Getting Potty Trained Before Preschool

"Many preschools require that children be potty trained before entering their programs. In child-care centers, some children aren't allowed to move into a classroom for preschool-aged children until they're using the toilet by themselves.

Schools cite health concerns regarding wiping children. They may say that teachers aren't trained or don't have the time to change diapers.They may say that a child who isn't toilet trained isn't mature enough for their program.

In fact, private schools can accept or refuse any child based on how well the school thinks the child will do there, and how well the school can provide for that child's needs.

Unfortunately, these requirements often present a problem.

What's a parent to do?

  • Your first step is to relax.
  • Then the next step is to stop relaxing, and get started.

Here are some considerations when on a tight schedule:

  • Do your best to focus on training without distractions. Somehow try not to allow your child to pick up on the rushed time frame. It's your chance to be an award-winning actor.
  • Rather than working on each new task or skill for a week, shorten the schedule. Your toddler can pick up a new "job" every few days. (read more about Potty Training in One Day )
  • Think carefully about rewards. Go right for high yield motivators, such as a special time with a parent. (see articles Parenting with Consequences)

Get your child on a preset schedule. Starting your child on the same schedule is his upcoming pr-school can really help. Try matching the upcoming school day, for example, breakfast at 6:45 every day. In a short time, the schedule becomes routine, to you and your child. Now look at your child's toileting pattern, and put a sit-down time at the time he regularly goes. In other words, if your child usually poops after breakfast, then put in a regular sit-down time 20 to 30 minutes after the meal. ( Print out and use these FREE Urination and BM Schedule Charts )

Some children don't go at a predictable time. Try this: give your child high-fiber foods such as fruit and cereals as midday snacks. This might get your child on a schedule of making a bowel movement in the evening. You can help that along by making the sit-down time after dinner. This could be when both the fiber and dinner will lead to a successful bowel movement.

Once your child regularly poops when the sun is down, you can honestly tell the teacher, "I know my child won't have a bowel movement at school, and if he does, I'll come to the school and change him."

As the day approaches when your child is scheduled to begin daycare or preschool, you may have a child who is almost toilet trained, just not completely trained yet. Maybe your child uses the toilet sometimes, but ignores poops and pees when playing or watching TV.

Tell the teacher about the child's potty progress, and ask, "Can my child begin preschool and see how it goes? I believe that my child will watch the other children and in no time always use the toilet with them." It's all in the presentation.

Sometimes, your child might do well at the preschool and even use the toilet better than at home. Your child may feel little or no pressure at preschool or daycare to use the potty, even if going at home is very stressful.

At school, toileting may be merely part of the daily routine and not experienced as a specific individual task. Your child may go to the bathroom when all the other children go. Not being singled out could remove any pressure of performance.

Your child might be one who will do things for his teacher that he won't do for you. As frustrating as that may be, some kids know which buttons they can push with their moms or dads.

It's called their personalities.

Remember, they get them from you!"

Schonwald, Alison D., and George Sheldon. The Pocket Idiot's Guide to Potty Training Problems. Indianapolis, IN: Alpha, 2006. Print.

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