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Potty Training Letter To Parents

Potty Training Letter To Parents
 

This is the letter I give to parents who are interested in beginning potty training their child in my home. I thought it would be something readers may be able to use for their own business to explain the process and some of the difficulties in working with parents to get on the same page.

Potty Training in the Daycare
I have had a few questions recently from parents of children two and up regarding their child’s readiness to begin toilet training. I have shared some of our ideas and routines with some parents but thought it would be easier for all if I wrote down a few power points regarding training so we could all be on the same page.

I think it’s a common misconception that most children potty train during the twos. In my experience with children in the day care and children entering the day care it is usually around the age of three for girls and three and a half for boys. Some kids do train earlier or later than that. The youngest kid I have ever trained was 22 months and the oldest was four. It’s a pretty wide range of “normal”.

If you feel your little one is ready, I would like to share with you some ideas and experiences to help the process. We have some basic policies when the time comes to begin training. I’ve put in bold the most important points. This may sound awfully official but honestly this is all to help make this go easily for everyone.

Let’s define a potty trained child:

A potty trained child is a child who can do the following:
1) Be able to TELL the adult they have to go potty BEFORE they have to go. They must be able to say the words “I have to go potty” BEFORE they have to go.
2) Be able to pull down their underwear and pants and get them back up without assistance.
3) Be able to wipe themselves after using the toilet.
4) Be able to get off the potty by themselves.
5) Be able to wash and dry hands.
6) Be able to go directly back to the room without directions.
7) Be able to postpone going if they must wait for someone who is in the bathroom or if we are outside and away from the house.

The first one is the number one key to successful training. Children who are ready to train have the ability to perceive events that are going to happen before they happen. Because we cannot allow children to just go in and out of the room to freely use the potty they MUST learn they have to tell us so that we can accompany them into the room and supervise them. At home you can allow them free access to the bathroom if you choose but we are prohibited by our regulations to allow them to go unaccompanied. Because of this they need to learn that they must tell the adult they have to go BEFORE they have to go. We do not accept signs that the child has to go or nonverbal behavior. It must be the words “I have to go potty”.

Is your child ready to begin training?
Sometimes parents feel that if their child is able to actually pee on a potty at home when the parent places them on the potty that this is the sign they are ready to train. From my experience this is not necessarily a sign. I have seen many children who are able to do this who actually trained more than a year after they were able to do this. I always say that potty training is five percent ability to get their clothes on and off, five percent ability to go pee or poop in the potty and NINETY percent being able to identify when they have to go and telling the adult BEFORE they have to go.

Another misconception is that if a child tells you that they have peed or pooped in their diaper that it’s a sign that they are ready to train. I haven’t seen ANY correlation to a child’s awareness AFTER they have gone to their ability to recognize and act BEFORE they have to go.

Some things we do to get kids ready to train:
1) We start reading potty books and talking about going potty in the big girl or big boy potty during changing.
2) We have them sit on the potty during natural transition times (before and after meals, before and after naps, and diaper changes)
3) We practice with them getting their pants up and down on their own and hand washing.
4) We will supervise them and watch for signs that they have to go or are going and get them off to the potty.
5) We keep close communication with the parents about any indicators suggesting the child is ready.

Some things we don’t do:
We do not put kids on a potty schedule where they go every half hour or hour. It’s very time consuming with little to no benefit. From experience we have seen this cause many problems with children not being able to hold much urine and having to constantly go to the potty further along down the line. They are able to settle down at nap because once they relax and have a little bit of pee they have to get up and go. They can’t do walks because they can’t make it very long without having to come back to potty. The day pretty much centers around the potty which just isn’t realistic in this setting.
We don’t limit food or drinks to only be given at certain times. We maintain the same food and snack schedule during training.
We don’t clean out poopy underwear. We will bag pee soaked underwear and return it to the parent at the end of the day but we will not do this with soiled underwear. We must dispose of that immediately into the garbage. We don’t do laundry of any soaked or soaked or soiled clothes. They are bagged, put outside, and returned to the parents at the end of the day.

Some helpful hints to help you at home:
There are some easy daily things you can do at home that will really help your child’s progression. Some of these may sound silly but trust the ole Fat Nan… they REALLY work.

