not allow" him to poop except on the toilet, then that tells us that he's perfectly capable of being potty trained, and is, in fact, potty trained, except at home.

You might want to consult with them about whether their ban is successful (and if not, how do they enforce this?). If not, you need to draw a line with them over what is appropriate "punishment" for not being potty trained.

If it is, then you should ask them for pointers, because you have a potty-trained child who is opting not to poop in the toilet at home.

This, of course, assumes a relative baseline of reliability in reporting from the youngster in question.

EDIT: Note, if he does seem like he's close to having the wherewithal to control himself, a big part of the transition, psychologically, might be switching from diapers to "training pants" (underwear with much of the "accident" protection capabilities of diapers, but that a child can pull up or down, him or herself). Having the ability to control the undergarments would be a graduation-up from diapers and an indication of what a big boy or girl the child is becoming, which helps with the transition to more advanced behaviors. We didn't push the issue with either of our children, FYI. My first child was slightly over 2 1/2 when he just decided it was time, and he only had one accident, ever, throughout his entire childhood after that point. The results seemed much better than when parents try to force the issue, prematurely.

  • I will edit or delete, as appropriate, once we get clarification on how this ban works. I feel like I'm missing something here. Jun 5, 2018 at 20:00

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