our everyday life

How to Potty Train a Toddler While Working Full Time

by Maggie McCormick, studioD

Potty-training is difficult enough, but when you're away from your child most of the day, the task can seem insurmountable. It requires patience and time from parents, which can be hard when you're trying to get out the door to day care and work on time. Fortunately, a child who is around other children potty-training might have more motivation to want to learn to use the potty like a big boy or girl.

Talk to your child-care provider about the procedures you'll use. It's best if your child uses the same potty-training techniques all the time. If Grandma's the one watching your child, you'll have more leeway in choosing a potty-training method that works for you. In a day care, the provider probably already has a plan in place that you'll have to follow at home.

Allow for extra time in the mornings. Though it's nice to enjoy your cup of coffee alone, you won't be able to rush a potty-training child out the door. Wake your child early so she has enough time to eat her breakfast, get dressed and use the potty. Remember: When your child is first learning to use the potty, she'll have a few accidents, and accidents require cleanup time.

Dress your child for success. Children should wear clothes they can put on and take off themselves. Pants with elastic waistbands and short dresses work better than jeans or overalls. This is especially important in day cares, where the worker might not have the time to undress every child.

Reinforce potty-training procedures at home. For example, if the day care provider has your child sit on the potty every 45 minutes regardless of whether she has to go, do the same at home.

Praise your child when she does well and brush over accidents. Check in about her successes and accidents when you pick her up at the end of your work day. This lets her know you're thinking about her even when you're not around.


  • Some parents have success by taking a block of time to focus on potty-training. If you have a free weekend or the means to take a week off of work, you can stay home and work on potty-training your child yourself.

About the Author

Maggie McCormick is a freelance writer. She lived in Japan for three years teaching preschool to young children and currently lives in Honolulu with her family. She received a B.A. in women's studies from Wellesley College.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images