We Decided Against Potty Training

Justin Courter
Published in
3 min readNov 12, 2020


Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

One of our first decisions regarding our son, Sybiscuous, was not to potty train him. Just because our society wants people to use toilets, doesn’t mean we have to pressure our child into a state of constipation that will doubtlessly stunt his creativity. Since that first parenting decision, all others we have left up to Sybiscuous, who is now 10 years old.

Some parents go in for these so-called table manners you hear about. And they force their children to eat kale and other child-unfriendly foodstuffs. Give me a big, fat break. Have you seen how unhappy their children are? How they dread meals and develop eating disorders? Sybiscuous is allowed to crawl about the dining room table as he pleases, sampling at random such delectable comestibles as ice cream and cheese curls, near which he often squats and shoves handfuls into his mouth, grunting with contentment. Our plates are square, and we arrange them like a hopscotch board on the surface of the table. Consequently, our son has fun at mealtimes and looks forward to them.

My husband Frieda and I have been to the homes of those fascist parents whose automaton children greet us, and inquire, “How are you?” when it is clearly none of their business. They say “please” and “thank you” and “May I please be excused?” and carry on like that all the livelong day. They are constantly performing the meaningless tasks assigned to them. I am proud to say that Sybiscuous has never once thanked anyone for anything and I sincerely hope that he never does. Such groveling obsequiousness is not among our aspirations for our child. Sybiscuous is much more likely to urinate on your shoes than say hello when he meets you.

And he is free to demonstrate such spontaneity because he has chosen for the time being not wear clothing. It is difficult to describe the swelling of pride I feel as he wanders down the aisle of the grocery store, knocking cans and jars from the shelves. He often clambers up onto the shelf of lettuce in the produce section, a natural, leafy place to squat down and defecate.

Sometimes when I am chatting with a friend in a coffee shop, and Sybiscuous has taken a break from attending to the other tables by pouring milk over them so that he can lie across my lap and breastfeed, an acquaintance will ask me when I think he’ll be doing this or that “on his own,” to which I reply, “Is there anyone in the world who is not on his own?” We are each on our own from the moment the umbilical cord is cut. Sybiscuous is fortunate enough to still have his, which he sometimes artfully coils about his neck to wear as a mock scarf. But the answer to the question of when my son will do whatever it is these socially programmed people want him to do is always the same. For instance, the other day, my mother wanted to know when Sybiscuous would begin attending school.

“When he’s ready,” I say. “And if he chooses to.”

Frieda and I have confidence in our son. Everyone has to do things at their own pace, and Sybiscuous will choose the time when he is ready to use a toilet or a school. And if he decides he does not want to, where is the harm in that? Shouldn’t we allow people to choose what they want to do in life? If not, then I fear for what our society may be coming to.

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