On a recent episode of Momsplaining with Kristen Bell, actress Kristen Bell opened up about how her 5-year-old wears diapers
Kristen Bell has truly been our national quarantine treasure. From opening up about her relatable marriage struggles (with husband, actor Dax Shepard) to sharing news that her five-year-old daughter developed the COVID-19 vaccine, Bell has helped us feel less alone and more entertained. And just yesterday, The Good Place actress got super real about the potty-training process on her web series, Momsplaining with Kristen Bell. In the episode, she told fellow actresses Maya Rudolph and Casey Wilson that her five-year-old (the one who came up with the virus vaccine) wears diapers.
“My oldest daughter, at 21 months, we merely suggested that she use the toilet in the other room and [she] never wore another diaper beyond that. We were lying in bed giggling about this, my husband and I were like, ‘Why does everyone make a big deal out of this potty training? It’s so easy. Just tell the kid to use the toilet,” Bell quipped. And then she quickly added, “Currently, my youngest is 5 and a half, still in diapers.”
“It’s real relative, isn’t it?” Rudolph responded. “Yes, because every kid is so different,” Bell said.
The subject of potty training has traditionally been a parental hot topic, since there’s no “right” age to become potty trained, and the studies are always evolving —and certainly not definitive. According to Johns Hopkins, the average toilet training age is 27 months. According to the American Family Physician (AFP), potty training time has increased over the past 40 years “from earlier than 18 months of age to between 21 and 36 months of age.” If you’re a parent reading this whose kid needs or needed longer than 36 months, that’s also totally normal, as study data provided by AFP says only 40 to 60 percent of children complete toilet training by 36 months of age. So that’s a whole lot of kids not potty-trained by 36 months.
Some children specifically need extra resources at night, when it’s most common to have an accident. In an interview with the University of Utah, pediatric specialist Dr. Cindy Gellner says, “That can happen until the teen years depending on development and genetics.”
It doesn’t help that some explanations behind why a child may depend on diapers longer than their peers seem to be outdated. For instance, a study from 1999 suggested that the sex of the baby was a large determining factor: Girls were considered more “naturally advanced” with learning how to potty without the assistance of a diaper and had more control of their bladders than boys. But the American Academy of Pediatrics noted that this may not be the case. There are so many factors that go into potty training, that it’s hard to conclusively say why a kid gets the hang of it faster or slower than others.
Of course, this doesn’t stop parents from feeling judged or self-conscious about their kids’ progress, which is why it’s infinitely refreshing to have celebrities like Bell come forward and share her own experience with her kids. Thank you for your realness, Kristen.
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