Are you preparing to potty train your young toddler, but aren't quite sure what supplies you will need?
This potty training supplies list covers all the gear needed for early potty training with non-coercive potty training or Montessori toilet learning.
Early Potty Training Methods
Non-Coercive Potty Training
Non-coercive potty training teaches the skills necessary for potty independence, without the use of punishments or rewards. This method starts with saying "goodbye" to diapers and doing a few intense teaching days with your toddler bare-bottomed. You can dive in and do both daytime and nighttime potty training at the same time, or start with just daytime training. Non-coercive potty training is a great fit if you are looking to potty train your toddler at 18-months-old, 2-years-old, and up.
Montessori Toilet Learning
Phase 1 of Montessori toilet learning incorporates using cloth diapers, and engaging your baby in the diaper changing process. Phase 2 of Montessori toilet learning, which we are addressing here, can start between 12 to 18-months-old, once your child is walking. The bathroom environment is prepared in a manner that allows your child to independently complete steps of the bathroom routine. The skills needed for toilet independence are practiced over time, allowing for a gradual transition. During this learning process, your child can wear cloth training pants.
Elimination Communication Graduation
If you are practicing elimination communication with your baby, you may not need to do a formal potty training experience. The transition to potty independence may happen naturally over time. Once your toddler is walking, you can implement the principles of Montessori toilet learning, in order to guide your toddler towards toilet independence. If you still feel that your toddler needs an extra nudge to wrap up their toilet learning journey, you can try non-coercive potty training.
Let's dive into the must-have tools for potty training or guiding your young toddler to potty independence!
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Potty Training and Toilet Learning Books
When preparing to teach your toddler the skills necessary for toilet independence, the first thing that you need is a plan! I suggest starting by reading a book about non-coercive potty training or Montessori toilet learning.
Non-Coercive Potty Training Books
The Tiny Potty Training Book will present you with a step-by-step plan for implementing non-coercive potty training. Author Andrea Olson, who also wrote Go Diaper Free, is an expert in elimination communication. This book is a great choice for families looking for a potty training method to wrap up elimination communication. The gentle but firm method is intended for toddlers 18-months or older. Along with the book, you will also receive entrance into a private support group. Receive 15% off with coupon ECPEESY15.
Oh Crap! Potty Training also presents a non-coercive potty training plan. It is intended for doing early potty training with toddlers 20-months-old through 30-months-old.
Montessori Toilet Learning Book
Toilet Awareness is a very succinct (22 pages) explanation of the Montessori toilet learning process. Phase 1 includes using cloth diapers and including your baby in the diaper changing process. Phase 2 can start around 12-months-old, and includes preparing the bathroom environment to promote independence; offering the potty at transitions; and using cloth training pants.
Potty Board Books
The Tiny Potty board book was specifically written for babies practicing EC or toddlers doing early potty training. There is no mention of diapers. The main character is gender neutral and age neutral. This cute book teaches the basic steps of using the potty. Receive 15% off with coupon ECPEESY15.
This cute book explains that while some babies use their diaper, the potty is also an option. The young gender neutral character decides to take off the diaper and use the potty.
Preparing the Bathroom Environment for Potty Learning
One extremely helpful Montessori concept is the importance of the prepared environment. You can help facilitate independence by preparing the bathroom in a manner that allows your child to complete the entire bathroom routine independently. If you notice any stumbling blocks, modify the bathroom in a way that makes the process easier for your toddler.
Potty Training Supplies for Use at Home
A built-in child toilet seat is securely attached to the adult toilet seat, so you don't have to worry about it slipping off the toilet. Once your child is nearing potty independence, this setup can be a better option than a toilet seat reducer that simply sits on top of the regular toilet seat.
Pair the child toilet seat with a step stool that allows your toddler to confidently climb onto the toilet. Make sure the arrangement allows your child to safely climb onto and off of the toilet without help.
Another important item is a tall step stool that allows your child to reach the sink to wash his hands. As soon as we got our son the Ikea Bekvam Step Stool, he was excited to climb up and wash his hands, brush his teeth, and brush his hair, repeatedly throughout the day.
A light switch extender is another great tool to help your child do the entire bathroom routine, "all by myself!". Our bathroom doesn't get much sunlight during the day, so we need to turn on the light whenever we enter. Our son couldn't quite reach the light switch on his own, but with this extender, he can run to the bathroom, turn on the light, and use the potty.
You can create a personal care tray by filling a wooden tray or basket with all of your toddler's personal care items. This allows your toddler to wash their hands, brush their teeth, and brush their hair on their own. There is more to independence in the bathroom than just using the toilet!
A small bathroom basket can be kept near the potty or toilet and filled with extra underwear or training pants, wipes, and toilet paper. This allows the child to have everything they need conveniently within reach. In case of an accident, the child can remove their wet underwear, get cleaned up, and put on a clean dry pair of underwear.
Wipes and Toilet Paper
I like to keep some WaterWipes on hand for wiping after poop. We usually keep a small roll of toilet paper in my son's bathroom basket, as well. You can teach wiping by doing a first round yourself and then letting your toddler wipe with another clean wipe.
