Thursday 18 April 2019

Toilet learning 20 months old

Potty trained at 20 months old??

One of the first reactions I received was: "Pity her!"

I do not blame anyone who thought so because I would think the same IF I did not know about Montessori philosophy and method. Some might think I 'force' my child to do something beyond her capability. 

Fret not, it was a natural, respectful and gentle way. However, bear in mind, this is not for those who look for potty train in few days. Mine took few weeks. 

What made me start teaching K to use toilet? 

💚Time - Time was on my side. There were currently no major changes in our life (e.g. new baby, overseas travel) and I also have plenty of time now (I'll be starting work soon). 

💚Support & knowledge - To be able to be patient and prepared, one needs to understand how things work. So, you become more confident. I tried to read on Montessori toilet learning - they frequently use that term instead of potty training. One of the books I read was 'Stress-Free Potty Training' which I borrowed from National Library. The books personalize approach according to the kid's personality. I will explain later. I mixed the tips from those readings to make up my own approach towards little K. 

💚Signs of readiness - The key factor; Kawthar! It was through my observation on her that made me more confident. 

1) She told me everytime she wanted to poop (body awareness)

2) She learnt to squat when pooping
3) She loved taking off her diapers and walked diaper-less 😂 

However, some kids may have different signs. 

First steps 

💧Know your child's personality 

- Is she sensitive to changes? Does she love achievements? There are 5 types of personality that are listed; Goal-directed, Sensory-directed, Internalizer, Impulsive and Strong-Willed. I did the questionnaire and found out Kawthar has moderate characters of goal-directed and internalizer. It was good to find out her personality through the test but if you don't read the book, its still can still try to read your child. 

In my case, I noticed that Kawthar is quite sensitive if I push her (Internalizer). She would say No to everything and give opposite reaction. This is why some famous tips like asking/inviting K to sit on toilet every 15 mins - did not work with K! Same goes with giving her lots of drinks (not a normal routine). She felt pressures from it. I invited her every 3-4 hours only. Example of sensory-directed child is kids who are bothered by label tags on their clothes. So, they might be particular and bothered when sitting on the potty/toilet seat. You can let her practice sitting on it many times before acting further. Sitting is also part of learning, worry not!

💧Right equipments 

- I bought 2 types; IKEA Lilla potty and IKEA Tossig Toilet seat. Tossig must be used with a stool and I chose IKEA Bolmen stool as it has a suitable height and is waterproof. At first, I thought Tossig was rather high for K to reach and Lilla would be a good option as its on the floor. But it turned out that K looked at Lilla more as a toy rather than a potty so she never pee/poop on it. Maybe it was due to its bright colour and lightweight. 


Having right equipments would make the child feel belong and confident to use. Right size and right height. Tossig has small size of hole so K could sit rather comfortably compared to sitting directly on the regular toilet while Bolmen is sturdy, anti-slip (not moving at all) when Kawthar climbed on it. This setting allowed her to do things independently - climb and sit on her own or with minimal help from mommy. 

💧Physically and emotionally prepared parents

- Wajib! Keep positive mind throughout the process. Be extra patient. More calm. Montessori is about gentle parenting. You cannot scold a toddler who is learning a new skill and undergoing a major change in her routine. Accidents SHOULD happen and must be EXPECTED. Because through accidents, lessons are learnt. Do not make them feel guilty of mistakes.

Toilet learning is a natural process just like learning other skills like walking. We cannot scold a toddler who's falling when learning to walk.. Despite that, its undoubtedly very tiring for parents to monitor closely. Honestly speaking, I felt like giving up few times Haha. 

So how did I prepare myself?

1) I told my husband about my plan and made it a point that WE are in this together. Alhamdulillah he was supportive and helpful. 

2) Free up schedule. Less time for cooking and house chores for the 1st two weeks. It was either a simple meal or lunch box (I know my energy limit!). Most of the times, I watched K like a hawk's eyes, did cleaning and brought her to toilet.

3) Prepare a cleaning caddy for accidents use. Less panic! The caddy contains 3 washcloths, water spray, anti-bacterial spray and small pail.

4) No carpets and any absorbing fabrics on the floor.

5) Trial 😆 Before I actually started, I tried to practice the emergency (read:accident) drill and improved what was lacking.

K's timeline

Late  19mo: Trial
Early 20mo: Started toilet learning
Early 21mo: Diaper-free during the day (except sleeptime)
Mid   21mo: Currently learning to diaper-free at night and travel

DO remember that every child has different pace and own timeline. What works for K may not work for your child.

That's all for now. InsyaAllah will share more on this topic in next post.

Till then,

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Toilet learning 20 months old

Potty trained at 20 months old?? One of the first reactions I received was:  "Pity her!" I do not blame anyone who thought...