One of the key Montessori principles is to “follow the child” and there is no truer explanation as to why Stella potty trained early(ish). As a new born baby, Stella would often pee and occasionally poo during nappy changes. During a frustrated conversation with a relative- and former nursery head teacher- I mentioned how difficult it was to deal with the mess and outfit changes during the inevitable ‘nappy- free pee’. She suggested that as soon as Stella could sit confidently, to pop her onto a potty at nappy changes and see what happens (apparently this was quite common practise back in the day!).
A few weeks later, when Stella was only 11 weeks old, she started sitting independently! I picked up a pink turtle potty from Home Bargains and decided to give this whacky idea a go and just like that I fell into a practise known as Elimination Communication or EC. Despite any reservations I may have had, by the end of that first week and at only 12 weeks old, Stella had done two pees and one poo on the potty. Over the coming weeks I would come to realise that Stella was actually quite regular with her poos and began sitting her on the potty at this time (just prior to her morning nap) daily. By the time she turned 5 months old, she was completely poo trained and never pooed in her nappy- I honestly think that friends and family thought I was mad, so I often took pictures of her potties- I’ll spare you the graphic images!
At around one year old, Stella was about 90% consistent at using the potty for pee and poo. She didn’t have a sign or signal as such, I just offered her the potty regularly and she seemed able to hold and wait until she was on the potty to relieve herself. We did encounter a slight set back when Stella began walking as- for the first time ever- she would reject being put on the potty. Around this time I used a seat reducer over the big toilet which helped her to overcome this.
When lockdown was implemented, Stella was 14 months old. I decided that whilst stuck at home I would have her nappy free. Gradually she became more and more consistent and had very few accidents. I was still using a pull up when we went for little outings to the park as I was worried about her having an accident in her pram or car seat. One day, I accidently took Stella out without a nappy on and miraculously she didn’t wet herself! At this point she was 17 months and I knew she was ready to ditch daytime nappies!
A week later we travelled to Spain and I’d decided that we would cease using nappies there- I packed a travel potty to take everywhere with us. During our three week holiday, Stella did not pee in her pants once! She is now able to ask for the potty herself and can sit on it independently when nappy free. Now Stella has to master pulling her pants up and down independently and move onto night training!
I hope you find my experience interesting and informative. I understand that it wouldn’t suit everyone but it’s been what worked for us!