Montessori Baby

The author, trained as a Montessori primary teacher (AMI), documents and analyzes her efforts to raise a "Montessori" baby.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Diapering / Toilet Learning

So we're reaching that stage where a) diapering is not Alex's favorite thing to do and b) Alex has been showing signs of readiness for toilet learning.

On difficult changes....

One tactic that has worked well for us is to have an audience for diaper changes. My son loves stuffed animals, plastic dinosaurs, the animals from his farm...if he's playing with them at the time, they come with us to watch him get changed. This has worked well for putting on coats, shoes, etc.

Another strategy that seems to work well is letting him choose a place to get changed or choose a book to read while being changed (we change standing up, so I put the book on the closed toilet seat and comment on the pages while I work).

I would rather involve him in the process, but he is just not interested sometimes, so we try to be creative. Sometimes nothing works or I'm not patient enough to try different things, so I scoop him up and just do it.

On toilet learning...

Around 20 months, Alex began to show signs of readiness to use the toilet. I don't quite remember any more what led me to thing he was ready - maybe dry diapers? interest in sitting on his toilet? During changes, I would invite him to go on the toilet and he would do so fact, it seemed as though he was holding it in order to go on the toilet (except poop - which is still very much a private, diaper-oriented venture).

When we returned from our holiday travels, we invested in some padded underwear and tried a week diaper-free (except at night). It was great at first...we would regularly invite him to use the toilet and he would go...but then it all turned sour. Alex became very interested in peeing everywhere it was possible to pee. In fact, he got so good at holding and releasing that he could hit seven or eight spots in one go. I know the toilet learning articles suggest calmly involving your child in the cleaning up process, but this was more than I could handle patiently!

So for a while we just went straight back to diapers with occasional invitations to use the toilet (which he refused). Now that some time has passed, we offer an invitation - do you want to pee in the toilet or in your diaper? We remind him that these are the places where we pee. I worry about him feeling ashamed if he makes a mistake, but at the same time think it needs to be clear that these are the (only) places where pee belongs. He now does a mix of peeing in the toilet and in his diaper. Until he shows consistent interest in using the toilet exclusively, I think we'll avoid switching to underwear.

I would love to hear other experiences or tips!


At 8:41 PM, Anonymous Brandy said...

Hi! I just found your blog. My son is 27 months and we are potty learning as well. We went straight to underwear about 6 weeks ago. Some days I fully regret this decision, and some days I'm glad I did it.

Usually my son has little interest in helping clean up an accident. I sometimes get frustrated thinking he *should* want to help, having read that. But the truth is, he usually doesn't.

On the plus side, he hasn't had any accidents lately. We still do (cloth) diapers at night.

I don't know if this is un-Montessori, but whenever we see interest in using the potty fading, we spice it up. We've been adament about not using rewards, so we needed a little creativity.

Here are some of the things we've done so far:

-In the morning, I got out a large (2 cup) glass pitcher with water, food coloring and a wisk. I showed my son how to squirt food coloring (his choice each day) into the water and stirred with a wisk. In the bathroom, I poured some of the colored water into a smaller glass creamer which he poured into the potty. He then added his (yellow) pee and stood up to see if the water changed color.

-Once that game started to become less exciting, I set out a tray with three small glass cups (shot glass size) of colored water (yellow, blue, and red--I moved on to natural food coloring because he started sometimes tasting this), an eyedropper, and a glass creamer. He mixed his own "potty water" for experentation. I've switched up the tool, to give him experiences with other tools besides eyedropper--plastic syringe, nose bulb, spoon...

-We've also put water in an old parmeseam cheese container, added shampoo, shook it to make bubbles and added that to the potty.

Again I don't know if those are un-Montessori ideas. I'm just beginning to learn about Montessori. Our major thing was to not introduce rewards. And after going straight to underwear, we found it in our best interest to keep his interest in pottying as high as possible.

At 1:21 PM, Blogger Montessori Mom said...

I love it! I had heard about folks using "sink the cheerio" to maintain interest - but I think color mixing beats that hands down.


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