Using the Montessori Method for Toilet Training at Home and School

If your child is not toilet trained by the time they enter preschool, it is a great opportunity for you to apply Montessori methods of learning to their toilet habits. If your Montessori school allows cloth diapers, it is likely that they apply the Montessori method to toilet training and can help you learn it and apply it in your own home. 

Does Your Preschool Require Toilet Training? 

Many preschools, even some Montessori preschools, require children to be toilet trained before they can begin attending classes. If your child learned their toilet habits early and you are confident in their ability to recognize their need to eliminate, this is not a problem. However, the demand for 2–3-year-old toddlers to be fully toilet trained can put unneeded stress on both children and their parents. 

Cloth Diapers vs. Disposables 

The technology used in making both disposable and cloth diapers has advanced so much in recent years that children can wear a wet diaper for an extended period of time without ever feeling wet. This can be very convenient for caregivers and helps prevent diaper rash. However, it is important that when you begin to teach your toddler about using the toilet, they can feel when they urinate. This may mean switching to more traditional cloth diapers or cloth underpants with an extra layer of cotton to soak up urine. It also means that you and your child’s teachers may have to change their diaper more often. 

Toilet Teaching vs. Toilet Training 

Applying the Montessori method to toilet training turns the process into what is known as toilet teaching. Similar to any other skills taught through the Montessori method, toilet teaching involves waiting until your child shows interest in using the toilet, and then taking advantage of that interest to help them learn new skills. To promote interest, you may purchase a children’s toilet, take your toddler into the bathroom to show them how to dispose of toilet paper and flush the toilet, and begin changing them standing up. However, you will wait to begin putting them on the toilet until they express interest. 

An important part of toilet teaching is to follow your child’s schedule and not pressure them to progress more quickly than they want to. While you should give them positive encouragement and opportunities to become familiar with the toilet, you should not shame them for making mistakes or lacking interest. 

Before beginning toilet teaching, talk to your child’s teacher. They may have some tips and will be able to tell you how it is done in your child’s school, one like Kindergarten Colwell Nursery School, so you can be consistent at school and home.