Pregnancy and Parenting Features

Do I Need to Potty Train Before Preschool?

This isn’t exactly an easy question, or at least not one that lends itself to a universal answer. The fact of the matter is that it can vary greatly from one preschool to the next. Some preschools will absolutely demand that your child is already potty trained before he starts. Most preschools fall into this category. (Fortunately, most day care centers do not have the same requirement, or working parents might find themselves with very few options for child care during the day!)

There are a number of reasons why a given preschool might want your little one to already be potty trained before she starts at that preschool. For example:

  • It can be unsanitary and unhealthy for the preschool staff and for the other children in the preschool if accidents happen frequently.
  • Preschool is more focused on academic and social needs, rather than with other types of developmental needs such as potty training.
  • The amount of time that the preschool has with your child is much more limited than what a daycare facility might have. This means that handling potty training or accidents will possibly take away some from your child’s educational pursuits.

There are plenty of opinions out there on when the best time to potty train your toddler might be. The fact of the matter is that, if you want your toddler to enter preschool, she probably needs to be potty trained. That doesn’t mean you should force potty training on your child. If your child isn’t ready, she’s better off waiting for preschool than she is having you force potty training on her.

For the most part, the benefits that an extra year of preschool might present for your child can easily be outweighed by the possible detrimental effects of rushing your child through the potty training process.

There are some preschools out there that are more accommodating. Many will accept children who are potty trained for bowel movements, but who may still have frequent urination accidents. Other preschools are beginning to relax their rules altogether, recognizing that allowing the child to determine when he will potty train is often better, developmentally, for the child.

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