1) Be cheery about the potty. A happy experience each time they are on the potty will translate into quick training at home.
2) If there are two adults in the house have each adult “ask” the other adult if he/she can go to the potty at least four or five times a day. Your child seeing and hearing you “ask” if you can go will get the idea in their head that they need to do that too.
3) Praise the child on success for every step of the process but do not overdo it. You don’t want them trying to do the potty thing fifty times a day to get your attention or get rewarded. A “way to go” or a “thumbs up” and big smile will let them know you are proud. We use the phrase “you go potty like the BIG boys/girls do!!!! They love the idea of being BIG.
4) Bribery can be a good thing. Use stickers or small treats (like gummies, jelly beans, teddy grahams) ONLY after potty success. Have the child give the same treat to everyone around him that can have the treat. Passing a treat for his success will make the child happier that getting the treat himself. Every person receiving the prize says “Good job little buddy… you go potty like the big boys do”.
5) Let the child in the bathroom with you when you are going potty. This is really important for the same sex parent. Let them see how it works and you washing up afterwards.
6) Don’t let them play toilet paper. If they are infatuated with toilet paper give them a couple of generic cheapo rolls to play around with in the house to get it out of their system.
7) No punishment or consternation for accidents. Just talk to them about them needing to ask to go to the potty next time. We say “next time you will go potty like the BIG boys do… okay?!!”
8 ) If you see them mid way trying to poop or pee scurry them off to the potty to finish up.
9) Give your child three or four minutes to get the job done. It shouldn’t take more than a few minutes. Don’t let it turn into an attention seeking time where the child gets you to one to one them. It’s only about going potty. If they don’t go in a reasonable time tell them it’s time to get off and we will try again another time.
10) Don’t allow potty time to be a stall tactic to avoid doing something the child doesn’t want to do. We see this here at toy pick up and nap time. Some kids will claim they have to go potty to avoid having to go to bed. If you see a pattern of avoidance have the child do the potty a little bit before you want them to do whatever they are avoiding so it doesn’t interfere.
11) I don’t encourage any toys or books during the training time. It really can backfire on you. Potty time will quickly turn into one to one attention and play time for the child. After a child has been trained for a few months you can add a book for them to look at if they are having a hard time going poop.
12) Keep attention and interaction during potty time to a bare minimum. If your child is generally doinking around during the time he/she is sitting on the potty then turn away from them and keep the eye contact down. Keep the atmosphere calm and focused.
13) We train boys sitting down first. We switch them to standing up when they are tall enough to reach over the seat and adept enough to aim.
14) Be careful of public automatic flushing toilets. The noise of the flushing will scare them. If you bring a little post it note with you when you go out you can put it over the sensor so the toilet doesn’t automatically flush right when your child gets off of it.
15) Have fun. Stay cool. It will all work out.

Please don’t expect the same performance here as at home:
I’ve seen both ends of the spectrum with kids ability to be “trained” here and not at home and vice versa. I’ve had kids who have been successful at home and are unable to do it here for a number of reasons:
1) Kids are not trained at home to tell the parents they have to go BEFORE they have to go but rather are allowed free access unsupervised to the bathroom in their home. Again, here they must tell us BEFORE. They can’t leave the playroom without an adult and go into the bathroom without supervision.
2) There are many more distractions here with a larger group of kids, toys, and bustling activities.
3) They need one to one attention throughout the day in order to keep up with the toileting. Here we have multi-level aged children who have various needs and supervision requirements. We can’t focus on one child but must divide our attention with all the kids. This is another reason your child must tell us he/she has to go. They need to bring it to OUR attention. We can’t focus only on them to pick up cues, sign language, or specific behaviors to tell us it is time.
4) Parents are putting the child on the potty in small time increments. We don’t do this here so the child will wet themselves many times throughout the day if this is being done at home.
5) Parents are over exaggerating and sometimes purposefully deceiving the child care provider into believing the child is completely trained at home so they can avoid bringing diapers. There is also an element of the parent population who believe that early training is a sign of giftedness and want their children to be advanced. Potty training has nothing to do with giftedness regardless of the age of training.

We have also had kids who are successful here but will not do it at home. This can happen if:
1) The child is on the go a lot in the evenings and weekends making it difficult for the parent to do toileting practice at home.
2) Children are with different caregivers on the weekend who don’t continue the practicing.
3) Parents want the training to be done at day care during the day and do diapers and pull-ups at home on the weekends.

We have had a number of children who train a full year at home before they train here or train here a full year before they train at home. It is best when it is done at the same time but don’t be worried if the child is successful only with you.

