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Cohesive Toilet Training (Between Home and Childcare)

Whilst there is certainly no one size fits all rule for toilet training, the one thing we know for sure at Kids on Track is that a lack of consistency in approach when toilet training can cause a lack of progress!

One of the main times this occurs is when home and childcare are doing different things at the critical points within the toilet training process.

There are many children who spend more waking hours at childcare then at home during the week and so it is important that they are consulted and involved throughout the toilet training process. Most childcare centres are used to toilet training children and are happy to help parents in any way they can.

When To Involve Childcare and What to Ask Them

The decision as to when to toilet train is individual for every child and whilst is sometimes guided by them, it can often be something that parents plan for some time before. During the planning stage, it is a good idea to chat with your child’s centre about your child’s development overall and if they think they are ready. Their expertise in milestones and child development will help you to make a more informed decision.

Most children need some form of preparation eg: reading books, having a chat about it or sitting on the toilet without any pressure before the intense process of toilet training actually starts. Partner with your child’s educators in this process. Send in the books your child enjoys reading about going to the toilet, ask them if your child can watch other children go or wipe, flush and wash hands after a nappy change. Some centres will be happy for your child to sit on the toilet on occasion to get used to the feeling.

When it comes to choosing the timing to toilet train your child, it is vital that you as parents are the ones in control! Whilst your childcare may advocate for a particular time eg: the Summer months, if you are moving house, having a baby or starting a new job at that time, the process is unlikely to be a success. Therefore, it is important to be firm with the educators as to when you want to start and what methodology you have chosen to use. If you have involved the centre throughout the planning stages, this should not be an issue!

How to Achieve Consistency for your child when Training

Once the toilet training process actually starts, it is important that wherever your child is, they feel as though they are receiving the same message.

The language you use is important and can create huge confusion in children if what you call poo is called something different at childcare when taking them to the toilet. It is a good idea to provide your childcare centre with a list of terms that you use when toileting which includes body parts, words to describe what they have done including farting and the processes before and after eg: washing hands or quick wash!

The methodology you use at home is also something that should be carried over and used at childcare. This includes whether you are using the toilet or potty to begin with, whether your child is in pull ups or undies including for sleep time and how often you encourage them to use the toilet. Most childcare centres are happy to follow your lead on this and it can be helpful for you to ask them for some notes about toilet training each day eg: when your child went to the toilet, went but didn’t do anything, wet their sleep nappy or had an accident with the times. Something like this ensures accountability and consistency and you can monitor your child’s progress this way.

Most toilet training involves a form of reward and this can vary between families and children. However, if your child feels they only are rewarded at home, it is possible that they will decide not to cooperate when they are at childcare. There are certain rewards that childcare can’t give due to policies so before you start toilet training, a conversation with them is recommended in order to find out exactly what they will/ are unable to do. There is no problem with the rewards being different between home and childcare as long as your child knows and is expecting that in advance. Eg: they may receive a lolly at home and a sticker at childcare. The problems arise when there is a reward in one place and not in the other.

I hope these simple strategies will allow you to feel that you and your childcare centre are in real partnership when it comes to toilet training and therefore it will be as smooth as possible!

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Meet Ariella Lew

The Founder and Director of Kids on Track Consultancy and a qualified paediatric nurse. Ariella offers expert advice and management strategies to families locally and worldwide, specialising in behaviour and development support for children. With extensive experience in parenting guidance, including areas like disability and chronic illness, Ariella collaborates with schools and allied health professionals to create personalised plans. Leading a dedicated team, she ensures families receive optimal support, including assistance with accessing the NDIS.

Ariella’s compassionate approach empowers families to navigate challenges confidently, providing tailored solutions for their unique needs.

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