by Holly Daniel
When my daughter was just 14 months old, we started Montessori potty training (learn more about Montessori here) every night before her bath. It took her a full month before she actually went pee in the toilet and we celebrated like crazy! We then took it up a notch and started putting her on the toilet after nap as well. At one point, around 17 months old, she was peeing twice a day in the toilet.
Unfortunately for us, we had an unexpected move coming up so her success had to wait. I knew it would have been the perfect time to start fully potty training her as we were gaining momentum and she was gaining understanding. Along with moving came a whole heap of new distractions such as a trail of visitors coming to visit us, weaning from breastfeeding and the dreaded canines came in! We managed to continue to get her to go pee every night before bed but lost the nap time potty break. All in all, we decided to wait out the storm and try when things calmed down again.
So that’s where we are now, calmed down and starting our potty training journey. We decided to go with the three-day naked method. If you are unfamiliar with it, it is basically exactly what it sounds like, three days of full nakedness. This suits well with Montessori potty training as it is also suggested to let the child be naked as much as possible while potty training.
Our daughter could not have done a better job! After her three days naked, we put underwear on her for the fourth day and she didn’t go pee in them once! On the fifth day, we had no accidents, as well as her first poo in the toilet! She continues to do better every day, notifying us when she needs to go and catching herself before an accident happens.
Here are five potty training tips:
- Follow your child’s lead – When you start to notice your child becoming more interested, as well as other indicators that your child is entering a sensitive period (typically between 18-24 months), that is when you will want to start potty training.
- Prepare your child’s environment – Prepare for your child’s new adventure by having a potty seat or aid and easy access to the toilet with a stool. Having a book to read may help your child stay on the toilet longer. You will also want to have a place where your child can access a sink to wash their hands.
- Let your child be free – You are going to want to encourage your child to go naked for as long as possible. This will help them see and understand what is happening. Three days is a great start but if you can do it for longer or even for just a few hours a day it would be helpful.
- Encouraging independence – While your child is getting the hang of using the toilet, you will want to be encouraging their independence through self-care. This can be done by having your child help to dress themselves and undress themselves when going to the toilet as well as washing their hands after they are finished.
- Keep moving forward – Remember that any progress is still progress, and it takes some children longer than others to pick up the skill of using a toilet. Don’t let any setbacks discourage you.
I took some notes at the end of each day for our first five days of Montessori potty training. Here are my thoughts specific to our potty training efforts:
Day #1- That was exhausting.
My daughter went pee three times in the toilet and about eight times on the floor, not including the one poo I had to clean up. She peed on the floor, on the couch, on the slide, in the laundry basket, outside, in her crib, and yes, the toilet.
She didn’t seem to mind the nakedness at all. However, when she went pee she would be clearly upset that she was “dirty”. I would purposefully not make a big deal about it and just take her to the toilet and clean her up and ask if she needed to go potty.
Towards the end of the day, she was trying to get my attention and because I was watching her like a hawk all day I noticed she seemed like she might have to go pee. I asked her if she needed to go potty and she ran to the toilet and went pee! I’m not sure I could ask for more than that on her first day!
Day #2 – That was disgusting!
While she is showing signs of knowing when to head to the toilet, we have had more accidents than successes today, including the poo she told me about as it was happening. I tried to move her quickly to the toilet and you can imagine the problem with that.
I’m really hoping that tomorrow brings her first poo on the toilet. I don’t know how many times I can do that.
Day #3- I think this is really working.
Wow, I am impressed! We are about equal to the number of accidents and successes on the toilet.
No poo in the toilet yet, but my husband was home today to help with the cleanups.
Day #4- Started wearing underwear.
I questioned putting my daughter in underwear since most of what I was learning was to keep the child naked as long as possible. I did it anyway. She seemed to be excited for them and her little cheeks were getting chapped from being naked.
We had such a successful day today. I am so impressed with how well she is doing with all of this. The only accident she had all day was the poo she did outside.
Day #5- NO accidents all day!!!
Again, I am just amazed at how quick my daughter is catching on. We had no accidents at all today! She went poo in the toilet for the first time and we all cheered like she just won an Olympic medal!
I don’t see us going anywhere but up from here. She has really grasped the whole concept of Montessori potty training and I couldn’t have hoped for better.
Originally from Nebraska, Holly Daniel moved around quite a lot, even to other countries. She and her husband Nick have an energetic one-year-old daughter named Aneira, who has changed their lives forever. Trying to be the best mom and researching so many topics, Holly realized she could help others by sharing the information she found as well as her mistakes.
So through her blog, http://thistoddlerlife.com, she makes it easier for mothers to find what other moms are already doing. Holly shares what she finds useful in easy to read lists for all the very busy moms out there who don’t have time to look for it themselves.