You know how everyone has (and likes to give) all kinds of advice for baby issues, right?
“Try an amber necklace… Get a Sophie the Giraffe… Put the pacifier in the fridge… Hyland’s Teething Tablets…”
“Cry it out… Don’t cry it out… Co-sleep… Don’t co-sleep…”
So… I was really skeptical and somewhat amused when a family member suggested I put our 6 month old on a toddler potty to help with the baby issue of constipation. (That and a little watered down apple prune juice.)
The joke was on me.
From the time our son was 6 months old until he was old enough to tell us he had to go to the potty, we changed a total of five poopy diapers. Five. And all of those happened when he was sick.
Never experienced a blow out crisis as a new mom. Never had to smell a dirty diaper in our home or in the car. No diaper rash. I am a huge fan of elimination communication even though (at the time) it just seemed like some strange advice that just happened to work out by chance!
For those interested in how we made it work long term, here’s our experience…
First, we learned our son’s signs when he needed to go, which was really easy because it was a miserable whimper and strained look that said “can you help here!?!”
Next, we would sit him on the potty, lean him over on our shoulder and not say anything while he did what he needed to do.
At all times, we kept water in the potty, and it just required a regular dump, flush, rinse (and repeat).
Elimination communication ended up being very simple and so much better than changing dirty diapers.
Family members who helped keep him and our regular baby sitter were all on board. In fact, they all told me they were happy to help with this in order to have a happy baby and no messy diapers.
When he got a little bit bigger (around 1 years old) we started putting him on the potty at a regular time each evening, whether or not he had the signs of poop. It didn’t take long for his body to adjust and going to the potty soon became a regular part of the evening routine.
Sometime between age 1-2 we added a book and that hasn’t changed yet! Friends and co-workers who found out about this through casual conversation were always interested and had some of the same questions, like…
What do y’all do when you’re away from home or on a trip?
We put a potty in the back of the car and always took one with us on trips. Luckily, we never had to use it in the car but we kept it in there just in case.
How do you know when it’s time?
At first, it was familiar signs, then it became pretty much an evening or every other evening regular schedule.
Does he pee pee in the potty too?
No. Although that often happened at the same time, we used more traditional potty training a couple of years later with that.
That’s our experience with using elimination communication, which solved the baby issue of constipation and meant we didn’t have to change dirty diapers.
I think this is becoming more and more popular in the potty training adventures because if you really think about it, it makes sense for how our bodies respond in certain positions or around certain times. If you’re a Shark Tank fan, you’re probably thinking of Squatty Potty! I believe it can work for babies because it’s just a more natural and easier position for them.
I do not think it’s for every family and/or situation. No matter what potty training method is used, they all take a lot of patience and consistency. Even if early potty training is not an option for your situation, there are a few things you can do to help set the stage when it is time.
- Putting a potty chair in the bathroom where it becomes something your child is used to seeing.
- Making sure your child wears clothing that’s easy to pull up and down in case they start to try it on their own.
- Letting them follow you in to the bathroom (privacy feels non-existent anyway those first few years!) and talk about going to the potty in simple, matter of fact ways.
- Keeping a light or night light on in the bathroom.
- Lots of praise and encouragement when they make those first attempts, even through all the accidents along the way.
- Demonstrating with favorite stuffed animals (put “big girl/boy underwear” on them) or use children’s books and videos.
- Making it a positive experience with picking out new underwear and just celebrating he or she is getting to be a big boy/girl who doesn’t need diapers anymore.
Most of all, lots and lots of patience through the challenges and celebrations of potty training!