When my son was born, I decided to try the less common approach of “infant potty training” or “elimination communication.” With this method, you learn to read your baby’s cues and take them directly to the bathroom to pee and poop rather than having them always go in their diaper. This is a pretty common approach to potty training throughout the world as the majority of babies in India, Africa, and Asia are exposed to some form of elimination communication and are usually completely potty trained by the age of 2 years old. My mother (born and raised in India) actually infant potty trained both my brother and me.
During my pregnancy, I did a bunch of research on infant potty training, but when our little guy made his entrance I was a bit too overwhelmed to begin the process. Luckily, my mom came to the rescue! She began potty training him when she came to visit after he was born. During every diaper change, she would hold him over the sink in a squat position (he was too small for the toilet), with the water running and making the sound “shhhh.”
She would hold him like this for at least 5 minutes every diaper change and after just 1 or 2 days, he started constantly peeing when she took him to the sink.
A few days later he began pooping randomly in the sink too. Maintaining this pattern essentially taught him that bringing him to the sink and hearing the sound of water running meant it was time to do his business.
After she left, I continued the process and started noticing many patterns – my son would ALWAYS pee and possibly poop after waking up in the morning or after a nap (a common pattern in most babies). So every time he woke up, I took him to the sink and he peed almost immediately! I also noticed that every time he needed to poop, he would start to grunt and move his body from side to side getting ready to push it out.
The more I observed, the more I realized it was pretty easy to read his elimination cues.
Over time his schedule became more consistent and now, at 6 months old, he poops every morning in the sink after he wakes up, like clockwork. He doesn’t even need to hear running water anymore; he just knows that when I bring him to the sink, it’s time to go.
We plan to continue this pattern and move him to the toilet soon since he’s sitting up stably now. I’m not entirely sure when we will stop using diapers, but I’m hoping he’ll be completely potty trained by the time he’s 2, if not earlier. I highly recommend trying this method out, it takes a lot of patience and consistency up front, but the outcome is so worth it!
For toddler potty training tips. Check out our blog on how to let go to speed up the process.
This is a guest blog by Michelle DiNicolas, PhD, mother.