Potty Training an Infant

I know, I know.  It sounds crazy.  But it is possible.  It’s probably not what you think.  If you think your baby will be fully potty trained and in underwear by 6 months old, you have the wrong idea.  This is my journey of potty training 3 children from 3 months old.  

Although I read about it and modeled my ideas after EC, I don’t do official Elimination Communication – I do more of a scheduled potty time.

Our daily routine was eat, potty, play, potty, nap – we do that in several cycles throughout the day so the potty just naturally fits in right after we nurse / eat and right before nap time. Our whole cycle is 4 hours (now that baby is 1 year) – but at 6 months my cycle was closer to 3 hours so that baby would be on the potty for a minute or so twice during that time.

I think the schedule is key because it just helps build trust / knowledge that this happens, then this happens – it’s predictable.

When I start I always talk about what we are doing (constant narration) because I know babies understand more than they can communicate. I’m always trying to build vocabulary as we do our regular routine activities.

I try to have a water bottle with warm water ready to go, but room temp works ok too. I just place baby on the potty, say, “Can you go tee tee?”  As I say that I pour a little warm water over the privates.  Then I wait a little bit.

If baby goes potty, I say, “Good job. You went tee tee in the potty.”

I keep my phrases exactly the same each time so baby can learn the words and actions and associate them.

Eventually – after a couple of months of doing the water, you won’t need to. You can just put baby on the potty and they’ll go. It’s just a training methods so baby will know what it ‘feels like’ to go potty at first.

Potty training is SO much a parental mind set.  If you get upset that something isn’t working you need to step back and remember this is training.  And instead of looking at it as success or failure look at it as a catch (in the potty) or a miss (for the potty).  That really seemed to help me – catches and misses.

If baby doesn’t go in the potty, it is no big deal. I just say “I want you to go tee tee in the potty, not your diaper. Tee tee in the potty – yay! Tee tee in the diaper booooooooo.” I try to keep it all happy and cheery and full of simple language.

When baby is a bit older and can sit up on his/her own, I read a short little book (like 20 seconds and it’s done) and all my children really seemed to like that. Maybe that’s why my kids always read when they’re on the potty now…

It’s nothing huge, just routine and lots of practice. I never look at it as something wrong if we don’t go in the potty – it’s just a process.

Eventually (between 16-18 months) my girls learned how to ‘hold it’ and stopped wetting diapers all together. When I noticed that stage has begun I start talking about panties and after about 2 weeks of no or very few wet diapers, we make the leap to panties and never look back. My eldest wet herself maybe twice the first week of panties. My second daughter had lots of changes the first 3 days and my husband said, maybe she’s not ready. But once I start panties, I never go back – I knew she’d use the diapers as a crutch. After 3 days (and lots of laundry) she decided it was gross and hasn’t wet herself again.  My little guy took a little more work.  But he was a third child so I was juggling more than just potty training at the time.  But after 4ish days completely naked or in just undies, it clicked for him.  He had more accidents every now and then than the girls, but again, we were busier: homeschooling and such for 3 is VERY different than just one baby.  You have to keep that in mind as you work with your little babe.

Each kid is a bit different, but I honestly think if it’s set up as routine and just a natural thing we do – no big consequence of you don’t go and no reward if you do – it’s just potty, it’s what we do, then it will feel natural to them. So even though my process is long, it’s stress free and I love spending time with them so it doesn’t matter where we are – even if I spend lots of time in front of a little potty.