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Potty training the daycare way

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Potty training can be difficult. These toddler-room teachers shared their tips to make potty training more simple.
When they go to daycare, kids seem to develop new personalities. My four-year old son Leo wears a snowsuit to school without any protests, washes his face once he is asked, and then puts his toys away. This is so different from what he does at home. When it came time to potty train, it was at daycare, where he used the toilet for the very first time.

This wilful, dreamy, three-year-old had successfully completed potty training before he was three years old. My husband and I had used the toilet occasionally and bought Thomas underwear for him, but his daycare providers made regular bathroom visits part of his daily life.

I reached out to early childhood educators from across the country to learn more about the magical skills that daycare workers have in the world of diapers. They first admitted that it is possible to be a child’s parent without having the benefits. “We have a very different relationship to the children. James Barker, the site director at Kids & Company’s Front Street location in Toronto, says that they are able to keep the line.

Daycare workers are more firm than parents and worry less. They also tend to get less riled up about things like the toilet. Vivian Turner is the executive director of Garneau University Childcare Centre, Edmonton. “Parents should relax.” “There are very few adults who walk around in diapers.”

Here are some of the best potty training tips from the professionals:

Potty training for daycare

It is not easy to convince a toddler that he or she should first use the potty. Some toddlers are afraid, some are mad and some are not interested. Barker says, “I will bring a friend who is toilet trained and have that child go first.” Barker suggests that the untrained child try it. Barker will then offer to try again the next day if the child declines. The next day, and every day thereafter. Barker says, “If they decline, we don’t push it.” “But we always ask.”

Staff at Moore Place Day Care, Georgetown, Ont. break down the process of potty training into stages. They teach children how to change their pants and then pull them down in the toilet. Moore Place executive director Carol Bee says that children must be able to understand what logicly goes first. She also said that staff can save time if they are able to do this independently. Children feel more in control of their bathroom environment by using the toilet and pulling out toilet paper. To help children get used to the idea, many daycares have a variety of potty books.

This can be done at home. You don’t need to have any toddlers around to apply peer pressure. However, you can use a friend, sibling or cousin to show the joy of using the bathroom. When you are told no, don’t be discouraged. Keep offering. You can start by changing your child’s diaper in a public bathroom. Next, suggest small tasks like pulling down the pants, tearing up toilet paper, and flushing. Show your child you are happy and excited when he finally gives it a try, even if he doesn’t pee or poop.

1. Do I choose porcelain or plastic?

The daycare way: Daycares don’t have to debate potty-versus toilet issues. They have what they need and children must adapt. Barker says, “It’s not a big obstacle, but we work around.” Daycare workers will often bring out stool to assist children who are unable to use full-sized toilets. Wonder why preschools don’t have many toilet inserts? They are difficult to clean so daycares tend not to use them.

This can be done at home. Daycares cannot cater to every child’s needs. However, you have more flexibility at your home and should make use of it. Some children are afraid of toilets. Others know that potties are not for adults and will give it a try. You can have both a toilet and a seat insert, decorated with Dora or other appealing characters, and let your child choose the one that is most comfortable without fussing or trying to convince her.

2. Potty training can lead to accidents.

Turner says that daycare staff understands that it is an accident and not planned. Daycare staff view it as part of their training process when a potty-trained child suddenly wears her underwear. The staff will quickly clean up, change the child’s clothes and move on. Staff will also try to determine if the child is being triggered by anything if accidents continue. Turner says that sometimes the child may not feel well. Sometimes, big changes, like a new baby, renovations, or vacations, can lead to setbacks. Turner states, “If they were dry at any point, they will be dry again.”

This can be done at home. Keep in mind, however, that it is temporary and your child will return to the toilet. Do not get mad at her or punish her for making mistakes. Talk to your child if you believe the relapse is due to something else.

3. How to manage praise and prizes

Anne McKiel is the director of YMCA Dartmouth Childcare, Dartmouth, NS. Daycares praise children who use the toilet and share the news with them.

This is what you can do at home. Create a reward system for your child that motivates them and is achievable. Barker heard that parents would give their children Hot Wheels cars every time they went. Instead, use stickers or check marks. Consider making your reaction the biggest motivator. Turner says that sometimes the best reward is mom saying “Great job” with a big smile, and a hug.

4. Timing is everything.

The daycare method: Each daycare has its own way of scheduling trips to the toilet. Daycare workers at Kids & Company do a four-hour toileting routine every day. Moore Place workers take children in training to the toilet every half an hour. McKiel’s center is flexible. McKiel says, “We watch the kids and create the schedule around them.” All three daycares agree that scheduling is difficult because it’s hard to get kids to follow them. Barker says that it is difficult for children to quit what they are doing. Daycare workers will often remind children that they have to go to the bathroom, and reassure them that their toys will be there when they return.

This is what you can do at home. Set your home potty time according to the schedule your child uses at daycare. Set a schedule that works for you and your child. Do as daycare does and let your child know that it’s nearly potty time. Playtime will continue after.

5. What should they wear?

Daycare tip: Don’t train diapers. Bee says that a pull-up diaper works exactly the same way as a diaper, and children think they can do the exact same thing in it. The majority of daycare staff agree that you should go straight to underwear. Underwear is a great option for children to feel wet. According to Turner, most daycare staff agree. Barker prefers to wear a training diaper over underwear for about two weeks. This allows Barker to feel the wetness of his skin, but it’s much less messy.

This is what you can do at home: You might use diapers at night but underwear is better for training. Tigger and Cinderella undies are a great motivator. Don’t be afraid of wearing a training diaper under your clothes for long car rides or outings. You won’t have your child change his clothes if he has an incident, but he will still be able to tell you.

6. Pay attention to number 2.

Daycare staff don’t have to sweat it: Children learn how to poop on their own. This happens often after the child learns how to urinate, sometimes for a very long time. Bee has seen children hide in corners to change their diapers. They are often afraid of getting in trouble or losing part of their body. It’s a waiting game for daycare workers. They offer the toilet to children, encourage them and celebrate when it happens.

This is a good idea to try at home. Many children hold their bowel movements up until they get home. You can catch your child’s natural bowel movements by visiting the toilet. You can also encourage her to read a book while she is in the toilet. It’s distracting, and she may poop even though it’s not obvious. Don’t lose your cool, even if it takes several weeks for poo to appear in the toilet. Be sure to congratulate your child once she has gone.
Are you ready?

Your child should be ready for the toilet-training process at age 2 or 3 1/2. These are signs that your child is ready to take things seriously:

* Not staying dry for prolonged periods.
* Showing interest in others going to the toilet.
* Requesting to wear underwear
* He wants privacy when he changes his diapers.