It normally takes 21 days to form a new habit but it is unrealistic to expect that they will stay home all this time. So what do you do?
Toilet training is a team effort. The people who look after your child during the day will have a huge effect on how fast or slow toilet training will go.
The key is consistency, so having everyone on the same page makes a big difference. Moving from using the toilets and potty at home to using the toilets when out can feel a bit scary for some kids.
Ask your child if they would like to take their potty to the centre or whether they would like to use the toilets that are there.
Many will regress when they move to a highly stimulating, social environment.
Getting the adult who will be caring for your child on board with an action plan
The best way to counter that is to make a plan with your early childhood teacher. It is a good idea to have one person who looks after your child's toileting. Ask them what the system is that they find works well for the kids that they work with, and what would work well for your child.
Give this person a stamp to put on your child's hand when they take them to the bathroom. First they need to get the child to check that their underwear is clean and dry. If yes, then they can earn a stamp on the hand. It is a good idea for the early childhood teacher to take your child to the toilet during transition times. An example framework could be:
Arrive at the centre and have a loo stop with a parent. Do a short activity. Say goodbye to the parent.
Before morning tea: check underwear for clean and dry, loo stop, wash hands and eat
Before lunch: check underwear for clean and dry, loo stop, wash hands and eat
Before mat time: check underwear for clean and dry, loo stop, wash hands and eat
This is simple - kids love the significant adults in their life talking about their positive achievements. When you arrive to pick up your child ask the adult who looks after them how many stamps they were able to achieve. If your child has an accident you will know because there will be a bag of wet clothing to take home. Therefore the early childhood teacher does not need to let you know how many accidents have happened.
Have a discussion in the morning and let them know if they can get a certain number of stamps on their hand by the end of their kindy day they will be able to open something from the treasure box when you get home. This means that you are saying I care about what you do at kindy and if you can keep clean and dry, we will celebrate.
Should I use disposables?
Try to give a consistent message "I trust you" "keep up the great work", by using material underwear during wake times. I find that absorbent underwear gives that consistent message.
What can I do at home?
Before sending your child into a new environment get them ready for what they are going to do before hand. This means practicing a new routine where your child has loo stops during transition times that trigger behaviour.
Remember lots of children ignore their body signals and do not initiate toilet visits while in their play environments so having a repetitive routine will mean they have less accidents.
Pack your child's bag with lots of clothing changes and absorbent underwear in a waterproof bag.