Going to the bathroom part of life, but learning how to do it doesn’t have to be stressful, drawn out, or complicated. Sometimes, just knowing a few potty training facts can put parents’ minds at ease when it comes time to toilet train. So, before you stress out and start to question whether your child will ever ditch the diapers, take some advice from us and expert and author, Elizabeth Pantley, on this topic.

In our experience, many parents sign the enrollment papers for their child’s first preschool experience several months in advance. At the time the decision is made, the first day of school may seem far off in the future.

“We haven’t started potty training yet, but we still have plenty of time.”

Sound familiar?

Well, the day is looming and, most preschools, including Children’s House, have expectations for a certain level of independence in the bathroom. Our formal policy is that children be toilet-trained before they start school, but the reality is unique for each family.

Different Needs

Some children are almost independent in the bathroom, they just need to be reminded and taken to the bathroom at regular intervals to ensure success in the first few weeks. They are learning a new routine and there’s so many fun things to do in the classroom that they are distracted and not aware of their body’s needs.

Other children are overwhelmed by their new schedule, new classmates, new teachers, and school and might regress in their behaviors. Accidents are common in the first few days of school as we adjust. Our teachers handle bathroom accidents calmly. There is no shame in accidents. We help the child change into clean clothes, wash their hands, and return to the classroom as quickly as possible.

There are also children who are still in the transition phase from diapers to underwear. Perhaps they had a busy summer with travel and lots of excitement. It was easier for their parents to rely on diapers rather than create a whole new routine around multiple trips to the bathroom. The first day of school is around the corner and suddenly, the pressure to complete the process is upon them.

Whatever the reason, these quick facts about potty training will help you put this process into perspective.

potty training facts
Sometimes making new friends is more fun than going to the bathroom!

Quick Facts About Potty Training

by Elizabeth Pantley, Author of The No-Cry Potty Training Solution

Potty training can be natural, easy, and peaceful. The first step is to know the facts.

  • The perfect age to begin potty training is different for every child. Your child’s best starting age could be anywhere from eighteen to thirty-two months. Pre-potty training preparation can begin when a child is as young as ten months.
  • You can begin training at any age, but your child’s biology, skills, and readiness will determine when he can take over his own toileting.
  • Teaching your child how to use the toilet can, and should, be as natural as teaching him to build a block tower or use a spoon.
  • No matter the age that toilet training begins, most children become physically capable of independent toileting between ages two and a half and four.
  • It takes three to twelve months from the start of training to daytime toilet independence. The more readiness skills that a child possesses, the quicker the process will be.
  • The age that a child masters toileting has absolutely no correlation to future abilities or intelligence.
  • There isn’t only one right way to potty train – any approach you use can work – if you are pleasant, positive and patient. 
  • Nighttime dryness is achieved only when a child’s physiology supports this–you can’t rush it.
  • A parent’s readiness to train is just as important as a child’s readiness to learn.
  • Potty training need not be expensive. A potty chair, a dozen pairs of training pants and a relaxed and pleasant attitude are all that you really need. Anything else is truly optional. 
  • Most toddlers urinate four to eight times each day, usually about every two hours or so.
  • Most toddlers have one or two bowel movements each day, some have three, and others skip a day or two in between movements. In general, each child has a regular pattern.
  • More than 80 percent of children experience setbacks in toilet training. This means that what we call “setbacks” are really just the usual path to mastery of toileting.
  • Ninety-eight percent of children are completely daytime independent by age four.

This article is an excerpt from The No-Cry Potty Training Solution: Gentle Ways to Help Your Child Say Good-Bye to Diapers by Elizabeth Pantley. (McGraw-Hill, 2006)  

Open Communication

Wherever you are in the potty training process, communication with your child’s teachers is of utmost importance. We are a team, working together to create a positive school experience for your child and your family. Open communication about your child’s bathroom needs is a big part of that.

So let us know what to expect and how we can help. We’ll get through this process — together!

potty training facts
A quick potty break means we can get back to enjoying our favorite activities!

Children’s House Montessori School of Reston (CHMS) is a small, family-oriented school located in a peaceful wooded setting in Reston, Virginia. We believe that a child’s first school experience should be filled with curiosity, exploration and opportunities for  independence. We offer half-day and full-day Montessori programs for children 3 years of age through kindergarten.

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