Tips for potty training when you’re working outside the home

Categories: Balancing Act, Kid Matters


By Kate from ka-ka-ka-katy

When you are a full-time work-outside-the-home parent you give up control on a lot of things. If your child is in a formal daycare or day home setting you most likely have to relinquish your ideals of what the nap schedule should be, how exactly your child is disciplined and maybe even feeding times. For type-A personalities this can be very, very hard (just ask me how I know). However, I assume that every parent who has the need for full-time childcare has a provider they know, trust and respect which makes the situation a whole lot easier.

If there is one time that having a trusted provider – a childcare “expert” if you will – is absolutely beneficial it’s during potty training. For a control freak like me, it took a little while to come to this conclusion, but once I gave myself over to this idea it took the pressure off us at home. The fact is my daughter is in their care for most of her waking hours and 90% of the potty training would happen at school. Her teachers have helped dozens of children reach this milestone and they are the best resource a working parent has for helping a kid learn to use the toilet.

I’ll admit that letting school take the lead at first felt like lazy parenting, but in the end it’s what worked for us and now that we are at 7 months of being diaper free I wouldn’t change anything. Not to mention that 75% of the training accidents happened at school so I wasn’t cleaning up the mess – bonus! Over all it took about 10 weeks for our daughter to be fully potty trained (we started at about 33 months and considered 14 days without any accident to be “fully trained”). Here’s how we approached potty training with our full-time daycare child:

* Realize that you need to give up control and let the daycare take the lead in what techniques to use. Most likely your child isn’t the only one learning this skill at the time and the teacher probably has a routine in place.

* Meet early on with the teacher(s) to find what works best in their classroom and glean tips and tricks. They are truly the experts in this area – learn from them!

* Be consistent – if you don’t feel comfortable with the process speak up and work out a compromise. Making sure your child has the same routine and rules at home will be vital to their overall success.

* Have daily communication with the provider about any issues or successes that happen at school each day and while at home.

* Reward the teacher as much as you reward your child. We sent thank you notes to the teacher after big messes or breakthroughs. We also got her a small gift after we were successfully diaper free for a few weeks – she deserved something for cleaning up all those accidents!

Do you have any potty training tips that you found to be successful?

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2 comments so far...

  • To me, the most valuable “tip” is to NOT wait until your child reaches the “oppositional” terrible twos. Unfortunately, from what I hear, there are practically no group daycares that will help potty train a child that young. However, that shouldn’t stop you from trying it at home first.

    I recommend reading up on (a) “EC” (elimination communication) and the “train your kid in 3 days” ideas. (I got plenty of info on both from internet research.) Be open-minded and give some of the ideas a try. It doesn’t have to be all-or-nothing. I put my kids on the potty when they could sit sturdily and showed them through noises and example what they should do there. (They though that was great fun and “performed” from the very beginning.) A little later, I set up a schedule where they were on the potty approximately every hour. They wore diapers in-between. Then at about 17 mos, we went diaper-free over a weekend (Friday pm to Monday am). It was no more diapers after that. I had a nanny who thought I was nuts, but she complied with my request to keep a potty nearby and encourage its use. There were not many accidents after that first diaper-free weekend, so it really wasn’t a big burden on the caregiver. However, I know some day cares won’t even make a potty/toilet available to a child that young, so that could be a problem. I still think I’d do my own thing at home and let the daycare catch up whenever. It would bug me, though.

    If your tot is verbal enough, maybe you could get her to ask to go potty, and the daycare would be less likely to ignore her readiness. My kids weren’t very verbal but knew how and when to get themselves to the potty and what to do there. By age 2 they would express their need through words or signs.

    I recommend against waiting much past 18 mos to give potty training a serious try. My kids’ daycare class includes bright kids of 3.5+ who are still refusing to use the potty consistently. They have peed on the daycare floor many more times than my kids would have at 18mos. There are a host of problems - health, social, and financial - that this creates.

    SKL  |  March 31st, 2010 at 9:38 am

  • Good post with good tips!!

    JMH  |  April 8th, 2010 at 1:51 pm