Posted on | April 2, 2011 | 11 Comments
As I mentioned before, we are starting elimination communication with Zebby. That is a silly sort of name (while accurate) for infant potty training. Since just a few weeks old, Sebastian was frequently waking up dry from naps. By 6 months he can sit up comfortably without assistance, so we got him a Little Potty. It is the perfect size and he loves to sit on it without pants! The first time we had him sit on it was after removing a wet diaper. I made a little “psssst” sound in his ear and we played with some toys. When I picked him up, he had peed!
I started doing this after reading inspiring tweets on the subject (#ECchat) and also because the idea of toddler poop in a diaper grosses me out. My friend has a two year old and I have experienced that foulness firsthand. As they say, it’s when the child switches from mostly boob to mostly solids that it stops being poop and starts being shit. I have heard of starting EC with newborns but I feel like the best time to start is when Baby is able to sit comfortably on the potty with little or no assistance. For us, that started at between 5-6 months of age.
There is quite a lot of research around baby potty training. It’s interesting to note that our culture’s late training (Many parents don’t even start training until 2 years old) is a new thing – Up until the 50′s, most babies were potty trained by 18 months of age. Pediatricians changed recommendations, but I blame the disposable diaper companies! In other cultures, babies still potty train a lot earlier. My husband’s sister was adopted from South Korea as a toddler and was fully potty trained when they brought her home.
How-to start EC:
Get a baby potty. Or a pot. Or maybe even a sink. Just remember, comfort is key here. They have to be able to relax enough to go. (We like the BABYBJÖRN Little Potty.)
Put Baby on the potty when you suspect they need to pee or poo. Sebastian kicks and acts like he has a wet diaper before he actually pees, for instance. Within a few minutes of eating or waking are also good times to offer the potty.
While Baby sits on the potty, play with some toys, read or sing songs. Make some sound effects or use baby sign language if that is something that you do.
It’s really that easy, and it isn’t an all or nothing thing. We definitely still use diapers, but we do a lot less diaper laundry than we used to. Some days are more lazy than others. When you are not at home you can either bring your own potty, try to cue your baby to go in the grass or on an adult toilet, or just not worry about it and let them go in their diaper. (Although a baby who is used to the potty may get upset at being forced to go in their diaper, just a warning. Not really a bad problem to have most of the time.)
Sebastian peed on the potty his first ever time sitting on it, and continues to pee on the potty at least half of the time he goes. I love putting the same dry diaper back on and I especially love catching poo in the potty – Much easier cleanup than a diaper! He clearly prefers the potty. He yells at me in the morning until I put him on his little blue potty and typically goes immediately upon being placed there. Reading his cues makes me feel extremely close and connected to my baby and he is so much happier not going in a diaper most of the time. My husband loves EC as well and Sebastian’s grandparents are totally impressed.
For more info, you can read Diaper-Free Before 3: The Healthier Way to Toilet Train and Help Your Child Out of Diapers Sooner – I have not read it yet but it looks good! You can also read up online or just dive right in (bad choice of words?) as we have.