My mom claims that I was potty trained by 10 months. In my family babies have been put on potty as soon as they could sit unsupported (around 6 months). A lot of people in Poland, where I come from, potty train their babies by age 12 months. So I decided to give it a try with my 8-months old daughter. I always like to study everything before I jump into it so I bought a book on early potty training – “Early-Start Potty Training”. The book encourages early potty training but also gives many tips and advice on how to potty train a child at each age group.
While I know that potty training an infant (before 12 months) requires time and dedication, I think there are plenty of benefits:
- Getting rid of diapers (or decreasing the number of diapers needed).
- Getting your child used to the idea that pee and poop go into potty before they reach the difficult age (especially before they reach “terrible 2s”).
- It is much healthier and sanitary for the baby not to sit in her own feces.
- No more diaper rash.
- Introducing the idea of bladder control – the earlier you start the training, the fewer bladder problems your child should have in the later years.
- Learning your child’s body language and the cues that he is about to pee or poop.
- Saving money (on diapers) – diapers cost several hundreds a year.
- Saving environment – millions of diapers are dumped in landfills each year and will stay there for a long time. Diapers also contain chemicals that are not good for baby skin or the environment.
So I started. And here is how it goes – I made the potty trips part of the diaper changing routine and we go to potty several times a day. The best time to catch a pee and poop is usually a few minutes after each feeding and also after naps. There is no rash, my daughter just sits on her big red potty chair and plays with the toy and we wait for the pee or poop. Sometimes it comes and sometimes it doesn’t. No pressure. We make this time especially fun and if she pees or poops we celebrate with additional hugs and jumps. Sometime I am able to catch three pees a day and sometimes only one;) I know it will take time for her to understand what we are doing but I believe that by incorporating potty trips into our routine, we will get there some time before she is 12 months old.
If you decide to give it a try, here are some practical tips:
- 1) If your baby is big enough and is already standing up, switch to pull-up diapers so you can remove them quickly.
Pull up diapers start at size 4 (T2T3) so they may be too big for the baby under 7 months old, however they fit my daughter perfectly and she is 8 months old.
- 2) Buy a potty chair with back support. I am using Babybjorn potty chair.
It’s not recommended to use potty seat on the toilet with an infant as it’s too dangerous (baby may fall).
- 3) Keep the potty near your diaper changing area or near another area where you and your baby can easily get to.
- 4) Start by putting the baby on the potty for just a moment with the diaper still on. Celebrate if he sits for even a minute and gradually extend the time a bit.
- 5) Use clothes that are easy to take off. You may want to say goodbye to onsies and footed PJs.
- 6) Once she is completely familiar with the potty, put her on potty without the diaper on.
- 7) Best times to sit on potty are immediately after feedings and after naps. This is when you are most likely to catch a pee or poop.
- 8) Celebrate successes with additional playtime, cheers and hugs.
- 9) Make every potty time fun (successful or not) by singing songs and letting your baby play with the toy designated for potty time
- 10) Hold your baby so he doesn’t fall off the potty.
- 11) Always take the baby off the potty if she fusses. Pressuring the baby will not help in any way. Try again some other time.
It’s a slow process but it will be very rewarding once we are out of diapers and don’t have to deal with difficulties of teaching an older child.
I will keep you posted on our progress.