Preparing Toddlers for Preschool: Bathroom Basics

Melissa Murphy By Melissa Murphy, 18th Feb 2011 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Family>Kids

Toddlers need a certain set of skills before entering preschool or kindergarten. Basic bathroom skills like learning to get their clothes up and down easily and learning to clean themselves can help curtail some of their anxiety.

Bathroom Basics

Topping the list of anxieties that children will experience as they enter preschool or kindergarten are issues surrounding going to the bathroom. Even at age 5, kids don’t have full control of their bladder and may still have daytime accidents from time to time. Additionally, young children may not be completely aware of the early physiological signs that tell them that it’s time to go. Consequently, they may have a very small window between the time they realize their need to use the restroom and the time that they cannot hold it anymore. At this age, children also tend to become fully engrossed in fun activities and find themselves waiting until the last minute.

Problems Getting Clothes Up and Down

Many children will experience anxiety from having to go the restroom away from home. In their own environment, mother or some other trusted caregiver was usually the one helping with buttons, zippers and cleaning. At school, some children will not like having to accept help from teachers and other caregivers with these issues. The best advice for parents is to dress your children in clothes that are easy to get up and down. For instance, a good choice for boys would be to opt for elastic waist pants as opposed to zippers and buttons. They are more comfortable and children can usually pull them up and down fast. For girls, tights could be much more difficult to deal with than leggings. Parents can ease some of the anxiety by preparing to practice buttoning, zipping and snapping at home. The more confident your child is, the easier it will be to adjust to a school environment.

Bowel Movements

There are few children who do not become anxious from time to time when they have to have a bowel movement at school. They may find that, with all the excitement of school, it’s hard to relax and go. They may be afraid that somebody will walk in on them, or they may feel like they are taking too long. Whatever the case may be, parents can ease this sort of anxiety by reminding their child that it is okay to have a bowel movement at school and that the teacher understands when it takes a little longer to go. Teachers can also put children at ease by reiterating to children how to lock the door or how to let others know that they restroom is being occupied.

Even though teachers give ample restroom breaks and go over the rules surrounding proper use of the bathroom, toddlers who are just entering preschool or kindergarten are prone to have bathroom anxiety. Developing confidence in your child is one of the best strategies for relieving them of their anxiety. Make sure they can get dressed and undressed; teach them how to clean themselves; and let them know that they can tell the teacher if they are having any kind of problem. Above all, reassure them that everything will be okay if an accident does happen. 


Children, Kids, Kindergarten, Parenting, Preschool, Toddlers

Meet the author

author avatar Melissa Murphy
Melissa Murphy is a life coach and freelance writer.

Share this page

moderator Mark Gordon Brown moderated this page.
If you have any complaints about this content, please let us know


author avatar Denise O
22nd Feb 2011 (#)

What a great subject. The poor little ones, it really is a hard time for them. Great advice and nicely written.
Thank you for sharing.:)

Reply to this comment

Add a comment
Can't login?