Potty Training for Preschool


Elementary pupils sitting on the floor in a classroom

Your child is starting preschool. Hopefully, your child is potty trained by now, but it might be that your child might not be quite ready yet. It’s natural, and not unusual, to feel a sense of panic if your child isn’t completely potty trained yet. Give yourself plenty of time to potty train your child prior to your child attending preschool. Feeling rushed is not a good way to start! Figure out a schedule to train your child before that first day of preschool. Plan for success. 

Most preschools expect that children attending the preschool will be potty trained. 70 percent of parents believe that children should be potty trained prior to going to preschool. Before selecting a preschool, ask about the potty training policy. If your child is not ready for potty training and you desire a preschool setting for your child look around as not all preschools require potty trained students. 

If being potty trained is required for the preschool that you want your child to attend, carefully consider if your child is developmentally ready to be potty trained. If your child is able to keep her diaper dry for an hour, then she’s likely ready to begin training. Another sign that your child is ready to potty train is a desire to wear underwear.  In addition, your child may be bothered by wet or soiled diapers. A desire to use the potty chair is extremely helpful!

Fully potty trained means that the child knows when he or she has to use the bathroom and does not need any assistance in the bathroom. However, preschool staff will be prepared for the occasional accident and don’t expect children to ask every time they need the toilet. Most preschools have a policy of offering gentle reminders. They will encourage children to use the toilet after meals or half an hour after having a drink. Children tend to learn by example and encourage each other. If your child consistently sees friends use a potty or toilet, most likely your child will want to join in.

cropped-amaija-photo-4-3-16-6-52-pmIf you are potty training your child at home prior to attending preschool, please refer to some of the AskThePottyFairy.blog articles that provide information on a variety of methods, gender differences and how to incorporate The Potty Fairy into your plan. The Potty Fairy enhances all methods of potty training!

Most kids will be ready between 2 and 4  — so at 3 your child could go either way. If your child is not showing signs of readiness, potty training is likely to be frustrating. If that’s the case, or if he just isn’t getting the hang of it or is feeling upset, back off. Wait at least a couple of weeks before you try again. But don’t lose hope. It’s not uncommon for a child who wasn’t using the toilet in one month, maybe potty trained the following month. You just never know what’ll do the trick. The Potty Fairy visiting is a great motivator!

If your child goes to a daycare prior to attending preschool, many daycares provide potty training assistance. It is important to work together towards the goal of potty training your child. Find out what strategies your daycare is using and provide a transition home that supports the same strategies.

Common Daycare Potty Training Approach:

Persuading a toddler to first sit on the potty. Some children are scared, and others are just not interested.  Often times daycare providers will have children who are already trained come into the bathroom and demonstrate going to the bathroom for the child that is learning.  This can be a powerful motivator, especially if they are friends.  After the friend shows how they use the bathroom, the untrained child will give it a try. Consistency is important.

Daycares also teach a child how to pull down their pants and pull them back up when they have gone to the bathroom.  They learn to flush the toilet and wash their hands.  The daycare providers work at making the child as independent as possible and help them take control of the process. This helps children feel less fearful about using the bathroom.

Potty training books are important at daycares. The Potty Fairy has been used in the daycare setting successfully. Because The Potty Fairy is an e-book and a kindle or i-pad device is used to read it, provides a sanitary situation as the device can be disinfected more easily than a regular book.

If potty training at home, or supporting the daycares strategies, try this at home: Teach your child the steps of going to the bathroom, 1. Pulling pants down before using the potty chair, 2. Pulling pants up when done using the bathroom. 3. Flushing the toilet. 4. Washing your hands.  If your child is resistant, ask an older sibling or cousin or friend if they can show the potty training child how to use the potty chair.

Types of potty chairs

Typically daycares use the toilets that are installed in the school.  They make adjustments for the child necessary to use the toilet. Daycares rarely use toilet chair inserts or small potty chairs because they are hard to keep clean.

At home you can bring in some nurturing additions to enhance the potty training process by adding a toilet seat insert or a small potty chair. These can be individualized with stickers and decorated by your child to help make it their own.

Accidents will happen

In most daycares, a child’s accident is not a big deal. A quick cleanup is completed and the child is changed into clean clothes and they move on.

Daycare providers see occasional accidents as part of the potty training process.

At home try not to make a big deal of accidents either. Clean up your child up and do not punish them or get upset when an accident occurs.  You can take more individual time to talk to your child regarding how you might make things better for them.

Positive Reward and Praise

Daycares often keep a sticker chart in the bathroom. They often times make it a part of the child’s routine when using the bathroom by letting them place the sticker on the chart. 

At home, your praise, a hug and sharing with other family members goes a long way.  Giving your child rewards or stickers is best when you “catch them being dry”. 


Daycares typically have a potty schedule and this usually includes a routine of 4 times per day.  Set your potty schedule at home according to the one at your child’s daycare. 

What to wear

Daycares recommend that potty training children go straight to underwear and do not recommend training diapers or pull-ups.

At home buy your child special underwear.  Have The Potty Fairy deliver them at night so that your child finds them in the morning.  Purchase underwear with your child’s favorite character on them.  Your child will not want to wet them!

Looking out for poop

Daycare staff knows that a child learns how to poop after they learn to pee in the potty chair.  As well, often times children will wait until they get home to go poop.  Most daycare staff wait and watch for a child to show signs of needing to go poop and encourage them to go on the potty chair. If they do go poop, lots of praise is given and celebration.

Because most children wait to go poop when they get home, try and figure out what your child’s natural pooping routine is.  When is within the timeframe offer them a book or an i-pad/kindle to read books or play games so that they can relax and sit on the potty chair for a while.  Make sure their legs don’t dangle and give them a stool or bench to place their feet during the process. Celebrate and provide lots of praise when a child poops.  Your child will show signs of being ready to poop in the toilet when they require privacy when they poop in their diaper.

The next AskThePottyFairy.blog post will focus on using the Potty at Preschool.

Visit the Potty Fairy for products that can motivate and enhance all potty training methods.

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