Infant Potty Training: 16 Month Report

If you 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 ability to hold their need to use the bathroom.  It stands in stark contrast to the modern western philosophy that these muscles do not develop until well after two years of age.  It also challenges the idea that babies cannot communicate their needs effectively or respond to cues.  This theory holds that babies do not like to soil themselves, but would much prefer to stay clean and dry by using a toilet (like we would!) and would love the opportunity to do so if we just gave them that opportunity.

We have been using EC since the day of Jeshuah’s birth and found this theory quickly proved accurate.  By eight months, Jeshuah always pooed only on the toilet, and by 12 months, his diapers were consistently dry.  I could now consider my one year old potty trained!

However, we have faced some minor and major obstacles along the way that have been a setback to our progress.  EC is a whole different ballgame in the western world than much of the eastern world that practices it.  With our carpeted, beautifully furnished homes, it’s rather a big deal if your little one is running around diaper-free and has an accident.  It is also, honestly, inconvenient to run him to the bathroom every 45-90 minutes, pull off all his clothes and get him on the potty–especially if he didn’t even have to go!  And many times we are running around or visiting friends, and there is either not a good place to take him to the restroom or he is not happy about pausing his play to go use it.

At the moment, we are on a major “potty pause”–or probably rather a “potty strike” in this case, and it’s all due to my own laziness.  When Jeshuah started signing to me that he needed to use the potty (at twelve months), he got so excited about it, he started signing it all the time, so then I never knew what was a real sign and what was just having fun.  I grew lenient, weary of the multiple trips to the bathroom for no reason.  But I noticed almost immediately he stopped signing that he needed to go anymore. I had to rely on facial expressions and timing instead.  Around that same time, I also grew lax with putting him in underwear and found it easier to simply put a diaper on him.

But when I do that, he loses his awareness of his bodily functions to where, I have let that go on so long, he has regressed in most of his training.  I am tempted to be frustrated with this and say, “I thought we were done with this! I thought we were potty trained here! If we keep this up, you’ll be the same age as all your other friends by the time you are completely potty trained, and who will be impressed with that?!”

Oops, what was that? Who will be impressed by that? Is that why I am doing this? To impress people with my son’s ability to use a toilet at eight months? I thought it was because I believed in the philosophy. I thought it was because it was short-term sacrifice for long-term gain. I thought, ultimately, it was about responding to my son’s needs and helping him to be comfortable and training him in the way he should go. It is so easy to lose sight of all that and be lost to my own parental pride.

So, while I have been convicted that my motives have not always been pure in this area, I remind myself of the ultimate goals. Yes, it is more trips to the bathroom now, but it is still less diapers in the long run.  It is less diaper rashes for a very, very sensitive bottom and hardly any disgusting, smelly, poopy diapers.  And it is an all-around happier baby who can communicate with mommy and daddy and feel secure in the knowledge that we hear him and want to help him.

Love this little face!

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One response to this post.

  1. Posted by MarySue on April 15, 2011 at 7:29 pm

    Thanks for sharing that — I appreciate your transparency.

    Reply

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