potty-training-at-daycareMy first full time job after I had my daughter was at a daycare. Well, “private pre-school”, actually, and woe betide you if you called it the “D” word. Honestly, I went into it thinking it was the ideal job; I could be around my daughter while simultaneously getting a break from my daughter while simultaneously making money. I liked my kid, who was four at the time, so how hard could six two-year-olds be?

I laugh at the fool that I was.

I loved the kids that I worked with, but there was so much that I hated about the job. One of them, to be sure, was potty training. Another was parents. Not all of them, of course, but enough of them to put my alcohol consumption securely into the danger zone when I got home from work. Combine the two, and you have pretty much the worst year of my life.

Consider this my gift to you; everything your day care private preschool provider wants you to know about potty training, but is either too terrified to tell you, or has been explicitly instructed not to, because you pay cash money.

1. We know more about it than you do.

To be fair, there isn’t a graceful way to say this, and if someone said something like this to me while I was in the thick of potty training, it probably would have irked the crap out of me. But it is also 100% true. Barring elder siblings from large families and pediatricians, few people know more about the crapper than preschool teachers. They’ll appreciate you wanting to be involved, but if you show up with a syllabus or your prized stack of eHow potty training articles, they’ll probably just throw them away.

2. But you know more about your kid than we do.

If you’ve already started potty training at home, and found something that works, do tell. Every kid is different, and if yours can only make when the Ni-Hao Kai-Lan theme song is on repeat and they only have one sock on, let your caregiver know. Don’t be shy, because your daycare provider is probably the only person who wants to know about your kid’s bathroom habits. In detail.

3. Your kid isn’t ready until he’s ready.

We trust your judgment. Your kid is with you, at home, so if you’ve gauged that your kid is ready to get this done, awesome. However, there isn’t a magic trick to getting your kid on the potty if they aren’t ready. Not if he “sees other kids doing it”, not if you up his water intake by 500%, and definitely not if you tell him the potty monster will steal his diapers at night if he doesn’t get on the potty, pronto. Your caregiver will probably start training early if you harass them enough, but it will just make the entire process longer.

4. A heads up would be nice.

Please, please do not just send your child to school in underpants out of the blue one day, because you think she’s “just going to get it!” She won’t. I have seen horrors I can never unsee.

5. If you don’t pack changes, you’re on the shit list.

Pack a change of clothes. Pack two. Pack four if you’re going to ignore the third item on this list. If you don’t, and your kid ends up in clothing that’s way too big/small from the lost and found, at least don’t yell at your caregiver.

6. If you don’t train at home, you’re on the shit list.

There was a little boy in my group that I loved. He didn’t speak English, but we understood each other anyway. He was one of my fastest learners at potty time, and he always washed his hands. I also potty trained him for 3 months in a row, because every Friday he would go home in underpants, and every Monday he’d come back in a diaper. Train your kids at home.

7. If you put your kids in Chucks, you’re on the shit list.

Chucks are adorable. Toddler Chucks are adorable-er. Still, if you send your potty training kid to school in lace-up, high-top, double knotted Chucks, and they have an accident, your caregiver probably hates you. Send them in skinny jeans AND lace-up high-top double knotted Chucks and they probably extra super duper mega hate you.

8. All training pants were not created equal.

Here’s a few things to know: most kids are freaked out by training pants that turn their pee cold. They will probably want them off, but that doesn’t translate to potty time. The kids that aren’t freaked tend to like the sensation. I’ve never met a cloth training pant that didn’t leak, and if you can, go for tabbed sides.

9. No, I won’t tell you how so-and-so’s kid is doing.

How would you like it if I started talking about your kid’s potty quirks to some rando parent that asked? It’s unethical, but more than that, it’s irrelevant. Who cares if so-and-so’s kid potty trained before yours or after? There is no G/T pooping program.

10. Under no circumstances will I take a picture of your kid’s poop.

Even if your daycare teacher could use her phone during work hours (they likely can’t) and even if taking pictures of your kid with it wasn’t against most privacy policies (it usually is), don’t ask them to photograph your kid’s turd. It’s gross.

11. Please don’t bribe with candy.

When I potty trained my daughter, I bribed her with so. Much. Candy. By the end, I was promising her gold-flaked, imported, artisanal chocolate made  from cocoa beans that had only been fertilized with unicorn poop and watered with a virgin mermaid’s tears if she would just go to the bathroom. I will never judge a candy-briber. But the crappy stickers we give out don’t compare to a full-sized snicker bar, so help us out.

12. Accidents happen.

Even kids who have been potty trained for months will have accidents. Even kids who have been potty trained for years will have accidents. Sometimes they’re too busy playing. Sometimes they were extra thirsty at lunch. Your kid is not peeing or pooping in her pants to annoy you. If you pick up and your kid has been changed, they had an accident, and it probably wasn’t my fault. It definitely wasn’t hers. Yell at me, I’ll just mock you at home, yell at her, get ready for more accidents and probably a scathing obituary in a few decades.