So you may wonder…how’s the infant potty training coming along?

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I am sure this will not interest half most of my readers, but on the odd chance that you are curious about our potty training ideas and how new baby is doing with them, I thought I would give you an update!  Not much else is going on anyway about which to wax eloquently, so you’re stuck with this 🙂

The other day in Bristol at the huge John Lewis, we saw the cutest little potty and had to add it to our already large inventory of tiny potties.  (We have two Baby Bjorn small potties, one Baby Bjorn larger potty, two fold up portable potties, and numerous potty seats to put over regular potties.)  It’s the smallest I’ve ever seen – perfect for a newborn!

I realize it doesn’t look super small in the picture, but take my word for it. When we tried this with baby number one, we didn’t have a little potty until she was six months old, and before that I tried to juggle nursing her diaperless while holding her over a bowl and did most of her “pottying” holding her over a sink, even in public restrooms.  Kind of yucky I know.  I just preferred the sink to squatting or bending facing a real toilet in a public place to hold her over it to go.  There aren’t a lot of easy ways to hold a newborn over a grown-up toilet since they all involve bending or squatting.  We had a lot of success with number one, and she would pretty much potty herself by around 20 months whenever she needed to go, and would rarely soil her diapers with a BM by about – well, all the time really.  Pretty much all of her BMs were in a potty from birth.  The addition of our first Baby Bjorn little potty really helped things along, though, since she could sit on it all by herself.

I didn’t really start using the little potty with a newborn until baby number five, since it was at about 6 months along with number four that I went back to infant potty training after not doing it with numbers two and three.  With number five, though, I was able to nurse on the couch and try her on the little potty before and after nursing her, and during the switch between sides while nursing.  I never again have tried to simultaneously nurse and potty the baby (as the infant potty training books recommended – it just didn’t work for me.)  Here’s a shot a friend caught of baby number five going on the potty – it’s when she was 8 days old.

Sorry if that picture is a bit too personal for you but I think only someone truly interested in seeing how this works is still reading at this point, and this is how it looks at first.   I hold the baby off the seat so the cold plastic doesn’t cause the baby to start crying.  Just the cool air outside of the diaper is enough to make them start to go potty, as well as the positioning of the legs.  Apparently even just 8 hours after birth they have control of the muscles necessary to try to have a BM or to urinate (I won’t go so far as to say “at birth” since my first proof of this is the first poop baby Daniel just had when he was 8 hours old.)  They are (so I’m told) not able to control the muscle that prevents these bodily functions until a much later age.  So basically, you’re training them to “try” on the potty from an early age, not training them to restrict their bodily functions to the toilet — and then you’re giving them plenty of opportunities to use the new skill, which is how you end up with mostly clean nappies.

Here’s another when Greer was 3 months old.

At this stage I let their little legs rest on the potty so that the cold plastic does help them know it’s time to try to go – since often they are diaperless lying on a pad at home playing on their little tummies.  As you get further along in this, you end up leaving the baby’s little bottom half undressed more and more frequently and just keeping an eye on them – which leads to more frequent pottying intervals, rather than just during a feeding.  (I usually base how often I try the baby on the potty on what the baby did in it’s previous attempt during the feeding.  If we didn’t get a BM, then I am more vigilant to keep watch over the baby’s bottom or try the baby on the potty maybe every 15-20 minutes.  If the baby already pooped, then I’ll try it about every 30 minutes, and then right before baby’s nap.)  Once baby reaches about 4  1/2-5 months, she can usually sit on the potty alone but supervised, and often from 6 months until crawling the baby will play happily with books on the potty for upwards of 30 minutes!  Just like putting the baby in a bumpo-type seat, the baby likes being able to sit up and join the family and doesn’t seem to mind that she’s doing it on a potty.

I’ll update this again in the future or answer any questions you may have, but things certainly change as it goes further along.  A quick synopsis is that once the baby is crawling and walking, keeping it on the potty can be more challenging.  I tried to do this with babies two and three but just having that many little ones (chasing after number one when number two was small, then chasing after him as he kept trying to walk at 10 months) around was too much to juggle.  I just didn’t have the time or ability to sit with a baby on the potty early on or to keep it on the potty later.  With baby number four, though, the eldest was five, and the others could play together and help me out more, and this is why I was able to get back to it when she was 6 months old (before that she was a newborn, then we moved to Hawaii, then we moved houses in Hawaii, and I did all the house painting and unpacking alone – there was just no time with my husband always gone underway on his submarine and no help in the home.)  With Greer – baby number five – we had a girl (hi Christine!!! 🙂 heehee) living with us which enabled me to spend longer each time I nursed so I could sit with the baby on the couch holding her over the potty.  Soon Christine was able to help with it as well, and before you know it, she was a baby-pottying expert.

