Elimination communication. Natural Infant Hygiene. Diaper Free Baby. Infant Potty Training. It's called many things, but around our house we simply call it Using the Potty. Now, using the potty might not seem like such a strange thing if you’re dealing with a toddler. However, my son was 3 ½ months old when I first started holding him over the toilet.
Levi 3 Months- November 12, 2012
What!? You’re probably thinking I’m crazy. It’s ok. My husband looked at me like I was crazy when I walked up to him at Wal-Mart with a potty seat in my hands. (I hadn’t yet told him about this strange thing called Elimination Communication.)
Where did I hear about Elimination Communication? Mayim Bialik(from Blossom and Big Bang Theory) talked about it in her book Beyond the Sling: A Real-Life Guide to Raising Confident, Loving Children the Attachment Parenting Way. On a side note- this book was really good. I love all her points on nurturing and loving your children by breastfeeding, baby wearing and co-sleeping.
Levi 4 Months- December 6, 2012
Why Potty a Baby?
You might ask why I would go to the trouble of pottying my baby. Why not wait and do potty training at the typical age of 2 or 3? To me it just makes sense to start them from the beginning teaching them how to control their peeing and bowel movements. Babies do have the ability to hold pee and release it on cue. Of course we’ve still had many many wet diapers. At 10 months he is just now holding his pee for longer periods of time. Pottying from the beginning has many benefits. First it doesn’t allow the baby to lose his ability to know that he is going to the bathroom. Babies that use a diaper for years actually lose the control of these muscles and don’t even realize that they are peeing. Secondly, babies are simply used to using the potty and big toilets. They don’t know any different so it’s no big deal at all. Finally, you save on diapers and wipes! I’ve used a combination of cloth and disposable diapers. With the cloth I would simply change it when it got wet. This allowed him to know the feeling of a wet diaper and hopefully prefer a dry one. Without prolonged contact to his skin from a wet or poopy diaper he has never had diaper rash. In addition, I think it’s more comfortable for him to poop in this sitting position and there is nothing smeared all over his booty so it doesn’t take a million wipes to clean up.
Levi 6 1/2 months- February 17, 2013
My son was 3 ½ months old when I started using the potty. Many people will start from birth but I think when I started was the ideal age for two reasons. 1. He had better control of his body and he was better able to hold up his neck. 2. He was not yet rolling over or crawling so accidents were confined easier. I could use white pre-folds held in place by an elastic band or baby safety pins. I have long since stowed these away because it’s hard to use pins with a very mobile baby.
My first attempts started with me using our big toilet. I would stand/squat facing it holding Levi under each leg with his back resting against me. I would also use one of my fingers to help aim him toward the bowl. I would then say a Pss Pss sound and he would go pee. This position works great. However, I did find that after a feeding he would spit up. His little legs would press against his full belly. I am still using this position with my son 6 ½ months later. I use it while we are at a public place or at other people’s houses. Sometimes you just don’t want your baby sitting on the toilet, especially a public one. There are also portable potty seats that fit over toilet seats. I haven’t yet purchased one because I can still hold him.
I decided to buy a potty seat to help relieve the pressure on his belly, and for longer times on the potty when he’s working on a poop, This is when I walked up to my husband with the big white Summer potty seat. I told him he might not understand but to just trust me. Sometimes being a new mom anything is worth a shot and the support of a spouse to try something crazy. We have a small potty in his nursery right by the changing table. We keep a pad right under the seat to protect the carpet. (Honestly there are not many accidents, but better safe than sorry.) Having it in the nursery allows us to sit comfortably in front of him and have toys and books to entertain him. He loves his books!
Levi 6 1/2 months- February 20, 2013
He loves pulling his shirts out of the drawers.
A lot of books and articles discuss watching for your baby’s communication that he is going to pee. This could be a squirm, a look, moving his hands, or a break in nursing. Every baby is different. And for me, figuring out his communication is hard! The only one I was able to catch was while nursing. He would be eating then all of a sudden pull off and refuse to re-latch. Since there weren’t many other signs that I noticed I have mostly relied on timing. The following are the times I have found that Levi most often goes pee:
1. Right when he wakes up, either in the morning or after naps. There have been a few mornings that he has woken up with a dry diaper! You go dude! And most other mornings he is barely wet. He probably went potty right before he fell asleep or just before he falls into his deep sleep.
