Our policy is to follow the Association Montessori International guidelines as closely as possible; this includes beginning or continuing toilet training in the toddler program. Being toilet-trained contributes to a child's readiness to enter the primary class, which is a major goal of the toddler program.
Children in the toddler class wear cloth training underwear, in accordance with the potty training goal. This process involves each child being guided to the restroom approximately every 30 minutes depending on individual needs, and it does not involve disposable products such as diapers or pull ups. Requests to use the toilet will not interrupt the child's work, but rather be timed so that the child is in-between activities and therefore not disturbed.
Children will be encouraged to use the toilet but have the option to decline. We will NEVER force a child to use the toilet or make him feel ashamed for soiling his clothes. We simply remove the soiled clothes in the bathroom, clean the child, and put on fresh clothes. Then we cheerfully suggest that next time, maybe he or she will “make it to the bathroom in time”, or “choose to use the toilet”. When a child soils his or her clothing, a staff member will guide the child to the restroom for cleaning while another staff member cleans any parts of the classroom that may have become soiled. The classroom areas will be sanitized using an approved disinfectant, as per the Arizona Health Department regulations. The cleaning process will always happen immediately after the child's clothing has been soiled, and no child will ever be left to sit in soiled clothing.
Many children entering the toddler program aren't fully potty trained, and many begin in our class. To accommodate this, we have child-sized toilets in the bathrooms and the supply list includes thick cloth training underwear.
To make the process as simple as possible, we recommend elastic waist pants or shorts with NO buttons or snaps. Dresses and elastic waist skirts are also good, but we request that parents avoid overalls, belts, and any article of clothing that is too stiff or tight for the child to manipulate.
Potty training successes and attempts will be recorded daily, as will instances of soiled clothing. The head teacher will communicate daily or weekly with parents, depending on the child's progress. The amount of time it takes for complete success varies from child to child, however our experience is that for most children, potty training is successful more quickly if children have consistent potty training routines everywhere.