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Toilet Learning Expectations

What is the expectation for my child at Goodwater? 

  • The child should be independent in the bathroom by the first day of school.
    • Examples: Independently using the toilet and changing clothes
  • Children should come to school in underwear; no diapers or pull-ups 

Why is this important? 

  • In Montessori our first goal for the child is around independence and connection. In order for the children to progress both socially and academically they must first gain enough independence to take care of their basic needs. 

How can I support my child over the summer?

Young children generally show an interest in toilet learning between 18-36 months old. If you have a child within this range, here is a link you may be interested in on Montessori toilet learning.

Older children, 3yrs and up, who are still working towards independence may need more support and/or rewards. Here are a few tips for supporting the older child in becoming independent in the restroom.

  • Stick to a routine.  This is a critical component to toilet learning at any age. Set an alarm for every 1-2 hours to remind your child to go to the restroom. 
  • Dress your child in loose-fitting clothes that are easy for the child to remove. A number of accidents happen simply from the child struggling to remove their clothes. 
  • Establish rules for accidents.  Setting guidelines around what will happen in the event of an accident is perfectly fine. A 3yr old is capable of changing their own wet clothes, placing them in the proper location, and cleaning themselves to put on dry clothes. Gently remind your child that they have control over their body, and this means that they will participate in the cleanup of their body as well. 
  • Being around other children who are independent. Children enjoy copying others, and so encourage them by being around other independent children. 
  • Stay positive. This is important when the child has an accident. Be factual with your description, but make sure the child knows it is okay. Example: “There is urine on the floor. This happens to every person in the whole world; sometimes, we pee before we can get to the toilet. How about you go into the restroom and begin changing your clothes and cleaning yourself while I help with the floor.” 
  • Limit rewards. Being independent in the bathroom is the most common thing we do, and we should not receive over congratulations. However, older children may need this, in the beginning, to be convinced that they want to be independent in the restroom. 
  • Setbacks will happen. This is a process and will take time for you and your child. Stay positive, consistent, and persistent in your process and over time your child will get back on track.