Going to pot

Monday, February 18, 2019

Why did a news story about toilet training lead to a deluge of anger and emotion from both practitioners and parents?

Funding for 30 hours provision might be causing anger and concern in the early years sector at the moment, but it seems that the issue provoking the greatest emotional response is potty training!

Our online story about the toilet training survey by the National Day Nurseries Association and ERIC prompted an outpouring of heartfelt, sometimes bitter, comments, particularly on our Facebook page.

The survey found that early years staff felt that children were being potty trained at a later age with nurseries having to step in, and that most practitioners had received no training.
Some of those commenting on the story showed a definite lack of compassion towards parents, calling them 'lazy' and saying that 'starting at 3 is ridiculous', with added angry face emojis.

Others were horrified at this 'judgemental' attitude, pointing out that parents' lack of time was the problem, not laziness. And several parents joined in to point out that despite all their efforts their child was just not ready.

There are lots of factors that add up to making toilet training a highly emotional business. Nursery staff feeling that they are shouldering the burden; parents who feel they are shamed for not having toilet-trained their child by a certain age; the pressure of starting school with the consequent need to be out of nappies; the hassles of modern life and trying to squeeze potty training into a hectic schedule...

One thing is certain – early years settings and parents need to work together on this. Recrimination and criticism is not helpful to anyone, and we can't return to some sort of 'golden age' of toilet training.

Well done, anyway, to the NDNA and ERIC for developing a potty training policy, training and resources – maybe this will help to take some of the heat out of the situation.

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