Infant Potty Training PROGRESS REPORT!

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Look at my new shirt!

Look at my new shirt!

First off, our new (cheap) Gymboree clothes (which I bought using our Gymbucks – $50 for four matching outfits like this!? Yippee!) came in the mail yesterday, and Greer needed to try them on right away. 🙂  They are all size 3 (for her) because they didn’t have these in size 2, but now she can grow into them.  Needless to say, she was pretty excited!

Recently I discovered that “infant potty training” was the search term most often leading people to my blog.  I thought perhaps an update might be appreciated as to how Daniel has been doing on the potty.  Several friends lately have been diving into potty training with their two- and three-year-olds as well, so I decided to tell you about how it’s gone with Greer, too.  But first, an aside:

Not much has gone on here since my last post (must keep everyone “updated” so I don’t get “behind” in my own mind :)) except church on Sunday and then band practice on Monday night.  Mondays are probably my favorite days each week for a few reasons (I know my friend Joell posted yesterday about how Mondays can be a bit of a bummer because it means the weekend is over, but I think you’ll understand why I like Mondays soon…)  I spend Mondays thinking about band practice in the evening – when each feeding for Daniel needs to happen so I can leave on time and only have to pump while I’m out, whether I’m fixing a quick dinner beforehand or if I need to figure out something John will make everyone, what I’m feeding myself and possibly bringing to snack on afterwards (because I’m usually famished by the time practice is over), if I’m going to the pub with everyone after practice, if I have all my things together, whether or not there will be time to shower after my workout that day – and all these thoughts make the day go by quickly. 🙂  Usually weekends feel a bit more strenuous than weekdays because I do more to prepare meals (I try to do double-cooking on Saturday for Sunday’s meals, or we make things the night before on Saturday to eat in the car on the way to church Sunday morning; John is also home so that’s another person to factor into meal preparations) and we are usually out for a bit on Saturdays and then of course are out on Sundays at church.  Going “out” isn’t just “hey kids, go get in the car,” but is, instead, “pack a bunch of snacks and drinks and extra clothes and nappies into the van, properly attire everyone, have everyone go potty, and try to look decent while getting everyone out the door on time (and nursing Daniel.)”  Mondays we don’t do school, but we do our weekly cleaning (if it’s going to happen – including laundry) together instead, so things are a bit cleaner by the end of the day usually than they were all weekend.  And after a long, busy weekend, a “break” at pipe band practice is always a bright spot for me. 🙂  This week at practice we only played our chanters, and I was able to sit next to the pipe major, proving to him that I really do know my tunes well enough for our competition in a few weeks.  (Last week we were on pipes, and I was next to him, and I was messing things up left and right.  Needless to say, I practiced a lot this week.)  The other great thing that happened is that I was able to compare pipes with another lady in the band, and she helped me figure out a few issues I’ve been having with mine which we were able to solve together, and now I won’t feel like I’m wrestling with my pipes each time I play.  After practice I swung through Krispy Kreme and THOROUGHLY ENJOYED two “hot now” donuts.  We haven’t had them in weeks, and they were well worth the wait.   To complete the summary of the last few days, I feel compelled to inform you that I fell off the chocolate wagon today with a DELICIOUS chocolate croissant from Atlanta Bread Company today after my appointment with the chiropractor.  I told John about it, and now all of you, so hopefully everyone will keep me accountable to getting back on board. 🙂

I am finally back to this post after practicing the bagpipes, eating some dinner, and grinding/soaking wheat.  The kids and I are heading over to a new friend’s house tomorrow to play, visit, and bake bread since I had been planning on baking a bunch tomorrow anyway.  Here it all is: 3 bowls for the 9 loaves of sandwich bread, a bowl for several pans of focaccia bread, and another for experimental soft pretzels (please, please, please work!!)

Looks like we've got our work cut out for us tomorrow!

Looks like we’ve got our work cut out for us tomorrow!

It took about two hours to grind it all up, measure out the liquids, and mix the dough together.  Possibly, Greer’s “help” made it take a bit longer as well. 🙂

NOW! BACK TO OUR REGULARLY SCHEDULED PROGRAM!

