Enjoy 5 tips for independent toddler toileting from Meg Hicks, Montessori guide. They include advice on supporting your child’s independence in the bathroom as well as an important reminder: This is your child’s journey, and parents are just the support system. Read all 5 tips here!
1. A Potty or a Toilet Seat Adaptor
Like everything in Montessori, providing your toddler with toddler sized tools is an important factor in their success.
If you choose a potty make sure it is easy to empty and clean, has a splash guard, has a high back for support and is always available.
If you choose a toilet seat adaptor make sure it is always in the correct position, ready to use, and easy to clean. If you choose this option you will also need a step to make the seat accessible to your independent toddler.
If they have to rely on you to reach the seat, or open the door, or place the potty in position you will not be meeting their need for independence.
2. Cotton Training Pants
If you are serious about child-led toilet learning, then consider ditching the pull-ups. Not only are they expensive, they are a hindrance to your child’s sensation and awareness of wetness.
Cotton training pants are washable, foster independence, and most importantly give great feedback when your toddler pees or poops. You need at least 10 pairs to start with. In the beginning, your toddler will go through many pairs of pants before they begin to connect the sensation of elimination with the result.
You will need to store the clean underwear in an accessible basket, and you will need a bucket or hamper for the soiled pants. You may like to consider a waterproof sheet or liner to protect the bed, the sofa and the car seat while your toddler is in the process of gaining control.
3. A Place to Sit
Toddlers are top-heavy. Their heads are very large for their small bodies and this makes it difficult for them to bend over whilst standing. A small stool up against the wall gives them a stable base to support independent undressing and dressing.
Even if your child cannot undress themselves completely independently, they can definitely master the art of removing underpants if they have a safe place to sit.
4. A Clean-up Kit
The reality of the toilet learning process is finding ways to make the clean-up as easy as possible. Puddles are an inevitable part of the journey, and a little bit of prior preparation will make it go smoothly. Create an adult sized clean-up kit, and a toddler sized kit for your child to use. Store them together and invite your child to help with the clean-up work.
If you have carpeted floors you will need a very absorbent cloth (synthetic chamois does a great job of lifting puddles from a carpet), a bucket of clean water with a drop of tea tree, lavender, or lemon essential oil (some people like to purchase a bucket with a lid to keep access limited), a shaker with bicarb soda to eliminate odours.
If you have tiles or hard floors you will need an absorbent cloth, a mop, and a bucket with a wringer.
Try to follow a clean-up routine that remains as constant as possible. Toddlers rely on external order to create internal order.
Also consider how to make hand washing an accessible part of the toileting routine and include this step right from the beginning of the learning journey.
5. A Way to Keep Track
Your toddler has a unique body clock that is becoming more and more predictable as they get older. If you keep notes on what happens each time they pee or poop, you will soon begin to see a pattern emerging.
You may, for instance, notice that your toddler is always wet upon waking from a nap. Initiating a visit to the toilet before their nap time might be a step towards waking up dry. Other times your toddler may need to visit the toilet include before or after eating or drinking, before getting in the car, before bed time, and first thing in the morning.
It is important to remember that you are your child’s support network. It’s easy to forget this, but it’s not your work, it’s theirs.
If your toddler says ‘no’ to your offer of a toilet visit, and then pees somewhere else, you can initiate a clean-up activity without making a fuss. Attempts to control or manipulate will create conflict. Keep your toddler in the driver’s seat for this one!
Recommended for you: