Working with a Small Washroom

Here is a detailed example on how to overcome the limitations of a small washroom in your home daycare.

It would be ideal to have a large washroom off your playroom so that you can set up a change table and diaper supplies for the babies, a potty and step stool for the toddlers (with books nearby) and a potty seat and accommodation equipment for the preschoolers.

But if you only have access to a small washroom that is far from your playroom or is on a different level of your home you can still make it work. If you serve your lunch and snacks at the same time everyday chances are you will soon discover your babies settle into a regular diaper changing routine. Take advantage of this and plan your activities accordingly. Have several times during the day when you take all the children to the washroom. After tidy up time and before a meal makes the most sense.

You can have a few toys there to keep them occupied as you assist each child or this may be a time where you all sing songs together. Maybe you put a book on tape and they listen to a story while you change diapers. A few small toys hanging in a bag on a hook will go a long way in a pinch. Make sure you close the door or have the hall gated off to ensure no one crawls off.

Children eighteen months and older will quickly pick up on the appropriate behaviour of older kids and will sit quietly to wait their turn.  Pictures (or using stick-on decals) of animals or shapes on the wall will help them find a spot to sit under. A simple song, “Let’’s all gallop to wash our hands, wash our hands, wash our hands….” will produce amazing results to have the kids all move together as a group. See “The Power of a Simple Song” post if you would like to learn more.

Make sure you have one child using the toilet while you change a diaper to speed up the total time spent in the washroom. Let’’s assume you don’’t have the space for a change table. Use a thick changing pad on the floor instead. For one thing, it’’s safer, you can’’t fall off the floor and when the diaper has been changed you can stand it up behind the door or slide it in beside the toilet.

If you don’’t have room for a thick changing pad then just use a soft waterproof changing mat. You can lay it on top of your washroom scatter mat to make the surface softer for the baby or fold up an old towel to create a comfortable surface. Both towel and waterproof mat can be folded up and stored on a shelf after the diaper change. Diapers and wipes can also be stored on a shelf. You will have to have separate diaper storage for each child because chances are they will be in different diaper sizes and possibly different brands. If you ask all your daycare parents to buy the same brand of wipes then you can just have one box of wipes in the washroom at a time. Over the toilet shelves are great space savers for small washrooms.

Get some inexpensive baskets and then at diaper time, just grab your ‘diaper basket’ with all the needed supplies and a corner of the floor, presto.. instant diaper changing station. Invest in a quality diaper pail that fits under the sink. Your nose will appreciate it.

Toddlers will need a potty or another space saver idea is to skip the potty and have them use a potty seat on the big toilet from day one. You need to make sure the seat is sturdy (has handles) and clicks VERY securely to the toilet seat. Any shifting or sliding around is not going to help the cause. Another deal breaker is the stool. Children need a stool that is high enough that they can climb onto the potty seat themselves. The stool has to feel safe so that it doesn’t slide around or tip over (think wide legs, anti-slip grip) and ensures that the child’’s knees form a ninety degrees angle when they are sitting on the toilet.



Preschoolers will appreciate a light switch they can reach (you can make or buy a Light Switch Extender that enables independence for small arms). They will need a sturdy stool as well, toilet paper that is within easy reach and a soap dispenser they can manage. If your hand towel bar or hook is too high up for them to reach you can hang a big towel in the washroom to make sure they will be able to use the bottom half of it. Make sure your hot water tank temperature is turned down to prevent scalding when they turn the water on to wash their hands. Stickers on the taps can help as well.

If your washroom is not near your playroom then you might want to have a basket handy in your playroom with diaper changing supplies. That way you can change a diaper without having to interrupt the other children’’s play. When you are deciding where to set up your play space in your home, think about having a sink accessible. It’’s vital for handwashing, craft clean up and meals.

Consider buying a child size potty if your washroom is on another floor from your play room. Having all the children run back and forth to the washroom a million times a day while one of your daycare children is learning how to read their body cues during early potty training is not fun. You can’’t leave the children unsupervised while you take one child to the washroom and you also don’’t want to spend half the day crowded into the washroom with five children. Having the potty available for the child on a washable surface in a quiet corner of the play space is a great option.

If you spend the time to plan how you can best meet the needs of your daycare children with your space limitations, you will be able to find a solution to any problem. Remember to also take the time to reflect on your set up once your home daycare is up and running. Ask yourself how you can improve your organization or equipment to make the day run smoothly. Once it feels effortless, you know you have found success.



  1. Thanks a lot!!!!