What are we doing with Daniel right now?  Currently, I only put him on the potty after I feed him when he has just woken from a nap.  I occasionally feed him right before a nap as well in order to add an extra feeding (to keep my supply up), but I generally do not potty him after that feeding because by then he’s been awake a while and is getting fussy meaning he needs to go straight to bed.  I keep him on the potty as long as he will stay there, and for as long as I am willing to sit still. 🙂  Usually he will sit on the potty 10-15 minutes.  If he has done a #2 for me, I wait til I hear the noises for that several times in a row (since babies are known for going poop again right after you change a poopie diaper) before taking him off the potty.  There is very rarely an empty potty after 15 minutes.  I even potty him at midnight or 1am when I get him up to feed him again before I go to sleep, and, almost without fail, he goes #1 and #2 for me!  After his “potty time” I replace his diaper and let him crawl around for about an hour.  If I hear any “tooting” noises, I’ll check right away for poop and will try him on the potty again.  Usually, though, I don’t potty him again between feedings.  If he is happy enough before he goes down for a nap (which sometimes happens if he’s had the additional feeding, otherwise he’s falling apart) I may put him on the potty again, but generally speaking, there just isn’t time for me to hold him on the potty.  He is soooo close to being able to sit by himself on the potty, and when he is I hope to potty him more frequently since I will no longer need to spend all that time sitting with him.  (With my first baby, we kept her diaperless between feedings while she crawled around, usually with a pad down on the floor – the hardwood floors were nice for this since accidents were easy to clean.  This helped us to repeatedly put her on the potty.  Needing to remove and replace a diaper every time to potty Daniel definitely inhibits my desire to continue to potty him during his “wake” time.  He’s pretty mobile now but still is just dragging himself along rather than crawling.  Once he’s crawling, since we have hardwood floors again, I may have him go diaperless for a while.  I’ll let you know if that happens!  The real issue is just having the time and inclination to keep my eyes on him often enough to have him naked.  Sure, I have more kids now, which is why it’s harder to do than when I had just one child, but perhaps this means I can now have one of the older kids help with the baby tracking, reporting to me if he makes any messes. :))

Daniel going potty yesterday

Daniel going potty yesterday

As far as dirty diapers go, we clean up a “poopie” diaper about twice a week, maybe?  (If my husband is reading this, the “?” is for him – is that about right?)  Twice a week.  That’s what I said.   Some weeks it may only be once, and others, perhaps a few more times.  If you want this to be the way you potty train your baby, and you have questions – PLEASE ASK.  I would love to help you do it!  We started our 1st, 5th, and 6th babies from birth and our 4th from six months old.  Starting any later – I don’t have experience with that.  Babies 2 and 3 we trained the traditional way (close to age 3) after attempting infant potty training and having it fail around 10 months (baby #2) and 3 months (baby #3) because I couldn’t juggle it all.  How does it really work, then?  Why is it we train animals to go in certain places and expect them not to urinate all over the house some time between 6 and 12 months old but don’t expect it of our young humans who are so much more intelligent?  Most babies are trained by us to use their diapers to go potty.  Attempting to break that training – YEARS later – is difficult and trying!  If you are a first-time mom, or even if you have several kids and think they are under control enough for you to maybe spend a little extra time with the baby on this – I think you should give it a try.  Just go for it.  What do you have to lose other than a few years of changing absolutely disgusting diapers??  Training a baby to use the potty works the same way we train animals to use litter boxes or the backyard.  Babies learn to control their muscles (and gain the ability to control them) as they age at a pretty fast rate, so take advantage of that steep learning curve!