We don’t put children into underwear until they have been COMPLETELY accident free HERE for two full weeks.
This is an absolute non-negotiable policy. I have potty trained many children over the years and have found that once a child is successful for two full weeks HERE it is rare if not unheard of for them to have accidents thereafter. We haven’t had a potty training accident here in over five years. This is because this policy is strictly enforced.

The reason we have this policy is because over the years we are training many kids. We have to set up policies that maintain infection control standards for the child care and protect the carpet, furniture, and inventory of the day care. We a have to have higher standards than a parent has at home to avoid having to do frequent carpet and furniture cleaning and replacements. The entire day care portion of the home is carpeted.

Often when kids have accidents it isn’t discovered immediately and they end up wetting down their leg and soaking their socks. We are not literally keeping our eyes directly on just one child every second so it could go unnoticed. Once the child sits down or walks around a bit in the playroom you quickly have an entire room with urine soaked footsteps and big soaked spots from the child sitting. It only takes a few minutes of free playing to cover the room completely. The babies and toddlers play and lay directly on that carpet.

Once it’s discovered we have to have the entire room cleaned. Once urine gets into the carpet paid it is nearly impossible to clean it down to the pad with regular carpet cleaners. Having the carpet done professionally is very expensive and hard on the carpet.

When children soil their underwear it is a very big mess to clean up. Often the poop will soak thru their clothes and cause the same problems the pee accidents cause. It can require professional cleaning and takes more staff time to deal with then the cost of diapers for a week.

Naptime training:
Sometimes kids nap train right away when they are awake time trained. Most children are not able to do this and it is many months and sometimes years before they are nap trained. We require nap diapers until the child has slept through nap for one full month without a pee accident.

What to wear during training:
Children should wear easy on and off pants during training. We prefer sweat pant like bottoms until they are physically capable of doing snaps and buttons. Please don’t send them in anything that requires us to remove the top to get to the bottom. We don’t allow overalls, kid costumes, union suits, one piece jammies, or shirts with snaps at the crotch. Belts and suspenders are never allowed in the day care for safety reasons.
Diapers and pull-ups are okay for training. We do not use pull-ups until the child is at the one week mark without accidents. We do not do cloth diapers or underwear with plastic pants. If you have had great success at home we can do the training with the underwear and a pull-up over the underwear during the training. If the child has regular accidents in the underwear we will switch them back to regular diapers and try again at another time. We use regular diapers at nap time.
Finally, I have found that a number of kids are easily potty trained during long vacations and holiday breaks. The parents have the time to do the intense work and supervision. Parents can allow the child to be in underwear for many consecutive days. If they are successful at home they still must remain in diapers and be accident free for two weeks HERE. They can come in underwear with pull-ups when they return. That way they will have a protective layer over the underwear to protect the carpet should they revert back to accidents. I will let you know how they are doing every day.
Thanks and let me know if you have any questions or want to discuss it further. If it’s done at a time when they child is truly ready it should go very easily and quickly.

  1. QualiTcare04-19-11

    i agree with most of it – but some of it – i’m not so sure about. no potty accidents in over five years? REALLY? my own kids who were trained very early in comparison to the majority have had “accidents” and i was shocked when it happened and wondering, “why?” they were totally, completely potty trained for not only two weeks, but for months or even a year.

    still -both of them at some point had an “accident.” i can’t imagine having dozens of children over the course of five years never, ever having once accident. really?

    i’m told that once i used the potty, that was it. i was potty traied. i didn’t pee myself, didn’t pee the bed, etc. STILL – i remember having an “accident” in kindergarten ONE time. i was definitely potty trained, but that’s why it’s called an accident.

    • torifees04-19-11

      Quality, We have an adult in the room with them at all times they are awake. It’s not the same as at your house where your kids can free range without an adult supervising them every second. We don’t have accidents because we are with them constantly and we don’t switch into underwear until they have two full weeks of success. I also don’t have dozens of kids to potty train in five years. I’ve had about seven.

  2. WDMMOM04-19-11

    Kudos Nan! Great blog! Very informative and educational! Thanks!

  3. wendy04-21-11

    This is one of the best how-tos on potty training that I have ever read. Keep up the good work!

