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Toileting is the first opportunity for your child to experience independence.

Toileting is a collaboration process. The goal is to make the process as natural and seamless as possible. Making the time and having the patience is often the biggest challenge for parents. This process is not a quick fix, nor can it be done in a day. With any new learning process: consistency in handling, repetition, and time, allow this to be a naturally acquired skill. We must acknowledge that every time we ask a child to use the toilet, it may be a 30-minute process. The more relaxed you are about the process, the more comfortable your child will be. Which is why gently responding to the child, preparing the environment, and facilitating the appropriate capabilities of your child is essential.

The ideal time to start the process of toileting is to between12 months and 18-24 months. At 12 months the myelination process is completed. If a child can walk it means he has control of his sphincter. The nervous system is able to control the sphincter muscles but they need practice. Children can control their bodies and allowing them to make connections early helps it be a peaceful process, prior to their need to exert control. This age is the time when children are curious about what adults are doing and they have a strong desire to do as we do.

How do you know your Child is Ready! We can’t expect a child to independently use the toilet If the child does not know how to sleep alone, put food in his mouth, dress and undress. The language we use with the child when we change them helps the child become aware of his/her bodily functions.

When the child can follow simple directions for example he sees a ball and we ask him to bring it. Go get the book and bring it to me. When they can follow the instructions, the diapers can be removed. Can the child express themselves in some way. For example, can the child express themselves when they are sleepy. Look for facial expressions: Small hints that your child may be ready to urinate or feel an oncoming bowel movement. Look for regularity of the bowel movements: At around 12-15 months there should be regularity. Look at the demeanor of the child while using the diaper: Is he/she pulling at it? Is he/she undressing himself? If the answer is no, while toileting you can start to collaborate and help your child master this skill but it should not be a deterent to start the toileting process.

In our Montessori environments we support the child in his preparation by letting the child know you are wet and I am going to change your diaper so you can be dry. As soon as the children can stand well, we change them standing. As they become able to dress and undress themselves we provide an area where they can sit to put on their clothes. This gives them the opportunity to participate in the process of going to the bathroom.

Prepare the Environment in the toilet

  • Toilet or Potty Chair

  • Sink

  • Step stool to sink

  • Hand Towel

  • Wipes/Toilet Paper

  • Hamper for soiled clothes

  • Clean Underwear

  • Bath Rug or skid proof mat under toilet

  • Dressing Stool

  • Towels for wiping up the floor

  • Adult Stool

Potty training is an opportunity for Connection. When your child misses the toilet, don’t shame him or use negative language.

  • Do not ask yes or no questions and if you make the mistake, respect the no and ask again in a few minutes. (So instead of asking “Do you need to use the toilet?, say “it’s time to use the toilet, which toilet do you want to use?”

  • Use opportunities for natural motivation (i.e. we are going to use the toilet before going outside).

  • Follow the Child.

  • An effective solution for cleaning the training pants: vinegar, water, and baking soda (add an essential oil such as lavender or tea tree for a fresher smell).


For more information about toileting, we recommend the following book:


We have selected some products that we recommend for toileting:

Training Pants


Disposable Diaper Liners


Car Seat Savers





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