Montessori-Friendly Bathroom Ideas For Building Independence

From Montessori playrooms to bedrooms and kitchens, we’ve covered most of the bases when it comes to this type of home design. But we simply cannot forget about the bathroom! So, here’s a short and simple guide that explains how to create a bathroom space geared for child’s learning.

Whether it be practicing their personal hygiene or potty training, there’s some pretty essential learning that happens in this room. By implementing the following ideas, your little ones will have the tools needed to accomplish these tasks themselves – Montessori style!


Montessori self care and independence for toddlers

Self-Care

By designing your bathroom with Montessori principles in mind, you can easily create a space that fosters your child’s independence while teaching them about self-care. Once they learn how to do tasks like hand-washing, teeth-brushing, and going to the potty by themselves, your children will feel so proud and confident.

Another super important learning opportunity here is the building of self-esteem. Encouraging this is critical for toddlers, and doing so will set them up for greater success as they grow. Taking proper care of their bodies through practicing good hygiene will undoubtedly make them feel good about themselves and their appearance, too!

montessori bathroom setup ideas

Step Stools

These are a staple in any child-friendly bathroom, so what makes them Montessori? Well, the principle is focussed around fostering independence of the child. Allowing your little ones to be at the correct height to wash their hands themselves gives them autonomy that is crucial for developing their independence.

If possible, having one stool appropriately sized for the vanity space and one for the toilet is ideal. This way, your child doesn’t need to be picked up and put onto the toilet while potty training – They can do it all by themselves!

teaching children about hand washing on their own

Hand Washing

While teaching your little one how to wash their hands, it’s important that they can access the tools themselves… Which is super simple in the bathroom! All you really need to do is make sure they can reach the sink, soap, and towels, and they’re ready to go!

Bath Time

For bath time, it should be easy for them to find all that they need for bathing. Letting them have their own towel hook or spot on the shelf for bubbles and shampoo will not only make them feel in charge of their routine, but makes it easier for children to put back their supplies after use, too. Remember – if you give them their own hook, be sure that it’s at their height so they can reach it without assistance!

For toys, try to keep it simple. Montessori toys emphasize quality over quantity. While choice empowers children, too many choices can be overwhelming. Try having a tray with 2 or so items that you routinely switch out to give them the freedom of choice. This will keep bath time fun and reduce clutter on the shelf as well!

Teeth and Hair Brushing

Like I’ve suggested in other articles, Maria Montessori instructs us to place a child’s item where they can see and reach them. This is no less true in the bathroom! Whether this is their own basket in the cupboard or their very own drawer, accessibility is paramount for empowering your toddler to take charge of their own routine. Things like their toothbrushes, toothpaste, and hair brushes/accessories should be kept where your child can get to them easily.

Mirrors

Full-length mirrors are amazing for children. They significantly increase self-awareness and actively promote body confidence. Another bonus? When kids can watch themselves get dressed, they can better learn how to self-dress!

Here’s a tip for teaching them to self-dress (and for other skills they’re learning at this stage): Once a child has picked their clothes, I demonstrate how to put the item on (if needed). Then, I always say to the child “You try first, then I will help you if you need it!” This gives them reassurance that they can ask for help, but teaches them to try themselves first.

Sometimes this is hard when you’re in a rush, but trust me, it works! Learning anything takes practice, and self-dressing is no exception. Another common statement I hear is “I can’t!” An empowering response to this is “You can’t – Yet. Keep trying and you will learn how to!”

montessori potty training

Potty

There are two essentials for potty training that aligns with Montessori principles: A stool for getting up to the potty themselves, and a potty chair so that they are comfortable while they learn to properly use the toilet. Another important thing – Make sure the toilet paper is within reach!

If you are training a young child, give a small potty a try (like the one on the right in the photo above). They are much less intimidating than a regular toilet, making them an excellent starting point for toddlers that are a bit apprehensive about the process. Another great thing about them is that you can take them on the go – Making potty training possible even for busy families!


Essentially, the main focus on creating a Montessori-friendly bathroom is to increase independence and foster learning of self-care. As with any room designed in this style, you want to allow your child to do as many self-directed tasks as possible!

Doing so greatly enhances their confidence and will make them feel proud to be a “big kid” as they have to ask for less assistance from adults.

Elke Crosson

Elke Crosson majored in International Relations with a minor in Spanish. She is currently a support coordinator with the YMCA and works with preschool children as a nanny, in preparation for becoming a elementary school teacher.

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