Archive for the ‘Infant Potty Training’ Category

Infant Potty Training: 20 month update

Reading "Pooh" while going poo:-)

I figure it’s about time for another update on how the infant potty training (aka Elimination Communication, aka EC) is going. Jeshuah is now twenty months old, and at 18 months, I was despairing that he would be out of diapers any sooner than your average kid.  However, I reminded myself that no matter how soon I could call him wholly and completely Officially Potty Trained, choosing to EC has been one of the most rewarding practices we have chosen as parents.  Even if it isn’t every single time, I am thankful to wash less diapers–and definitely thankful to rarely ever have to deal with a poopy diaper!

However, last month, we had a breakthrough.  When Jeshuah was 18 months, I realized I was being lazy with his training and ought to just put him in his undies on a regular basis, since I knew he was capable of staying dry and telling me when he needed to go.  But because I didn’t want to have to deal with accidents and being concientious all day long of whether or not he may need to go to the bathroom, I just kept him in diapers.  And I noticed a significant regression in his training from 12 months (when he was nearly completely potty trained) to 18 months (when I found his diapers nearly always wet, even if he did also use the toilet).  I knew this was due to my lack of consistency, and determined to do better.

For the first couple of weeks, Jeshuah had multiple accidents a day and rarely made it to the toilet. I definitely felt like a failure at EC! Thankfully, my SIL has been doing EC with her two year old and we encourage each other in the rough times.  We both switched our babies to underwear at the same time, and within days, her son was consistently dry–even at naps and nights! This gave me hope that we would reach that point soon, too, so I kept persevering.  Three or four weeks ago, I started putting Jeshuah in undies nearly all day every day, even on outings of 3 or 4 hours.  He not only stays dry, but he often lets me know when he needs to use the toilet while we are out.  While he is almost always dry when he wakes up from naps, I still have not made the jump to undies for naps.  That is my next goal.

I honestly was nervous about putting him in undies all the time, and even more nervous about going out in undies.  But after the first couple of days, I realized an occasional wet outfit is really not that big of a deal, and seeing the fruit of my labor is very rewarding.  I love seeing him without the bulk of his diaper. I love knowing he is cool and dry in this heat. And I still love our toilet time–when his favorite activities are either reading stories or driving his toy cars around on my legs as I sit across from him on the tub.

Of the things on my list that I look forward to most with this new baby, potty training is right up there with snuggling, holding, and smothering with kisses.  I am so excited to learn to communicate with a new baby, to watch for cues and clues, to pick up on him/her letting me know when they need to go.  EC has never been about pressure or guilt for me, it has just been fun and extremely rewarding.  If I get in an emotional place where it is too stressful, we let it slide for a bit until I get my feet on the ground again. And I am okay with that. Would my kids be potty trained faster if I were anal about it? Yes.  But my goal with Infant Potty Training is not to get them out of diapers as soon as humanly possible, or to beat the average kid out of diapers.  My desire with infant potty training is to establish a bond of communication with my babies, to clean less diapers :-), and to give them the relief of not sitting in soggy or messy diapers.  But mostly, I do it because I enjoy it, and I know Jeshuah enjoys it.  If I didn’t like doing EC, I wouldn’t do it. But I find it intriguing and rewarding and am eager to do it all over again!


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!

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!

Short Term Losses for Long Term Gain

The last couple of weeks with Jeshuah have been, well, rather exhausting.  The is mostly due to the lack of sleep I have had because of the late nights of wonderful Olympic games.  But I have also spent the last two weeks, staying mostly at home to help orient Jeshuah to a decent schedule and work on sleep training.  This has given me a lot of time to think. I realized  that we have chosen three very specific courses of parenthood that are much more difficult in the short run, but will be worth it in the end (or, so I’m told:-).

The first method of parenting is following the techniques found in the On Becoming Babywise books.  This approach encourages routine and consistency, teaching Baby to fall asleep and stay asleep on his own (without the aid of sleep props such as swing, paci, being held all the time, or cosleeping.

Short Term Losses: having to listen to Baby cry himself to sleep, working on keeping a schedule and consistency, keeping Baby awake during and after feeding (instead of nursing to sleep), lack of sleep (because you may be letting baby cry it out instead of just putting his paci in or nursing him even though he isn’t hungry).

Long term Gains: Baby can be placed in any bed anywhere and fall asleep on his own (even without crying!).  If baby is startled awake or comes out of a cleep cycle, Baby can return to sleep by himself. Baby sleeps through the night between 6-10 weeks old. Baby is well-rested and happy because he is getting enough sleep, enough to eat, and he knows what to expect from day to day.

Our next parenting decision that is making things more difficult in the short run is cloth diapering.  While I have detailed on this blog that it really isn’t that much more difficult, it has required more thought and effort than disposables.

Short term losses: Cleaning up messy diapers, more loads of laundry, and extra research due to the fact that Baby is an extremely “heavy wetter” and keeps soaking through every layer I’ve tried.

Long term gains:  WAY more economical, thousands of less diapers in landfills, and no diaper rash.

The last thing we have chosen to do that most people think is crazy is EC. That stands for Elimination Communication, and is better understood as infant potty training.  The idea is that not only are babies aware of their needs in this area, but they are capable of holding it and responding to cues in order to use the toilet instead of relying on diapers.

Short term losses: Requires extra time to learn babies cues as to when he has to eliminate, take baby to toilet, and teach baby sign language in order for him to let you know he needs to go. Can be messy when you miss them!  Lots of weird looks and comments from unbelievers.

Long term gains: Lack of diaper rash, constipation, and potty trained by 8-12 months of age (and no, I’m not even kidding you).

I knew when I got into this that I was taking a lot on to myself.  But I believe that all these things are not only good, but they will all be worth it in the end.  I don’t mind the “extra work” on this end when my baby goes down for every nap without a peep, and takes 2-3 hour naps despite vacuum cleaners, loud laughter, and doorbells ringing.  I rejoice when I get a nearly full night of sleep with a 6 week old and there are people with 1 1/2 year olds still not sleeping through the night.  I cheer when my little one poos in the toilet and I have one less diaper to clean.  I breathe a sigh of relief when I don’t have to find an extra $50 a month for more diapers.

When I am weary of the short term losses, I remind myself of all the long term gains. It will be worth it in the end.

And in the meantime, I am beginning to see that work pay off, and I sure am enjoying this little bundle of joy!