We’ve been practicing infant potty training (or elimination communication) with our daughter since she was about 4.5 months old. Now at 13 months she’s got a pretty developed awareness of her elimination needs and quite strong interest in pottying.
We gained so many benefits from making the potty a normal and fun part of everyday life. It has surely boosted our daughters development. At 13 months she already shows some of the typical signs of readiness for regular potty training, that many other children show first in their 3rd year. Practicing infant potty training and taking her elimination needs seriously also has helped me to communicate with my daughter in a much more respectful way. It gave me the skills to understand her much better.
On a typical morning our daughter wakes up with a fairly dry nappy. So as the first thing in the morning I take her to her potty. That usually works. Sometimes we also have a “morning sitting” – she on the little potty, me on the adult one... Generally the times after a sleep or after a nap are very reliable when it comes to getting a wee in the potty.
After that I usually put little undies with a booster or training pants on her. Then track pants on top or leg warmers to keep her warm through the winter. Some days I need to change her quite a lot, on others only once or twice a day. That greatly depends on how alert and in tune I am but also on our daughters interests and stage of development. When she’s very busy learning new skills and exploring the world, she just totally forgets about the potty.
Usually I remind her though. I’ll ask her if she needs the potty when I sense that it’s been quite a while since she last went. Or I bring her the potty when she suddenly stops playing and starts to stare blank or concentrate. Sometimes she even grunts which gives me another clue. If she needs to go, she’ll usually grab or tap the potty. If she doesn't, she’ll just wander off and play elsewhere (that of course can also mean that I’ve been asking too late).
Before meals, before we go out or before bed I usually invite her to sit on the potty more sincerely. If she doesn’t go before meals, she’ll almost certainly wet herself in the high chair.
For naps I sometimes leave her in her training pants when she’s done a wee before bed. Otherwise I’ll put a fabric nappy on her or a cover over her training pants. Interestingly she seems to understand that I’m more sincere with it at those times, making a real effort and trying to squeeze out everything she’s got.
When we go out I usually put a nappy on her as well. While this is less flexible when it comes to pottying, I just feel safer not having to change her pants. Moreover, as we’re mainly using the potty at home, our daughter is very uncomfortable with being held over a toilet and just can’t relax enough to go there when out. That’s certainly an area I’d like to focus on in the near future.
We sleep. That’s our first priority.
Some infant potty training parents take their babies to the potty or a bowl even in the middle of the night without distressing them too much. Many children that grow up with infant potty training are actually dry at night before they are during the day.
We’ve tried the night pottying for a while as well. I realized then, that our daughter usually wets her nappy during her night feeds. So whenever she called me I opened her nappy and held her over her potty while feeding her. That helped her to relax enough to let go.
Over all though, by moving her she woke much more than usually and had a harder time to fall back asleep. As we co-sleep she’s so used to just turn over in her sleep, have a quick feed and then turn back when she’s finished. She doesn’t even wake for that – often me either. For now I don’t bother with night pottying anymore though and just hope that by the time she’s night weaned she can stay dry through the night all by herself as well.
All day I had gotten mediocre results when asking my daughter if she needed to use the potty. A few times she’d let me help her on the potty but otherwise we also had many wet undies. Instead she had been practicing climbing on and off a tiny child sized chair all day.
I was just preparing dinner and my partner was busy on the phone, when our daughter picked up her potty and carried it to the living room. Lately she had been carrying around all sorts of things, to a point where you’d like to tie them down just to be able to find them again. So we didn’t pay that much attention to her carrying the pot. Minutes later my partner found her sitting on it, all dressed of course. (not that I recall she’d ever gotten on it by herself).
He helped her out of her pants while I thought – oh, she might just have been practicing her climbing again. Oh dear, how much had I underestimated this young lady. She really had a big business to do and when she had finished she just stood up wanting to go on and play.