Ditching the diaper … a group effort
by Gwen Allen
Any parent will agree that potty training one child is difficult, but try to imagine what it would be like to potty train 14, 15 or even 16 children all at once. That is exactly what happens in daycare centers.
Most centers introduce the concept to the toddlers and encourage the children to participate.
Jennifer Pierce the Director for Kinder Care in St. Charles said when there are so many children learning at once the key is consistency.
“Starting in the 2 year-old room, we just always offer it to them and if they refuse that is fine,” Pierce said.
Every two hours she said her two teachers gently remind the students to go potty. With constant reminders and a group setting, she said a lot of the children potty train easily.
“The kids get excited about being successful and especially when their friends are successful, so it helps,” Pierce said. “But each child is different and so the process is very individualized.”
Without charts, stickers or candy, she said almost all of the children who come through the daycare train easily without a lot of fuss.
“Again, I think it’s important to be consistent, but we also try to work with the parents and do an extension of what they are doing at home,” Pierce said. “So if they use a chart we will too, but most of the time it isn’t needed. Sometimes a child needs a reminder every hour, so we will do that. Whatever helps them, because in the end it makes everyone happier.”
She said another tool used by the teachers is patience.
“Accidents are a part of potty training and our teachers know that and expect it,” Pierce said. “So they are really patient. The kids get really upset when they have an accident, so the teachers just try to encourage them and stay positive.”
Though challenging at times, she says the children always seem to come around, when they are ready, as long as a consistent routine is in place along with positive reinforcement.
“Ultimately I think it is up to the kid, you know some are just to busy playing to be bothered,” Pierce said. “While others can’t stand to be in a dirty diaper. I think it has to be individualized to their personality.”
“Accidents are a part of potty training and our teachers know that and expect it … The kids get really upset when they have an accident, so the teachers just try to encourage them and stay positive,” said Jennifer Pierce, the Director for Kinder Care in St. Charles.
Potty Training Tips
1. Consistency is key; constant reminders help a child at an early age when they are preoccupied with play.
2. Give plenty of positive reinforcement. Even if they just sit on the toilet, celebrate their accomplishments.
3. Find a peer who is also learning to potty train and have potty training play dates.
4. Encourage with words or actions by creating a potty dance or song.
5. Place a training potty in the bathroom by the big toilet. Children learn best from imitation.
6. Try pull ups or real underwear and limit clothing. This will make it easier for your preschooler to get on the toilet before an accident happens. Real underwear will also help him/her feel when it is time to go.
7. Let them choose their own big boy or girl underwear at the store. This will get them even more excited about the process.
8. Consider storing a portable “potty” in the car. It is hard to “hold it” at this age and an accident can be discouraging.