Daycare Provider Inside Secrets
The Scoop from Seasoned Professionals
6/2/2008 | by
By Lisa A. Goldstein
The potty training process was not going smoothly at home with Kris Staaf’s 2-1/2-year-old daughter. It had been six inconsistent months – using every method imaginable – with few results. Then the daycare teachers initiated a potty training conversation with Staaf and explained their process. Once the daycare began its program – which was much simpler – the Staafs remained consistent in their home efforts. “Thanks to the teachers at daycare my daughter was trained within a few weeks,” says Staaf, a Denver, Colo., resident.
It’s examples like these that show daycare doesn’t have to be an obstacle to potty training. For parents trying to keep their child on a good potty training routine, daycare providers and parents who have been there agree on the main points: consistency, patience and open communication.
Consistency is Key
Debra Pritzker in Framingham, Mass., has been a family daycare provider for 17 years. While she doesn’t have a potty training policy per se, she requests that the children wear training pants with multiple layers of fabric or disposable training pants such as PULL-UPS® Training Pants. She says this creates a less upsetting experience for the child, as accidents are contained.
“The most important thing is the consistency between home and daycare,” says Pritzker. “I would not say that I necessarily adapt to the parents or they to me. It is on an individual basis. Some parents keep their children naked while at home and potty training. Clearly this would be unacceptable in the daycare setting!”
Pritzker has encountered a few situations where a child would act clueless at daycare with regard to toileting and then come in one day wearing underwear. “I need to trust the judgment of the parents, just as they would trust mine if it were the reverse situation,” says Pritzker. Communication is key, she adds. Parents need to communicate with the provider to make sure everyone is on the same page. A child may be physically ready but not emotionally, she says, and when they’re ready emotionally, it’s usually a painless process.
Marcus Hopper was worried that the potty training progress his daughter made at home would be set back on the three days a week she attends daycare. Initially, this was the case. “She really didn’t start making consistent progress until the provider agreed to work with us in allowing her to wear underpants at daycare,” says Hopper, of Pleasant Hill, Calif. The process was initiated when the provider asked what was working well at home.
Kim McMonagle, director of Tender Care Learning Center in Greentree, Pa., says her daycare doesn’t have a written policy on toilet training, but they work with the child and family to make the process go as smoothly as possible. They ask their families to inform them when their child begins to use the toilet at home; it is then that Tender Care will have the child try at school. “Keeping the same schedule here as at home helps the child to be more successful,” says McMonagle.
Each Child Is Different
McMonagle says she and the other staff members at the daycare discuss potty training with parents if they feel the child is ready. There are many factors that determine if a child is ready to begin training. She provides articles about the topic or tells the parents they can contact her or the child’s teacher at the school each day face-to-face, by phone or via e-mail. They adapt to the child’s routine, as it’s best to help a child learn to listen to his or her body, McMonagle says.
“Because all children are different, so are their routines for learning new tasks,” she says. “You have to experiment to find what will work for your child. Also, remember to discuss new findings with your child care provider and ask them what works for your child at school. Together, you can help your child succeed.”
One tip McMonagle has is to provide many changes of clothes for your child care provider, as they never know how many changes they’ll need in a day. It’s always better to send more than you think is necessary.
Each day, Staaf received a detailed report of her daughter’s progress with the number of attempts, successes and accidents. Teachers made a point to chat with parents and offer tips.
“The school’s program was much better than our home program,” says Staaf. She recommends talking to the teacher and getting on board with their program. Ask questions daily, such as: What’s working? What’s not working? How did training go each day?
By working closely with your child’s care providers and being consistent with a potty training routine, your child will be on the way to being a potty pro both at home and at daycare.