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3 min read

If this is your first time preparing for potty training, you might be waiting for your child to meet a long list of 'signs of readiness'.But with the Montessori approach to potty training - often more respectfully referred to as 'guiding the child towards toilet independence' - your child doesn't need to meet any 'signs of readiness'.And they can start sooner than you think.Many Montessori families introduce a potty around 12 months, only making the transition to underwear when they feel the child is ready.It's a slow, gradual process that follows the child, as with most things in Montessori.

So Where Do You Start?

Guiding the child to complete toilet independence simply begins with introducing a potty into the home - allowing your child to explore the potty, sit on the potty with their clothes on, talk about what the potty is used for... all without the expectation that they begin using it right away.

The four steps to gradually transition from introduction of the potty to underwear are fully outlined in this article from last year: The Montessori Approach to Potty Training (Toilet Independence)

For this post, I want to provide more info on the 'signs of readiness' to look for once your child has been using the potty for awhile (while still wearing diapers) and seems ready to take the final step to wearing underwear.

4 Signs of Readiness

1.  Showing an interest in toileting - If you've already had a potty in your home for months and your child independently shows an interest in using it (even if they're not always telling you when they have to 'go'), this is an excellent sign they're ready to make the transition to underwear.
It's even better if they've begun using the potty as part of their daily routine (i.e. willingly sitting on it when they wake up or before baths).

2.  Awareness of elimination (either pee or poop) - they tell you they’ve soiled their diaper or are expressing discomfort about having a soiled diaper.

3.  Staying dry for 2-3 hour periods - they're staying dry for 2-3 hours at a time or through some of their naps, this means they can physically hold their urine.
4.  They have a special place in the home they like to poop - this indicates they're aware of the fact they’re about to have a bowel movement.

You Might Not Have to Do This Alone!

If your child is in daycare/preschool, you can work with their teachers to help in this process. Many are pros at potty training!It's something they learn in their studies. They also have the first-hand experience in working with many different children and have likely dealt with various challenges, i.e. child is ok to pee on the toilet but afraid to poop, child has been using the toilet successfully for a few weeks and then there’s a "regression", etc.They can guide you if any of these situations come up at home.Katie, the Infant and Toddler Montessori teacher that runs our At-Home Program, suggests reaching out to your child's teachers before you start the process.Ideally, there would be some consistency between home and school to make it easier on everyone.And if you're getting ready to introduce a potty at home, we have a wonderful bundle with the potty, toilet seat, stool, and our favourite potty training book. You can find it here: https://themontessoriroom.com/products/potty-training-toilet-independence-bundle

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