  4. Shannon04-21-11

    Thanks NannyDe. I had a mom bring her 21 month old (who didn’t even walk until 18 months) last week and say, “well she peed on the potty yesterday when I held her on. If you want to put her on the potty today, that would be great.” I told her that I do it when kids are ready and I would print off my potty training handout. Said these exact words, “One of the biggest things is that the child needs to ask to use the potty.” She said, “oh, she might.” Yeah, she might because she thinks it’s fun to sit on. She might even pee while she’s being held on. No way. This child is very stout and still walks like frankenstein. Bam, bam, bam. Plus, she was in a onesie that day. Mom has a 6 year old so it’s not like she hasn’t done this before. Both parents are teachers, so summer will be great for potty training. She’ll be 2 at the end of July.

  5. StaceyJ04-26-11

    Fantastic information!!!! Thank you! I will be printing this off for my clients.

  6. StrictMom04-28-11

    Wow. This is awesome. You make soo much sense. I totally believe the no accidents part. You aren’t counting kids who weren’t potty trained. And your definition is very precise. The ability and knowledge to say “I have to go potty” BEFORE they go. I’m printing all of it off as well.

  7. Annie08-10-11

    Can’t thank you enough. This is THE MOST HELPFUL information I have found so far. Thanks for it!

  8. Meghan01-07-12

    I just want to point out the faultiness of your “common misconception” about the age of children who are potty trained. In the 50′s, most children were fully trained by the time they were two, usually closer to 18 months. In most parts of the world, this is still the case. It was only with the introduction of disposable diapers that the average age (only in the US) moved closer to 3.

    Younger children are just as capable, and often MORE capable of successfully potty training, if they have coordinated efforts on the part of the parent and daycare provider.

    I’d also like to point out that by placing the children in diapers at naptime, even though they are fully trained, you are causing a great deal of confusion for them.

    • torifees01-08-12

      You are correct that children were trained earlier in the 50′s but you failed to mention the techniques that were used to make it happen. Please read: http://greenbabyguide.com/2011/01/24/the-history-of-potty-training-in-america/

      “Early potty training in America was completely parent-centered and sometimes disturbingly so. In the early 1900s children were on strict elimination schedules and parents even used suppositories or enemas to enforce regularity. Toddlers were admonished or physically punished for accidents.” Toddlers were expected to sit often and long in a strapped toilet seat. They were also allowed to be outside unsupervised when weather allowed. They also had multiple older and younger siblings or other youngins in the house. There was a huge financial and work incentive to get the child trained because there was most likely another infant to be cared for who would need the cloth diapers. We can’t use the techniques that were used in those days. We are potty training toddlers who can’t be punished physically for accidents, we can’t leave them outside without supervision, and we can’t strap them onto a potty for long periods of time until they go.

      • Meg03-21-12

        Parents trained their children earlier because Mom did not work and few families had 2 cars.
        I have no idea where these parents are that tied their children to the potty chair. My sisters and I surely were not trained that way. We did wear thick training pants with rubber pants over them. The key we were not in childcare. The same tecnique worked for my son in the early 80′s Most children were trained by age 2 then. Pre pull up era , less activities not punishment.

      • SF06-01-13

        Frankly I think the old coercive method of potty training was (a) better for the short- and long-term health of the child, and (b) better in that there were no unsocialized five-year-olds in diapers.

        • Debbie06-20-14

          The only “unsocialized five year olds in diapers” I’ve ever known were also five year olds who had special needs (disabilities).

    • Anna01-23-13

      I have to agree, my son was 15 months when he first went to the potty, he did wonderful at home for months, but the child care center he was in would not take the children to the potty until they turned 2. I think we missed a great window of opportunity with him. Now that he is 31 months and trying again, it’s almost like he is too smart for his own good. He know exactly what to do and how to do it and does fine at home but “refuses” to go at day care. I kind of understand this a little more reading the article, but still he is in a very small homey daycare. I think he uses the pull ups because he knows he can. I really regret not following through the first go around.

      • S.Deeds03-30-15

        I totally agree. My girl showed signs around 15 months (before I went back to work) and that was that. When I started working again (around 18 months) her daycare wouldn’t take her. She was in panties at home and diapers at daycare, and I really think it confused her to the point that we’re having a lot of trouble now. I’m glad I wasn’t the only one feeling iffy while reading this (although NannyDe does make some good points). I definitely don’t want her in diapers much past 3.

