Infant Potty Training–Has Anyone Tried It?

I first encountered diaper-free kids on a trip to China, where I witnessed little ones running around in split pants.  “How do parents know that they have to go?” I asked.  “Oh, they just know,” I kept hearing.  When I returned home I checked out a couple books on the subject.  Here are a few titles I found on Amazon:

Infant Potty Training: A Gentle and Primeval Method Adapted to Modern Living by Laurie Boucke

Infant Potty Basics: With or Without Diapers– The Natural Way by Laurie Boucke

The Diaper-Free Baby: The Natural Toilet Training Alternative by Christine Gross-loh

So how do parents know when their babies have to go?  They observe their children for signals and use cues  to help their babies go on a little potty rather than in a diaper.  After reading one of Laurie Boucke’s books, I vowed that one day I, too, would raise my baby diaper-free.   My main motivation was to avoid diapers altogether and save the planet.  My only problem was that I didn’t have an actual baby at the time.

A few years later, my daughter was born, and suddenly observing her signals and using cues seemed too overwhelming for me.  I am sad to report that I did not even attempt to potty train her at birth.  I still think infant potty training sounds like a great way to help out the environment.  Has anyone here given it a try?  Please post a comment–or drop us an email–and let us know how you kept your baby out of diapers!

Comments

  1. Rebecca, like you I read about it and thought “this sounds like a great idea!” and had big plans to infant potty train my child. But once he came along I was tired and overwhelmed and had a hard enough time trying to figure out when he needed to eat… forget about figuring out when he needed to pee! I kept thinking I would try it when things settled down, but really with a baby and 2 stepkids at home things never settle down and I never did it.

  2. Oh man, I wish my 5-week-old was potty-trained! Heh. What a parlor trick that would be, ya know? 🙂

    So far, he just goes whenever he wants. His face doesn’t change, he doesn’t make a sound, and then he just fills his diaper noisily. I don’t know how I can see that coming.

  3. Well, I started putting my second child on the potty when she was around 2-3 months and she just went. I always put a diaper on her, but she did signal for a few months until she got interested in crawling. I also put her in front of a sink or potty whenever I was changing her diaper and often she went. Also, from 6 months when I became tired, I only put her on the potty only mornings and she went #2 and #1 faithfully. Around 12 months, she started telling me “Sheee” and I took her to the potty. Now at 22 months, she always tells me with #2 and with #1 she’ll tell me only when she’s diaperless which I am only brave to do at home. I guess because she started early, she LOVES the potty and pottytraining is so enjoyable.

    I think it helped that I did cloth exclusively at home with a diaper and an elastic band (no covers) and tried to change her as soon as it got wet. And when I did disposables, I did change them as soon as they got wet too so that she never got used to be on a dry diaper. So, no, I didn’t go completely diaper-free, but I think my compromised approach did save me a lot of diapers in the long-run, at the least.

  4. Infant potty training can be overwhelming – especially with other children to care for.

    An alternative is to wait until a child is 12 months old. At this age, a child is ready to potty training and can tell you that she needs to go by using a simple sign. The “Potty” sign in ASL is to take your thumb and put it between your first two fingers. Make a fist and shake it slightly back and forth.

    Teaching this simple sign to your baby and making potty time a regular part of your day will do the trick. Using this method will help you easily potty train your baby before the age of two.

    If you think that sounds too early, consider the fact that infant potty training is successfully practiced around the world and that before disposable diapers came around, 95% of all babies in the US were potty trained by 18 months.

    Linda Easton
    Baby Signs, Inc.
    http//www.PottyTrainWithBabySigns.com

  5. This is very timely for us, we just started Infant Potty Learning last week.

    We technically started late, my son is 10 months old.

    I noticed that every time he poo’d, he went to the same portion of the living room, made the same sounds/faces and I realized that he was very aware of what he was doing.

    For fun, I put him on the potty when he woke up the next morning. To my surprise, he pee’d! Granted, most of it ended up on me, but that was my fault not his.

    So we bought a little potty and have been giving him the opportunity to use it just after waking and during each diaper change. We are always very positive, encouraging him to go, praising him when he goes, and putting a dry diaper on with kind words whether or not he goes. There’s no pressure, no rewards, no punishments- just love and a chance!

