Toilet learning has been such foreign territory as a first time mum. There is such an overwhelming supply of advice and "information" out there and of course all of it is conflicting. I was so relieved that Montessori provided a comprehensive approach to this area of child development as with all other areas. What a relief to find common sense, gentle, thorough guidance.
I love the Montessori concept of "toilet learning" vs "toilet training". "Toilet learning" implies a gentle and gradual process that is intrinsic to the child. It is something that he will master when he's ready if he is given the right support at the right time. It's not about success or failure (for the child or his "coach"). I've used a lot of practical information form how we montessori and Racheous has collected some fantastic links on toilet learning which I have read thoroughly.
Our toilet learning journey started with cloth nappies from birth. I started using Gerber undies inconsistently from 12 months. Then from 18 months I have became much more consistent with a prepared environment and consistent routine. This is what we've been doing since then:
I have two identical potty stations located in places Bear is likely to be without pants on. The first on the way out of his bedroom. Here he changes out of his nappy and into undies first thing in the morning and after naps.
The second is in the bathroom opposite the toilet. I bring him here to clean up a poo. He likes to see his poo tipped into the toilet and waves goodbye when it's flushed. I also suggest he sits on the potty before and after baths or if he comes with me when I go to the toilet.
I use the word "suggest" very deliberately. I learned very quickly that there is NO point forcing, bribing or even encouraging Bear to sit on the potty. He will tolerate is a very brief reminder that the potty's there. Sometimes he does like to practice getting on and off but it has to be on his terms and so far he's not very interested.
We use Gerber baby training pants because they're cheap. Even when they're shipped from the US to Australia they're no more than $7 per pair. Advantages - cheap, good fit, good colour options, 100% cotton, no waterproofing. Disadvantages - poor absorbency, tend to fall down after a bit of wear.
At the moment we have 12 pairs and we use them whenever we're at home. 12 pairs isn't quite enough because they need to be changed so frequently. I have ordered another 12 which will be plenty and allow me to use Bear's nappies for the new baby. I slip a soaker from our Pop In nappies inside the undies which gives them the perfect absorbency. We've never had an overflow with the soaker in place but the nappy still looks and feels very wet.
When I can see that Bear has done a wee I tell him "you've done a wee in your undies - look your undies are wet". I encourage him to look at his wet undies and feel them with his hand. Then I change him quickly without fuss where ever he happens to be at the time and point out "now your undies are dry".
I don't think he is able to anticipate a wee or a poo yet. But over the last few weeks he has become reliable at letting me know when he's wet or dirty and cooperates much better with changes. This is exciting progress!
Of course being prepared for accidents is important. We have a ready supply of cloths and carpet cleaner. Bear loves this task and helps diligently whenever there is need. I was amazed how carefully he watched what I was doing the first time and how exactly he has imitated the work ever since. A fantastic Montessori moment!
My name is Vicky I am wife to Ranger and mum to two boys - Bear (2) and Fox (8 months). Somehow I stumbled across Montessori and now my goal is to raise and educate my children with a Montessori philosophy in country NSW Australia.