March 17, 2017

Hello Parkside Families,

We hope the luck of St. Patrick’s Day is with all of you!  We certainly have not felt so lucky regarding the weather lately!  Thank you (again)  for supporting and understanding our decision to close Parkside early on Tuesday because of the severe weather.  We are hoping that is the last storm for the season and that March will leave us like a lamb.

Shut down day recap:  We had a great training last Friday!  We had a training on potty training which focused on: what is our role, how can we support our parents and children, and how do we know developmentally a child is ready to potty train.  We also introduced a policy on potty training, which I have included in this week’s blog.  Our teachers had the opportunity to learn some children’s yoga with Holly Twining, who is the owner of Maine Yoga Adventures.  Holly not only taught us some children’s poses, but she also gave us some resources and ideas of how and when to incorporate yoga into our classrooms.  Even our infant teachers had the opportunity to learn some poses to introduce in their kids.  Dr. Sabbagh, our center’s health consultant, discussed bloodborne pathogens as well any questions that our staff had such as: there is not a correlation between Tylenol and asthma, we also discussed hives and when to be concerned.  Our last training of the day was from TJ Holloway from the Holloway Group, discussing “diversity.”  He had us complete an exercise where we had to honestly write down the first thought in our head to complete a statement, such as “All Americans are _______________.”  TJ presented this exercise to us because we don’t usually say or do the first thing that comes to our mind and that being this honest about diversity is important.  Our afternoon included: parent/teacher conferences, a team building exercise, and recognizing our staff.  We had 5 teachers who celebrated anniversaries since our November 11th training: Miss Nicole celebrated her 2nd anniversary; Miss Rosanne celebrated her 4th; Miss Lynna celebrated her 7th; and Miss Stephanie and Miss Lisa both celebrated their 10th!!!!

Parent/Teacher Advisory Meeting and Parent Survey:  On Thursday we met as a group to review the annual parent survey.  Over the upcoming weeks, we will be editing the survey and look to have it ready for you to complete in April.  The annual survey will reflect all of your experiences and services you and your child receive at Parkside.  Your feedback is extremely important in how we can improve our program.  We look forward to hearing your comments and feedback!

**Scholastic Book Fair has been extended!!  Due to the stormy weather we had this week, we have received approval to extend the book fair until Next Tuesday!  We will continue to take donations to support the Literacy Volunteers of Bangor until next Tuesday.

Potty Training Policy and Advice:  Recently, we have had many conversations with parents regarding potty training.  We have written a policy that includes advice to parents to have BEFORE they approach potty training with their child.  What we know is that typically children potty train when they are between 3-4 years of age, and that there are several signs and developmental milestones to help us know when it is appropriate to begin potty train. Although it may be hard, potty training is not a race and should not be looked at as being completed by a certain age; each child is different.  If you have any questions about potty training after reading the policy and advice, please talk with your child’s teacher or stop by the office to talk with a manager.

Parkside Potty Training Policy and Advice

Children typically become interested in potty training around two to three years old. Potty training needs to be a collaborative effort between parents and teachers.  Our hope is that through communication, education, and understanding that our efforts will help your child through the journey of potty training.

What we know about potty training is that it’s an individual approach and one that doesn’t happen when a child is at a specific age.  On average, children are considered mostly potty trained between 3-4 years of age, but the process can begin a year before they discard their last pull up.  Training has ups and downs, ebbs and flows, often with three steps forward and two back.  The key for parents and caregivers is to have loads of patience and understanding that training is both a physical (which children are ready for between 2-3) and an emotional/behavioral (which may take much longer) journey.  There are many signs that a child may be ready to “board the potty train” and work toward using a toilet rather than a diaper full time.

Children typically begin to develop the following potty training skills when they MIGHT potty train:

  • They are dry all night (and may use the toilet first thing in the morning)**
  • Being dry after nap or long periods of time
  • Recognizing when they are wet or have a bowel movement—and want it out/off (and may even attempt or be successful at taking off the diaper him/herself)
  • Hiding to pee or poop at home or in the classroom
  • Urinates a fair amount at a time (not tiny trickles) and has well formed BMs
  • Having a consistent poop schedule (every day at 3:00ish, or between 2-3, etc.)
  • They want to pull up and down their pants independently, and can in a hurry
  • They know the names of their body parts
  • They understand vocabulary and concepts such as up-down, wet-dry, open-close
  • They may want to participate in gathering the items for their diaper changes such as getting their diaper and wipes
  • They tell you they’re about to go, or just after they have gone, consistently
  • Behaviorally, can sit down quietly in one position for two to five minutes
  • Shows interest in others’ bathroom habits and may want to accompany him/her
  • Takes pride in accomplishments and demonstrates a desire for independence
  • Is at a generally cooperative stage, not one where “no” is the go-to word
  • Can follow simple two-three step directions, such as “find your diaper, put the wipes next to the toilet, and stand in the bathroom to wait for me”
  • Has learned the value of putting things where they belong; watches when you empty contents of a BM into the toilet after a diaper change
  • Uses vocabulary for urine and bowel movements, such as pee and poop, consistently
  • Your child can get up and down from a potty chair or the toilet with a potty seat
  • “Potty trained” is going to the bathroom successful with no reminders; setting a timer and taking the child every 20 minutes or hour is NOT potty training, it’s caregiver/parent training!

**night time dryness occurs early in the process but may become a secondary “milestone” later on, as some children occasionally wet at night until they are 7-8 years old, especially if they are heavy sleepers

We encourage you to help your child understand these concepts and skills by incorporating the above bullets in your diaper changing routine.

