Did you know that potty training, or “toilet learning”, as we call it, should start before 18 months of age? In our school, children begin the toileting process as soon as they can pull themselves up and support their bodies. It’s not about setting high expectations, assuming child will learn how to use the toilet and control their bladder right away, but more of establishing a routine, and providing all of the tools the child needs to succeed. In time, they will recognize that using the toilet is a common routine. They will internalize the concept, ‘my urine goes in the toilet, not in my diaper or on the floor’. They recognize that you respect their time and space by providing a safe place for them to fulfill their bodily needs. Each meticulous step in the toileting process, is a step towards the child’s overall independence and self confidence.
Many of our students are fast approaching the age to start preparation for the transition from the Infant Nido Community to the Toddler Community. This is a very important time in their development, as they go from being the leaders in the Infant Room, to being some of the youngest students in a completely new, toddler room. They’ve spent their entire life in the Infant community; this is a big change for them!
Our goal, and the beauty in the Montessori philosophy, is to establish consistency between the child’s home and school environment, especially during this transition. It’s important to try to prepare a Montessori environment at home, including all “things” that a child will need, use, wear and be exposed to within their immediate environments. This approach can make everyday tasks and these ‘transitions’ as your child grows, smoother and easier for children and adults alike.
What Can I do at Home to prepare my Child for their Toddler Transition?
According to the AMI Montessori guidelines for ages 0-3 and setting up the environment, adults can purchase a potty and keep it stored next to the diaper changing area as soon as the infant nursery is set up; thus making the toilet an everyday household fixture that “has always existed” in the child’s reality. In contrast and in most instances, the potty is suddenly purchased and appears in the child’s reality around age 2 whenever the adults decide they are ready to begin the toilet learning process.
Montessori practice supports the natural unfolding of human development in the earliest years. Assistants to Infancy teachers work collaboratively with the child through the stages of acquiring abilities, using such tools as keen observation skills, a dynamic language environment and the understanding that each new level of abilities achieved becomes a stepping stone for the next. Adults gain an appreciation of what concentration looks like for children under three years of age. The teacher understands that each child’s growth is following a critical pattern established by nature and that moments of “developmental crises” that present themselves are really opportunities for moving forward to the next level. Toilet learning is approached using Montessori principles and respectfully maintaining the dignity of the child. The signs are clear when a child is ready to transition from the infant community into a primary setting.
Full Credit: http://montessoriguide.org/journey-to-independence/
How you set up your home environment, including the materials you make available to your children, can greatly influence their development, both physically and mentally. Their home environment is just as important as their school environment; the two should coincide with one another to allow for a consistent level of learning all throughout the day.
Once again, we follow up with the Crawford Family Home to see the bathroom areas that they’ve created for their son. Each piece of equipment is prepared in such a way that allows him to use the toilet on his own, free from unnecessary parent intervention. A low-set chair sits beside his toilet to allow him to comfortably take off his pants/socks before he sits on the seat. Stairs leading up to the sink help him to use the faucet and soap whenever he feels the sensation to clean his hands. A small cloth is set at his height so he can properly dry his hands afterwards. His toilet is also portable, and can be placed anywhere throughout the house allowing him to use it whenever/wherever needed. By maintaining a consistent toileting process such as the one described here, the child learns to independently fulfill their bodily needs, helping them to better internalize and understand the delicate process.
What does your home bathroom layout look like? Do you find that your children can easily access everything they need?