Potty Training for Children – A Montessori Approach

Potty Training! These two words are more than enough to make the parents of any toddler cringe and worry. It is a topic that garners a wide range of advice from experts, doctors, friends, family, or even Google! And all of them are based on real-life experiences that have had varying levels of success and setbacks. Because of this, the transition from diapers to toileting is a contentious discussion.

At Springdale Academy, we apply Montessori principles to this important childhood task. But before we go any further, let’s discuss why we call it “Toilet Learning” and not “Potty Training.”

Every child is indeed different, but they all crave independence. From the time they were born, they have peed and pooped. It’s something that a child already knows how to do, and now we’re just providing a prepared environment for them to do so. Learning to use the toilet is equivalent to learning how to walk or talk. This is how we set our children up to explore and succeed in their endeavors. The Montessori approach to potty training your child is a gradual process in which parents are encouraged to make this a part of the routine according to the pace the child is comfortable with. It does not involve any rewards or punishments, or timetables that can induce pressure on both the parents and their children.

Signs Toddler is Ready for Potty Training

The toddler program at Springdale Academy recommends paying attention to the physical and psychological signs of readiness instead of a fixed age for toilet learning. For example, physical signs like when a child is confident enough to walk mean their sphincter muscles have formed or maybe you noticed that your child is going for longer periods with a dry diaper. These are indicators of when a child has enough muscle control for toilet learning. Psychological signs can refer to treating the diaper as a foreign object and ripping it off. They could also be showing interest in what other family members are doing in the bathroom, or they might tell you they have had a bowel movement or urinated. It is also important to remember that parents must be patient and understanding. There are bound to be accidents because it takes a while for the child to realize what is happening, and sometimes even parents can miss these subtle signs, which is why a positive attitude is a must so that the child does not feel scared or frustrated. Rather, they are motivated to follow and understand their own bodily needs.

Observation is a hallmark of Springdale Academy’s teachers. Our teachers watch out for the signs of readiness and work closely with the parents to put in place a consistent approach at home and in the school. They can also provide you with ideas on how to create a prepared environment for your children, like giving the children access to underwear or rags to help clean up, yet another way to give your child a sense of control, or putting a little potty at their level and a laundry basket where they can put away their soiled clothes. Ultimately, toilet learning is no different from everything else in Montessori education. It’s a three-way partnership between the parents, teachers, and children.

Success is going to depend on your expectations going in. Potty training is a new learning opportunity for your child. Your child will make the connections and their awareness will grow in time. So be confident in them, take the pressure off yourself, and trust the process.

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