2. Right after a nursing. Levi does not pee while nursing. Many times I nurse him without a diaper on. He will let me know he needs to pee either by coming off or I’ve noticed is that he has started “talking” while still latched on and looks up at me.
3. 15 minutes after nursing.
4. Right before a bath (less chance of him peeing in the water) and right after a bath (the warm water must relax him).
5. Sometimes I just get a feeling that he has to pee. Some people swear by this “feeling” but for me it’s probably me just figuring he hasn’t gone in a while and will probably need to go.
6. If I haven’t pottied him in a while. I don’t keep track of timing between pees but I try to potty him about every 30 minutes- when he starts fidgeting, making a “help me” sound or crawling like crazy around the house.
7. When I’m going to put a clean diaper on him. A potty right before a clean diaper means the clean diaper has a longer chance of staying dry.
Levi 7 months- March 6, 2013
Modeling the Baby Bijorn we got at a kids consignment sale for $3!
Levi 7 Months- March 6, 2013
We stay entertained with lost of different toys.
10 Month Old Potty Signs
As my son is getting older he is learning to communicate to us that he has to pee or poop. The following are signs that I have picked up on:
1. He says Pa Pa. I assume it’s short for Potty. I swear one time he was nursing, he came off, looked me in the eyes and said Pa Pa. He doesn’t always say Pa Pa anymore because he has moved on to other new words that he can say.
2. While still latched on nursing he “talks” and hits his hand on my chest. However I can’t quite decide if this is “I need to pee” or “Give me more milk Mommy.”
3. He waved his hand (ASL for potty). He was standing up across the room from me (still holding on to the table), he turned, looked at me and waved his hand.
4. Crawling around like crazy. He was sitting content, playing with his toys, when all of a sudden he started crawling all through the house making a Hmm Hmm sound. It was like he was looking for his potty.
5. He “jumps” in his play pen. Sometimes I need to keep him in one spot so I put him in the Pack-n-Play. He will stand up, look at me, “jump” and make a Hmm Hmm sound. It’s almost like he’s saying “help me!”
6. He makes a “pss-ss” sound. I assume he’s imitating my “Pss Pss” that I cue him with while on the potty.
Levi 8 1/2 months- April 17, 2013
My Husband’s Role
When I first started using the potty I told my husband about pottying, but I did not ask him to join in. (I wasn’t quite so sure how it would work out myself! Therefore, I didn’t want to drag him into it too.) So, I just let him see me doing the potty thing. He was so patient and still is! He was ok even if I gave him Levi to hold with just a white pre-fold on, or sometimes nothing at all! He was patient when we would be watching a movie, I would be nursing, and then we’d have to pause it (multiple times!) so that I could take Levi potty.
After a month or so, David saw how awesome Levi was doing and he joined in the pottying! He knows to take Levi potty when he wakes from a nap (usually on Daddy’s chest!) If Levi is acting fidgety on the potty Daddy will lean his head in the door and get a smile out of him. He will sit in front of Levi and show him books or play with animals. My husband has been a big help and a great support! I appreciate all that he has done with Levi.
Levi 9 months- May 9, 2013
Time spent pottying is special bonding time.
We enjoy looking at lots of books.
Patience, Not Perfection!
I can’t say pottying an infant is easy. Sometimes there are accidents. Sometimes they arch their back and say no to the potty. Sometimes you feel like you’ve pottied them a dozen times that day. You have to trust in the process, take it one day at a time and know that your little one is smarter than you think. They can learn where to go potty just like they learn how to eat, crawl, walk and talk. I enjoy using the potty with my son and I know he will be potty trained in his own time. Just be patient and don’t expect him to be out of diapers in a month. Enjoy these moments you get to communicate with your little one.
Levi 9 1/2 months- May 22, 2013
Finally bought him a big boy toilet seat.
(We still use both types of potties though)
Levi 10 1/2 months- June 24, 2013
He's becoming a pro at it!
Getting really good at letting Mommy and Daddy know he needs to go.
Hopefully I covered all the basics- I know this post is long!
And there's so many more stories I could tell you about pottying!
Check back later for more posts on this topic, cloth diapers and natural birth.
Intrigued? Just let me know if you have questions and I’d be happy to help you out.