With the new intake of nursery due in September, many parents may start to feel anxious about their child’s ability to use the potty / toilet when they start there.
Many nurseries have a policy which states that a child must be potty trained before they commence. Whilst this is often achievable for many children, other children are not developmentally ready to potty train before nursery begins. Legally nurseries are not able to insist that your child is potty trained. Many have this included in their policy as they are not able to potty train all the children in their care. But it should not be used to disadvantage those who are not ready to make this transition. If you are worried that your child is not yet ready, speak to the staff in the first instance. Many are very understanding when you explain that your child is not yet ready.
For those who are toilet trained, it can be helpful to work in partnership with your nursery. Here are some points to cover with them:-
- Do they have the option of using either a potty or toilet? If they only use a toilet, it can be helpful to introduce this concept to your child a few weeks before they move into the setting
- Ask them what terminology they use to describe the toilet, urinated and voiding. If your child refers to urinating as a ‘wee’ at home, and nursery staff say ‘pee pee’ then the child may not know what is being asked of them. If the nursery use generic terminology, perhaps begin to filter this into your child’s vocabulary a few weeks before they commence. Or better yet, ask the nursery to use your child’s terminology when speaking with them
- Due to covid restrictions, many nurseries are unable to offer pre-visits to their settings. Ask if they have photos and / or a video showing their environment, and ask that it includes the toilet. Share this with your child before they attend. Children respond well to repetition so showing this regularly can help to make it more familiar
- Ask nursery to never punish or scold your child if they have an accident – accidents are still normal at this age and a child should never be shamed for such
- Be prepared: send a wet bag with several changes of clothes to nursery, to they are available should your child have an accident
- Relax: most children are still learning at this stage and their bladders are still growing. Any concerns always speak to nursery staff in the first instance. Most will be supportive and reassuring.