By Colleen Noll
In this 3-part blog series, we will discuss the MSOSV process working with your toddler and becoming independent on the toilet! With a little consistency, dedication and of course, some fun, we will work together with you to transition to underwear, allowing your child to use the toilet completely by themselves.
While there are many ways to assist a child to becoming fully independent using the toilet, in this blog and at our school, we focus on the following approach which aligns with the Montessori philosophy as well as proving to be successful for Montessori guides and families who attend the program.
Special thanks to Ms. Carmen, Pre Primary Guide at Crescent Montessori School, who has developed the Pre Primary Toilet Independence in the MSOSV communities, all MSOSV Pre Primary communities follow this plan.
Children are offered the opportunity to use the toilet between the ages of 18-months to 3 years of age. Children are never forced, shamed, or disciplined during the process of toilet learning.
Children have their diaper changed in or near the bathroom/toilet area. This happens every 2 hours or as needed.
When the pre primary guide removes the diaper from the child, the child is offered the toilet. Once the pre primary guide has established the child is showing readiness to use the toilet, a parent meeting is called to begin the partnership working together with school and home to transition into underwear.
The pre primary guide and family agree that it is time to begin toilet learning process. This process is expected to take one to three months. Toilet learning is a team effort and parents are expected to follow the routine at home.
All children between the ages of 18 months to 3 years are offered the toilet after each diaper change. Often, they feel the sensation of urinating or passing a bowel movement but do not feel the end-product because of super absorbent disposable diapers. A child is physiologically ready to use the toilet at 12 months but with the use of disposable diapers a child usually starts at two to two and a half years old. Introducing the toilet to children as young as 12 months will help the child become used to the toilet. This is a part of toileting routine before the power struggle starts or as we say in the under threes movement- the crisis of self-affirmation (tantrums). It does not take long to associate the toilet with regular use once the child feels the toilet under their body. They are not yet toilet independent, but they are going through the process of learning.
The regular use of the toilet allows the children to become familiar and comfortable with the toilet. It is a positive experience, and the children enjoy exploring the environment. This allows them freedom of movement so that they can teach themselves to move on and off the toilet at their own learning pace, additionally this allows the child to be more independent.
We recommend that all clothing be two-pieces during this learning process. The bottoms should be elastic waist allowing the child to independently pull up their own pants/skirt.
Also, this allows the child to pull down clothes quickly if they need to use the toilet urgently. There are toilet training pants that can be bought that are made of thick fabrics, terry toweling so the moisture is absorbed but still lets the child feel the wetness. Underwear needs to be cotton and elastic and should not cut off any circulation, be sure to buy appropriately sized underwear to allow for ease of dressing the self.