Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Infant Potty Training
Imagine a home with a child under two that does not have the lovely aroma of dirty diapers. Imagine a day spent without wrestling a little one to wipe his rearend before he smears his scent all over the carpet and furniture. Imagine a child who is less fussy because he doesn't have the overwhelming urge to "go" for long periods of time. Imagine no emergency runs to buy wipes. Imagine no more diaper rash or "fire butts" requiring immediate bathing.
It's the world of babies that are amazingly good at using a potty! Our third child is two and has been able to use a potty since she was 3-months-old (though many mommies start with their infants from birth). Just like little puppies, babies don't actually like messing themselves and when they are given the option, they can do their business in a receptacle of your choosing.
There are TONS of websites and bulletin boards devoted to "Elimination Communication". They are full of ideas on how to lovingly teach the babies to release on command. I took the simple advice given by Debi Perl and sat backwards on a potty, cradling my wee one in the crook of my right arm while holding her rearend down in the potty. After only a few times, she could release even the smallest amount of pee within seconds of being placed in that position. Incredible!
There is hope for slackers! I was not capable of sticking to solid routines. While working with my little one on the potty thang, I was homeschooling a 5 year old, barely tolerating my 3 year old, caring for my elderly mother, living in two different states, and still using diapers for the baby. If I can train a baby to successfully use a potty, ANYONE can do it. And the time commitment is less than the time it takes to change dirty diapers.
Method will no doubt depend on your schedule and your baby's personality, gender, routine.
I found the easiest age to train for us was the infant stage because babies love to look at their mommy's face and jabber. When you smile upon hearing them tinkle, it is thrilling for them.
When the distraction phase kicks in, toys are essential to keep them interested. Potty strikes can occur - you can't make a baby use the potty - but they are mostly preventable if you keep updating favorite items next to the toilet. After potty time, I would sing "Toys away, toys away, that is all for toys today" and provide a container for the baby to place the toy in (when capable of that task). As long as you stick to that "Toys away" rule, there shouldn't be much fighting. If you break that rule, good luck with fits. (Learned the effects of inconsistent parenting with my fit-throwing firstborn.)
If the baby was fussy, I rarely had success with placing her on the potty. The best time for her to go was right after nursing. Generally I would feed her one side when waking and then visit the potty. She'd be quite content at that point. Some moms are able to have their babies go at night and literally never use diapers. I was too lazy to do that. And I found that the baby would get irate if placed on the potty when sleepy.
Because I could not be consistent with training the baby (sometimes going a day or so without placing her on the potty), I always had her in diapers. But just like potty training an older child, the training requires more discipline on mom's part to make sure we're taking advantage of opportunities to go potty and not always relying on the handy-dandy diapers for accidents. If we were to have another bambino, I'd probably try the diaperless route, but who knows until the time comes.
From the time the baby could say "go", she has been asking to go to the potty when she needs to use it. Before the baby was 15-months, we were moving, it was summer, and she was starting to strike more often and use her diaper more often. So we said "done" and said goodbye to diapers during the day. She is now 2 and will go a week or more without an accident (accident usually due to my negligence or to over-indulging on yummy beverages).
Currently, she needs to be done with diapers at night. Last week, she was waking up with dry diapers on occasion, and now she is starting to fill the diaper before calling for me, and then immediately asks for the diaper to be taken off. Good hint that the kiddo needs a change in the system.
My prayer while making a bad but ultimately successful attempt at infant potty training was literally to free other moms of the burden of diapers. There is another way and God designed our babies to do oh so much more than we can imagine. I am by no means an expert, but if He can work this miracle through me, He can do it for you!
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
So are the children of one's youth.
How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them;