  9. Jess Nye04-23-12

    Wow, with the emphasis on diapers and pull-ups for so long, it’s no wonder it’s your experience that kids potty train around 3 or 3 1/2 or 4! And calling kids not potty trained if they can’t wipe themselves is completely unrealistic. My three year old son hasn’t had an accident in over a year, but he needs help wiping. My duaghter needed help wiping until she was five. Their little arms can’t always reach, and not all kids are coordinated enough to accomplish wiping their own bottoms at preschool age. If I got this letter from my daycare I would be finding another provider.

    • torifees04-23-12

      If I had a parent want to leave over the potty training letter it would be in all of our best interest for them to leave as soon as possible. Being completely “trained” does include being able to wipe themselves. I know some Centers require that the child be able to do it independently to be considered completely trained. This often is about a fee reduction once the child is trained. In a home setting where the provider doesn’t attach money to the potty trained child then surely the emphasis on being able to wipe without any assistance would be gradual and based upon the child’s skill set. We all want the children to be sanitary so the words of “trained” doesn’t prohibit a child from having the CARE they need as they learn the skill.

      • Jess Nye04-23-12

        “If I had a parent want to leave over the potty training letter it would be in all of our best interest for them to leave as soon as possible.”

        LOL, I’m sure it would- how dare a parent be upset that you are dictating how THEIR child will be potty-trained! Parents and childcare providers have a partnership, in which the goal is to provide consistent care for the child- not training at daycare that’s different from the way they’re being trained at home. A good daycare provider works with parents’ wishes, rather than laying down the law that it’s their way or the highway.

        • torifees04-23-12

          Naw. You don’t have to be in a partnership to potty train children. It is a very common misconception with training. Day care children are used to having home life and child care being vastly different in some ways. Potty training can easily be one of them. Parents often use the line of this is “my child” and it will be “my way” or “we have to be on the same page” in order for the kid to be trained but the truth is that you can use COMPLETELY different approaches between the two places and the child can end up easily potty trained over time. The purpose of the blog is just to show how “I” do it and to share with providers that they don’t have to be held hostage by a “my child” parent who uses phrases like “working with my wishes” that really mean sending a kid in underwear so they don’t have to buy diapers anymore. Providers need to see comments like this so they can see the actual wording the parent uses. You have thankfully provided an excellent example. Providers… see above. :-)

          • Anna01-23-13

            I don’t think it’s a “MY child” thing, in my opinion it’s a “child” thing. They are all vastly different and you can’t treat every single one of them exactly the same. I’m sorry, but they are just different. We trained our 2 children different from each other. I think when a parent gives their opinion it’s because they are explaining something that worked at home, so maybe it’s best for their child. I believe child care providers are very intelligent and know a lot about children, but tend to forget every child wasn’t birthed out of a book. Like I said before, I believe my son uses pull ups because he knows he can, as soon as I switched to underwear we have been accident free. In your setting, that wouldn’t be an option for him.

  10. Danielle08-21-12

    So what I can take from this is that you take absolutely no role in potty training whatsoever. Expecting kids to have no problems wiping, never to have an accident, and always to be able to handle pulling up their own clothes afterwards? That would have excluded my neurotypical, totally normal four-year-old daughter, since she still needed some help wiping after pooping. In fact, she even had the occasional accident in school up until she was 6. I guess she’d be required to be in diapers still?

    My youngest daughter has been potty-trained at home for 8 months, on outings for 6 months, and we haven’t had a single nighttime accident in 3 months. All but one of the women in her daycare have no problems working with her to help her adjust to the new settings, but with one woman, she’s pooped in her pants every single time.

    I can’t help but wonder if she’s working under the same lack of care that you are. Is it really THAT hard to help them wipe themselves?

    I’m under no financial stress. I can buy diapers easily, but my child is potty trained and does not WANT to wear diapers. I don’t think it’s too much to ask for a daycare to provide her with the small amount of extra help that she might need, and there are certainly daycare workers who agree with that, and are happy to see her using the toilet.

    Is the goal of daycare only to ensure that the children under your supervision don’t kill themselves? Or aren’t you supposed to be teaching them things as well?

    Do you also say that they have to be taught all their letters and numbers at home before you’ll work with them on them at daycare? Or know how to complete the puzzles there before they’re allowed to do them?

    • torifees08-21-12

      Danielle can you point out the part of this blog that suggested that we don’t assist children in wiping?

