Thursday, April 28, 2011

Early "Potty" Toilet Training

Before Henry was born, I read this post about Elimination Communication and decided to give it a try. I skimmed Diaper Free and Elimination Communication websites and learned that you basically come up with two different sounds to make when your child pees and when your child poops. Then, you pay close attention to your child to figure out the small signals they give off when they are about to pee or poop. When you notice the cues, you quickly take off their diaper, hold them over a toilet, and make the sounds.

We tried to do this from birth, but we quickly realized that it was way too traumatic for Henry. The process of whipping off his diaper and urgently moving toward the toilet was too frightening, so we promptly stopped.

But recently, we've been trying again, with much greater success. My Montessori teacher explained that at about six weeks, she starts siting her children on a child-sized toilet after every diaper change, as a way to help them associate the toilet with what goes on in their diapers. She also recommends holding them over the toilet during common times, like before a bath, first thing in the morning, and after nursing. Soon enough, you'll start "catching" pees and poops.

We've definitely caught some pee and poop, although the ratio is still very low. It's a work in progress!

And, as a side note, we use the word "toilet" instead of "potty" because we try to use real words as often as possible as we help Henry build his vocabulary.



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19 comments:

thisdreamergirl said...

Wow... I would have never even thought you could do this but after reading your post.. I love it! Whenever (If Ever) it happens for my husband and I (to get pregnant)... I absolutely want to attempt the same thing.. Thank you for sharing your experience!

Kovas said...

I'm going to share this with my wife, seems like an interesting approach.

Marty said...

My grandma did something like this when my mom was an infant. Apparently, my mom was totally toilet trained by the age of one. So it can be done! Good luck!

Heather said...

Ha ha, that picture is darling, and I love this idea. My husband and I are trying for our first and I love the idea of EC, which I hadn't heard of until reading your blog.

Julie said...

My friend has done EC with all three of her children! Pretty awesome, esp since each time it works is one less diaper to wash.

katharina said...

Maybe you can also observe approximately how long it takes from giving him milk until something comes out and time the trips to the toilet around that? This method is sometimes used for older children. I think one says approx. 15 mins. from mealtimes where they drink a lot until they pee. Also I have heard that this method works best when the right muscles are developed that help kids holding on to pee and poop (before that it tends to come in small portions right through). Unfortunately I don't have any litterature around this, just something I have heard...

fuzzy said...

Me, I settled for m&m's and frequent checks at 13-15 months, and saved myself all the fuss beforehand. What are you going to do when you go to work and leave him in daycare? They certainly aren't going to potty the kid before he can even stand up?

BTW: before you go all real words on the kid, consider that some things work better as slang. Consider the relative nuisance value of repeated "Uncle ralph, do you have a penis? Uncle ralph has a penis!" vs. an acceptable euphemism for the same.

jacin {lovely little details} said...

wow, i never thought of this!!

Neen said...

I disagree with Fuzzy: I would much prefer a kid asking Uncle Ralph if he has a penis than if he has a zeezee (or another euphemism of choice). Both questions will prompt a semi-embarrassed public explanation of what questions are appropriate, but I wouldn't be any more bothered by "penis" than the euphemism. And if Uncle Ralph would be, well, tough for him. (But then I'm a big fan of more honest discussion of sexuality, period).

That said, Fuzzy has a point: any thoughts about EC once it's daycare time?

Casandra Bruce Lawson said...

I'm sure EC can be done "part-time" at home, even if Henry is in daycare. Luckily, like other parenting choices (i.e. cloth diapering, breastfeeding, montessori, etc.) an all or nothing approach does not need to be taken in order to experience the benefits.

[love the pic of Henry and his daddy!]

Ariel said...

We had great luck with Tavi pooping on his potty ... until he started walking at 12mo. Then he just stood up and walked away. It was disheartening, but I remind myself that every poop in the potty was one less diaper I changed during his first year.

Carrie said...

I'm curious what your goal is with this? To potty train early? To save on the number of diapers you have to change? Something else?

Sara E. Cotner said...

@ Carrie: There are a lot of reasons why people choose to use Elimination Communication. Personally, Matt and I are doing it to get a head start on toilet training. We feel like the more we integrate the toilet into Henry's life now, then the less we will have to use stickers and M&Ms later down the road. At least that's the thought. Who knows what will happen!

Rachel said...

I'm loving EC! We live in China where it is the norm to have your child 'toilet trained' as an infant. My little guy is 6 months (he's our first) and has actually done a lot of it without our trying much. Honestly (and I'm sure its different for every child), one day in Beijing (about a month ago), we were walking the Great Wall and he just decided that he didn't pee in his nappy anymore. For the last month, we've hard barely any misses. Most nights he's been dry. He now lets us know that there are some toilets he definitely does NOT pee in and he prefers to pee in our toilet at home or on trees. He can hold his pee for 4 + hours!
And can I say the level of communication that we do with each other is what I find most rewarding?!!!
On the daycare issue -- a few of my friends do EC part time no problems too.

Sarah said...

Thanks for the post and link! I'm planning on using EC too and planning to read Diaper Free Baby in the next few weeks before our baby arrives. My mom thought I was nuts when she saw the book's title, but after sharing your post with her, she definitely gets it. In fact, she was so excited, she ran out and bought the baby bjorn toilet!

Ellie said...

I literally had a co-worker ask recently if my boss went to the potty. I was like, "WTF? You are an ADULT."

Michele said...

As soon as I was pregnant I was interested in a diaper free baby and was thrilled to see that my idea wasn’t crazy. I have read the Diaper Free Baby and have tried to do a lot of research about Elimination Communication but my 4 month old continues to cry and scream the entire time I try to hold him over his little toilet. I've been trying since he was four days old but I always get discouraged because he seems so unhappy. I've caught a few pees (maybe just because he is cold) but no poops. I know he usually goes poop about 15 minutes after nursing, but he seems to wait until I put his cloth diaper back on. Any ideas to try to keep him happy?

Ariana said...

Then why don't they say "urine" and "feces"? I don't see how "pee" and "poop" are any more proper than "potty".

Anonymous said...

Oh Michele,from a mother of four that has learned a lot since her first...enjoy your little one while that are little! Four days old is a little premature in my humble opion. I started my third sitting on the toilet when he was five months old and sitting well on his own. There was no trauma of changing to a different seat later and the association of the activity in the bathroom was well established before his independance kicked in! Please don't miss the precious moments of having a newborn by focusing on being diaper free. It is a worthwhile goal but should be kept in proper perspective. (this from a Mom that majored in the minors on her first two!) Blessings to you and your little one!

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