Guidance from a Pro: Keep Focused on Training Over Preschool Breaks

Hurray!  It’s break time!  Preschool teachers have spent weeks bonding with your child and we have developed a trusting relationship.  We started toilet training in earnest and we are on a roll at home and at school.  Then here come the busy holiday breaks.  Some ground may be lost unless we prepare and have a plan in place. I want to encourage you to remember that we have almost reached our goal.  Our focus is on maintaining what we have built.  Here are some tips to prevent us from starting back at square one after a school break. The reward will be a confident, happy, toilet trained child in no time at all.

Step #1:  Prepare the family mindset for a little inconvenience.  If you let yourself fall into the “but it’s a special circumstance” frame of mind, your child will go back to the old ways very quickly.  Let’s say you are traveling to Grandma’s.  You are tempted to put a pull-up or diaper on your little one for the car ride.  Instead, you will be proactive and think ahead.    You are going to go through a little pain for a big gain.  Develop that mindset, have fun and roll with the flow.

Step #2:  Prepare your supplies.  Pack extra pull on pants, socks, washable shoes, training pants and underwear, shirts, towels, airtight plastic bags, sanitizer, garbage bags, and wipes.  Place all the potty supplies in one bag so you know where everything is at a moment’s notice. (If you want true convenience pick up some Handcraft Change Kits and leave them in your glove box) You can even pack a collapsible potty chair if you are traveling in remote areas.  Dress your child in underwear and pants that can easily be pulled on/off like sweat pants or leggings.  Place a plastic garbage bag in the base of your child’s car seat and cover with a towel.  Make frequent stops and add a little fun at each stop.  Now, your child understands that she will use the potty, no matter the circumstances.  Being ready and determined is the key to success.

Step #3:  Keep the routine.  Whether you travel or stay at home this holiday, invite your child to use the potty every few hours.  With all the distractions that come at this time of year, it could be helpful to set the alarm on your phone for potty time.  Are you getting “I don’t want to” from him?  Try making a stick figure “schedule” drawn on post-it notes.  Place simple drawn pictures of important parts of his day on the wall from left to right.  Draw a cereal bowl for breakfast, a TV, a toilet, a book for story time, and so forth.  Place the potty pictures throughout the day and place a fun picture right after the potty.  Remove each picture so he gets the idea that “it’s done.”  The schedule becomes the bad guy.  “Oh look, the schedule says…”  It sounds silly, but it works.  Most children in structured preschool type settings know this concept.

Relax, have fun, smile a lot, hug many, stuff yourself, and stay on track with toilet training.  Stay strong with NO Pull Ups. Taking them back to diapers will only make the getting back to the routine that much harder.  We’re almost there.  No backsliding for us.  See you back at school!

Marilynn Myers

Marilynn Myers is married to her junior high sweetheart, has 4 children, 1 lovely grandchild, 2 Yorkies and 1 cat. This is her 36th year working in Pre-K, middle school, and childcare settings. She has successfully toilet trained countless children through collaboration with families.

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