      • Danielle08-21-12

        “1) Be able to TELL the adult they have to go potty BEFORE they have to go. They must be able to say the words “I have to go potty” BEFORE they have to go.
        2) Be able to pull down their underwear and pants and get them back up without assistance.
        *3) Be able to wipe themselves after using the toilet.
        4) Be able to get off the potty by themselves.
        5) Be able to wash and dry hands.
        6) Be able to go directly back to the room without directions.
        7) Be able to postpone going if they must wait for someone who is in the bathroom or if we are outside and away from the house.”

        I’d say number 3 is the statement that suggests you don’t assist children in wiping.

        • torifees08-22-12

          Oh I see. Look at the two sentences ABOVE that: “Let’s define a potty trained child:

          A potty trained child is a child who can do the following:”

          This means a completely trainED child can do the following. It does not mean that we don’t help the child wipe until he/she can master THAT aspect of the training. It also doesn’t mean they can’t wear undies at child care. We require the child be accident free for two weeks before they can wear undies in the home and they must be able to tell us they have to go before they have to go. Once they accomplish these they may wear underwear. They aren’t completely trainED until they can get all of the things I suggested in “what is a potty trained child?” but that doesn’t mean they aren’t working on the remaining skills with undies on.

          It’s an important decision because once they go to a preK that requires complete autonomy for toileting or Kindergarten where they do not assist the children in toileting they have to be able to do ALL of the markers in “what is a potty trainED child”. That was my purpose for explaining it.

          Parents often view being toilet trained only as whether or not they can wear undies instead of diapers. There’s more to it than that from the prospective of the provider of a group of children.

  11. janelle10-10-12

    this day care provider has the best potty training policy I have ever seen and I am also a home day care provider. these parents that are attacking this woman’s policy sound very ignorant and are not fully understanding what she is saying. no parents should expect their care provider to train their child for them which is how it feels sometimes. parents please don’t accuse providers of not caring about your child just because we have to set boundaries with potty training. we are providers because we love kids!!

    • Ashley10-24-16

      I totally agree with you! Us providers get taken advantage all the time. Us providers DON”T HAVE TO POTTY TRAIN ANY CHILD. That is another extra thing that I do and not charge to do for the parents. I don’t charge for food, preschool, potty training and outings, but yet parents still want us to do everything and except us to do it their way. NOPE! I put my foot down and there is boundaries here or they can go somewhere else. THen they complain when fees go up. But yet they get rises, why can’t we?

    • Darcy04-02-17

      You go providers! I own a center also and find the vast majority of parents who are either cheap or who cannot afford my center to be ignorant and/or lazy, but yet have high expectations about their children’s abilities when it comes to potty training. I actually stumbled upon this blog tonight after getting an email from a parent about why their child has not been potty training at school and they thought that just because we accept kids who are not trained, that we automatically perform magic to train the child. This parent has frequently brought in only 2-3 diapers a day, which were never enough to even try to begin training after having their child for a whole full day! This parent has not met us halfway and thinks that the burden is supposed to be on the daycare to get their child trained. They feel that whatever they do at home is not working, but what they fail to realize is that potty training is not magic-it happens on the child’s time and every child is different. The child has only been with us a couple of months and had turned 2 at that point. The parent feels that us requesting pull-ups instead of diapers was supposed to magically transform their child into being trained-it has not. It’s a process, but I have found that sometimes, when some parents who really cannot afford daycare or the costs associated with having children, they become easily upset when things do not happen as they would like them to. In our case, there are a couple of things going on that I saw prior to the parent’s email about their child potty training, but I still say that some parents may feel the stress of not being able to afford potty items for their child and thus, want to lash out at the daycare. In our case, it’s not our fault their kid isn’t ready, but they will have to meet us half way and provide enough items for us to even get to train their child. This is where I have to deal with ignorance and denial sometimes in dealing with parents who try to blame our program for their own shortcomings that trickle down to their kid…

