Bathroom Independence in the Early Childhood Program
All children entering the Early Childhood Program should be bathroom independent. This means that they can handle bathroom related tasks with little or no assistance.
- Children entering the EC classroom have had a good deal of experience listening to the cues of their body as to when it is time to go to the bathroom.
- Children have had experience dressing and undressing themselves.
- Children have been taught how to handle basic toilet hygiene. This includes- wiping, flushing and handwashing.
- Children are using a regular restroom toliet and not a training potty.
Why does my child need to be bathroom independent?
Our Early Childhood classrooms are not equipped to have children enrolled in our program in diapers or pull ups. We do not have changing tables or cleaning supplies for diapering in these environments. EC classrooms are not staffed to allow for students to be provided a great deal of assistance in the bathroom.
How do I tell if my child is bathroom independent?
If your child is staying in the same cloth underwear and clothing all day long, 4 out of 5 days per week, and they are independently recognizing the need to go to the bathroom a majority of the time, they are considered bathroom independent.
If your child does not initiate going to the bathroom most of the time and is having at least one accident a day or is not using the toilet for urine/BMs, it is best to wait until they are ready.
We do anticipate that in a new environment some children will have some mishaps. Students are given lessons on how to handle bathroom accidents. Children are never shamed; the accident is handled in a matter of fact and practical way.
If regression in bathroom independence occurs, a gradual transition to school can be considered. A half day or reduced hours may help support the child to transition into the school routine and become fully independent in no time.
What if my child is not bathroom independent and is having multiple accidents throughout the day? The child’s start date will need to be delayed until your child is ready to be in the classroom.
Tips for gaining bathroom independence:
- Stay near home or a toilet during this transitional time. If you are not consistent, you can slow the process to the point of regression.
- Read interesting and relaxing books while they are sitting on the toilet.
- Be consistent: once you decide to make the transition from diapers to underwear do not go back. Pull-ups serve the same purpose as diapers and should only be used overnight when children cannot control bodily functions while asleep.
- Set a timer for 15 minutes, 20 minutes, 30 minutes, etc. When the timer goes off say, “It is time to go to the bathroom,” and “Even if you don’t have to go, you can still try.” Lengthen the time as your child is successful with the shorter times.