I have to admit. I laughed the first time I heard about it – infant potty training? Impossible. What kind of joker would actually subject themselves to something so difficult & tedious? Why would I even bother when it’s so much easier to just stick a diaper on and go? Well, I eventually changed my tune and I’m here to tell you how (and why!).
all about Elimination Communication (EC) or infant potty training
So, if you’ve never heard the term before, and you’re interested in saving money and the planet, get familiar with the idea of Elimination Communication. Essentially, it means just that. You look for signals from you baby regarding their need to use the potty. For some babies/caregivers, it’s easier than others. Some babies will start to get fussy, or scrunch their nose, or touch their diaper right before they actually go. If you’re able to pick up on these signals, you can start to eliminate the need for your child to wear a diaper. For us, I didn’t find this very easy or maybe our baby didn’t really have a ‘tell’, so our method just introduced our baby to the potty a bunch of times over the day and she had the opportunity to go pee or poo if she wanted to. It quickly became apparent that she knew exactly what was going on and by about 8 months, she would dependably have a pee every time she sat down.
I’m certainly not a master on the whole movement behind Elimination Communication, so to read more on the subject, check out this awesome website Diaper Free Baby. If you just want to know more about our experience and how we did it, read on:
how it happened
When she was nearly 6 months old, Baby and I were spending one of our lovely afternoons walking uptown and seeing the sites and I decided to head into a baby shop that I hadn’t ventured into before. It boasts lots of holistic remedies for all of baby’s needs and prides itself on a great selection of cloth diapers, baby carriers, natural teething toys and similar items. I had a gift card left over from our baby shower and wanted to spend the money on some useful items for baby & myself. I gathered a few things and had a couple of dollars left over so picked up a little plastic potty that was near the register. On our walk home, I started thinking about the week prior when our baby was a wee bit backed up and remembered that when she finally let go of her business it was while she was hanging out in her Bumbo seat. I had wondered at the time if it had anything to do with her position as she doesn’t normally ‘sit’ anywhere other than the seat because she hasn’t mastered sitting up without falling over.
Once we arrived home, it got me thinking about what would happen if I placed our baby on the new potty seat – so while I was changing her diaper, I just popped her onto the potty to see what would ensue. You’ll never guess… she pooped. Immediately. No prompting or waiting around. Just poop. It was so fascinating, I took a photo and sent it to my husband – but don’t worry, I won’t share it with you.
So, after this initial ‘Wow’ moment, I placed her on a few odd times and she continued to amaze us by pooping each day and sometimes doing a little wee. I started to choose some times of the day that I knew she could start to expect to use the potty. It helped that we were already on quite a strict napping schedule and that she was very comfortable with those times. From there, we would put her on the potty once as soon as she woke up in the morning, again before & after her 2 naps and also right before bed. This totalled 6 potty times throughout the day & if you think about it, didn’t add too much work because we would be changing her diaper a lot of those times anyway. With this system though, when we took the diaper off to let her wee in the potty, we could place the same diaper back on because it was relatively dry.
Now, I’m not saying by any means that we have gone completely diaper free. She still wees in her diaper a few times throughout the day but it’s never a lot and it is also never poo. Our baby is 15 months old now and in the last 10 months, we have probably changed 10 poopy diapers. Most of the time, this happens around a great change in routine, like starting Daycare or going on vacation. Cleaning up a poo diaper when we’re not used to it seems so foreign to us now.
a sample of our day
As I mentioned earlier, we have been on a consistent napping schedule since our baby was six weeks old. The schedule changes based on the babies age and at 6 months, she was still sleeping 2 naps per day – on some days, she would even sleep a short third nap. Every day, without fail, our baby wakes up at 7am and goes to sleep for the night at 7pm. The following is a loose description of how our day might work. Obviously, you can change the times based on your own routine or the age of the baby, these are just guidelines.
7am – wake and have some milk
7:30am – potty time
10:15am – potty time
10:30am – nap
when she wakes up – potty time
noon – lunch
1:30am – potty time
1:45am – nap
when she wakes up – potty time
5pm – dinner
6:30pm – milk
6:45pm – potty time
7pm sleep for the night
why we do it
There are many many reasons to start this kind of routine with your baby. A big one is the savings on diapers! We go through about 60 diapers per month. 2 per day! That’s a far cry from the 100’s that one might use while changing lots of poopy or wet diapers.
Now consider the effects on the environment and landfill by not using as many diapers. Our weekly garbage bags are not even 1/2 full for our entire home’s waste. Now that’s something to be proud of.
We’re also excited about the possibility of having a baby who is completely potty trained quite early. I will need to update this post once we’re there to let you know at what age we finally switch to underwear. Right now, I know that if I can get her on the potty once per hour, she would be completely dry for the whole day. Life sometimes gets in the way of this, so we still rely on the diapers – especially when we’re out because we haven’t mastered the art of sitting (with help) on the big potty.
I would advocate this method to anyone who asked. I can’t imagine the thought of buying so many diapers for 3+ years. Babies are learning to know their bodies and are much more in tuned than we think.
Have any questions about our experience or looking for more info? Leave a comment below. I’d also love to hear your comments if you’re in the midst of trying this with your baby!