One of the milestones in every new (or old) parents’ life is having their kids learn to use the potty successfully. According to Tim Seldin, author of How to Raise an Amazing Child: The Montessori Way, to bring up caring and confident children, we don’t train children to use the toilet, we support them when they are ready. He said that toilet training is a natural process and it begins with the child’s desire to grow up. It also means that the child’s neurological development has reached the point where he can control his bladder and his bowels. Applying this theory, we must note that the first thing to remember in toilet training is to know when your child is ready for it.
If you are following the Montessori method or you would like to follow it in toilet training your child, here are some things to keep in mind:
Let them know that using the toilet is a natural process
The child will be the one to decide when he’s ready to use the potty. In his own pace, he will develop a curiosity with using the toilet. The role of the parent in this stage is to explain the natural bodily processes. We can begin the conversation whenever we change their diapers.
It is important to emphasize that it is a normal process and that everyone goes to the toilet for the purpose of eliminating parts of food we ingest that our body does not need. One thing that we must avoid doing is to give a negative feeling about these bodily functions as we sometimes tend to make faces when changing their diapers.
Encourage their curiosity
You will usually notice your child’s curiosity with toilets from 12 to 18 months of age. At this age, they are starting to develop their physical ability to control their bladder and bowels. They would be mostly interested in playing with the water or flushing. You can redirect them to playing with water in the bathroom sink.
Some kids will imitate toilet use before this time. As long as they are given opportunities to see someone using the toilet, they will be curious about it. Encourage this curiosity and you can let them imitate others using the toilet by giving them their own potty which, like other Montessori supplies, is appropriate for their size. You can slowly teach them the next steps when they have been showing more interest in using the potty such as how to pull down their pants, sit on the potty, pull up their pants, and finally, the proper way to wash their hands.
Give them independence
You can give them independence by setting up that bathroom to be child-friendly as possible. You can place the potty in the bathroom where they can always see it. Avoid moving it around the house. You can also provide pieces of cloth for cleaning, a bucket for wet clothing, and a pile of clean underpants. Involve your child in the cleaning process, so they can have ownership of the cleaning process too. Guide them when changing to clean underpants and when putting away wet clothes in the bucket.
Know your role
It is important to avoid being emotionally involved in your child’s development process. Instead, we can show our support without pressure, reward, or punishment. We can be helpful by providing them a stool by the toilet so they can be more confident in using it. We can also incorporate using the toilet in their routine, we can offer using it upon waking, before or after a nap, after eating, and every two to three hours.
For some kids, toilet training may take a long time, and this is okay. Just like all other skills that children learn, they will master each one at their own time and pace. Just be patient and boost your child’s confidence in using the toilet by giving encouraging words and acknowledging your child’s attempts to use the toilet.