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Toilet Learning The Montessori Way


Here at Applebee Montessori, we know that anybody who has been or is in the process of “potty training” a child, knows that it is no easy task, but don’t worry! We have complied a list of tips on how to follow the Montessori method of potty training. But, before we jump right into it the tips, it’s important to note that in Montessori terms, we refer to potty training as toilet learning. The reason behind this is due to the fact the children learn to use the restroom through a process of natural acquisition, like walking and crawling, which don’t require training.

You don’t need to wait until your child is preschool age to start toilet learning. Believe it or not, toilet learning can begin during infancy. Parents and caregivers can do this by introducing language to the baby during diaper changes. When changing, care givers can explain “You’re wet”, “You’re diaper is full” etc. Doing this exposes your child to the language that will be used when the time comes to begin the journey.

While there is no exact age that a child should began toilet learning, you can be on the lookout for some signs of readiness:

  • A child will try to remove their diaper
  • Begins to show interest in what other family members are doing in the rest room
  • May go longer periods of time with a dry diaper
  • May begin to tell you that have had urinated or defecated in their diaper
  • You may notice them try to hide while they use their diaper as they seek some sense of privacy

Once your child has begun to show signs of readiness, you will know that now is the time to commit to the process of toilet learning. The first step here to is ditch the diapers and move them into thick cotton underwear. These training pants are absorbent enough that should your little one wet themselves they won’t be left in a puddle of urine, but they will still be able to learn what being wet feels like. Toilet learning is also a time commitment, every 30-40 minutes you should be inviting your child to sit on the toilet, starting as soon as they wake up. The most important thing to remember is to remain consistent. Also remember that potty learning is a partnership between preschool and you.  Both your little one’s school and you as their parents, should be on the same page so that the child is not confused.

As with all things Montessori, you will want to prepare the environment. Some ways to do this would be to purchase a small “potty” seat that can be easily, and immediately accessed by your little one. Around 13-15 months and after your environment is prepared you may want to start with “stand up changes”. Stand up diaper changes allow for the child to be more involved in the process by taking off their bottoms, handing over wipes or clean diapers.

An important factor to consider when toilet training that can be easily forgotten is that the right type of clothing plays a huge role in your child’s success. Tights, overalls and other tight or restrictive clothing can hinder progress. So, what type of clothing should you dress your child in during this time? Elastic pants are great for this as they are easy for the child to pull up and down on their own after some collaboration with parents.

The last thing to remember is that there may be periods of struggles and regression, but it is totally normal! In instances of accidents, instead of saying “Oh no, you had accident” try saying “Let’s change those wet underwear” By saying this you focus more on the sensation of being wet/dirty versus dry/clean, after all children are sensorial learners. There is no doubt that regressions can be frustrating but remember to focus on the success! Doing so will increase your child’s self-esteem.

One last note, avoid offering rewards. Offering rewards for using the toilet goes against the Montessori method because it will lead the child to expect a reward every time they are successful, where the true reward lies is in their continued growth and increased self-confidence.

We hope that by following these tips you feel a little more prepared to start this journey with your child! If you are looking for a Montessori in McKinney, look no farther than Applebee Montessori Academy, located conveniently off 380 and Stonebridge Dr. We follow the Montessori method in all things and believe that to achieve these goals, we all must work together as one unit – the child, the teacher and the parents.  According to Dr. Montessori, “A child’s work is to create the person she/he will become” and our goal at Applebee Montessori is to help and guide the children towards becoming a whole person. Call 469-842-7300 to book a tour today!


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