You are about to enter one of the most interesting, exciting and strange stages/milestones of your child's life!
I like to touch base and offer a few words of encouragement and perspectives to parents as we embark on this journey together, as your child's care giver.
First: There are many, many perspectives and points of view about "How to potty train" and the truth is there is no one way for every child, only the way your child chooses to potty train.
In all my years as a care giver, I have never seen a child potty train identical to another. It is always different. Different timing, different attitude, different communication, different experience.
Second: Your child's Potty training habits/interests/ability at home will look very different than potty training habits/interests/ability at school. I will be their advocate at school, giving them the space to choose when they are ready without coaxing or manipulating. I will honor their process while in a social environment and will embrace their choices during this very private and new experience.
Why do children have a different experience at home than at school?
At home: It is a slower more focused flow with home and parents. Less people, less interactions, less learning to focus on.
At school: They are active in play, working out social interactions and aren't able to pay such close attention to the feelings of needing to pee and poop. Accidents during potty training are more probable at school because they are working harder and we are asking more of them. When an accident happens at school this is a BIG DEAL and can cause intense feelings of shame, which can only prolong their training process and will often cause a backwards affect.
How can I support my child in wearing a diaper if they no longer want to but are still having accidents?
I create a loving, accepting conversation about what is happening "Ah, you are learning to use the toilet! Your body needs the diaper just for a little more time, while your body is learning to hold your pee and poop for the toilet. It takes some time, you will get there, everybody does. One day you will be only peeing and pooping in the toilet but today the diaper will be here jussssst in case you need it, you don't have to use it, it will be here just in case."
I will welcome their desire to wear underwear over their diaper while embracing their excitement but refrain from adding my own excitement or attachment to avoid projection of importance.
My suggestion would be to also do this at home. Potty training should be very matter of fact and in no way a celebration because children will begin to attach importance through their parents reactions and sometimes their bodies take longer than they want it to which can cause pressure and anxiety because they feel they aren't "doing a good job" or meeting their parent's expectation" or "think the diaper is now bad and wearing underwear is good" all of these feelings can prolong the process which will only increase anxiety and feelings of pressure.
Third: When can I send my child to school in underwear?
When they have pee'd and pooped in the toilet for 2 consecutive weeks while at school. What does that mean? While still wearing the diaper they have announced "I have to pee or/and I have to poop" rather than using their diaper to do so for 2 consecutive weeks with no use of the diaper in between.
How can I best support my child during this process?
Release any and all expectations of time frame and/or experience
Do not compare them to anyone else
Do not let a book or group dictate what should be happening
Let them lead the way
Listen to them
Do not project excitement or create a reward system for using the potty. This will create confusion internally and can lead to problems later.
Rather than asking them to "try" to use the potty before getting into the car. Be prepared for them when in the car. Buy a travel potty so it is as simple as pulling over and letting them pee. I would refrain from asking them "do you have to pee" replace that with a gentle reminder of "if you ever feel like you have to pee or poop just let me know and I can help you or the bathroom is available for you. "
Let them watch you use the bathroom and casually include "one day you will use the toilet too.."
If they have an accident while potty training what should I say to support their process?
" Ah, you pee'd or pooped in your pants. That is ok. Your body is telling us it still wants to wear a diaper. Which is totally normal and ok. One day your body will be ready, it's just not today, and that is ok. It is part of learning, you are learning, your body is learning it takes time. This is perfect."
I hope this helps. I am here to chat or confide in if you need anything. Just know I have watched and been apart of hundreds of potty trainings and have seen it all!
Please let me know if I can help in any way~