At first, babies just go potty whenever and wherever.  They take their cues from their surroundings just like we do — things like temperature, nakedness, being wet, being in a breeze, sitting on something made of cold plastic are all variables that will make a baby (and sometimes an adult!)  need to go potty.  Ever wonder why a baby seems to pee and poop all over you at the doctor’s office when you take off the diaper?  It’s probably the cool air and “free”ness experienced when you remove the diaper that stimulate baby’s senses and muscles.  Eating and drinking also can make people need to go potty (which is why I center my potty times around feedings.)  Some books recommend using a sound or a phrase each time the baby goes potty so that he will begin to associate the sound with the sensation of using his muscles to go potty.  This is what we are training — using muscles to go potty rather than using muscles to prevent going potty.  They are two completely different things, and baby’s muscles for going potty develop much sooner than the muscles needed for the opposite.  It’s the same for your dog – right after meal time, an owner will take the dog to the spot for going potty and will praise the dog and use the word “potty” or something similar when the dog goes potty.  Dog owners do the same right after letting a dog out of its kennel.  Obviously the dog needs to go potty, but using the word and taking it to its spot reinforce the habit, and before you know it, the dog will always go to that spot when he needs to pee.  We do this with animals RIGHT AWAY, as soon as they are able to walk.  Are they smarter than our babies??  No way!  Any baby can learn to go potty on a potty with about as much effort as it might take to train a dog.  Perhaps the dog is trained completely in 6 months, having only the occasional accident.  How long does it take us to get a baby to this point?  Would you like to know?

Here’s Greer yesterday, and this picture has a purpose:

I made sure she's not being too revealing!!

I made sure she’s not being too revealing!!

It is to say that from the time the baby walks (just around age 1), we keep the baby naked on the bottom (more modest using a long shirt or dress) to prevent any hinderances to going potty.  At the age our children (babies 1, 4, and 5 so far) have been walking, they have been walking to the potty on their own.  That’s 12-13 months old.  So if you knew it would only take you 6 MONTHS LONGER to train your baby than it does to train your dog, and that through your efforts you would avoid changing poopie diapers (pretty much ever – Greer hasn’t had poopie diapers on a regular basis at any point except the few weeks when she needed to go after her naps and couldn’t get out of her crib – age 20 months or thereabouts.  The same thing happened with all the kids, but more on that some other time), then wouldn’t you want to at least give it a shot?  Another difficult transition happens around age two when we need to start having the baby wear pants on a regular basis.  It took a while to get Greer to realize she needed to pull down her panties when she needed to go potty, but she would still go consistently in the potty if she was naked.  Greer, of course, still has occasional accidents, but she’s only 2 1/2.  I can tell you from the experience we had with Liesl, our third baby, that changing toddler poopie diapers is just plain gross.  Doing it until the baby is three and later stinks, quite literally.  You don’t have to do it!  There is another way!

I remember veteran mothers saying somewhat discouraging things to me when I was potty training Patience as an infant about how hard it would be to keep it up with further babies.  AND THEY WERE RIGHT.  When you have baby after baby after baby, juggling everything and spending time pottying a baby can be difficult.  Once I had babies 4, 5, and 6, though, I have had a bit of help here and there (older kids – not that old, but old enough to stay in one place to play and get the phone if it rings, etc, mother’s helpers, my husband and parents who are used to the potty thing now) which has made it possible once again, to my great pleasure, to potty train mybabies. I am SO HAPPY to have been able to return to infant potty training.  It makes such a difference in our lives.  And the TIME it takes for me to sit with little baby while he goes potty — I NEED IT!! I need to sit still longer than I do, more frequently than I would otherwise, and being required to hold the baby on the potty makes me do that.

So here are my pointers generally speaking: Just do it!  Do it as often as you are able for as long as you are able.  Enlist others to help. Keep the baby naked whenever possible.  Keep potties everywhere (we have two little potties upstairs and two downstairs, and I still feel like I want another one for the van) so you’re more likely to do it.  Celebrate every success!  (I guarantee anyone who helps you out and gets a baby to poop on the potty will forever remember it!)

Don’t forget:  I’m just like you.  I’m not a back-to-nature, living off the land and off the grid, supermom.  I live in a normal house.  I have six normal, active, crazy, fun kids.  I buy disposable diapers.  I even use diapers on the infant I’m potty training.  I put a diaper on the toddler most days when I leave the house.  We are NORMAL people who LOVE what infant potty training has done for our family.  If we can do it, so can you!  Let me know if you try it out and how it goes for you!!

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