I had heard about elimination communication (or infant potty training) while I was pregnant. I kept it in the back of my mind as something I needed to look into further once Hailey was born.
I had noticed advertisements for a local support group for parents practicing elimination communication. They meet once a month and every month I debated going just to get more information.
I assumed it would be easiest to wait until Hailey was mobile and better able to communicate. Just before she turned 8 months she was crawling over to me and rubbing her face on my chest to indicate that she wanted to nurse. I figured that if she could do this, she could let me know when she had to go to the bathroom. Plus, diaper changes were becoming challenging and stressful.
I made the trip to the next meeting. It was a drop-in session and it was really meant as a support for parents already well down the elimination communication path. I hadn’t started. I hadn’t done any research. I was a little out of place.
There were only 3 of us (including the convener) who attended the support group session so I had lots of opportunity to listen to the other women’s experiences. I was able to ask questions as I pleased.
Since I hadn’t done any research, I was astonished to learn that you could start putting your baby on the toilet at day 1. The best time to start was before 4 months while the baby’s priorities are mainly bodily functions. I was told that it would be extremely difficult to start at 8 months with Hailey because she would be distracted by toys and the interesting world around her.
I was half-halfheartedly assured that it was still possible but it would be challenging. Even after warnings of how hard it would be, my gut was insisting that this was the right time to start potty training.
The convener of the support group suggested that I let Hailey roam naked so I could see when she was peeing in order to learn her cues.
That didn’t seem like a daunting idea. We have hardwood floors so the mess would be easy enough to clean. I knew she primarily pooped in the morning shortly after waking up so the chances of her pooping on the floor were slim.
Hmmm….. Hailey has predictable morning poops. Maybe I should start there. I purchased a comfy seat to mount on our toilet and we began the next morning after our first nursing.
We have had successful morning poops on the toilet almost every since. For the first week or so we simply focused on that first poop. I started giving her more and more attempts at going potty. It didn’t take her long to start holding it until we got to the toilet. It took almost 2 weeks before she figured out that she was also supposed to pee on the toilet.
Now she goes almost every time she sits on her throne. Sometimes I feel like she squeezes a bit out just to please me and to show me that she knows what she’s doing.
I usually give her a toy to play with while she’s sitting on the potty. I’ll ask her if she’s finished and if she doesn’t respond then I’ll leave her. If she’s finished she will reach her arms up to my shoulders so she can hang on while I give her bum a wipe.
She always lets me know when she’s finished. I have found that she has sat there for well over 5 minutes, not making any attempt to dismount. I’ll start to wonder whether or not I should take her off. This is when she’ll often go again. I have now learned to trust her. She’ll let me know when she’s done.
Today was a momentous day. Hailey crawled into the washroom and stood up against the toilet. I decided to put her on it since she was there. As soon as she sat down she pooped. Pretty darn cool that she took the initiative and she was able to communicate her needs to me.
We’re just over a month into potty training but it’s going so well. I’m glad I listened to my gut instinct when it told me it was time because it’s been smooth sailing for the most part.
Plus, it’s made diaper changes a whole lot easier!