Potty Training Supplies for Out and About
Leaving the house can be a bit nerve wracking when you first ditch the diapers and start potty training, but being prepared can help you feel more at ease. I like to bring along a travel potty, wet bag, prefold diaper or towel for cleaning up any messes, and a couple changes of clothes for my son. In the early days I brought along two extra shorts, two extra shirts, and three extra undies, for my son, and an extra shirt for myself. Now we pack one extra outfit for my toddler, just in case.
The Potette Plus is one of the most popular travel potties. It can be used both on top of a toilet seat as a toilet seat reducer, and standing alone as a potty. In the potty configuration it can be lined with a disposable insert, or a reusable insert. Disposable bags can be convenient while on the go, since you don't need to wash the potty. We often use the Potette Plus on long car trips. We can pull into a parking lot, let our son use the potty under a shade tree, throw away the bag, and be back on our way. It sure beats trying to run to the nearest bathroom in an unfamiliar town!
A Planet Wise Wet/Dry Bag is the perfect companion to the Potette Plus. I like to fold up the Potette Plus and pack it in the waterproof pocket. In the non-waterproof pocket I put wipes, extra clothes, a cloth prefold or small towel for cleaning up any puddles, and a small wet bag for wet items.
Protecting the Bed for Nap and Nighttime Potty Training
Once you are ready to dive into nap and nighttime potty training, it is important to protect the bed, in case of accidents.
A wool mattress protector or wool puddle pad underneath the fitted sheet can provide a water resistant, yet breathable barrier under your toddler. You may want to double make the bed at first, with mattress protector and fitted sheet, topped with another mattress protector and fitted sheet. This set up will allow you to quickly remove the top layer of bedding, if there is an accident. You can start by letting your toddler go commando at night, so he feels that there is no longer a diaper to rely upon.
Another option is to dress your little one in cloth training pants and wool soaker shorts at night. But this option may feel too similar to a diaper.
Dressing for Potty Training Success
With non-coercive potty training, you will start out with a few intense teaching days. For at least the first day, your toddler will be bare-bottomed, so you can observe and learn their signals and natural timing. Then your toddler can transition to commando for a couple weeks, wearing pants or dresses, with nothing under. After this transition period, it's time for underwear! You may be temped to go straight from diapers to underwear, but snug underwear may feel too much like a diaper to your toddler. With Montessori toilet learning, your toddler can start wearing cloth training pants at around 12 to 18-months-old, while he gradually practices the skills necessary for potty independence.
City Threads Underwear are made in the USA and come in either 100% cotton or organic cotton. They start from size 18-24M and run small. The fabric is thick and soft. City Threads offers briefs and boxers for boys and briefs and dance shorts for girls. They also offer conservative unisex underwear.
Tiny Undies are one of the smallest brands of underwear, starting from size 6-12M. They are designed by Andrea Olson, author of Go Diaper Free and The Tiny Potty Training Book. Tiny Undies are available in gender-neutral solids and prints. Receive $5 off your order of Tiny Undies with coupon code ECPEESY10.
Training pants are not a necessity for non-coercive potty training. Your toddler can go from bare-bottomed to commando, straight to real underwear. However, you may feel more comfortable with your toddler wearing cloth training pants for naps, nights, outings, or as a guest at someone's house.
With Montessori toilet learning, the switch to cloth training pants may happen around 12 to 18-months-old, allowing for a gradual transition to underwear. Receive $5 off your order of Tiny Trainers with coupon code ECPEESY10.
Loose pants with an elastic waistband are easiest for your toddler to learn to push down and pull up. They are also great while going commando. I taught my son to push down his pants by putting his thumbs in the waistband and pushing down. It took him a while to master, but he finally got it. This is one of the skills that seems to be more difficult the earlier you start potty training, but you can continue to work on this skill with your child, even after the initial potty training experience.
Protecting & Cleaning Carpets and Couches While Potty Training
With non-coercive potty training, during the initial teaching days your child will be running around the house bare-bottomed. The aim is to watch closely and notice when he starts to pee, and quickly whisk him to the potty. This means there will be puddles on the floor. If you have a room with wood or tile floor, you can stay confined within that area for the first day.
Water Repellent Blankets or Mats
If your house is carpeted, you can cover the carpet with wool or polar fleece blankets, waterproof picnic blankets, or yoga mats. Even though I tried covering my living room with blankets, my son usually peed on the one patch of carpet that was uncovered, so beware!
Potty Training Supplies You Can Skip
That wraps up our list of early potty training supplies for non-coercive potty training or Montessori toilet learning.
You may have noticed that there was no mention of sticker charts, rewards, or prizes. That is because those types of extrinsic rewards are not necessary. Rather than bribing a toddler to use the potty, we rely upon the intrinsic pride of self accomplishment a toddler feels when mastering new skills.
There is also no need for a timer, since opportunities to use the potty are based upon signals, natural timing, transitions, and intuition, not just a set time interval.
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