Does My Child Need to be Potty Trained for Preschool

Potty training is a necessary part of any child’s upbringing. It is a vital developmental step that gives children the independence to function on their own.

However, does a child have to be potty trained for preschool?

In this article, we will answer that question for you. In addition, we’ll consider other important aspects of potty training. Keep reading to learn more about the potty training process!

Does a Child Have to be Potty Trained for Preschool? What You Should Know

What Age Should Children be Potty Trained?

Every child is different. There is no specific age where every child must be potty trained. However, children will be most ready to begin potty training between the ages of 18 months and three years

Why not before 18 months? Children are not developmentally ready to begin potty training before 18 months. 

Before this age, children cannot control the muscles in the bladder and rectum that allow individuals to “hold it.” Typically, boys may be a few months behind girls in this area. Therefore, it’s best to wait until children show signs that they are developmentally ready to start potty training. 

Though most parents typically potty train their children when they are between two and three years of age, every child is different. Some children learn how to use a toilet independently very quickly, whereas others take longer to catch on. 

How Do You Know if Your Child is Ready to be Potty Trained?

First of all, it’s important to ask yourself if your child is ready to be potty trained.

The Mayo Clinic lists some important questions to ask yourself before beginning the process:

  • Can my child walk to and sit on a toilet on his or her own?
  • Can s/he pull up his/her pants before and after using the toilet?
  • Are they interested in potty training? 
  • Can s/he hold their potty for at least two hours at a time?
  • Is s/he able to communicate when s/he needs to go?
  • Can s/he listen to and follow directions?

According to The Mayo Clinic, if you answered mostly yes to these questions, your child may be ready. However, if you answered mostly no, you may want to wait until your child shows more signs of readiness. 

Is it Required that Children be Potty Trained before Preschool?

Whether or not a child is required to be potty trained before preschool simply depends on the school. Generally speaking, those enrolled in programs for children over the age of three require the child to be fully potty trained. On the other hand, programs for children under the age of three or children with disabilities do not need to be potty trained.

For example, Smaller Scholars Montessori Academy’s policy regarding toilet training states:

The independence of a “potty-trained” child is a prerequisite for the Primary (3-6) class. Independence means that the child must have the awareness to use the bathroom without reminders, be able to manage to clothe without help and have the ability to wipe or clean themselves appropriately to maintain clean hygiene. In the Toddler rooms, we never force toilet training.

In short, a potty-trained child is a requirement for preschool-aged students at Smaller Scholars. Nonetheless, is not required for toddlers.

Potty training here is defined as independence on the child’s part. Why? Most preschool teachers will not have the time nor the ability to remind every child to use the restroom regularly. Therefore, children should be able to know when they need to use it as well as keep themselves clean in the process. Moreover, they should be able to dress and undress in case of an accident. 

To know for sure whether or not this is a requirement at your local preschool, review their policies or simply call and ask them.

How to Potty Train a Child

Does your preschool require children to be potty trained, but your child isn’t? Don’t despair. Here is a short guide to potty training your child when they start to show signs of readiness. 

First, you will need a potty chair. In the beginning, consider putting the chair where your child spends most of their time and have him/her sit on the chair in their clothes. This way, your child can get used to the chair. Using positive terms about the toilet may help motivate your child to use it. To show your child the purpose of the chair, you may dump the contents of a dirty diaper into the toilet. 

At two hour intervals, have your child sit on the potty for a few minutes and practice flushing the toilet after they use it. If your child sits on the toilet on their own, give them praise and commendation. Don’t force a child to sit on the chair if they don’t want to. It’s important to use positive reinforcement as to not to stress them. However, consistency is important. If possible, bring the potty chair with you when you leave the house.

If you notice your child is showing signs of needing to use the restroom, act quickly. Help them become familiar with those signs and learn to recognize them on their own. If your child takes the initiative to tell that s/he needs to go, praise them.

In the beginning, it’s important to explain hygiene practices with your child. This means teaching your child the correct way to wipe (front to back) to not spread germs. In addition, flushing the toilet, and thoroughly washing hands with soap and water when they are done.

After a few weeks of a good routine, your child may be ready to ditch the diapers. If they can remain dry all day, consider transitioning to underwear. If your child is struggling to remain dry, you may consider taking a break from potty training. They simply may not be ready yet. You may also ask your child’s doctor, who can give you some helpful tips and/or check to see if there is an underlying problem.

In the end, accidents will happen while your child is potty training. Do not scold your child. Stay calm and use positive reinforcement to encourage them to do better next time. Generally, it can take anywhere between 3-6 months for a child to be fully potty trained, so be patient. In addition, make sure to bring an extra change of clothes when you leave the house.

Find the Right Preschool for Your Child!

Is your child all ready for preschool? If so, you’ll have to choose a quality preschool to send your child. One of the leading preschools in Texas is Smaller Scholars Montessori Academy

This dedicated preschool is passionate about cultivating an environment that encourages children to grow emotionally, socially, intellectually, and physically. They work individually with children to instill a love of learning. To contact them or request a visit, call them at (281) 558-3515.