For some reason, I have never thought of this quote in reference to potty training.
We started teaching Rico to use the potty at about 15 months. He started walking when he was 10 months old but it wasn't until about that time that I felt he could really comprehend the potty. We had one for awhile before that and he sat on it when we used the bathroom but he didn't quite understand what was going on. We also use cloth diapers and even though I've read that babies in cloth respond better to potty training, Rico was not one of them. He could sit in a soiled diaper for a lot longer than Deddy can. (Which made it hard to know when he was wet!)
During the first few months we had a lot of accidents and it was a great opportunity to teach him to clean up after himself (Don't worry, I followed up with vinegar and water). I felt a big push to make sure he knew how to use the potty right before I had his brother. Things went ok, but he would never poop on the potty. He would wait until he had a diaper on for nap or night time or run into this little room we have under our stairs, close the door and come out to tell me he pooped. It was frustrating. After Deddy was born, he was using the potty with pretty good accuracy except during naps and night time. We recently (he is now 28 months old) decided he was using his diaper to poop in because he had the option. Running to the potty takes more effort! J had the idea to finally keep him in underwear all the time. I love when Maria Montessori is right.
“These words reveal the child’s inner needs; ‘Help me to do it alone’.”
We weren't helping him; we were hindering his growth as a person. He has made it to the potty every day for the past 3 weeks (granted he had been making it to the potty for pee for a long time now). He has only had a couple of nights where he has wet the bed. Every time he uses the potty to poop he wants a high five and has the biggest smile.
Learning to use the toilet is very hard to do. Some days it is hard to keep calm accident after accident. I'm not sure that if we had tried to have him use the potty any sooner that he would have had more success. I think for the most part we let him learn to use the potty on his own--in underwear, with accidents. With a first child it is hard to be a parent. Things are completely unknown. Even with the plethora of books and blogs, our own children are still a little different and even with Montessori principles, things have to fit the child and the family. And with learning to use the toilet, our children should be the guide, not the books! Are we giving them all the respect that they deserve as sons and daughters of God while we teach them things--even how to use the potty? Are we keeping them in diapers for our convenience (or in our case--their convenience?) instead of allowing them to grow at their own pace?