Caring for Our Children (CFOC)

Chapter 5: Facilities, Supplies, Equipment, and Environmental Health

5.4 Space and Equipment in Designated Areas

5.4.1 Toilet and Handwashing Areas Toilet Learning and Training Equipment

Content in the standard was modified on 12/20/2022.

Children who are learning to use the toilet should have the right training equipment. Programs should use child-sized toilets; or safe step aids that can be cleaned, and modified toilet seats (for adult-sized toilets). Children should use this equipment only with direct supervision. Staff should clean and disinfect soiled toilets immediately and at the end of each day. Non-flushing toilets (i.e., potty chairs) are strongly discouraged.

Children with special health care needs may need other training equipment, accommodations, and learning strategies to be successful during toilet training. Early care and education programs should be sensitive to each child’s special needs (i.e., sensory, regulatory, developmental, physical accommodations, etc.). 


Child-sized toilets that are flushable, step aids that can be cleaned, and modified toilet seats are easier to use and clean. Flushable toilets are better than any type of equipment that exposes the staff to contact with feces or urine. Many infectious diseases can be prevented with proper hygiene and disinfection.1 Research surveys of surfaces in early care and education settings have shown presence of fecal contamination. Fecal contamination has been used to measure the degree of effectiveness in cleaning and disinfecting procedures. Sanitary touching and cleaning of potty chairs is difficult and therefore not recommended.

When early care and education programs think about children with special health care needs by having the proper support and resources, children can overcome any challenges they might face and be successful in toilet training.2



American Academy of Pediatrics. Virtual Early Education Center.

Child Care Resource and Referral Network. Supporting the Development of Toileting Skills in Children with Special Needs.

Center, Early Head Start, Head Start, Large Family Child Care Home, Small Family Child Care Home
  1. Minnesota Department of Health. Ways to prevent diarrheal illness from spreading at child care and preschool. Accessed September 19, 2022

  2. Child Care Resource and Referral Network. Toileting supports for children with special needs. Accessed September 19, 2022


Content in the standard was modified on 12/20/2022.