  12. Kerry10-23-12

    I am a new childcare provider, and I run a listed in home child care operation. I am also a mother of three children, ages 19, 12, and 2. I must say that I completely support, and applaud this blog, for many reasons. I happen to care for 2 children, ages 2 and 4, and then my own child who is also 2. Out of the 3 children I take care of, only the 4 year old child was potty trained. My son is working on his potty training, and the other 2 year old child who is a girl, was in diapers, and had never even sat on the potty until exactly 6 days ago. Over the last week, I went on vacation, and today was my first day back at work. The little girl’s mother showed up this morning to drop her off, and she handed me a change of lothes, and a cotton brief. She told me that the lady who took care of the children while I was on vacation potty trained her daughter completely. She also mentioned that I needed to take her to the bathroom every hour. I have always believed that fully potty training a child takes time, and in my mind 6 days was not enough. Within 20 minutes after she was dropped off, I asked her if she needed to use the potty, and she told me no. Five minutes later the 4 year old went to use the potty, and as soon as it was occupied the 2 year old said she needed to go. I told her that I would take her as soon as the 4 year old was done, and at almost that exact same second, she urinated all over herself, and my upholstered chair. I fully agree that a child must be able to tell you they need to use the potty BEFORE they need to go. They MUST be able to wait if the bathroom is in use, and they must wear pull ups if they are still having accidents. I believe in infection control, cleanliness and hygiene! As a parent, I would never place my children to be cared for in a daycare that does not sanitize anything, or that allows potty training children to soil furniture, carpets and the environment. Danielle, providers are not there to customize the care of each individual child exactly to the parents liking. They are there to care for the child properly, in a manner befitting standards upheld by the State, to ensure each child’s safety and well being. As a provider, I respectfully do work with parents, as long as their expectations are realistic, and are in the best interest of the child. I also agree that in PreK, children are required to wipe themselves after they potty, so it is only propper to teach children that that is expected of them, and to encourage them to do that. If a child cannot wipe themselves, then they are not fully potty trained in my opinion. The 4 year old child that I care for 1) Tells me she needs to use the potty BEFORE she goes, 2) removes her own pants and underwear 3) wipes herself and flushes the toilet, and 4) washes and dries her hands. That is a fully potty trained child. She has no accidents any time of day or night, and has never had one during nap. A provider has the right to stipulate their boundaries when it comes to potty training. Parents need to respect the boundaries and understand that they are set for good reasons.

    • torifees10-24-12

      Sounds like you just got got. The Mom comes and says the WORDS to you that the other provider trained the child. Good likelihood the other provider told Mom that she did. What an amazing feat for a new adult to pull off with a new kid. Makes the provider look very competent and the mom proud that her little sweetie caught on so fast in the RIGHT enviroment. All those words are great for everybody but you.

      Either the other provider is trying to poach the client/kid or she just said what she did to make herself look good to the client. Either way, all of that has nothing to do with YOU and your chair she wet on. She needs to be in diapers until YOU know she is completely accident free at your house for two weeks.

      I’ve had the post vacation proclomation that a child is trained and still required diapers until they are completely accident free here for two weeks. I don’t risk my carpet and my time based on other people’s words. I just base it on what I see and what the kid does here. If the kid is truly trained than two weeks in diapers is going to cost a few bucks while she shows you how well she did at the other providers. Also, I don’t do timed potty trips. I couldn’t keep up with the once an hour thing and I don’t want a kid who can only hold an hour of pee.

  13. Kristy01-03-13

    LOVE THIS!!! I’ve been a provider for many years and have helped potty train a couple dozen children with many of these discussions. I currently have a parent who admits to not consistently working on training at home who is trying to place her child’s level of success directly on me as the child isn’t where she thinks the two year old should be while doing a “my child” routine while saying it’s our responsibility to potty train regardless of the level of readiness. I’m not having it and am ready to give immediate notice over the level of disrespect she’s shown. Parents need to remember that we care for your child not for the money as it’s quite expensive to run a quality program and definitely not because we can’t find “another job,” but because we love working with kids. Running a childcare is MUCH more complex than they realize with the various laws and requirements placed on us and no we cannot and WILL NOT leave your child on the potty for 20 minutes every hour. We cannot have our program exactly as each parent has their home. We must make things work for the group as a whole (just as your child’s kindergarten and future teachers) while abiding by state and federal laws and I would surely hope that every parent supported us in safety being our number one priority!!

  14. judy07-06-13

    i love that was helpful after i read
    thanks

  15. Mary10-15-13

    Thank you for this, very helpful to providers.

  16. Isabella12-20-13

    This is a very helpful policy and a guide. Its hard for parents sometimes to hear about rules but children need consistency. I would have rather had my daycare provider give me this upfront that to have a provider have a difficult conversation with me about toilet training. I know what to expect and know exactly how they are doing things.

  17. 'toilet training"01-02-14

    Great article !

