Toilet Training Policy in Childcare

Childcare providers are uniquely placed to participate in the toilet training process as they are often best placed to recognise when a child is ready to begin toilet training. It is just another one of the many benefits that childcare can provide. Supporting toilet training in child care is a necessary and potential rewarding aspect of the job.

A Practical Guide to Toilet Training in Childcare

Starting toilet training in child care is best done when the child begins to display signs of readiness. The following practical steps can be taken when introducing toilet training.

  • The toilet training must be done in consultation with the parents and records should be kept of toilet training activities, particularly where multiple providers are likely to be involved.
  • The childcare centre can work toilet training education into the curriculum by reading stories about and organising games that reinforce positive toilet training practices.
  • Every effort should be made to make the toilet training to be as natural and non-intimidating as possible. This should make the child feel confident that he/she is doing the training by his or herself.
  • The toilet training process is quite a complex one involving many activities centered around going including, flushing, wiping, dressing, hand washing and discussing. The child care provider can reinforce the child’s self-esteem and confidence by positively reinforcing every good activity.
  • It is possible for childcare providers to sensitively leverage peers to reinforce toileting activities.
  • Ensuring that fibre rich foods are available in the center. These will help to soften the child’s stools and keep them regular.
  • Childcare staff should communicate clearly to parents that toilet training in child care is a complicated process and that there will be some setbacks along the way.. This is a natural part of the process.
  • If the child reaches the age of four and has not yet been toilet trained, then it may be appropriate to suggest that the child be referred to a pediatrician.

Signs That the Child is Ready

a teddy in a potty to encourage children to participate in toilet training

It is vital that the child commences their toilet training when they are ready. To commence toilet training early will almost certainly prolong the training period. Similarly, periods of change in the child’s life are not conducive to successful toilet training. Ideally the child should be settled and comfortable with his or her environment so that they are mentally and emotionally ready to focus on this important step in their development. Periods where there is change in the child’s life can prove to be obstacles in the successful toilet training process.

Signs that the child is ready include:

  • The child shows signs of imitating his parent’s behaviour
  • The child regularly has dry nappies for periods of two hours or more..
  • The child demonstrates an ability and readiness to put things where they are meant to go.
  • The child begins to demonstrate independence by saying “no”.
  • The child begins to show a genuine interest in toilet training.
  • The child is capable of walking and sitting down.
  • The child can verbally express a need to defecate or urinate.
  • The child is capable of putting clothes on and taking them off (pulling pants up and down)
  • The overall temperance of the child needs to be considered before commencing toilet training.

Preparing the Child for Toilet Training

The child can begin to be prepared for child care toilet training by being introduced to the concept by learning words associated with going to the toilet and being introduced to training pants which will help them understand the concept of wetness. It is also a good idea to ensure that the child’s diet is a high fibre one and that they drink plenty of water to ensure that constipation is not a problem as constipation will make toilet training that little more difficult.

Getting Started

Toilet training is a big step in a child’s development and the child educator/carer should be aware of this. A commitment must be made to the process and toilet training practices implemented consistently.  Preparations should be made to ensure that the child is actively involved in and positively acknowledged throughout the process.

Toilet Training in Child Care Tips

two potties one with a young boy and one with a teddy to illustrate how he would use it

Child care educators and workers should keep the following points in mind when toilet training children in their charge.

  • Consistency is key. Busy hectic days are no excuse for letting things slide, It is important to stay on message and to establish routines.
  • Accidents are to be Children can become easily distracted while playing and inevitable toileting mishaps will occur. These are not to be considered setbacks, but a normal part of the toilet training experience.
  • Toileting should be done consistently and regularly throughout the day. Take the child to the toilet every hour and get them to sit on the toilet for a couple of minutes before letting them get off.
  • To assist the child to stay seated for a couple of minutes use a distraction like singing a song reciting a nursery rhyme or something similar.
  • You can use cues to remind children to go to the toilet every hour. Such cues could be a bell ringing, a hand clap or a special song. When this cue sounds, the children who are toilet training should cease their activity and go to the toilet.
  • Proper hand washing techniques should be taught to children after they go to the toilet.
  • Use positive language to reinforce the fact that going to the toilet is perfectly normal and natural.
  • Parents should be encouraged to express any concerns that they may have and to feel free to discuss any problems that they may be having in the home with toilet training.

Involving the Parents in Toilet Training

One of the keys to toilet training child care is to ensure that parents and carers are all on the same page and everyone is supporting toilet training in child care. To the end the following steps should be taken.

  • The child should be encouraged to wear underpants rather than pull ups. Pull ups will contain the mess in the event of an accident, underpants will cause some discomfort and reinforce the need to use the toilet.
  • Parents should share what toilet training practices they use at home so that they can be incorporated into the childcare centre’s program and to communicate any problems that the centre may have in duplicating any process.
  • Encourage parents to bring extra pants and underwear to cover for any accidents that may occur.
  • Encourage parents to dress the child in clothing that is both comfortable and has bottoms that are easy for the child to pull up and down.
  • Ensure that parents are provided with a copy of the center’s toilet training policy.
  • In consultation with the parents develop a toilet training program and agree to review on a fortnightly basis.
  • Maintain daily records of toileting activities and share the records with parents.

In Conclusion

Child care toilet training is a collaborative effort between childcare workers, parents and the child. Consistent training combined with effective open communication between all parties and positive reinforcement of the child’s successful toileting practices will in most cases see positive results. Supporting toilet training in child care can be a rewarding experience for all parties involved.