Learning how to use the toilet (or potty training)

Montessori Tips for Toilet Learning (Potty Training)

Learning how to use the toilet (or potty training) is one of the most crucial stages in a child’s development. However, this is an incredibly intimidating task for parents. You can use the Montessori toilet learning approach to hack your way into this process and get more success.


Montessori Toilet Learning: Is Your Child Ready?

The Montessori learning method focuses on taking natural cues from the child. This approach ensures that the child is a willing participant in the learning process rather than the parent forcing a child even when they are not ready. The same approach applies to toilet or potty training. 

According to Montessori, using the toilet is one of the practical life skills that a child will naturally progress to as they grow older. Therefore, you must proceed at the child’s pace. The child will decide when they are ready to be trained. Parents must learn to identify the signs, so they know when to begin training.

It’s important to talk to your child about the different bodily functions that they go through. Make sure not to associate these bodily functions with negative feelings. Avoid making faces when changing their diapers so they do not feel embarrassed about it. 

You can provide a potty for your child to use at a young age, even before they use it as a toilet. Allow them to sit on it and imitate adults using the toilet. When a child reaches one year or above, they can control their bladder and bowel movement but don’t know how to use the toilet just yet. You must choose clothing that would make it easier for your child to put on and take off on their own. This approach will give them more independence, especially when toilet training.

Parents can implement a few strategies to help their child be naturally potty-trained


Strategies to Help Transition to Potty Training

Parents can implement a few strategies to help their child be naturally potty-trained. You can try these strategies that are based on Montessori toilet learning. The idea behind this approach is that children can control whether or not they want to use the toilet. Using language is a great way to reinforce this activity in their minds and train them to use the toilet under specific circumstances. 

  • When changing your child’s diaper, talk to them about the process. You can say things like “your diaper is full” or “your diaper is wet”. Using this language on your child encourages them to effectively communicate when they need to perform specific bodily functions, such as peeing or pooping.
  • The moment your child can walk, exercise liberty by involving them in putting their pants on or taking them off. This practice trains them to pull down their pants when they need to use the toilet. 
  • If your child can use both hands to perform a task, it means they are ready for potty training. Get them to use their hands in assisting their own body in performing basic toilet functions like peeing.
  • You can place their potty in the toilet. They will then associate this process with peeing and pooping as an activity that must be performed in the toilet. They can direct you to this part of the house if they want to use the potty.


Preparing the Toilet Learning Environment

Montessori experts recommend creating a suitable Montessori toilet learning environment to be successful with the training. 

The first thing you will need is a potty seat that is suitable for your child to use. Having their own potty seat will give them a sense of independence when using the toilet. If you can, make sure to get a small sink where they can go to wash their hands after using the toilet.

Once your child starts toilet training, fully commit to the process. Stop using diapers and switch to cotton underwear instead. Or, you can get training pants or underwear. Getting rid of the diaper allows them to recognize the sensation of being wet, which will train their minds to recognize signs they need to use the toilet before they get their underwear wet again. If you prefer to use a diaper, ensure you leave it for overnight use only. 

Whatever route you choose, whether you want to let go of diapers altogether or gradually change to wearing underwear, be consistent with your chosen method. You can also prepare for bed-wetting by adding a layer of a sheet to protect your child’s bed. 

There is no definite age to begin potty training. Every child is different. Keep an eye on the physical and psychological signs that indicate your child is ready to start training.

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