Another stage is reached when the baby goes potty less frequently and needs to go when she wakes up from her overnight sleep or nap and is stuck in a crib still.  You may remember my mentioning this with Greer recently, and I think we have successfully made it through this time now – she just goes around sitting on the potty whenever she needs it and can now get in and out of her bed in the morning so she won’t go in her diaper if she’s able to get out and come get us.  Like I said – it’s not about training them not to go in a diaper, but about training them to go in a potty.  I’d say she’s been just as well trained as numbers one and four were, rarely going potty in her nappy since birth.  Our hardest phase was really the one we just went through, and it was harder for us this time because I was pregnant (read: tired) and didn’t want to get up earlier with her in the morning or at nap time – and the last time we had help with us to get Claire up to have her go in her diaper less.  With number one I was just more hard core – hey, I only had one kid! – so she just made quicker progress overall.

Now on to this one – baby number six!  Since we weren’t in the hospital even overnight, we were home by the time he had his first BM, which as we all know is called meconium.  We tried him on the potty before a nursing by just holding him facing away from us like you see Greer in these pictures, and he put what would have been about three dirty diapers worth of meconium into the potty!! We have never taken our potty to the hospital, so this is the first time this has “successfully” been “caught'” in a potty.  Since then he has soiled only two nappies and pooped in the potty 4 more times (so we’ve got a 2-1 ratio going of successful potty times 🙂 )  He has also peed in his little potty sic times.  This is definitely a new record of “fewest diapers used since birth” for us.  It’s harder to find times to potty him right now when he nurses so frequently waiting on the milk to come in – you’d think we’d be able to do it more this way, but the very frequent nursing leads me to take his diaper off less often because I don’t feel like dealing with it all the time.  In just another day or so he should be nursing only every 2  1/2 – 3 hours, though, so I will be able to handle pottying him that frequently I think.

Yup, that’s baby Daniel – now official 48 hours old, going potty (he did number one and number two in this picture.)

Normally if he wakes himself and is crying I won’t put him on the potty but will go straight to nursing.  Just now, though, he’s been trying to sleep the day away (after having had himself a scream fest last night and keeping me up til 5am) so I just had a great hour nap, as did he after the Grandma (she just arrived from Texas yesterday morning, yippee!!) and John kept him a wake as long as they could – and I am using the pottying to help wake him up before I nurse.  It’s almost as effective as a wet rag for waking up a baby!  His diaper was just about dry, and he peed in the potty right away.  Score!  So I hope I answered any questions about this if it’s been something that has interested you, and if anything has come to your mind that you would like to know – just ask!  Having done it now three times successfully, and having different experiences each time, as long as with trying to have done it the two other times where I gave up eventually, I have seen lots of things that I can pass along 🙂

You may find yourself thinking: Man, pottying a little baby seems super-inconvenient!  For me, it’s just something simple to do because there’s a potty next to each place where I typically nurse, and of course we have enough potties to have one with us on the go.  We even got this one recently at John Lewis:

You can ask anyone who knows me around baby-time — some people are grossed out by my carrying our “little blue potty” around, even if I have it in a plastic bag or carry bag.  For some reason, potties seem to disgust people.  This one, closing in on itself – pure genius!  People have also said, “Well, you’re not training the baby – you’re training yourself.”  True statement – but I’m training myself to change a lot fewer diapers, that’s for sure!! Really, though, the baby is learning.  Obviously I’m training it to do something the toddler can walk over and sit on a potty – whether at my command or not – and deposit her BM into the potty rather than into her diaper.  When you have a feeding session with your baby, or before you put him down for a nap, you are often changing a diaper, wiping, etc, anyway, so the added “potty stop” really isn’t that inconvenient.  All for now – time to potty him again, and that’s hard to do while typing!! 🙂

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2 thoughts on “So you may wonder…how’s the infant potty training coming along?

  1. I’m so pleased to read this. My 1st baby is 2 weeks old tomorrow, When I said I wanted to try Nappy free nearly everyone including my husband was either horrified or brushed it off with a ‘we’ll see how far you get with that’ sort of look. I’ve caught 2 poos and a pee in the last few days. I was in hospital over a week so we have only started a few days ago. I just do a potty stop and say the signal words when I think she might need it, changing, just woken up, just finished a feed. I hold her over the pot just like in your newborn photos and I say the signal words. I also say them when I spot – or hear – her going. I can’t believe how quickly she seems to be getting it. Thanks for this info. So glad to read I’m not the only ‘mad’ mother attempting this.
    Vicky and Evie x

    • Thanks for the comment Vicki! You can google “elimination communication” or “infant potty training” and will find a wealth of information. It has worked for three of my four of my six children-and the only reason it didnt work for the other two is that they were babies #2&3 and I was too swamped with three kids ages 3 and under to be able to stick with it. Once my oldest was a little more helpful I had the time to work on it a bit more 🙂

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