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/Training Equipment

Equipment used for toilet learning/training should be provided for children who are learning to use the toilet. Child-sized toilets or safe and cleanable step aids and modified toilet seats (where adult-sized toilets are present) should be used in facilities. Non-flushing toilets (i.e., potty chairs) should be strongly discouraged.

If child-sized toilets, step aids, or modified toilet seats cannot be used, non-flushing toilets (potty chairs) meeting the following criteria should be provided for toddlers, preschoolers, and children with disabilities who require them. Potty chairs should be:

  1. Easily cleaned and disinfected;
  2. Used only in a bathroom area;
  3. Used over a surface that is impervious to moisture;
  4. Out of reach of toilets or other potty chairs;
  5. Cleaned and disinfected after each use in a sink used only for cleaning and disinfecting potty chairs.

Equipment used for toilet learning/training should be accessible to children only under direct supervision.

The sink used to clean and disinfect the potty chair should also be cleaned and disinfected after each use.

Child-sized toilets that are flushable, steps, and modified toilet seats provide for easier use and maintenance. Sanitary handling of potty chairs is difficult. Flushable toilets are superior to any type of device that exposes the staff to contact with feces or urine. Many infectious diseases can be prevented through appropriate hygiene and disinfection methods. Surveys of environmental surfaces in child care settings have demonstrated evidence of fecal contamination (1). Fecal contamination has been used to gauge the adequacy of disinfection and hygiene.
If potty chairs are used, they should be constructed of plastic or similar nonporous synthetic products. Wooden potty chairs should not be used, even if the surface is coated with a finish. The finished surface of wooden potty chairs is not durable and, therefore, may become difficult to wash and disinfect effectively.
Center, Early Head Start, Head Start, Large Family Child Care Home, Small Family Child Care Home
  1. Gorski, P. A. 1999. Toilet training guidelines: Day care providers-the role of the day care provider in toilet training. Pediatrics 103:1367-68.