Baby Potty Training Cuts down on Diaper Use

It sounds a bit crazy, doesn’t it?  Asking a tiny baby to be able to control her bodily functions?  I thought so too. These days I’m firmly aboard the early potty training bandwagon now that my eight month old baby regularly poops on the potty.

I wouldn’t have remotely thought about perching my first child on the toilet simply because I had no friends or family who had ever attempted it. But when we wrote our book, The Eco-nomical Baby Guide: Down-To-Earth Ways for Parents to Save Money and the Planet, I learned more about infant potty training and found it fascinating.

My daughter’s first poop on the potty was a total accident. She was perched on our wood floor, bare bottomed due to a slight diaper rash.  When she started to strain a bit, my husband and I scooped her up and set her on the potty. It worked!

Baby Potty TrainingMotivated by the opportunity to avoid toilet-dunking poopy diapers, we started paying attention to her schedule and found that she needed to sit on the potty once in the morning, and then again after each meal.  Sure enough, we found ourselves having only one poopy diaper a day, if that, in the days and weeks that followed.  Sometimes she’s hesitant to sit, but if we distract her with a toy she’s happy to oblige.  Here she is looking quite proud of her efforts!

If this sounds totally bizarre, remember that in most of the world, people don’t use diapers.  Infants potty train in China, India, and much of Latin America.  In the U.S. people used to toilet train children much younger when cloth diapers were used.

The only down side to our new potty training lifestyle, is that we have a one bathroom house.  Now there are four people trying to share one toilet, which means sometimes we can’t get her to the bathroom on time.  Also, we don’t even remotely try to toilet train her while we’re traveling because it seems far too complicated.  Still, we celebrate every avoided diaper dunk and the drastic cut it has made in our pile of dirty prefolds!  Check back with us on Wednesday to watch the video of Jovi having one of her poops with plenty of slobbery zerberts throughout!  (I think she may really resent this video in the years to come!)

Have you tried perching your babe on the potty?  Any luck?

Speaking of luck, we have to congratulate Rose for winning last Friday’s giveaway of peppermint shower infusers.  We hope she uses them to get revitalized for the tough job of motherhood.  Stay tuned this month for our next few fabulous green baby giveaways!


  1. We started putting our older daughter on the potty for poops at about 15 months, she soon learned to verbalize “poopy” and tell us when it was time to go. My 10 month old gives clear signals when she needs to poop, but I haven’t tried putting her on the potty yet. You may have motivated me too. (That and our diaper sprayer broke last week, I hate dunking!)

  2. Joy–I’m fascinated by elimination communication and I’m interested in learning more specifics on how you are doing this. How young was your daughter when she first pooped on the potty? And how old was she when she first was able to do it regularly? Are you attempting peeing yet? If so, how is that going? Have you had many accidents on the floor? Does she wear a diaper and is it hard to get it off in time before she has to poop? I have a friend who is working on this with her 3 month old son, and she started working on it when he was 2 months…I’m interested in how it works when you start with an older infant. I would really like to try this with my 3 1/2 month old daughter in a few months, but I must admit that I don’t think that I have the courage since we have new carpet and I would hate to have to clean up the accidents! Sorry for all the questions…I’m just so interested in this!

  3. I started putting my son on the potty at 6 months and we had a lot of success. Now at 16 months he associates the potty with pooping. When he was younger I caught more pees. Now we are just working on pees and him signing that he needs to go. It has saved us from spraying many diapers!

  4. laura pryst says:

    Question – did you begin to notice a pattern before or just after introducing solid foods? I can’t discern a pattern at all for BM for my 5.5 month old (his peeing pattern is “I am therefore I pee”…all the time).

  5. I don’t even attempt to do any training, honestly. The truth is that I just know that she typically poops first thing in the morning, after a nap, and just after mealtimes. During those periods, I just sit her on the potty and read stories and play peek-a-boo with her. If she poops, we celebrate with lots of zerberts. Tune in on Thursday for an actual VIDEO of her first poop at six and a half months old. At about seven months old she wasn’t wanting to sit on it but I found that if I gave her an interesting toy she was happy to perch on her potty seat. I’m sure there’s more I could do but I work full time and my husband is home with her so it’s tough for me to do more. He puts her on the potty when he can, but we realize that it’s much harder when errands come up or both children are needing to use our one bathroom at the same time. Still, we appreciate her being able to do it even part of the time! I hope I fielded all your questions and will try to keep you posted on our progress.

  6. I’m from India but live in the US and we tried something similar. We got a riding potty chair from potty scotty when our son could sit up. We liked it cos it provided both entertainment and handles to hold on to. We have had few poopy diapers since we started using it. We did keep a close watch on his cues to get him used to the idea. The few poppy diapers we had – we totally ignored his signals :( Its all a learning curve – for him and for us. I am afraid he will unlearn it in day-care.

  7. Hello! I’ve been EC’ing my daughter since she was 6 days old and she’s now 8 months old. There are a few great books on the topic. I would suggest Christina Gross-Loh’s book to start and Ingrid Bauer’s as well. There are others, specifically by Laurie Boucke but I haven’t read them yet and so cannot comment on them. I had a lot of trouble reading my daughter’s cues, but used a timing method that is suggested in the books and it worked really well. Baby’s don’t (though our culture would say otherwise) pee or poop in deep sleep, so they do upon waking up. So, we started out trying when she first woke up in the morning. When that worked so well, we tried upon each waking – i.e. after a nap, etc. Another suggested timing method is after eating. So, up until 6 months, we would try after breastfeeding. Now that she is eating solids too, she does strain to BM, she did not at all before, so that is easier to see. Typically, we’ll “catch” all poo at this point and most pees. There are still often pees in between pottytunities as opportunities on the potty are referred to. Think about it this way, with an older child you encourage them to try to go before leaving the house for a trip, why not encourage your child to try? Cue sounds are used too – a psht sound for pee and a grunting sound for poo. Both are highly effective and help baby to associate the sound and position with going over the potty. Lastly, you can sign potty each time you go to encourage baby to sign it to you before he/she is verbal and able to communicate that way. Good luck and enjoy! It is an exciting adventure.

    Also, a note, especially for anyone reluctant because of carpets, time to get a diaper off, etc. You do not need to totally forgo diapers. We set up a changing pad in the bathroom, and a stool (for me to sit on). Early on, we would take off her diaper right there, try her over the potty, and change her right there if need be. If you want to try some diaper free time, set up a waterproof space – use a vinyl tablecloth, or a shower curtain liner underneath of an absorbent bath towel. Do this in baby steps. If you’re not ready to try it all the time, try it once a day. Think of it as potty familiarity, not potty training. You’re helping your baby to know that this is where we go potty, not in a diaper…because otherwise you’ll end up un-training them to go in a diaper later, and that’s a lot more work, believe it or not :)

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