self care

18-24 Months: Bed and Bath

18-24 months: Bed and Bath

TPE toileting

This is the age to practice self-care activities like getting dressed, washing your face, hair and body, using the toilet, and brushing teeth.  Until your child has mastered these skills, you'll still need to help keep her clean and clothed. 

These items below offer your 18-24 month old independence and a greater chance of success in learning these skills. 

This page contains affiliate links.  We only link to items we love and would recommend. By clicking on the link, you are offered the same (or lower) price, and a small percentage of any purchase you make goes to us at TPE. We use these funds to help offset our costs and provide more value to you. Thanks in advance! 


Self-Care Materials for 18-24 months

image from  Tiny Undies

image from Tiny Undies

Cloth Training Underwear

When you notice that your child is starting to make the connection between "I need to relieve myself" and "I AM relieving myself", you can begin toilet learning.  This happens around 18 months, sometimes as young as 12 months, and sometimes not until 30 months.  Get a stash of cotton training underwear like these tiny trainers from Tiny Undies to help your child connect the feelings of urgency with the resulting wetness.  (A Pull-up prevents this, and will slow down the process)  I like these underwear because they are thick, plain, and uninteresting (making it less likely your child chooses to have an accident purely to wear different underwear), plus it's a mama-run small business!  The trainers have extra padding for toilet learning, and the tiny undies are unpadded.  Make sure to use the code TPETINYUNDIE for $5 off your order at checkout. 

Hair and Body Washing

A small pitcher and mini squeeze bottles are key to mastering bath time skills.  The pitcher allows a child to fully control a small amount of water, dumping on their hair or body.  Smaller travel size squeeze bottles allow a toddler to "dump" ALL the soap or practice those strong squeezing muscles with just a small amount of soap.  

image from  Tiny Undies

image from Tiny Undies

LEARN Underwear

Oh. My. These are amazing.  Andrea from Tiny Undies has designed self-correcting underwear for toddlers to aid in independent dressing.   Two different colored leg holes makes it easy to match left with left and right with right, the orange tabs show your thumbs where to pull up, and the bear shows you which way to put your legs through first, ensuring you put these on right-side up. These are available as padded trainers and as regular unpadded underwear.  Make sure to use the code TPETINYUNDIE for $5 off your order at checkout.

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Clean-Up Kit

A critical step in learning to use the toilet is cleaning up.  When I'm working with a young friend, I will first clean any unsafe or unmanageable mess (like feces or large amounts of urine) with a pet enzyme disinfectant spray, and then encourage her to clean with her clean-up kit (remember this is about practice, not getting things actually clean).  I suggest a smaller spray bottle filled with a vinegar solution, a washcloth, and a small bucket.   You can also use a non-toxic spray like Mrs. Meyers. 

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Chair for dressing

The Me-do-it chair from Community Playthings is my favourite chair for infants and toddlers.  It has a low-to the ground seat that is easy to get in and out of, and arm rests for leverage.  This is a difficult chair to tip over, and scoots quite nicely as a make-shift push cart.  The chair comes in two sizes: 5" and 6.5".  Keep a chair like this near your toileting area and/or in your dressing area.   

image from  IKEA

image from IKEA

Child Dressing Area

Around this age your child can begin making simple clothing decisions.  Design your space for success with a lower hanging bar, shelves, or baskets.  Only offer choices that you can YES to (no swimsuits in winter), and keep all extras out of reach.  Use a child-sized wardrobe like this one from IKEA, or adapt your bedroom closet with this Closet Maid system.  

Training Potty

Sure, you can do toilet learning without a tiny toilet, but it will make your life so much easier if you do.  This one from Baby Bjorn has a simple plain design, small size, non-skid ring, and a removable insert which is easy to clean and dump.  The LOCKIG potty from IKEA has similar features and is also a good choice. 

Andrea from Tiny Undies tells me she is designing a super-small training potty for those of you following EC or with tinier children!  Get on her email list for the announcement. 


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12-18 Months: Bed and Bath

12-18 months: Bed and Bath

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With newly acquired skills like standing and walking comes great opportunity for independence.  The tools listed below allow your child to do many things on her own that would otherwise be challenging in an adult-sized home.  

Be sure you also offer opportunities to practice care-of-self activities like combing hair, washing hands and face, and brushing teeth.  You'll still need to help meet the goal of these activities, but as your child gains practice, she'll eventually be able to meet these goals herself.  

This is also the time to offer emotional and intellectual independence through limited, real choices.  Read more about independence and toddlers here. 

This page contains affiliate links.  We only link to items we love and would recommend. By clicking on the link, you are offered the same (or lower) price, and a small percentage of any purchase you make goes to us at TPE. We use these funds to help offset our costs and provide more value to you. Thanks in advance! 


Self-Care Materials for 12-18 months

Light switch extender

Light Switch Extender

This clever piece of plastic allows your child to turn on or off any light switch by herself.  Use this one if you have the wider rocker switches in your home.  

Faucet Extender

Again, another piece of clever plastic that encourages independence! The gray end is made of silicone and fits over the spigot of your sink, allowing the stream of water to extend a few inches closer to the edge of the sink.  This is a must for any small child! 

Hairbrush and Comb

Care of self is the very foundation for all practical life activities, and necessary for building functional independent skills.  This lovely set offers three tools for various hair types (or no hair at all!).   

image from  IKEA

image from IKEA

Step Stool

This is my favorite two-step stool for young children.  If you have a slippery floor, you could always glue some non-skid rubber to the bottom, or you may want a step stool like this one.  I'd also add some non-skid tape to the steps for extra traction.  

Small Bathroom Mirror

Most 12-18 month olds are not tall enough to see in the bathroom mirror, even with a step stool.  Solve this with a small unbreakable mirror like this one attached to the bathroom wall or vanity.  


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