We made another change to James’s room last week and I’m pretty excited about it.
My husband flipped James’s mirror so it’s vertical (it’s attached to the wall with 3M strips, so this was pretty easy), and added a pull-up bar. We’ve been meaning to do this for a while, but life has been busy!
You can purchase pull-up bars from Montessori shops or Etsy, but honestly, it is so simple to make yourself with some basic supplies from Home Depot (I say it’s simple, my husband did it, but it did not take him long). We used this tutorial as a guide.
James can already pull up on the mirror with no bar, by walking up with his hands, but we wanted a pull-up bar so that we could start doing stand-up diapering.
Are you familiar with stand-up diapering? If you have / have had a baby, you likely know the FIGHT that diaper changes can become. Once baby becomes mobile, he no longer wants to be laying flat on his back (at least this has been true for James). James started to really fight diaper changes and he is very strong!
Once baby can stand, many Montessori classrooms and homes switch to stand-up diapering. The child holds on to something and you change the diaper while the child stands. We installed a pull-up bar, but I have also heard of children holding onto the bathtub or a low shelf or table for stand-up diaper changes.
The idea is to recognize baby’s new developmental stage and to help him be a more active participant in the diaper changing process. Doing things with baby, rather than to / for baby, is a big focus in Montessori. I really like having the pull up bar in front of a mirror so that James can see what I’m doing as I talk about it. Right now, he helps by carrying his diaper from the closet over to the bar. Eventually, he will be able to help more by undoing his diaper tabs, pulling down his pants, etc. I also talk through each step of what I’m doing.
If you have an older baby / toddler who fights diaper changes, it can also be helpful to have two designs of diapers and let them choose: “Would you like an Elmo diaper or a Big Bird diaper?” so that they feel they have some say in the matter. We’re not to this point yet, but I’ve definitely seen it help with toddlers.
Right now, we are still getting used to the process and it can be a bit tricky at times. James is very steady standing with one hand holding on, but sometimes he doesn’t want to hold on and chooses to sit down. I sometimes need to support him with one hand while I finish changing his diaper. It’s still easier than wrestling with him on the floor though and he seems happier about it.
While this is very new in our home, I used to be an assistant in a Montessori toddler classroom before I got my 3-6 certification and stand-up diapering worked wonderfully there! I cannot imagine trying to lay down one of those big two year olds to change their diaper, that sounds so much harder to me! I’m hopeful that this will keep diaper changes from becoming a regular battle in our house.
As a reminder, I am Montessori trained for 3-6 year olds, but not for infants and toddlers. I found this article from the American Montessori Society website very helpful for Montessori diapering / toileting.