Potty Training Infants 101

The Facts, The Myths, The Questions

Here is a complete Guide to Potty Training Infants. Most EC-ing parents dislike the term infant potty training (IPT) as it implies rewards, punishments or conventionally training your infant as you would a toddler. Elimination communication (EC) and natural infant hygiene (NIH) are other term used in the ECing community to describe the practice of responding to your babies's elimination needs by offering a potty or an alternative to eliminating on himself.

Potty training infants does not have to take a lot of extra effort - simply place your baby on the potty before you put a fresh diaper on or before bath time. Keep a potty beside your changing table - it really takes a only a couple extra minutes of your time. Changing diapers and cleaning bottoms takes time too.

MYTH # 1. Babies cannot control their bodily functions until 18 months of age.

FACT: it's possible for babies to communicate their need to go to the bathroom and to wait briefly while you take them to the potty.

Babies are born with an awareness of their elimination. You can not expect them to hold it for hours but every morning my baby waits for his bottom to touch the potty before he pees and poos.

Here Is Why Infant Potty Training Is Good For You And Your Baby

EC in not all or nothing - you don't have to eliminate diapers and catch every pee or poo. Start simple - catching poo is EASY. Even without ever hearing about potty training infants you are probably very aware when your child is eliminating. Now IMAGINE you focus on only on catching poo and the occasional pee.

This means:

  • No more dirty diapers
  • No stained clothes
  • No discomfort from dirty diapers and little (if at all) diaper rash.
  • No elaborate clean up
  • No need to pack extra clothes

Potty training infants also means you almost never have to apply diaper cream and you have more control over when your baby eliminates. Imagine you use left the house, or are in the middle of grocery shopping when you realize your baby has a dirty diaper and is sitting in his own poo.

If you where practicing infant potty training you would have offered your baby a potty opportunity before leaving the house. You would have been better aware of his elimination patterns and have been expecting him to poo around this time.

Now, don't get me wrong, practicing elimination communication does not ensure a scenario like this never happens - but it happens VERY VERY SELDOM. Since starting EC I never had a leaky diaper (ok maybe twice when it was put on wrong or when my baby had diarrhea). But offering a potty at every diaper change meant that his bladder was never very full.

Myth #2. EC is ill-suited for working parents.

FACT: Some are concerned that families in which parents have to spend long hours away from their child potty training infants is not possible. Occasional ECing IS enough to keep the babies' natural awareness of elimination until it's time for toilet independence.

Between 2,800.00 and 3,500.00

The amount of $ parents spend on diapers per child. This excludes wipes and diaper cream or the cost of gas to get to the store.

Diaper Facts For The Average Baby:

  • The average baby spends 2 to 3 years in diapers.
  • This is equivalent to 8,000-10,000 diapers.
  • The cost of one diaper is 19 cents for a newborn and 46 cents for a toddler.

Myth #3. Potty training infants won't work because there are some situations in which diapers are required. (supermarket, day care).

FACT: EC does NOT mean diaper free. Many ECing families, mine included, still use disposable or cloth diapers while following EC methodology. EC is about limiting the dependance on diapers not necessarily eliminating diapers all together from day one.

What is Elimination Communication

Elimination communication is not potty training - it is communication and employs observation, timing, cues, and intuition. Elimination Communication is a natural, completely gentle, non-coercive process, that your baby fully participates in. Its simple - you figure out when your baby needs to eliminate and you facilitate the process. Babies LOVE IT!

Little ones look so content when you put them on the potty. In my personal opinion it feels like they are happy that you understand them and are meeting their needs. I know this sounds a bit "magical" but both you and your baby will experience a sort of satisfaction of being able to understand each other.

Responding to your babies elimination needs is the same as responding to their other cues.

  • When a baby is hungry - you feed them.
  • When a baby is sleepy - you put them to bed.
  • When a baby needs to eliminate - you put them on a potty.

When you first brought for baby home, you probably where a bit uncertain when your baby was hungry or sleepy - I know I was. I was guessing until I figured out his cues.

Elimination Communication Means different Thing To Different People

Potty training infants does not mean you have to out your baby on the potty every hour, or let them roam diaper free and evacuate your carpets.

Some define Elimination Communication as teaching your infant to pee or poo on demand. This is a very simplified version and not the complete picture but there is an element of truth to it. If your little darling has something in his or her bladder or bowels and you provide the cue - they will push and release their bladder.

Its similar if you are not going to have access to a toilet and decide to use one proactively. Although you don't specifically feel the need to go, once you go on the toilet it's very likely you will be able to empty your bladder. This is exactly how it works with babies and toddlers.

Many speak of a wonderful connection with their infant or toddler and others never experience it. However, Infant potty training increases a parent’s awareness of their child’s bio-rhythms – specifically their natural elimination cycle.

Infant Potty Training at Daycare or With Other Caregivers.

My Daycare loved that my Little Darling was eliminating on the potty at 6 months old. The owner would only use around 2 disposable diapers a day for him and even implemented partial EC methods with her toddlers. Yes, it was a small daycare (max 7-8 kids all under 3 most under 2 years old). But I have not meet anyone yet who after witnessing the ease of potty training infants still preferred to change a dirty diaper instead of letting my baby use the potty.

I understand that might not be the case with bigger daycare centers, But you can still ask. And you can EC your baby in the morning and before bedtime - it will be enough to keep him aware of his spinster muscles until conventionally ready for toilet independence.

Common Infant Potty Training Questions

When to Start Potty training Infants?

Optimum time is between zero and four months, but all the way to 18 months is possible.

How long to keep your baby on the potty?

As long as she likes. Unless you are pressed for time. This is what we do in our home, after a few months our baby actually started crying and squirming if we took him off before he was done! The first weeks he would stay content on the potty for 10 - 15 minutes and would usually have two consecutive bowel movements a few minutes apart.

Infant Potty Training Myth

Myth #4.

Potty training infants is frustrating.

FACT: Potty training toddlers is more frustrating. EC is no more frustrating than cleaning dirty diapers for 2 years or more and than going through conventional potty training. Most practitioners who tried both argue that EC is much easier then conventional potty training.

They report that their little darlings become toilet-independent at 18 months rather than 3 years when potty training conventionally.

After the challenges associated with training 2+ year old toddlers many parents decide that waiting until your little darling is so-called "ready" after may not be the best method after all.

Return from Potty Training Infants to Elimination Communication

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