Potty learning in partnership with your childcare provider

One of the most common concerns in our Facebook Group – Potty Learning Support (from birth to independence) – is how parents can prevent their childcare providers from what often feels like sabotaging their potty learning progress. So whether you are working with a well-meaning parent-in-law with different ideas about parenting or a nursery/daycare with unhelpful policies about potty learning, we are here to help you to work in partnership.

In an ideal world, your child’s primary caregivers would be dedicated to preparing them for potty learning from birth, having an understanding of their signals and timing, and giving them opportunities to practice the 40 skills they need to perfect to become toilet independent.
In the modern world we live in, parents around the world have busy lives and busy jobs and often rely on a network of others to support them as they navigate them. It takes a village, right?

So how can the people providing you with childcare honour your wishes and support what you are doing at home, even if they are juggling the needs of multiple children?

Some fundamental truths

Key learning happens at home. As parents, you need to lead the potty learning process and your childcare provider must be appropriately briefed so they can support you. If the learning at home is meeting the child’s needs, then the child will carry their knowledge and skills over to the childcare provider.

Children are capable of having different expectations of different places. Whilst it is important that you and your childcare provider have a consistent approach to potty learning and that you consider how you can best support your child, they are capable of recognising that what happens at home doesn’t always happen out of the house.

Don’t talk about your child’s progress or lack of progress in front of them/where they can overhear you. Have a private meeting, phone call or send an email.

A daycare facility/nursery can be a distracting environment so you should expect more accidents than will happen at home. Your child was born ready to learn the skills they will need to one day be toilet independent and needs practise to perfect these skills. They don’t need to be put back into nappies as a way of managing accidents.

Managing accidents can be stressful for childcare providers, but it is important not to over-prompt children or coerce them into fitting into a potty schedule that suits the needs of multiple children. Understanding your child’s signals or timing and fluid intake is better.

Know your rights

“If your child is still in nappies we can’t offer you a place”
“If they have an accident you will have to leave work to come and clean them up“

If you live in the UK, it is discriminatory for a childcare setting to deny a place to a child who has delayed continence and according to the Children and Families Act 2014, it is considered neglect for a child to be knowingly left in soiled underwear.

If you are paying for childcare, it is reasonable to expect support with meeting your child’s needs. Whilst individual providers may have their own policies when it comes to potty learning, care should be child-centred. If you are unable to compromise, put your child first and consider switching childcare providers.

Potty Learning resources for Childcare Providers:

Rebecca Mottram is one of the leading experts in Potty Learning. She works in the NHS as a paediatric research nurse and is on the Professional Advisory Committee for ERIC, the Bladder and Bowel Charity. She writes books, blogs, consults, teaches classes, and produces other content to help parents and carers understand the science of potty learning in order to support their toddlers through the major childhood milestone of becoming toilet independent. Both her children used the potty from birth.

She has worked directly with childcare providers, providing resources for nursery/daycare staff and primary/kindergarten teachers and assistants. Her gentle approach is rooted in the science of child development and her clear, effective potty training plan can be tailored for each of the unique children in your care.

You can download our free guide to potty learning in partnership with childcare which will help you to work in partnership with whoever is caring for your child – whether a relative, friend, nanny, or childcare provider.











For support with Potty Training, including how to partner with childcare providers, access our Advanced Potty Training Course.






This provides you with:
– a clear, effective potty training plan for day and night time
– PLUS all the tools to tailor it to your child’s unique capabilities and temperament
– how to motivate your child
– how to handle accidents
– how to handle outings
– how to work in partnership with your childcare provider.

It includes a 23 page workbook, a comprehensive troubleshooting section, and the Little Bunny Bear supply list and exclusive discount codes. This unique course is child-led and research-evidence based, rooted in the science of child development.
Find out more or enroll here.


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