This month at our class meeting we talked about toilet readiness and toilet training!
Since the moment the child enters the Montessori environment we are introducing them and setting the foundation for them to eventually use the toilet independently when they are ultimately ready to do so. We start this by familiarizing the child to diaper changes standing up. When the child begins in our environments at the age of 18 months they are already mobile and changing them while standing gives them a respectful experience. This way we are respecting the child and their physical needs by allowing them to stand and sustain themselves as they would wish instead of ignoring this and laying them down. As the child stands this allows better communication with the adult along with the ability for the child to better see what is happening. We ask the child to pull their pants down on their own and to help with the removal of the diaper, or we begin to teach them so they can begin to practice towards independence. It is helpful to the child to learn at a young age and to interact in their own diaper change.
Once the child has removed their diaper we help them to sit on the toilet. Exposing the child to sit on the toilet each time they have their diaper changed helps them make the connection for toilet training down the road. Also, it is important to note that each time the child is wiped clean with a wet cloth that they also participate in this. If it is urine, we allow the child to wipe the best to their ability then tell them “now I’m going to help wipe”. If the child has had a bowl movement then as the adult, we would wipe them clean first then allow the child to get a clean cloth afterwards to wipe themselves.
As the child is exposed to sitting on the toilet each time they have their diaper changed they will begin to frequently urinate or perhaps even have bowl movements on the toilet! The signs for readiness that we look for are the child’s ability to pull their pants up and down on their own, a desire to sit on the toilet each time, and once the child is communicating that they have a soiled diaper.
Learning to use the toilet independently should be a gradual and natural process for the child. This should be done at the child’s timing and not the parents. Teaching them to be as consistent as possible. One major aspect to keep in mind about the child’s toilet or potty is it should always stay in one place. Along with having their small toilet in a constant place like the bathroom, it is also a good idea to set up a basket with clean underwear and another basket to place any soiled underwear. Having the child involved in the process of changing will help them tremendously.
Some key aspects to keep in mind:
Toileting should be in the child’s routine, before and after activities. Avoid interrupting them in an activity or moments of concentration.
Kindly tell the child to use the toilet instead of asking them “Let’s go use the toilet” “It’s time to go to the bathroom to use the toilet”. Asking them will most likely result in the answer “no”.
Toileting should be a positive and natural experience. Never reprimand a child if they did not make it to the toilet in time or force them to sit on the toilet.
If the child soils their underwear point it out to them “Your underwear are wet, let’s go change”.
“There should be no pressure, no reward or punishment, no adult deciding when the child should learn to use the potty. The environment is prepared and the child is free to explore and imitate in these natural developmental stages.” (The Joyful Child)
If you have any questions, please feel free to ask Ms. Becky or Ms. Rebeca!