I was totally going to do a post on potty learning from my meeting last night, but have been put deliriously behind schedule by my son’s poop, of all things. Either something is a brewing, or something didn’t agree, but I’m here to tell you, I’m glad we aren’t in the active “learning” phase because I would have had to toss three pairs of underwear today. Yuk!
The session last night ended up being a lot more about Montessori in the home; bridging home and school, rather than an all out potty session. Which is totally OK with me. (Does my overuse of the world totally irritate you the way it does me?? Totally, right?)
But since I promised, I’ll give you my quick guide to the pre-stages. Stand-up diaper changes. If you’ve never tried it, it sounds pretty scary. But once you and the little person get the hang of it, it will change your life. (That might be a bit of an overstatement, but it will improve the quality of diaper-changing time.) Gone will be the days of wrestling a child to stay flat, soiling the bed, soiling the couch, etc. The children learn very quickly to hold still, and even to “touch their toes” for wiping up the poop.
What do all of these things sound like?
Pulling down their pants.
Taking off their diaper.
Practicing sitting on the potty.
Helping to wipe themselves (after you have cleaned the bad stuff, of course.)
Pulling up their pants.
Throwing away the used diaper.
Those, my friends, are a strong foundation to potty learning. Those are things that a lot of parents do for their children, instead of letting the children do for themselves. If the child is learning all these things now, while they are in diapers, then learning to use the potty is a natural transition. And they won’t be learning to do it all at the same time, because the routine is already set up. The dressing skills will already be in place. It’s a wonderful thing.
How young can you start stand-up diaper changing, you ask? A soon as they can stand up. If they can lean against or hold onto a shelf, or the bathroom counter, they can be changed standing up. The earlier you start, the easier the transition is. The child is taking an active role in taking care of their body. You are not changing their diaper for them anymore. You are changing it together, until the time that they can do it on their own. You are telling them that they are capable. What a great message to send a child about their own body.
(Oh and the poopy diapers at the zoo, or the park, or the library? No more finding a changing table and wondering how many germs are crawling around on it. Simply find an out of the way corner and in two minutes you are back on the go, sans gross changing table funk – because you know it is there!)
Let me know how it goes if you decide to try it. Getting the diapers on straight seems a little scary at first, but you can do it!