  18. Jay Uva03-10-14

    Loved reading this. I’m a preschool teacher and this is spot on with the guidelines I have in my room. Communication, muscle awareness, sequencing, hand eye coordination, and gross motor skills are 5 great things I have read here, and the top 5 things I have on my sheet :)

    Thanks for wording this so well. I will also be adding to my list from this :)

  19. Heather04-14-14

    I think your take on toileting children is unfortunate. Children are “ready” between 12-18 mos and are completely capable of using the toilet. It’s the adults who sometimes don’t want to be bothered with the work and patience that go into it. Having worked with toddlers exclusively for years in a Montessori environment which supported the child’s independence with use of the toilet, I saw dozens of children “trained” prior to the age of two. Accidents? Yes. End of the world and just part of the process? Yes. Rewarding for the child? YES! I beg you to take a different view and see how capable these little humans are, I know the work I did made me open my eyes more.
    Here’s a great book in regards to toileting, I challenge you to read it and get back to me.

  20. Nikki01-14-15

    I think it’s the parents job to toilet train, I as a home daycare have six children to care for. I will certainly help a child who is training if they are ready and want to do it. I think a child under 3 can be ready but I also think if you force it your setting you self up for failure. Some if these kiddos are with me 11 hours a day and may want the extra attention from a parent buy refusing to use the toilet. It is extremely disrespectful to bring a child with underwear only unless they are pretty much accident free, Pull ups are for trained kids only they are not supposed to be used unless your child is ready. They don’t absorb enough and still leak over furniture carpet. Seriously if a child will still sit in a wet diaper and not tell you they are not ready. Parents needs to spend more time with their kids and stop expecting schools and daycare to raise their kids for them, get off your phones stop watching TV and take some of responsibility on yourself.

  21. christina02-20-15

    I have been having issues with parents and potty training. They stopped using diapers cold turkey and started bringing him in underwear for 50% he doesn’t go in his pants but he doesn’t tell me either I am constantly asking if he has to potty. He keeps soiling my carpet and his parents refuse to put him in diapers or pull ups, he just turned 3 so how do I go about letting them know he isn’t fully ready?

    • Lindsay03-04-15

      Christina, I would start by adding these guidelines into your contract/handbook. Then I would give the parents a copy for them to sign. Do they provide diapers/pull-ups or do you? If they do, I would require that they provide them. I provide all diapers myself so that even if they refuse to provide them, I am the one who ultimately makes the decision in my house.

    • Darcy04-02-17

      Christina,

      Hopefully, you have removed this child from your care if the parents have refused to respect you and your business by supplying you with the the proper tools to help their child become trained…

  22. Julie07-17-15

    I appreciate how this divides potty training from potty trained.

    A child in training is taught to express the need to go, watched for signs they have to go, assisted to the toilet… helped in the bathroom all while wearing a Pull-Up.

    A child who is trained has learned to 100% of the time recognize their need, STOP playing and get to the toilet in time to avoid an accident. I guess since I don’t have a room full of kids, if he or she needed help in the bathroom (wiping or reminders to flush and wash their hands) I would be good with switching the child to underwear here… while still working on bathroom independence.

    I watch my nephew for my SIL and she insists on no Pull-Up, hourly toilet… make him sit until he goes. It is causing so many behavior issues (refusal, holding stool, pinching and hitting while he is on the toilet) and the extra laundry and cleaning I am having to do. I just can’t bring myself to continue her way. Yes. I know it is her child, but my roof, my rules. If she doesn’t like it, she can find someone else to watch her child for free.

  23. Rachael07-19-16

    I had a heck of a time potty training my last child. He just wouldn’t agree to it. He did great sometimes and then acted as if he didn’t care.

  24. Erin Nagel09-01-16

    I wish my daycare provider followed these guidelines. I want to take our time and practice a more child led approach to learning to potty. My child’s daycare teacher however follows an hourly potty visit routine. My daughter just turned two and asks to potty at home but sometimes uses the diaper and that’s ok by me.

  25. Christina01-03-17

    I think you have some great pointers here for parents, that will help our 3 year old who is trained in many situations except at daycare (with a provider we absolutely love to pieces like family). However, I can’t say that I understand the rule you mentioned of having the child wear diapers accident-free for a week before switching to pull-ups or underwear/pull-ups. Do you mean regular diapers or the pull-on diapers? I’m no expert, but I can imagine expecting a new elimination behavior, but using diapers still. Ours doesn’t have this policy, but it was intriguing to me.

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