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Starting School but Not Fully Potty Trained

The new school year is upon us and for those parents of reception-age children, this new milestone is often daunting and exciting in equal measure. This is such an exciting time in your child’s life as their growing independence and development begin to be challenged in whole new ways. With every day soon to be spent surrounded by their peers, this is a time of great transition which brings with it a whole suite of feelings and inevitably concerns about separation anxiety on the part of the parent, child or both.

As you start to work your way down your to-do list in preparation, we must address an important related issue that has cropped up in recent times. Reports show that some children are starting school who are not yet fully potty training and still showing some issues with grasping the concept. This is, of course, not an ideal situation but it is inevitably one that some parents will find themselves in for one reason or another.

If this sounds familiar, don’t panic. You might be feeling overwhelmed but just remember that you’re not the only one in this situation and it can take some children much longer than others to stay entirely dry during the day. That being said, you will want to minimise any embarrassment your child might experience if they are still wearing nappies, as they need to have positive associations with the entire school experience form the outset.

Take time to maintain your potty training guidelines prior to starting school, The Family Seat Potty Training Guide will point you in the right direction. As potty training for girls and boys can be different, visit the Family Seat website where you will find individual guides, one for Potty Training for Boys and one for Potty Training for Girls.

Start the Conversation

Whatever you do, don’t shy away from the problem. Even if your child has infrequent accidents, it’s important to start a dialogue with their teachers and anyone else involved in their care to ensure that they know what’s going on. Find out who will be accompanying your child to the toilet and let them know about any individual behaviours or concerns that your child has regarding potty training. This will give everyone involved confidence through understanding and help their teacher to recognise the signs that your child might need the toilet to avoid or minimise any accidents taking place.

Establish a Sense of Familiarity

Starting school can be nerve-wracking even for the most confident of children, and any additional nerves may negatively impact their potty training development. To this end, we would always recommend taking your child into the school and their classroom before their first day and showing them where the toilets are located. Try and set up a casual meeting between yourself, your child and any teachers or teaching assistants with which he or she will have regular contact, so they’re not jumping in the deep end on their first day.

Hope for the Best

Hope for the best and prepare for the worst is a mantra that could easily cover the entire parenting experience. When it comes to starting school and potty training, it is a no-brainer. Don’t dress your child in underwear if it’s likely or even possible they will have an accident, and always make sure to pack spare underwear and a change of clothes in their bag in case they don’t make it to the toilet in time.

Be Consistent

When school starts, don’t make the mistake of changing your potty training routine outside the school walls. Consistency is essential, which means using the same processes and incentives as you have done so far.

By following the points above, you will have helped to establish a sense of continuity for your child between training at school and home – keep encouraging them to use the same signals to their teacher as they do at home to indicate they need the loo to avoid any confusion. And remember, children also learn by example so being surrounded by their peers and seeing them ask to use the toilet may just prove invaluable.

The Family Seat Progress Chart and Door Hanger are a great way to set up a rewards-based system for potty training. Every Family Seat comes complete with these potty-training essentials as well as a 10-Year Guarantee. We have also created a comprehensive potty training guide that is free to access through our website, click here to read the guide including a range of expert tips and answers to common potty-training problems.

Family Seat supports the children’s communication charity I CAN, who are experts in helping children to develop the language, speech and communication skills that they need to thrive in our 21st-century world. We donate 50p to I CAN on every seat purchased through the official Family Seat website.



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