How to make toilet learning as easy as possible for you and your child.

If you have a child then there is one thing that you can be sure of, you will at some point have to teach your child about using the toilet. In Montessori, we call this Montessori toilet learning.

There are some very big signs you can pick up on if you know when and what to look for.

During this session of Montessori Mondays with Holly, we talked about how to make toilet learning as easy as possible for you and your child. Watch the show above and click here to join the Facebook group. 

How to make toilet learning as easy as possible for you and your child

The Difference Between Toilet Learning And Toilet Training

Alright, so I am sure many of you have heard before that Montessori toilet learning starts at a young age. Much younger than the average child gets potty trained. So what exactly is the difference between toilet learning and toilet training?

Toilet Training is:

  • Less of a natural process for a child.
  • Typically does not begin at birth.
  • Often involves a reward system.
  • The child must relearn the skills he has already established. This can be very hard.
  • The child often doesn’t experience embodied learning towards toileting: a full mental and physical understanding of using the toilet.

Toilet Learning Is:

  • Natural process.
  • It begins at birth.
  • Embodied learning.
  • The child is part of the process.
  • The child learns a skill, rather than retraining themselves to do something.

An example of toilet learning would be allowing your child to use the toilet as needed. I know it is suggested in some toilet training programs to force your child to sit on the toilet until they have done a wee or poo but this is NOT how toilet learning works.

This is something that would create fear, animosity, and resentment toward using the toilet. 

How To Look For Signs Of Toilet Readiness

Now that we’ve established what toilet learning is and isn’t There are a few things you need to think about before you start looking for signs of toilet readiness.


It’s important to know that the child’s sphincter muscle must be fully myelinated. This happens usually between the ages of 13-18 months. What this means is that the body can physically control these bodily functions or they are able to hold their wee in until they make it to the toilet.


The child must be mature enough to understand what the process of going to the bathroom is.  And Parents, you must be psychologically ready too! Sometimes having such an independent child at a young age is hard for us and that’s ok.

Additionally, you will want to remember that the Process must be done naturally. Meaning no rewards or forced toilet use.

Prepare The Environment

Set up a little potty or step and toilet seat for your child to independently access when using the toilet.

It’s also important to note that Keeping a positive attitude throughout this journey is so important.

If your child has an accident and you become angry your child will likely associate the feelings of being scared of having an accident and toilet use. This would cause regression and ultimately make things more difficult to keep a positive attitude as much as possible. 

These are so important to remember before even starting your toilet learning process.

Is Your Child Ready?

The way we can tell if a child is ready is to look for Signs of a Child’s Psychological Readiness.

There are some tell-tell signs when it comes to toilet learning for toddlers and being able to notice these and jump on the opportunity is crucial to getting started!

Here are the main signs to look for:

  • Your child may point to their diaper.
  • Your child may “hide” when having a bowel movement.
  • They may try to pull off their diaper.
  • Showing interest in the toileting area.
  • Your child’s diaper may be staying dryer for longer periods of time.

If your child is showing any of the signs above it may be time to start toilet learning! Remember, as with everything Montessori, observe and follow your child’s lead!


How to make toilet learning easy for you and your child


Is your child showing signs of readiness for toilet learning? Have you already started potty learning? Let us know in the comments where you are in your Montessori toilet learning journey!


Click Here to Leave a Comment Below
Sue Reply

My do daycare for my granddaughter. I had a potty chair from an older grandchild and decided to bring over to my daughter to give it to her. What happens is my granddaughter show an interest in the potty chair so I decided to try it even thou she has just turned one low and behold she’s goes when I put her on the potty chair and now she’s showing just an interest we decided to go with it no pressure but letting her sit on when she’s willing I’m amazed she really is getting it, but I told my daughter we aren’t going to pressure her we will take our cues from her. Working out great!

    Colleen H Reply

    That so exciting! I’m so happy you are having so much success! xx TTL Team Member

Tara Reply

Hi Holly
I have twin boys (21 months). One is showing signs of readiness (says poo poo and pulls at diaper). So I set up the potty but the boys look at it as a toy! They push it along the floor and fight over it. How can I differentiate it from an object of use compared to a toy? Thanks

    Colleen H Reply


    Redirection and firm boundaries here are key, just as you would with any other house rules. So you may say something like “the toilet is for sitting on and stays in this spot”. It will take time of course, but with repetition and consistency it should stick.

    TTL Team Member

Kandy Reply

25 months old. Already started learning.

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