Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Toilet Training in a Montessori Way: Win a Free Book!


The Montessori approach to toilet learning is very different from the conventional approach. First, we call it "learning" rather than "training," which sounds like semantics, but it actually highlights a conceptual difference. We don't use rewards to train children; we set up an environment that allows them to teach themselves how to use the toilet. 

Extrinsic rewards like stickers, candy, and other special treats work like magic, but, if overused, they can create children who are dependent upon adults in order to make good decisions. I saw the effect of this when I was a first-year teacher. I worked at a school in rural Louisiana that had corporal punishment, so I worked very hard to never send children to the principal's office. Instead, I relied on all sorts of extrinsic motivation to get my children to make positive choices. And it worked! But then they would move on to 4th grade and all of the motivation dissipated because I was no longer there dolling out the rewards. 

Then I moved to a middle school that used the same kind of extrinsic motivation system of rewards and punishments. I thought it would work better because we were using the same system consistently for four years. However, once the children went onto high school, the same thing happened. They hadn't really internalized anything that we had been trying to teach through rewards and punishments.

When I found my way to Montessori, I learned all about how using extrinsic motivation can actually hinder the development of intrinsic motivation. At a workshop I attended, the speaker explained really clearly that using extrinsic motivation creates children who are dependent upon adults for affirmation. When those same children become middle-schoolers, they shift their dependence to their peers instead of their parents and are are more likely to make bad decisions in order to get affirmation from their peers. 

So the toilet learning process uses very natural consequences in order to enable children to learn how to use the toilet independently. Here's the process:
  1. Start very young. Montessorians tend to start the toilet learning process with children between 12 and 18 months. We started Henry at 18 months, but we have not yet started with Tate (who is 22 months). We are going to start wholeheartedly this summer.
  2. Set up the environment to support independence. Children need a comfortable toilet (like this one), a place to get fresh underwear, a basket to put dirty underwear, a stepping stool up to get up to the sink, access to soap, and a towel to dry their hands. 
After that, the process is really simple (and hard!). You simply help your child put on training underwear instead of diapers. I love the Hanna Anderson underwear because it is very absorbent and doesn't let pee splash out onto the floor, but it's also expensive so we use Target ones as well. About every hour, you tell them that it's time to use the toilet. They will inevitably have accidents. You simply help them change into new underwear and repeat. 

The most helpful book I've read on this topic is Toilet Awareness by Sarah Moudry. I'm thrilled that she offered to do a giveaway on Feeding the Soil! 

To enter to win a free copy of Toilet Awareness:
  • Leave a comment with your first name and the first letter of your last name
  • Enter by Friday, June 5th at 11:59pm EST
  • Only one entry per person (but you can ask your friends and family to enter on your behalf!)
I will announce the winner on Monday and ask that person to e-mail me their address. 

Happy Entering! 



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55 comments:

dear_dana said...

Dana G.

kzaback said...

Katie Z

Allison El Koubi said...

Allison E

I feel like we have started a bit late with Marc...

Erika said...

Erika K. Thanks for this. I need a jumpstart for our 22 mo old!

Roxanne said...

I am really interested in this giveaway! My son is only 13 months, but I occasionally put him on a small potty because of the idea that if you get them used to it they won't be so resistant to it when it comes time to use it more regularly. I'm not sure if the inconsistency is harmful, but I really want to do my best to encourage him to use the toilet. So, all that to say I'd love to get this book!


Roxanne W

andee said...

Andee O

Our baby is born yet - August - but I already think about this quite a bit. Thanks for the info!

Kate said...

Kate S.

Kate said...

Kate S. (Forgot to say I'm not a robot)

cs said...

Cimone S

Heather Shoberg said...

Heather S. I could use some help for sure... we've had some trouble in this area with our son and I'd like to do something different for our daughter.

Steele Farmhouse said...

Amber S.

Unknown said...

Aimee S. Just wanted to add that we did your Purposeful Conception course awhile back and we now have a little girl who just turned one!

Roodles said...

Sarah S.

My little boy is 13 months and we're just switching back to cloth nappies to make him more aware of when he is wet, plus sitting him on the potty several times each day. We're not strictly following any approach at the moment - just making it up as we go along!

Unknown said...

Neethu Joseph

Annalise Dawson said...

Annalise D.

My daughter is 13 months old, and we plan to start toilet training this summer. We would love a copy of this book to guide/support us through the process. Thank you!

Kerri Byrne said...

Kerri B.
Just started reading about Montessori approach to start with our daughter (8m) already loving the concepts :-)

Amanda Jarvis said...

Amanda J

Virginia Brooks said...

Virginia B.

Sharon said...

Sharon L.

Thanks!

Pamela Green said...

Pamela G. Thanks

kaleidoelia said...

Elizabeta Z

Amber said...

Amber R.

BoB said...

Barbara V

Chelsea.Palcher said...

Chelsea J

Paulina Dominguez said...

Paulina D

Carey said...

Carey W

lizi said...

Elizabeth T.

Perfect timing! My little girl is almost one and I was wondering how to approach the toilet.

Carey said...

Carey W

Carey said...

Carey W

Marissa Obringer said...

marissa o

Kelly said...

Kelly S.

Very timely! I've introduced the potties but want to step it up a little. Thanks!

Alissa said...

Alissa C.

Thanks so much for this great, timely post!

Kristi VanTassel said...

Kristi V.

s t e p h a n i e said...

Stephanie S

Unknown said...

Deborah S. My son is 14 months now. I am dreading this process. I hope this book will guide us in successfully completing the next stage of his development into a happy, independant little boy. Thank you.

Bex said...

Bex G.

The timing is perfect - I've been thinking that it was time to start introducing toileting to my son, and this would be so helpful!

Mismikado said...

Sebrina P.

We are in the throws of trying. At first my son would just sob every time we put him on his potty. Now he's OK but just refuses to go no matter what :-\

Penned by Peggy Calligraphy said...

Peggy K. Hope to win this for my daughter-in-law!!

MLC said...

Mazie Lynn C.
Thanks for the giveaway...if I don't win it, it's on my book list now!

Nicole said...

Nicole G.

i just started reading up on toilet training so this post was perfectly timed.

Alex said...

Alex G.

Sonya said...

Sonya C.

christine joe said...

Christine s

noorachen said...

Gretchen S

My son toilet-learned very smoothly at his Montessori daycare. I'm hoping to start the process soon with my daughter, who stays home with me and turns one today! Whether I win or not, I look forward to reading this book!

loribaby said...

Lori V. it's my birthday!

Anna Rosalynn Escalona said...

Anna E.

katejstross said...

Kate R

Erika Marcy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Erika Marcy said...

Erika M.

createdfamily said...

Bre D

Jillian L said...

Jillian L.

Please pick me! I need this! I have already tried so many things with my 26 month old! Bribes don't work. I need a new game plan! :)

Meghan & Dave said...

Meghan A

Jeannie D said...

Jeannie D

Mayra Mendoza said...

What is the name of the speaker you mentioned?

Lea Shell said...

Lea S

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