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Nappy changing and Toilet Training


Nappy Changing

No child is excluded from participating in our setting who may, for any reason, not yet be toilet trained and who may still be wearing nappies or equivalent. We work with parents towards toilet training, unless there are medical or other developmental reasons why this may not be appropriate at the time.

We make necessary adjustments to our bathroom provision and hygiene practice in order to accommodate children who are not yet toilet trained.


  1. Disposable gloves and aprons are put on before changing starts. Changing mats are used and wiped down with antiseptic spray before and after use

  2. All staff are familiar with the above hygiene procedures and carry these out when changing nappies

  3. In addition, staff ensure that nappy changing is relaxed and a time to promote independence in young children

  4. Young children are encouraged to take an interest in using the toilet.

  5. They should be encouraged to wash their hands and have soap and towels to hand.

  6. Staff are gentle when changing; they avoid pulling faces and making negative comment about ‘nappy contents’ or making inappropriate comments about young children’s genitals when changing their nappies

  7. Older children access the toilet when they have the need to and are encouraged to be independent

  8. Nappies and ’pull ups’ are disposed of hygienically and the nappy or pull up is bagged and put in the bin. Cloth nappies, trainer pants and ordinary pants that have been wet or soiled are bagged for the parent to take home

  9. All changes are recorded on the nappy changing sheet and initialled by the teacher who has changed the child

  10. Young children should never be purposefully & in the knowledge of practitioners left in wet or soiled nappies or ’pull ups’ in the setting, to do so will constitute neglect and will be a disciplinary matter. Settings have a ‘duty of care’ towards children’s personal needs


Toilet Training

We see toilet training as a self-care skill that children have the opportunity to learn with the full support and non-judgemental concern of adults.

As children become more aware of changes to their body they will show signs of being ready to move from nappies to using the potty or toilet. We will look at the individual needs and stages of development of each child and will not make assumptions based on their age as to when the potty or toilet will be introduced.

When a child is ready to move away from using nappies they may show some of the following signs:

  • Signals of being uncomfortable in a nappy, fidgeting or expressing anguish through sounds, words or actions

  • Standing still to pee in the nappy, or going to a specific corner of the room to do a poo

  • A child who has increasingly dry nappies throughout certain parts of the day

  • When bowl movements follow a more predictable pattern

  • A child is beginning to understand the language that surrounds the toilet may say ‘nappy’ ‘full’ ‘pee’ ‘poo’ to tell you that they need to be changed

  • A child who is able to express through words that they are ‘peeing’ or ‘pooing’

We will work closely with the parents to introduce potty training and only advise to do so when we believe they are truly ready.

Once a child is beginning to toilet train we will follow the following procedures:

  1. Discuss with parents what nappy alternative they plan to use, e.g. pull-ups, pants or none at all. If none then we suggest jogging bottoms which are easy to pull up and down

  2. Discuss with the parents whether they will be using a potty or toilet seat at home. Show them the potty we have at nursery so they can use something similar at home

  3. Encourage the child to use the potty/toilet frequently during the first few weeks

  4. We encourage parents to provide plenty of spare underwear, trousers and socks

  5. We will use a lot of verbal praise to encourage further use of the potty/toilet

  6. If a child has an accident we will not point this out in front of the other children or staff, instead we will quietly ask the child what happened and take them to sit on the potty/toilet at that time then clean them and change them so they are more comfortable

  7. If the child experiences a significant change in routine such as a new baby arriving or moving house we will discuss this with parents and reassure them that if the child were to regress this is completely normal and we will always begin where the child is and go from there

We understand children will be varied in their confidence to use the toilet/potty and we will support them along this journey, however long this may be. Patience is very important, from both staff and parents.

As a Froebelian setting we do not introduce sticker charts, as giving a child an external reward does not always have the desired affect and can, in some ways, hinder progress. Particularly if the child keeps failing to use the potty/toilet and therefore does not receive any reward. This can knock their confidence and promote negative feelings towards toilet training rather than positive feelings.

This policy was last updated July 2020

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