Year One in Review: Infant Potty Training

A few months before Jeshuah was born, I began researching a strange phenomenon called Elimination Communication, or Infant Potty Training.  The concept is that babies are actually aware of their needs to go to the bathroom and can communicate that to us as parents if we will pay attention. At first the idea sounded ridiculous. I mean, why hadn’t I ever heard of it before?! But the more I researched, the more intrigued I became.  When I told my SIL about it, she decided to just try it out on her 5 month old. She held Adon over the toilet and made a “psss” sound. Sure enough, he went to the bathroom! Adon is now 1 1/2 and potty trained.

As soon As Jeshuah was born, I began paying attention to his cues for when he needed to go.  When he would go, I would make the sound “psss.”  When I became more familiar with facial expressions or cues on his part, I would get him to the toilet in time, make the cue noise, and he would go in the toilet. You would not believe how many poopy diapers I saved myself from plunging!!

By 8 months, Jeshuah used the potty 90% of the time and stayed dry most of the day. By 8 months, the only time he ever pooed in his diaper was if he had to go early in the morning and I didn’t get him up in time.  There is usually a month or two in between any “accidents” like that. Oh, how I love not having to wipe sticky, smelly poo smashed all over his bottom!

Around nine months, Jeshuah had a “developmental leap” (a wonder week, a period of time where things are changing rapidly in their little bodies that causes stress) and he went on a “potty strike.”  A “potty pause” is a short period of time where something is amiss and they aren’t signaling you or something.  An actual “strike” may last up to a month and be caused by any number of things being out of order in their lives.  In this case, it was almost a full month of missing almost every cue or him not giving me cues at all.  In times like that, we just go with the flow and look forward to things getting back on track! Sure enough, he leaped over his development and settled into eating, sleeping, and peeing like normal again:-)

A few weeks before his first birthday, Jeshuah began signing to me when he needs to use the toilet. It is so adorable!!!

Signing "t" for toilet with his left hand

One of the things I love about EC is that it takes some of the guess work out of parenthood.  Babies fuss for many reasons, and it can be frustrating to figure out exactly what they want or need.  One of the reasons babies will fuss is because they need to go to the bathroom but do not like to go in the diaper because, duh, it is uncomfortable!  When you are doing EC, you can learn to recognize when your baby is fussing because they need to use the toilet. Then you can take them and everyone’s happy!

I also love EC because it provides fun time for Jeshuah and me to interact.  Now that he is big enough, he sits on his own potty to go.  So while he is going, I read him stories, sing him songs, or play hand games with him. I love this bonding time!

When I am on top of things, Jeshuah usually has one wet diaper a day, staying dry even during most naps.  When he’s awake, I usually take him potty every 45 minutes to 1.5 hours, depending on his signs.

I think it’s sad that we think we should wait to kids are “ready” to be potty trained–which is now averaging 3-4 years old!!  That theory was all based on misguided developmental research done decades ago that no one has taken the time to disprove.  In reality, we are training our babies to pee in their diapers and then RE training them when we think they are “old enough” to be trained to use a toilet.  But by that point they usually have developed a will and stubborn attitude that makes it very difficult for parents to toilet train. Not to mention the small fortune being spent on diapers in the meantime.

In our house, I am glad we started early and did the work on the front end that is saving us a lot of time, money, and hassle in the long run. So so glad we heard about EC and gave it a go! It is amazing to behold!


2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Nana on January 15, 2011 at 2:18 am

    You always teach me something new:-) Glad you learned about EC, and glad for all the effort and $ and messes it has saved!


  2. […] are unfamiliar with the theory of Infant Potty Training or Elimination Communication, read my post here.  In short, it is the philosophy that babies are born with awareness of and quickly develop the […]


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