A Recipe for Potty Training At Daycare: One Part Consistency, Two Parts Flexibility
2/1/1985 | by Gwenn Schurgin O’Keeffe, MD, FAAP
Pull Ups® Potty Training Partner
Are your kids in daycare? If so, you are likely worried about how daycare may affect your potty training process. If you manage the situation with a dose of flexible consistency, you can help your child feel incredibly competent and empowered!
Daycare offers kids wonderful opportunities for socialization and peer interaction. One of the many benefits of being in a peer community at daycare is being able to model behaviors that can be hard to grasp, such as using the potty. Because of the power of the peer, it is not at all uncommon for many kids to begin to use the potty a bit more easily at daycare than at home. And it is also not uncommon for parents to feel a bit unsettled as they feel left out of the potty process. It can be difficult to jump in and pick it back up at home.
It’s truly an odd feeling, having been there with both of my girls. After all, we’re the parents, aren’t we supposed to jump start these processes?
My philosophy is that it truly does take a village to raise a child and that it doesn’t matter how our kids learn to master the many, many life stages. There’s a reason we have kids in daycare, so don’t feel guilty. Just enjoy the help and find a way to build from what your kids are doing at daycare at home. In the end, daycare providers and parents should partner together to nurture kids.
So, if you are in the situation where you find your child is becoming potty trained at daycare before home, embrace it and work with the teachers to find out what is working and what isn’t. Then, try to follow a similar pattern at home, recognizing that you’ll have to make a few changes because home is missing some important features like friends and teachers. Since home is a more relaxed environment, it isn’t uncommon for kids to take a bit of time to adjust to the difference between home and daycare. However, knowing your child can use the potty, you can rest assured it will be just a matter of time before you’ll find him using it at home, too.
If potty training starts at home before daycare, simply let your child’s daycare teachers know and they’ll work with your child during the day to continue to help with the process. You can expect the process to be different at daycare than at home. The name of the game is flexibility and forging a partnership with the teachers to learn what works for your child.
One word of caution. Many parents become so excited about the success of potty training they try to skip using training pants like Pull-Ups® at the first sign of early success. With daycare in the loop, keep trying the support of training pants until your child is going well in both settings. This may take a few weeks, but could take a few months. The pace of the potty training process is different for each child and varies by age and temperament with a wide variation of what’s considered normal. You’ll know the time is right when you find yourself going weeks on end changing dry diapers or Pull-Ups® at home and with daycare providers.
What’s important is for you to make the process fun, low-pressure and to be flexible. It’s not a competition between home and daycare but a partnership between well meaning adults all trying to help a young child work toward mastering an important childhood milestone.