At Fox Valley Montessori School, Toddler Teachers partner with parents to help a child learn to use the toilet—we’re on your team!
Learning is a group effort, and consistency between home and school helps reinforce awareness. As a matter of respect for the child, in Montessori circles, we prefer to say “toilet awareness” and “toilet learning”. We don’t train children, we guide them.
The child will slowly build skills around using the toilet, starting with being able to manage their own clothing independently. At first they practice pulling their pants up and down and later their underwear. We can offer a child-sized toilet every time that we change their diaper, never forcing them, but making it part of the daily rhythm.
How can you help at home?
Offer the toilet regularly at first. If we ask a toddler if they need to go to the toilet, usually the answer is “no.” It is a common response for a toddler who is developing autonomy. Instead you can say “It is time to go to the potty” leading them to the bathroom. After several weeks, children generally begin to have more awareness of their body and sometimes they start telling us that they need to go to the toilet. They are able to hold it for longer periods at a time and they will no longer need reminders.
Signs of readiness
The most important thing is to follow your child and look for signs that the child may be ready.
• Pulling at their diaper when it is wet or soiled
• Squatting or going to a private place
• Telling you they have urinated or had a bowel movement
• Resisting having their diaper changed (sometimes)
• Taking off their diaper
Set up the bathroom with your child
• Have a potty or a small toilet seat on the toilet. If your child will use the toilet, you will need a step that the child can manage themselves and as a place to rest their feet and feel secure while sitting on the toilet.
• You can have a place in the bathroom for soiled clothes, clean underwear, and cleaning rags for puddles.
• Having everything ready will help you remain relaxed and not rush looking for things.
Keep it normal
• Involve your child in the process. Buy some underwear together.
• Increasing body awareness is the first step. Children are learning what it feels like to be wet and may even stand to watch their pee going down their legs.
If they refuse to use the toilet, never force the issue. This is their body. We can’t rush it or do it for them, but we can keep offering. Acceptance of who they are and where they are in this process is important to keep equilibrium in your relationship.
Our experienced staff are here to help your child with this process. To learn more about Fox Valley Montessori School, contact us for a tour. Our families come from all over the Fox Valley area including Aurora, North Aurora, Batavia, Oswego, Plano, Sugar Grove, Geneva, St. Charles and more! To learn more about toilet learning, download an article from American Montessori Society here.