Although children begin to exhibit skills to potty train it does not necessarily mean that they are ready to fully potty train.  We believe that children need to show consistent signs at home and at school in order to know they are ready to potty train.  At Parkside, potty training typically does not begin until the Zion (2’s) or Yellowstone (2.5-3.5) classroom, with consistent “success” with training seen in our Big Sur (3’s) room or even Yosemite (3’s and 4’s).  We do not train children using a potty in Sequoia or younger since there are no bathrooms in those classes.  We will, however, support the steps that prepare children for potty training such as working on independence, practicing two and three step directions, and using appropriate vocabulary to describe bodily functions.

Parents, please:  potty training with children in child care is a cooperative, collaborative effort.  We request that parents please speak with your child’s teachers BEFORE embarking on a potty training journey to gauge, together, whether your child is “ready” to begin the process.  If you simply take a weekend and try training, announcing on a Monday morning that your child is “trained” we can almost assuredly predict that your child will not be successfully trained.  The process can take a few days or months, but usually requires all caregivers to work together to prepare the child well in advance.

Cautionary advice:  potty training is NOT a race.  No prizes are given out for children who train faster than other children!  Besides saving money on diapers and saving the environment a few landfill deposits, there is little reason to push your child before s/he is ready.  In fact, there is abundant research that warns against training before three years old (The Dangers of Potty Training Too Early, adapted from It’s No Accident:  Breakthrough Solutions to Your Child’s Wetting, Constipation, UTIs, and Other Potty Problems—article attached). Experts in this article say that typically children who train the earliest and most easily develop the most serious problems later on.  “Virtually all pee and poop accidents, bedwetting, urinary frequency, and urinary tract infections—are related to holding pee or poop or both.” The expert also believes the bladder needs three or four years to develop, and that children need time to pee and poop “uninhibited” for several years before they are mature enough to decide when they should “go.”

Fact is, you can find articles to support early potty training, too—most anything can be found on the Internet these days to support whatever theory you, your spouse, your neighbor or Grandma subscribes to.  However, allow us to share some “Parkside Specific” information:

  • Anecdotally, we can tell you that most kids train between Yellowstone and Big Sur.
  • Many kids get very, very interested in pottying around 18 months then quickly abandon that idea when a different developmental skill/milestone comes along.
  • Typically, children who begin training between 3-3.5 do it quicker, with less fuss.
  • Parkside provides “positive peer pressure” to threes by having them see most of their classmates using the potty all day long.
  • Our center pediatrician, Colette Sabbagh, reports that only about 3% of children in her practice potty train before 2 years old.  That means 97% are older than 2…so there’s no rush.
  • In our experience, the most successful families are ones that prepare for potty training using all the vocabulary, experiences, and clues listed at the beginning of this handout—but they are very relaxed about the process.  They understand that there is a long journey ahead, and they do not care that Great Aunt Agnes trained all eight of her children in three days at 6 months old.
  • Parents and caregivers who are not punitive (harsh punishments, yelling, shaming) are better potty training partners with their children and typically have more success with the process.
  • Sending children in easy-up, easy-down sweatpant-type clothing (and at least three extra changes) makes potty training easier for everyone, but particularly your child.
  • Potty training during snow suit season is difficult, sometimes disgusting, and definitely comical (there should be an America’s Funniest Home Videos of kids who have to pee getting their snow gear off quickly!!).
  • Emotional issues, moving, new siblings, classroom changes, even weather changes will cause potty training to derail.  It is no one’s fault.  Stuff happens.
  • Potty training sometimes seems like a great idea, all the signs are there, and the child is going consistently and happily to the potty for a week then BAM!  Accidents start occurring several times a day, the child puts the brakes on going to the potty, and pretty soon Tide is your friend.  That’s okay and also perfectly normal.  You can decide as a family to regroup, go back to diapers, and try again at a later time, or you can push through and just chill about doing extra wash for a week or two.  Either way is not “bad” or “wrong.”
  • We do think there is a “window” of time that’s good for kids to potty train during, again, usually 2.5-3.5.  We actually see parents who wait too long, until a child is four or older, and by then the child is often embarrassed or has poor habits that need to be managed.  Talk to your child’s teachers if your child is approaching 3.5 but hasn’t shown signs, or see a manager to discuss.
  • Another thing that often happens is a child who has been trained for six months or more with few accidents at home or school begins to soil or wet him/herself frequently.  There are lots of explanations, but typically we have you check with your pediatrician first to make sure there’s no infection or physical problem going on.  Next, examine your life to see if something has changed or might be emotionally upsetting that might cause the issue.  Sometimes we’ve seen kids who contract an intestinal virus, for instance, that causes a week of diarrhea—and suddenly there’s regression in their pottying for a couple of weeks.  Talk to a manager, your pediatrician, your child’s teachers…we can put our heads together to figure out what’s going on.
  • Please understand that Parkside teachers and managers are here to help.  We WANT you to discuss pottying with us—we might be the only people besides your family who you can talk to about these things (who else wants to know about your child’s peeing and pooping?).  We truly believe that potty training is a cooperative effort!
  • Parkside has a “three strikes” rule where if a child soils three pairs of underwear and clothing (significant urine or BM) within one day, we will change the child into a pull up or diaper until the following day.  The family is welcome to “try again” the next day, but if this challenge continues for three days, the family will be asked to come in for a conference to decide next steps.

Attached are more resources that support our philosophy on potty training.  If you have any questions, please feel free to talk with your child’s teacher or with a manager. We can do this together!

Enjoy your weekend,

Jen V.