    If we save even two or three diapers a day, my laundry just decreased (cloth diapers). And if we save even a month or two of diapers all together, even better!

    Infant potty learning is more about parent training than baby training.

  6. Hi! It really works! I have two sons, two years apart. My first son, a friend was ECing her little girl the same age, so I tried just with his #2’s, cause it was pretty obvious. Well, he’s not #1 potty trained at 2.5, simply because of my own laziness. But his brother, who is now 10 months old, will fuss for 10 minutes if I don’t notice, then he’ll go on the potty. We were able to get him to potty at 4 days old, and that was at a month early. By 2-4 months I only used about 4 diapers a day (cloth of course!), and that was usually because I was busy with his brother or didn’t notice his signals. I didn’t do truly diaper free because I didn’t want the pressure of cleaning up pee all the time. But he would have some diaper free days or times during the day. The best books I read were Diaper Free Baby by Christie Gros-Loh. and Elimination Communication, by I don’t remember who! But DFB talks about the signs to learn. My son would pop off the breast when he had to pee! Pretty big clue! So yes, it works, yes, it’s not always easy, and yes, I still used diapers. I wonder if it would be easier with a girl though. I had to clean my bathroom sink and sometimes mirror multiple times a day when he was really little. But it was definately worth it!

  7. Oh, and a comment about another thing…Isn’t learning when your child is hungry or tired parent training too? You are just learning to take care of their needs, not giving in to a want. You want to sit in your poop or pee until someone says oh, it’s been two hours, time to change you. Or deal with it, I don’t have time to stop? Wow! I thought we were supposed to nurture our children.

  8. I use infant potty training with my baby now, and I’ve used it with two of my other babies. I don’t find it overwhelming at all. I’m not a purist – my baby isn’t diaper free all the time but he is diaper free a lot. We have a few wet diapers daily (some days more than others). He doesn’t have dirty diapers and will fuss and fuss and fuss if he needs to poop. It’s pretty easy to care for cloth diapers that don’t get pooped on 😀

    I find it as natural as understanding my baby’s need to nurse, or need to sleep. It’s just part of caring for him. A lot of is based on logic and timing too… it’s been awhile since he’s peed, so I offer to potty him. Or he nursed a little while ago so I offer to pee him. It’s pretty simple. But if I feel overwhelmed I put a diaper on him and don’t stress if we have a “miss.”

    I’ve been posting updates of using elimination communication with him and there’s a little video of him using a “potty bowl” at 5 days old (he’s 3 months now) on this page: http://www.naturalbirthandbabycare.com/elimination-communication.html

  9. Hi!

    Yes, we practice infant potty training or EC as well. I like the term ‘Baby Pottying’ as a term at the moment, too.

    My website is about easing into EC gradually and slowly; there is definitely no need to think you need to go full-tilt at birth (no point really).

    Start with a potty opportunity when your baby wakes up and go from there – your baby and yourself working as a team to discover this together (life is new to them as well!)

    Charndra
    P.S I have a free online guided tour at my site which is proving to be very popular! Pop by and say Hi!

  10. Infant potty training — interesting concept! Parents and grandparents around the world are sharing that their toddlers are going to the potty in a matter of days (less than a week), after they read to them Let’s Potty. The realistic pictures, which include no private body parts, are showing toddlers the actions/behaviors necessary to go potty. As the author, I am very pleased to hear these consistent comments internationally. Let’s Potty retails for $6.99 @ http://www.idealearlylearning.com. It will be interesting to see if infants respond to the pictures in the book like toddlers. Please share your experiences with me @ http://www.twitter.com/IdealECE. I really would like to know, as I prepare to publish a parent/teacher guide to accompany Let’s Potty.

  11. Michelle says

    Thank you so much for this post and all the comments. We recently started EC with our 4 month old. We are taking baby steps. It is more work than I thought to get baby un-diapered and on the toilet or other bowl whenever I think he might need a pee. One time I had him sit in a little tub when I thought he needed to go and had success (yeah!) but quickly realized the downside — he was sitting in pee and had to be washed. The suggestion to try after naps is excellent and makes the infant potty training easier on mom an dad, and then baby does not end up sitting in the little tub in his own pee!

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