Toilet training is an important step in a child’s development. Toilet training takes time, understanding, and patience. It is common to feel a little nervous or anxious about starting toilet training. The more at ease we are in the process, the more comfortable the child will feel and the easier the process will become.
Toilet training can provide a child with feelings of achievement and self-control, and give him or her added strength and pride. Each step that is taken toward the goal of becoming trained paves the way for the next step of the child’s development.
Each child is an individual and develops at his or her own rate. There is no set age at which toilet training should begin. The right time depends on the physical and emotional readiness. It is important that the child be ready before training begins. This is usually between the ages of two and three years and sometimes even later for boys. If training is started before the child is ready, training will be more difficult and take longer.
A child must be able to control the muscles that regulate the bowel and bladder to be toilet trained. Knowing how to get to the potty or toilet and undress quickly is also important.
A child must be emotionally ready. He or she needs to be willing and cooperative, not fighting or showing signs of fear. If a child protests vigorously to training, it may be best to wait for a while. It may also be best to delay toilet training if a child is experiencing stress such as a family move, a new baby in the family, a major illness or a big change in a child’s routine (such as starting a new childcare program).
The following signs may indicate that a child is ready to begin training:
- The child remains dry at least two hours at a time during the day or is dry after naps.
- Bowel movements become regular and predictable.
- Facial expressions, posture or words reveal that a bowel movement or urination is about to occur.
- The child can follow simple verbal instructions.
- The child seems uncomfortable with soiled diapers and wants to be changed.
- The child asks to use the toilet or potty.
When a child shows signs of readiness and the parents are ready to begin toilet training at home, the parent and classroom staff will discuss plans to begin toilet training. Communication between staff and family is very important during this time. Parents and teachers need to discuss what words will be used to describe body parts, urine and bowel movements, what type of training pants the child will wear and the routine at home and childcare for taking the child to the potty. Teachers are not allowed to wash
any article of clothing that has bodily fluids on it, they must put in a plastic bag as is and label it for parents to understand what is inside the bag.
Objectives of Successful Toilet Training:
- Keep the child comfortable
- Give the child a sense of pride and accomplishment.
- Health and safety of all children.
Procedures for Toilet Training:
- When parents and staff agree to begin toilet training, the child will be taken to the toilet at frequent intervals.
- The child is allowed to sit as long as he/she is willing. At any sign of distress the process will be stopped.
- The child is never punished or embarrassed for accidents
- If the child has soiled or wet clothing, normal diapering procedures are used to the point of storage of soiled pants/underwear.
- Toilet training chairs will be disinfected after each use with water and the bleach solution in the spray bottle located in the bathroom. (This is per Vermont State Regulations).
- Children’s hands will be washed with soap and water.
- Teachers will wash hands thoroughly.
- Bathroom sinks, toilets and floors must be cleaned and sanitized daily.
Children will be offered frequent opportunities for toileting, particularly after meals and before sleep periods.
The majority of children in this group are expected to go to the toilet when they feel the need, but occasionally children will have to be reminded. Rather than lining everyone up at once every time, children are often reminded while washing up for snack times, lunch, rest time, etc. to use the toilets. We encourage children to take responsibility for themselves; parents can aid this by dressing children in pants with elastic tops or other easily managed clothing. Hand washing is a consistent part of the toilet routine and the hand washing procedure is followed.
Mishaps do occur; parents can assist staff by providing extra clothing for their child. When children have a mishap, we change them without shaming or disgust. A loss of control often happens when children have not yet acquired complete control, are new to the center, are overly fatigued or are not well. Many children are humiliated by wet or soiled underwear! The staff is sensitive to this and helps change the child in a quiet place.