Potty Training using the Naked Method

Look at how your cousin takes off her underwear to use the potty!

Diapers, both disposable and cloth, cost money. They both have an environmental impact as well. Even if you are using used cloth diapers, you still have to wash them. The earlier you potty train your kids, the more money and resources you save. With those facts in mind, I finally decided it was time to start potty training in earnest.

We’ve been casually doing “Infant Potty Training” from the beginning, so Frances is very family with her potty. The use of the potty has been directed by me from the beginning, which seems to be holding back her progress in being completely potty trained. If I don’t take off her diaper and put her on the potty every hour, she just pees in the diaper. She hasn’t figured out that she’s supposed to tell me before she goes so I can put her on the potty, but will usually tell me as she is peeing.

Product Review: Potette 2 in 1 Potty

Toddler Approved

Toddler Approved

We’ve been practicing Elimination Communication, commonly known as “Infant Potty Training” for over a year. Although we are a long way from being diaper free, Franci uses her BabyBjorn potty successfully 6-8 times a day. At least once a day she signs “potty” when it’s time to poop, or right after she pees (if any one has tips on getting her to sign it before the pee, that would be great).

On the rare occasion we are out of the house when it is time to poop, Frances is not happy. She tries to hold it in, which everyone knows is uncomfortable. The problem is that she doesn’t like me to hold her over the toilet. It occurred to me it might be time to get a portable toddler seat that fits on a regular toilet seat.

Book Review: Diaper Free: The Gentle Wisdom of Natural Infant Hygiene


Great Infant Potty Training Resource

I was inspired by Joy and her success with infant potty training long before I was pregnant, so when Frances came along I was determined to give it a try. I read Diaper Free: The Gentle Wisdom of Natural Infant Hygiene cover to cover and was intrigued to learn about life before diapers, and modern cultures that don’t use diapers.

Although I wasn’t ready to let my baby run free without a diaper at all, I wanted to give infant potty training a try. As they say, it really is “parent training”. I have to make sure to put Franci on the potty when I think she needs to go. We started at about 4 weeks, and it didn’t take her long to get the idea. I enjoyed the communication that passed between us, and it felt like one of the only things we could “do together” at that point.

Training Pants for Babies and Toddlers

If you read my post on the history of American potty training, you know that infant potty training was the norm until the 1980’s when disposables gained a growing market share and experts re-thought toilet training norms from decades past.  In fact, I can’t help but mention that in the 1950’s and 1960’s, 95% of all toddlers were toilet trained by 18 months!

Today, most of the mainstream training pants come in size 2T and larger.  My daughter is 18 months old and her training pants invariably end up around her ankles after ten minutes of running through the house.  I’m searching for a smaller pair of training pants that will accommodate  younger children.


The History of Potty Training in America

If you’ve read my recent post on the history of cloth diapering in America, you know that I spend a lot of time wondering how we as parents are influenced by current history–and what we can learn from the past.  Of course, like the history fanatic that I am, I found the information on potty training in America fascinating.

Early potty training in America was completely parent-centered and sometimes disturbingly so. In the early 1900s children were on strict elimination schedules and parents even used suppositories or enemas to enforce regularity. Toddlers were admonished or  physically punished for accidents.  Potty training usually began at six months of age.

Infant Potty Training Update

I’m happy to report that our 13 month old is going strong with infant potty training!  To be clear, she still wears cloth diapers and our only focus is getting her to poop on the potty.  She started pooping on the potty at around seven months and her progress is continuing.  It means fewer poopy diapers to wash and strong steps toward actual potty training when she’s ready.  We even toted our little potty seat to Maryland with us on our family vacation and she used it many times while at her grandparents’ house.

During the trip, she started using the sign for “poop” which was even more exciting.  While we were driving home after nearly twelve hours of travel, she did the sign in the back seat along with the sign for help.  We were so exhausted and shocked that she would be able to tell us, that we didn’t stop.  When we did arrive home, she had pooped in her diaper and we felt horrid that we didn’t listen to her.

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!

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.