Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Infant Potty Training

Okay, I know this is a random topic for me. Every once in a while I will mention it to someone with a young baby, but folks rarely stick around for the explanation. When you mention that you potty trained your baby at 4 mos old, they nod, "really? that's great." but they don't believe you. I read an article about infant potty training with my 2nd and 3rd children, but the methods just seemed really impossible to me. (The articles I read had you starting with newborns, using cloth diapers, wearing the baby, and making a sound when you felt the diaper getting wet....ew.) With child #4, I finally gave it a try, with my own modifications, and it worked. I think you might find my methods acceptable.

Infant potty training can be started when the baby has good head control and semi-solid bowel movements (bm), usually after starting some solids at about 3-4 mos old. When you see that your baby is having a bm (straining, squirming, etc.) quickly take off the baby’s diaper and put him on the potty to finish. Usually the baby will also pee at this time. Start making a noise to identify with that body function - “psss”, “pee, pee”, etc. Whenever the baby pees in the potty, make that noise or say those words repeatedly. Within a week or two, the baby will associate that noise with peeing and will pee whenever you put them on the potty and make that noise. Since you can identify a bm by their body movements, noises, and facial expressions, you don’t need a noise for that function. Put the baby on the potty whenever they have a bm and several other times a day during transitions, such as when they wake up, before going out, before they take a nap, or when you put on their pajamas.

Infant potty training cuts back on the use of diapers because the baby is doing most of their elimination in the potty and is potty trained much younger than most children.

My daughter was almost completely dry during the day at about 6 months old. She was completely potty trained by about 10 months old, meaning that she could wear underpants during the day and communicate to me that she needed to use the potty. She was dry through the night at about a year. There was no transition from diapers to potty training, and no control conflicts over potty training (which I endured with my three older children.) Going to the bathroom on the potty was a natural thing for her and once she had complete control developmentally, that is where she was accustomed to going.

People think it is a hassle to interrupt what they are doing to take off a baby's diaper to take them to the potty. I think it is more of a hassle to change a stinky toddler than it is to hold a baby over a toilet while they go IN it. Maybe you can change them at your convenience, but it's not really convenient at that point! At some point, you are going to have to interrupt what you are doing (maybe for days, even months....) to undiaper-train your toddler. I am telling you, this is much much easier and you will be shocked at how quickly they "get it".

Thank you for your attention. I finally got to tell my potty story. I would really like to hear if others actually follow through with this.

Additional information:  Just decided to add a few comments in response to some questions I have gotten over the years.

•When potty-training my infant, I did NOT take them to the potty while out at a store, public places, etc. but if I knew they were going I would just say, "oh, you're going potty...pee, pee, etc." so that they would still associate those words with the action.  This should not be a stressful thing. There are enough opportunities in the home (or places you might be comfortable changing them - a friend's house, grandparents', etc.) to train them, and they are very smart!

•It is never too late to try this method.  Don't say, "oh, my child is already - 6 mos, a year, so it's too late, I'll just wait until she's two."  No!  Start now.   If you can tell your child is pooping her diaper, or she goes off and hides in the corner. Take her to the bathroom, lay her on the floor, pull of the diaper (carefully!) and put her on the potty. I had a changing table on my bathroom counter and one right outside my other bathroom, conveniently located to the toilet.

•What if they have already gone some in the diaper?  Still take it off and let them finish on the potty or spend a few minutes on the toilet.  This will give them the knowledge that this is the proper place to go and most likely they will pee when they are sitting their anyway.

•How often do you need to put them on the potty?  I would say that I put my daughter on the potty about 5-10 times a day in the beginning.  The first week or so there were only a few times a day that were prompted by recognizing it was time to poop.  The other times were before and after naps, baths, bedtime, and anytime that her diaper needed to be changed (yes, it would be wet during the training period because not every urination would be caught.)   I would say within 3-4 weeks, I began to wonder if I should put this diaper back on, because although it was not soiled, it was getting pretty used and out of shape!

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