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October 31, 2023

Three Potty Learning Hacks from A Montessori Parent

In our Montessori home, potty learning is just another time of transition for our children. It's like moving from crawling to walking, babbling to talking, or any other slow learning process. So, I used the words potty learning hacks as a way to grab your attention, but I want to remind everyone that this is no three day, weekend thing. 

But, I do think these are really good tips that have served me well in helping my five kids learn to use the toilet in a child-led, slow, and peaceful process. So here are my three potty learning hacks from a Montessori mom.

Three Potty Learning Hacks You Need for Your Toddler

Here are my practical potty learning tricks and tips in a real life Montessori home: 

Skip The Pants 

First, for a long time, skip pants. There's a couple different reasons that I like to skip pants for a big chunk of the potty learning process. One, I don't have any explanation for it other than my kids are more successful without them. I've heard this from countless other parents too, toddlers just remember they are in undies better without bottoms on. So no pants has just meant more success. Two, no pants makes for a more independent process. Underwear are just so much easier for a toddler to put on and take off by themselves. Eventually as their skills increase, pants can be added but undies are a lot easier at first. Three, only undies creates a lot less laundry and makes me less stressed about the process. If I'm less stressed, everyone else stays more chill too! 

No-pants mini tips
  • Keep their core warm without pants in the winter. Dress in layers on the upper body. Cardigans, wool vests, and sweatshirts all help. With layers on top no pants hasn't been an issue. 
  • If pants are necessary, remind them that they are in undies. 
  • When I say pants, I also mean PJs. Make it easier to keep them out of PJs by having some undershirts available for early mornings before you're getting dressed. 

Keep Undies Handy

I'm a sucker for the cute little Montessori toddler wardrobe that contains a perfectly little curated collection of clothes. I really am. I love it. But not when it comes to undies. You need your undies everywhere. You don't want to go running around the house for a pair after every miss. That's frustrating for you and for your toddler. You want to stay in the general area of the miss, clean it up and be back on your way quickly. Otherwise you risk power struggles and just plain losing their attention in the process. 

Undies mini-tips: 
  • Store in accessible baskets around your house. Near a potty if you can. We have some in the bathroom, bedroom, and living room. 
  • Keep wet wipes with the undies! It makes clean up a lot easier for bigger messes. 
  • Make sure undies are not too snug so they can easily be pulled up quickly. 

Potty Moves to You

There's nothing worse than knowing your child has to go to the bathroom but they are resisting leaving their work area to go. Dragging them away creates a power struggle and makes the potty seem negative. Leaving them leads to misses. So move the potty to them! Pick up the little potty and pee in the middle of the playroom. Pee in the kitchen. Pee in the backyard. It's okay. It won't be like that forever. But move the potty around and help them find success. Eventually, it will become less of an ordeal to go and the potty can stay in it's spot, or even be eliminated altogether in favor of the large toilet. 

Potty mini-tips
  • Get a travel potty and keep it with you. Try a FlushHush when you have to use a regular toilet in public
  • Don't prioritize the large toilet over the potty which can feel safer and more comfortable to toddlers
  • A plastic desk protector under the potty can help save your floors from spills

Potty learning is a process that is just going to take you and your child time. It's a new routine and a new way of approaching a big part of life. But, with some help in your environment and your additute it can be a pretty low key switch. These potty learning hacks can make the process even smoother and help you to remember that this is just a new part of their learning. 

Equip yourself with practical potty learning tips and advice that can help make this transition smoother for both you and your toddler. Understand the importance of accessible undies and the mobility of the potty in this comprehensive guide from a Montessori parent.

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