Montessori Potty Training: Larissa’s Ultimate Guide

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Let's be frank, potty training is nobody's idea of a good time. It's messy, it's frustrating, and it can make you feel like you're failing as a parent. But fear not! The Montessori approach to potty training is here to save the day, and make the whole process a little more fun and a lot less stressful. So grab your potty chair and let's get started!
5 Steps to Potty Training your Toddler - Montessori Style

Table of Contents

Why We Love Montessori Potty Training

Montessori education is all about encouraging independence and self-directed learning, and that philosophy extends to potty training as well. The Montessori approach to potty training is all about empowering your child to take charge of their own bodily functions, and to develop a sense of control and autonomy. By giving your child the freedom to choose when and how they use the bathroom, you’re helping them develop important life skills that will serve them well in the future.

The Montessori Potty Training Mindset

Before we dive into the nitty-gritty of potty training, it’s important to adopt the right mindset. Remember, potty training is a process, not a race. It’s important to be patient, supportive, and empathetic throughout the process. Your child is learning a new skill, and it’s going to take time and practice to get the hang of it. So take a deep breath, and remember that accidents will happen, and that’s okay!

Step 1: Prepping Your Potty-Trainee

Watch your child for signs to see if they are ready to start potty or toilet training

The first step in Montessori potty training is preparing your child for what’s to come. This includes introducing the potty or toilet, talking to your toddler about using the bathroom, and encouraging them to observe and learn from other children who are already potty trained.

Tip: If your toddler attends daycare, this is a great opportunity to discuss this approach with their educators and get them on board!

The Montessori approach encourages parents to involve their little one in every step of the process, from choosing their own potty to selecting their own underwear.

So, how do you know if they’re ready? Well, you know your child best, so observe them and wait for the signs of readiness. Are they telling you they don’t want to wear diapers anymore? Can they follow simple instructions and communicate their needs effectively? If the answer is yes, then your child is ready to start!

Step 2: Observe, Observe, Observe

Watch your child for signs to see if they are ready to start potty or toilet training

In the Montessori approach, potty training is based on the child’s own internal cues and signals, rather than external pressure or reward systems. This means observing your child’s behavior and signals, such as facial expressions or body language, to determine when they may need to use the bathroom. By allowing your child to take charge of their own bodily functions, you’re helping them develop a sense of bodily awareness and control.

Step 3: Let Them Lead the Way

Watch your child for signs to see if they are ready to start potty or toilet training

Montessori potty training is all about empowering your child to take charge of their own needs and develop a sense of independence and self-confidence. This means giving your child the freedom to choose when and how they use the bathroom, and encouraging them to take responsibility for their own hygiene and cleanliness. It can be tempting to swoop in and take control when you see your child struggling, but remember that this is their journey, not yours. Trust that they will figure it out, and be there to support and guide them along the way.

To make the process even more enjoyable, let your toddler take ownership over the process. Let them choose their own potty chair and underwear, and help them set up their potty training station. They can even decorate their potty chair with stickers or draw on it with washable markers. The more your child is involved in the process, the more empowered and confident they will feel.

Step 4: Consider Cloth Training Pants

Montessori potty training isn’t just about getting your little one to go potty in the toilet, it’s about using cloth training pants too! Here are some reasons why:

Eco-friendly: Cloth training pants are reusable and washable, so you can cut down on your waste and make the world a cleaner place for your toddler to grow up in. Plus, you’ll be setting a great example for your kiddo on how to be environmentally conscious.

Cost-effective: Save money (and trips to the store) on disposable diapers. Cloth training pants can save you money in the long run, so you can use that extra cash for some fun adventures with your little one.

Sensory learning: Cloth training pants are great for sensory learning. They allow your child to feel when they’ve had an accident, which helps them recognize the feeling of needing to go. Plus, they’re made with soft materials that won’t irritate your little one’s sensitive skin.

Step 5: Be Gentle, Patient, and Supportive – They’re Trying!

Watch your child for signs to see if they are ready to start potty or toilet training

Potty training can be a wild ride with ups and downs, but don’t worry, you’ve got this. Here’s why patience and support are key:

Every child is different: Just like fingerprints, no two children are the same. Your child will learn to use the potty in their own way and at their own pace. So, don’t worry if they’re not “there” yet, they’ll get there eventually!

Celebrate the successes: When your little one uses the potty successfully, it’s time to celebrate. Give them a high-five, a big hug, or even a little dance party. Positive reinforcement goes a long way in potty training.

Be patient with the struggles: Accidents happen, it’s part of the potty training process. Be patient with your little one when they have a slip-up, and reassure them that it’s okay. They’ll get it next time.

Create a positive environment: Potty training can be stressful for both you and your child, so it’s important to create a positive environment. This can include fun potty songs, reading books about potty training, or even making a special “potty time” routine. Get creative and make it fun!

Offer support and encouragement: Your child needs your support and encouragement during this time. Let them know that you’re proud of them for trying and that you believe in them. 

Step 6: Celebrate the Wins

Potty training can be a long and laborious journey, but it’s important to celebrate the wins along the way. When your child uses the potty successfully, make a big deal out of it! Throw a potty party, break out the confetti, and sing a victory song. Positive reinforcement is a powerful tool, and it can help with encouraging your toddler to keep at it.

Step 7: Roll with the Punches

Even with the best intentions and the most well-thought-out plan, potty training can still be unpredictable and messy. There will be accidents, setbacks, and days when it feels like nothing is working. When this happens, take a deep breath, remind yourself that this is a process, and keep moving forward. Remember, you’re not alone in this journey. Every parent has been through it, and every child eventually gets the hang of it.

The Bottom Line

Potty training is a challenging but rewarding journey, and the Montessori approach can make the process a little more fun and a lot less stressful. By empowering your child to take charge of their own bodily functions and encouraging them to develop a sense of independence and self-confidence, you’re setting them up for success in all areas of life. So, grab that potty chair, take a deep breath, and get ready to cheer your little one on as they do their business like a boss!

Note From The Author: Larissa at Toilet Training Toddlers

When my son was ready for potty training, we decided to try the Montessori approach. We started by observing his behavior and waiting for the signs of readiness, which included showing interest in the potty and being able to communicate his needs effectively. Once we felt he was ready, we let him take ownership of the process by choosing his own potty and underwear. He was so excited and felt a sense of pride and ownership over the process.

In saying this, there were definitely some major ups and downs during the process, with accidents and setbacks along the way. It was important for us to stay patient and supportive, celebrating the successes and helping our son learn from the struggles. 

Overall, the Montessori approach to potty training worked well for our family. It allowed our son to take ownership over the process, learn at his own pace, and build independence and confidence. I would highly recommend giving it a try!

For more information on all things potty training, feel free to visit our blog Toilet Training Toddlers. See you there!

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