The main principle behind a Montessori potty station is to allow your toddler independence while learning to use the toilet. It can include a small potty on the floor, a toilet seat reducer on the big toilet, or both.
Montessori Potty Station Set Up
This is the Montessori potty station that I created for my young toddler when she was newly walking at 8-months-old. We started with just the basics of a rug, small potty, and basket. Later we added a wooden Montessori cube chair for dressing.
I followed the brief book Toilet Awareness by Sarah Moudry for guidance. Our potty station was missing some of the items recommended for a Montessori potty station, but we were about to move and it did not make sense to purchase more items.
Normally, the potty station would be located in the bathroom, so the child learns to move towards the bathroom when she needs to eliminate. It was not practical to put our potty station in our bathroom, so I put it in the corner of our shared bedroom. This allowed my daughter to use the potty one last time before bed and first thing in the morning.
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Our Montessori potty station shown above included:
- Small potty
- Organic cotton non-slip rug
- Cotton rope basket containing:
- Wooden Montessori chair for dressing
Other items that would normally be included in a Montessori potty station are:
- Tall mirror to look in while dressing
- Small laundry basket for wet training pants (we used our cloth diaper pail)
- Sink for washing hands
- Step stool to reach the sink
The pink Becopotty shown in the photo has been discontinued, but you can find other small potties on our list of elimination communication potties.
I love the Under the Nile organic cotton training pants size 12-24M shown in the photo, but unfortunately, the leg bands are still too big around my daughter's thighs. Sometimes pee escapes right out the leg holes and makes a puddle on the floor. From 8 to 12-months-old, the cotton training pants that fit her best were size 3T Tiny Trainers.
I arranged the potty facing the side of the wooden cube chair because when my daughter was very newly walking she could hold onto the side of the chair to steady herself when standing up from the potty. Then she could sit on the chair while I put her feet into her training pants. Next she would hold onto my shoulders as I pulled on her trainers.
The cool thing about the wooden Montessori cube chair by Beehive Recess is that it can be flipped over and used as a desk! If you are using these cube chairs somewhere other than a potty station you can get a set of two and use one as a chair and one as a desk.
Montessori Potty Station from 8 to 11-Months-Old
From 8 to 11-months-old, our Montessori potty station did not work as well as I had hoped. We had some days where I was super on the ball at offering the potty at each transition time and we would only have a couple pairs of wet training pants. On other days I caught myself waiting until I noticed that my daughter's training pants were wet before offering her a chance to sit on the potty.
The biggest obstacle was that my daughter would only sit on the potty briefly before standing up and walking away. Sometimes she would walk over to her dressing chair and eliminate on the floor. Other times she would walk right out of the room. Sometimes her potty books and basket would entertain her for long enough to catch a pee.
I started to wonder if my daughter was still too young, as Montessori toilet learning is intended for the sensitive period of 12 to 18-months old. Since she would not sit for long on the small potty, we transitioned to mostly using a toilet seat reducer on the big toilet.
We moved to a different apartment when my daughter was 11-months-old and I hesitated to set up a new potty station. My main reservation was that we would be traveling soon and I wasn't sure how to maintain a consistent environment and routine when we would be constantly moving from place to place.
As my daughter's first birthday was fast approaching, I felt the need for more guidance as to how to apply Montessori Toilet Learning principles while living a nomadic lifestyle without a consistent home.
Just at the perfect time, Child of the Redwoods released another session of their Montessori course "Your Toddler's Potty Plan" and I was able to enroll. If the course isn't currently open for enrollment, you can sign up for the waitlist to hear about the next round. This was my second attempt at registering for the popular class! I'm hoping these next couple weeks bring some valuable insights regarding how to move forward with my one-year-old.
That's it for our first attempt at creating a Montessori potty station. You may also want to read our post on Montessori training pants.