Potty training is a big step for a little person, and it’s important to realise that no two children are the same. Some children may struggle with potty training and others may suss out potty training in a couple of days. It is also worth considering that although a child may get to grips with potty training in the house; when it comes to being out in public or starting nursery, their potty training may regress when other factors and an unfamiliar environment comes into play.
Pottiagogo are proud to bring this ‘Potty Training Myths and Truths’ blog series to you in association with children's bowel and bladder charity, ERIC. This blog series will shed light on the topic of potting training and overcoming potty training hurdles with guidance and advice from ERIC’s team of potty training experts.
In this blog, we will discuss why some children take a backwards step and start having accidents when they start nursery or pre-school.
It’s not uncommon for children who are potty trained and reliably clean and dry at home to start having accidents when they start nursery or pre-school. Why does this happen? It could be just one of the following factors or a combination of reasons:
The Effects of a New Routine
There’s a whole new routine to get used to - your child will be meeting new people and adjusting to a different environment and schedule. Whilst exciting, this can also be very tiring for them. Accidents are more likely to happen when they get tired and forget to listen out for their body’s signals and respond in time. This should settle down as they get used to nursery life.
Going It Alone
Without you there to remind them to go to the toilet and be able to react quickly if they show signs of getting desperate, your child is learning how to manage their toilet trips independently for the first time. Check with staff what the toilet routine and policy is - are letting the children have free access to the toilet at all times?
Some children get so engrossed in what they’re doing that they find it hard to break off and get to the toilet in time. Let them know they need to go when they first feel the urge, as holding on to it is likely to result in an accident.
With a busy routine to adjust to it can be easy for a young child to forget to drink as well as they do at home with you not there prompt them. Check with staff that the children are given regular reminders about drinking and have ready access to their water bottles.
Lots of us would prefer to use the toilet in the comfort of our own home and young children are no different. There could be something about the toilets your child finds difficult – a different type of flush perhaps from the one they’re used to or a hand drier they are scared by. Ask to visit the toilets with your child to see if there’s a reason why they may be avoiding going.
If children hold on for longer than they should before going to the toilet, they are more likely to have an accident and possibly become constipated.
Give It Time
Children usually stop having accidents as they get used to the hustle and bustle of nursery or preschool life. Their bodies are still maturing and accidents are all part of the process of learning to manage their bladder and bowels. If the accidents don’t settle down however or get worse, it could be a sign that your child has become constipated. For more help with spotting the signs of constipation and how it should be treated, visit the ERIC website: www.eric.org.uk.
We hope this blog has helped reassure you that it’s not uncommon for children to struggle with potty training when they start nursery or preschool. There is lots of information available from ERIC, and your GP is also someone else you can contact for help and advice if bladder or bowel problems continue.