Home » Potty training tips: strategies used by daycare teachers

Potty training tips: strategies used by daycare teachers

Potty training is difficult. These toddler-room teachers shared some tips on making potty training simpler.
It seems that children develop new personalities when they head off to daycare. My four-year-old son Leo puts on a snowsuit at his “school”, washes his hands once asked and puts his toys away. He isn’t like this at home. He was so different at home when it came to potty training. It was surprise, surprise, that he went to daycare and he finally used the bathroom for the first time.

The wilful and dreamy toddler had completed all aspects of potty training by the age of three. While my husband and me had occasionally put him on the bathroom and bought him Thomas underwear in the past, the daycare providers made frequent toilet visits a part of his everyday life.

I asked a few early childhood educators around the country for their best potty training tips to find out more about how daycare workers manage diapering. They said that being a parent to a child is a good thing. “We have a very unique relationship with the children. James Barker is the Front Street location director for Kids & Company Toronto.

Daycare workers tend not to be as firm as parents but they are also less anxious and more focused on the bathroom. Vivian Turner (executive director, Garneau University Childcare Centre Edmonton) says that parents need to be relaxed. “There are very few adults that walk around in diapers.”

Here’s more advice from the professionals about potty training
Potty training in daycare

It’s not an easy task to get a toddler to sit on the toilet. Some children are afraid, others get mad and some just don’t want to go. Barker states, “I will bring someone who is toilet-trained and let that child go first.” Barker then suggests the child who isn’t toilet-trained give it a shot. Barker then suggests that the child give it a try. And so on. Barker states, “If they refuse to comply, we won’t force it.” “But, we continue to ask.”

The staff at Moore Place Day Care in Georgetown (Ont.) break down the potty-training process into stages. The first stage is to teach children to take their own clothes off in the bathroom. Moore Place executive Director Carol Bee said, “They need to have an understanding about what logically follows first.” She added that this helps staff save time and allows children to do it themselves. Kids feel empowered to clean the bathroom and remove toilet paper. Many daycares keep a supply of potty guides for children to get used to this idea.

At home, this is a good idea. While you don’t have to rely on your siblings to make it difficult, you can enlist the help of a cousin, older brother, or sister to demonstrate the joys of using the toilet. Try to hide your anger when you refuse to use the bathroom. Continue to offer. Begin by changing your child’s diaper in the toilet. Then, start to suggest smaller tasks like pulling down his pants, tearing off toilet papers, and flushing. If he is finally willing to try it, let him know that you’re happy, excited, and even if it doesn’t go well.

1. Which should I choose: plastic or porcelain?

The daycare method: There is little debate about potty-versus–toilet at daycares. Children must adjust to what they have. Barker admits that it is a minor obstacle but Barker says they work around it. Daycare workers can bring out stools for children to climb onto if they don’t have full-sized toilets. Wondering why there aren’t many toilet inserts in preschool? They can be difficult to clean so they are avoided by most daycares.

You can do this at home. While daycares may not be able to meet every child’s specific needs, they have more flexibility and should be used. Toilets can be loud and scary for some children. However, others are more comfortable using the potty because it isn’t what adults use. Have a potty and a seat insert available (decorated in Dora or any other appeals), and let your child use the one she prefers without trying to get her to choose.

2. Potty training is not without its hazards.

Turner says it this way: “It is an accident. It’s not premeditated.” The daycare staff consider it a natural part in the training process for a child who isn’t yet potty trained to suddenly change into her underwear. They quickly tidy up and change the child into new clothes. Staff will attempt to identify if an accident is ongoing if it’s caused by something. Turner states that sometimes the child isn’t feeling well. Sometimes, major changes such as a new child in the family, a renovation, or vacation can cause setbacks. Turner said that if they were dry at one time, they’ll dry again.

Do this at home. It is temporary. Your child will soon return to using the bathroom. Don’t get angry at your child for slipping backwards. If your child is experiencing a relapse, talk with her and find ways to make it less painful.

3. How to handle praise and awards

Anne McKiel from YMCA Dartmouth Childcare says, “We keep a stick chart in the toilet, and they get to place a sticker up when they try to go.” Other daycares celebrate a child’s use of the toilet. They praise him and share their news with other children.

You can try this at home. Set up a reward system that motivates your children and is feasible for you to maintain. Barker says he has heard of parents giving their kids Hot Wheels cars for every trip. Stickers or check marks are better. You can also make your reaction the motivator. Turner states that mom’s saying “Great job,” with a big smile or hug, is sometimes the greatest reward.

4. Timing is everything.

The daycare way: Daycares have their own ways of scheduling trips to the bathroom. Kids & Company daycare workers perform a routine to the toilet four times a days. Moore Place employees take children in training to use the potty every 30 minutes. McKiel’s centre is very flexible. She says that McKiel’s centre watches the children and makes the schedule to suit them. According to all three daycares schedules are difficult to keep kids on track. Barker states that it’s difficult for kids to stop doing what they’re doing. Daycare workers frequently remind kids that they need to take a break, assuring them that toys will still be available when they return.

You can try this at home: Create a potty schedule at your house that is similar to what your child does at daycare. If you are home full-time, you can set up a routine that revolves around your day and the times your child needs to go. Follow the daycare model: Tell your child in advance when it’s time to go potty. Then playtime will resume after that.

5. What should they wear to the event?

Daycare should avoid training diapers. Bee says, “A pull-up diaper looks exactly the same as diapers and children believe they can do everything in it.” Most daycare staff agree with this recommendation: Wear your underwear. Children can feel wet underwear. Turner says that most children prefer to be in underwear. Barker, on the other hand, likes to wear a training pad over his underwear for about two weeks. Barker can feel when he is wet but it makes less mess.

Do this at home. While diapers are great for nighttime, you should wear underwear when training. Tigger undies or Cinderella undies can be a motivator for some children. For long car trips or outings, don’t hesitate to wear a training undershirt over your regular clothes. While your child will be aware of an accident, you won’t need to change his clothes.

6. Keep an eye out for number 2.

The daycare method: Daycare providers don’t stress it when children take their time learning how to poop. This usually happens when a child is able to learn how to urinate. Sometimes it takes a long time. Bee knows of children who hide in the corner when they need to empty their bladders. Daycare workers view it as a waiting game. They continue to offer the toilet, cheer on their children and celebrate when it does.

Do this at home. Children often hold their bowel movements indefinitely until they reach home. Try to find your child’s normal routine by taking a trip to the bathroom. Keep her busy reading while you’re at it. She might be distracted and poop unnoticed. It may take several months for her to start pooing in the toilet. Don’t lose heart. When your child finally goes, be sure to congratulate her.
Ready or not?

Your child should start toilet training at the age of 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 years. Here are signs your child is ready for serious things:

* Staying dry for extended periods of time
* Showing interest when other people use the bathroom.
* You are asking to wear underwear.
* Not wanting to be seen when he is changing his diapers.