What Is Infant Potty Training, And Does It Work? Keyword: infant potty training
Can a baby really use the potty? This is a question many parents ask themselves, especially if they're hearing about infant potty training for the first time.
The answer is yes, but it's not as simple as you might think. This potty training method takes a lot of patience and consistency on the part of the parents.
To help you decide if this is the right practice for your family, let's take a closer look at infant potty training, including what it is, how it works, and some pros and cons you need to consider. You’ll also find some tips to help you get started.
Table Of Contents
- What’s Infant Potty Training?
- Training Around The World
- How Does Elimination Communication Work?
- Pros And Cons Of Potty Training Your Baby
- How To Get Started
- Tips For Successful Infant Potty Training
What’s Infant Potty Training?
Infant potty training is based on the premise that babies have natural reflexes that tell them when they need to use the bathroom. Proponents believe babies naturally desire to stay clean and dry, so they don’t want to sit in poopy pants until you can change them.
With help from their parents, who are watching their cues, babies can learn to use the toilet from the start. This way, they never get used to using their pants as a potty.
When you potty train your baby, it eliminates the need to toilet-train a reluctant toddler. Instead, your child will have grown up peeing and pooping on a toilet, and they’ll just consider it a natural part of life.
But in the meantime, your baby isn't going to walk over to the potty, pull their pants down, and do their business. They aren’t physically able to do that at this age.
That's where you come in. You'll need to observe your baby's cues closely and take them to the bathroom when it’s time.
Since infant potty training focuses on your baby's cues, it's often called elimination communication or "EC." Other names for this practice include natural infant hygiene, infant pottying, and baby-led potty training.
Potty Training Around The World
Infant potty training isn't a new idea. It's actually a centuries-old practice that's still used in many parts of the world.
For example, in Vietnam, diapers are rarely used. Instead, mothers use a type of infant potty training. By nine months, most Vietnamese babies consistently relieve themselves in a potty. And by 24 months, the majority are completely independent in the toileting process.
Historically, Chinese babies and toddlers learning to use the bathroom wore special pants with a split called "kaidangku.” This design made it easy for them to go without undressing. The tradition continues today in rural areas, though it's become less common in cities.
Infant potty training is also normal in India, Pakistan, Nepal, and other parts of Asia and Africa. But it isn't just developing nations that do it. This practice is growing in popularity in Europe and North America as well.
How Does Infant Potty Training Work?
As we mentioned, elimination communication (infant potty training) requires you to observe your baby's cues to know when they need to go. This means being attuned to their body language, sounds, and behaviors.
For example, you might notice that your baby squirms or grunts when they need to poop. Or they might cry or make a facial expression indicating it’s time for them to pee.
Once you recognize your baby's cues, you can help them get to the potty in time. While they’re likely too small to sit on a toilet on their own, it’s possible to support them over a small pot or potty chair. Some parents even hold their babies in their laps during this stage.
You may need to experiment with positioning, but eventually, you'll find what works best for your baby. However, it's important to remember that infant potty training is a gradual process. You will mistime things at first, and accidents will happen.
Just stay patient and keep at it. Eventually, you'll get the hang of things, and your baby will start using the potty with less and less help from you.
Pros And Cons Of Potty Training Your Baby
Baby-led potty training isn’t for everyone. Like most parenting decisions, it has its pros and cons.
On the plus side, elimination communication can save you a lot of money on diapers. Since parents spend an average of $18 per week on diapers, this can add up to significant savings over time.
Infant potty training can also improve the environment since you'll use fewer disposable diapers. (In 2018, 3,300 tons of diaper waste were sent to landfills in the U.S. alone. This is equivalent to the weight of approximately 2,400 cars.)
Another advantage of infant pottying is that it can help your baby form a stronger bond with you because you'll be spending so much time helping them use the potty.
On the downside, elimination communication can be time-consuming. You'll need to be attentive to your baby's cues and take them to the potty several times a day, which can cut into your free time.
It can also be difficult to stick with, especially if you have a busy lifestyle. If you travel frequently or work long hours, keeping up with the potty training regimen might be tough.
And since infant potty training isn't the norm in Western cultures, you might get some funny looks from friends and family members who don't understand what you're doing. This can make you feel alone.
How To Get Started
If you've weighed the pros and cons and are interested in infant potty training, here are a few things you can do to get started:
- Do your research. Read books or articles about infant potty training so you have a good understanding of the process. This will help you set realistic expectations and troubleshoot any problems.
- Build a support network. Find other parents who are interested in infant potty training. This could be friends, family members, or even people you meet online. These people can offer moral support and advice when you're struggling.
- Gather the right supplies. You'll need a few things to get started, including a potty chair or toilet seat insert, a Waterproof Crib Mattress, and an Extra Crib Mattress Cover to make it easy to clean up after accidents.
- Decide what diapers to use for backup. Many parents put their little ones in diapers even during infant potty training. That way, if there are any accidents, the diaper will catch it. But you'll need to decide which type of diapers to use. Disposable or cloth?
- Decide when to start. Some parents begin potty training their newborns when they’re only a few weeks old. Others wait until their baby can sit up on their own. Either way can work, so decide what method you’re more comfortable with.
Once you have everything you need, it’s time to start working on infant potty training with your baby.
Tips For Successful Infant Potty Training
Here are some tips to help you through the infant potty training process.
- Be patient. This is probably the most important tip. Teaching your kids to use the potty is hard, whether they’re three months or three years old. So be patient and know that it takes time.
- Wait until you've recovered. Baby toilet training takes time and energy, so you want to be completely recovered from labor and delivery before you begin.
- Spend lots of time with your baby. To succeed, you must be attentive to your infant's cues. This means spending time with them and getting to know their signals.
- Have a why. Know why you want to infant potty train. Whether it’s saving money or being more environmentally friendly, keep your goal in mind when you're feeling annoyed or alone with this method.
- Be prepared for accidents. No matter how hard you try, there will be accidents. It's important to have a plan for dealing with them ahead of time. That way, you won't get frustrated when they happen.
- Know that you can change your mind. Nothing is set in stone. If you decide this method isn’t working for you or your baby, don't be afraid to hit pause. Then, pick up the training when your child shows more traditional potty training readiness signs.
- Know when to use diapers. There will be times when it's more convenient to use diapers, such as during long car rides or when you're away from home. Don't feel bad about using them in these situations.
If you follow these tips, you’ll be well on your way to successful infant potty training.
Succeeding With Infant Potty Training
Infant potty training can certainly work, but it's not for everyone. Raising a diaper-free baby takes a lot of time, energy, and patience.
So, if you're thinking about infant potty training, spend time researching this method and prepare yourself for a challenge. But remember that millions of moms worldwide have successfully potty trained their infants. If they can do it, you can, too!
Of course, your baby will have accidents while they're learning. That's OK! If you're prepared for it, you can handle it. Pick up a Waterproof Crib Mattress and an Extra Crib Mattress Cover to make it easier to clean up after accidents. Then, give elimination communication a go.
With patience and perseverance, you really can potty train your baby.