I recently encountered two stories.
1. Child, aged almost 4 I think, is "potty trained" and has been out of nappies for 6 months. But pees themself, every single day, several times a day, and the mother was wanting to get ideas about getting the smell of old urine out of the child's nice shoes. Mother did not want to go back into nappies because the child's pre-school setting is not supportive of children of this age not being "potty trained"
2. Child, aged 4 and a bit, I think it was, is also "potty trained" and has been for a long time, but every day hides themself in a corner of the house/pre-school in order to do a poo in their underpants. Fine to use the toilet for peeing, but not for pooing. Mother wanted advice about stopping it happening.
My apologies if these stories are somewhat TMI. I was horrified to encounter them. What would either of these children have to do to persuade their parents and carers that they are not in fact ready to use the toilet? The competitive agenda which seems among some parents to begin at birth (oh, what did (s)he weigh? Our little Jimmy was 8.8lb!!!) moves on, in matters like elimination, to extreme coercion and presumably humiliation for the children who just aren't ready at the "average" age, or the "competitive mum's moment of thinking it's time" age. Or maybe these are parents who are overwhelmed by What Will People Think.
It seems to me that having pull-ups either full time or to put on when needing to pee/poo would be a much more respectful solution. And taking the whole process at the child's pace rather than rushing them, since these particular children clearly aren't doing brilliantly well with the rushed approach.
It also struck me as very interesting that when people say confidently "ah yes, little Billy was completely potty trained at 18 months", they might not mean by that what I think they mean. I always thought that "completely potty trained" meant that a child knew when they needed the toilet, and would take themselves off to the toilet/potty, and then would shout for loo paper assistance if necessary. But actually, it is becoming clear to me now that a mainstream "potty trained" child is simply one whose parents have removed their nappies. Some of them are indeed "completely potty trained" in my sense of the word, and others are absolutely not. *deep shuddering sigh*