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Toileting the Montessori Way – The Role of the Adult

Ferne Van Zyl


Experts agree that successful toilet training has a positive impact on a child’s urge for independence. For a child the journey from total dependence to functional independence takes time and mastering all the skills involved builds their self-esteem, confidence and autonomy. A dynamic relationship exists between the adult who facilitates learning and the environment that offers exactly what the child needs at the appropriate time.

We will examine the keys ways the adult prepares and assists with patience and calm!


Ferne Van Zyl

Ferne’s Montessori journey began over 20 years ago as the owner and operator of Down Under 3, a Montessori based learning centre for babies and toddlers in Sydney, Australia. Through her work with parents and carers she began facilitating the hugely successful Faber and Mazlish parent workshops “How to Talk so Kids will Listen” and “Siblings without Rivalry” and developed a “Toileting Independence” workshop which earned her the nick-name “The Poo-Poo Guru”.

​Since founding The Independent Child in 2016 she has provided training and support for hundreds of families on setting up environments for independence, effective communication skills and practical strategies for dealing with challenging behaviour. Recognised for her personally developed Supporting Freedom and Self-Discipline workshop, her Independent Toileting program and her expertise in early childhood development and communication, she consults to parents all over the world as well as to early childhood educators and Montessori organisations in Australia and New Zealand.

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