Skip to main content

Shifting My Expectations Toward Potty Learning

It's been a few weeks since I've written about Gus' potty learning journey and I wanted to talk about it again. He is still mostly wearing underwear here at home, but diapers when we are out and about. I plan to shift to all undies during the school year when he's the only one with me, right now I just can't deal with three kids in public and have to also deal with wet clothes and poop. That might not be the most Montessori answer, but it is what works for our family. And, what keeps the process stress free for us, which I think is most important. 

Undertaking the potty learning process has required me to shift my thinking as an adult.

I wanted to talk about shifting my expectations for potty learning. Because there has been a big shift. When I first started parenting, I didn't know anything about potty learning, I would have called it potty training, and it most certainly was a system based on rewards, an adult imposed time table and frustration. So this has been a shift. A shift towards learning. A shift towards respect and time. I'm not expecting anything overnight. I'm creating a new routine. 

This means I need to be: 
  • neutral toward accidents 
  • flexible - his plan might not always be my plan
  • kind and empathetic - this is a big change 
  • enthusiastic but not fake - this excitement has to be real, really invested in him and his journey without cheapening it by making it over the top. Basically, it needs to be genuine. 
  • patient this is learning, just like with learning to walk, talk, sit, stand, use toys - it takes time and practice and mistakes and exploration. 
I have also needed to shift my expectations away from perfection. On a couple fronts. One, the idea that potty learning will be this perfect process from diapers to underwear. That it will be a straight line. IT WILL NOT BE. There will be ups and downs, periods of intense interest, periods of no interest. There will be accidents, there will be success. I need to settle in for that ride. 

Undertaking the potty learning process has required me to shift my thinking as an adult.

BUT, I also need to let go of the idea of some "perfect" potty learning approach. My house is not a Montessori classroom. I cannot do everything exactly perfectly all the time. I need to know that there are times when I will feel discouraged, frustrated, and just need a break. And, that's alright too. 

This means I need to: 
  • recognize when I need to take a deep breath and step back from a situation 
  • make sure I'm making time for some self-care 
  • know that its alright to make adjustments (like using diapers out in public) when it's necessary for our family 
  • understand when its time for me to readjust our plan if something isn't working
It's a process that I'm excited to undertake! And, one that we will be walking through for awhile! If you are also starting to think about potty learning, looking for support, or otherwise wanting to learn more about potty learning, make sure you check out my course Your Toddler's Potty Plan



Popular Posts

The Ultimate Montessori Toy List -- Birth to Five -- UPDATED 2019

When you are interested in Montessori, it can be difficult to know exactly what types of products you should get for your home. Or which types of "Montessori" materials are really worth the price. There are no rules about types of products can use the name Montessori which can add to the confusion. Not to mention, every toy manufacturer slaps the word "educational" on the package for good measure!

2019 UPDATE: This post has been updated to include a variety of brands and new product finds! Just a reminder that no one child will be interested in all of this or needs all of this. These toys are just here to spark ideas and give you a feeling for some Montessori-friendly options available! 

So, with this post, I'm going to try to help with this confusion! Here's a list of Montessori-friendly toys and materials for babies, toddlers and preschoolers. 

First, let's clarify that there is no such thing as a "Montessori toy." Montessori never created to…

Sensitive Periods from Birth to 6 - A Chart and Guide

Dr. Maria Montessori spent her life observing, studying, and writing about children. During her lifetime of work she discovered that young children move through a series of special times when they are particularly attracted to specific developmental needs and interests. She called these times, sensitive periods. During the sensitive period, children learn skills related to the sensitive period with ease. They don't tire of that work, but seek it, crave it and need it. When the sensitive period passes, this intense desire is gone, never to return. 

That doesn't mean the skill is lost forever once the sensitive period is over. Instead, it just means that it will take a more conscious effort to learn. As Dr. Montessori explains, 
This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.
"A child learns to adjust himself and make acquisitions in his sensitive periods. These are like a beam that lights interiorly a battery that furnishes energy. It is this sensibility which enables a…

Working from Home with Kids - A Montessori Schedule

One part of my life that I haven't talked a ton about here on The Kavanaugh Report is how I'm a work-from-home parent. Eight years ago I started to work at home while parenting full time. For the first several years, I worked as a legal writer while maintaining this space on the side. When Gus was born, I moved into working on sharing our Montessori life full time. It has blossomed into a full time career sharing content here, teaching courses, and now the podcast! Through it all, my kids have been home with me. 
This all seems more relevant to so many of us now that Covid-19 has closed schools and forced parents to stay at home and work while caring for children. I'm not going to lie - it's tough. It's hard to balance work and kids, especially when children are used to a completely different routine. But, it's not impossible! And, it can even be enjoyable. 

As I talk about in my podcast Shelf Help, we block our days into 3 hours groups. It helps me remain fle…