Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

Is five too old to keep your kid in diapers?

It's one thing to wish your children didn't grow up so fast. It's another to hold them back, just so you can coddle them a little longer.

According to Australia's Herald Sun, an over-protective mother kept her children, aged 4 and 5, in diapers, allegedly because she couldn't bear to see them grow up. A family court has since awarded custody of the children to their father.

The father had told the court his children had been so cosseted that the older child refused to feed himself and insisted on being hand-fed. The mother, meanwhile, argued the children were put in diapers only when they were taken outside the home.

Story continues below advertisement

Justice Garry Watts, however, raised concerns of the children's lack of proper toilet training and sided with a doctor who expressed the opinion that the mother put them at risk of psychological harm with her "enmeshed relationship."

"(The doctor) considers the mother to be extremely over-protective and is finding it difficult to let the children separate from her and assert their independence," the newspaper quotes Judge Watts as saying.

The court also ordered the parents to fully toilet train the children.

The responses from the newspaper's readers have varied, from those appalled at the delay in toilet-training, to those who point out that not all youngsters develop at the same age.

"I teach primary school age kids 6-8 years. There is always at least one child - usually a boy - in my class who hasn't achieved full toilet training and needs a nappy at night, has accidents etc. This is a developmental thing," one online commenter writes.

"You don't have to smother to be a good mother. Let your children grow!" counters another.

From co-sleeping to breast-feeding, and now toilet training, everyone seems to have a different yardstick for determining when children should start exercising their independence.

Story continues below advertisement

How old is too old to be wearing diapers?

Report an error Licensing Options
About the Author

Wency Leung is a general assignment reporter for the Life section. Before joining The Globe in early 2010, she has worked as a reporter in Vancouver, Prague, and Phnom Penh. More

Comments are closed

We have closed comments on this story for legal reasons. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.