Some do’s and don’ts to keep in mind.
- Look for physical cues that your child is ready: staying dry for two hours or so at a time, seeking a retreat or quiet space for a bowel movement, or signaling parents to change diapers.
- Use real underpants whenever your child is awake, and reserve pull-on training pants or pull-on disposables for sleeping only.
- Avoid a potty-chair at home, opting instead to make your real toilet more accessible to your child. Beginning on the real toilet provides your child with one less transition to make as he or she masters the skill.
- If your child is in full-time care, talk with his or her teachers. Make sure they see the same signs of readiness at school and that they are able to reinforce your child’s toileting in the school setting.
- If your child’s school setting is unable to accommodate toddler toiling, consider scheduling a family vacation to help your child master the basic skills, then sending him or her back to school well on the way to toileting successfully.
- Help your child to turn out soiled underpants into the toilet, and reserve a special hamper for soiled underpants to keep them separate from laundry that might not need immediate attention.
- Expect accidents. Have a vinegar and water on hand to disinfect and clean up spots to carpets or floors. Some experts call this the “Two Week/$20 plan” – two weeks to toilet and twenty bucks to clean the carpets!
- Slow down the rest of your schedule to support emerging toileting skills. For the first few days at least, you’ll need to be near a toilet most of the time.
- Don’t backslide! If you’ve made the commitment to helping your child toilet, follow through.
Also read: On the Topic of Toileting
Originally published in The Magazine for Montessori Families by Catherine McTamaney