Infant potty training (IPT), also known as elimination communication (EC), is an awesome thing to do with your baby. You’ve probably read articles proclaiming how much money you can save, the environmental benefits, and most importantly, the enhanced connection you’ll surely feel with your baby. But what do you do when your baby screams when you put her on the potty? What do you do if you just can’t tell when your baby needs to go? I’ve done IPT with my first baby, now 2 1/2 years old and fully potty trained, and I am currently doing it with my three month old. I know the frustration you can feel when you have a day when it seems you’ve completely failed. I’ll explore some common problems and give you the help you need!
The biggest challenge you will face, more than likely, is when your baby starts to wail when you put her on the potty. This is particularly frustrating when you’ve been doing IPT for a while and then out of the blue she hates her potty. There are two main reasons why your baby is protesting: either she is no longer comfortable on her potty, or you took her away from an activity she was really enjoying. For example, my three month old loved to be held over the bathroom sink for her potty visits, until one day, she started crying every time we tried it. Finally I got out the Bebe Jou potty, and she immediately went. More than likely, her weight has reached the point where it’s no longer comfortable to be held in the traditional EC position, and she feels more supported by the wide seat and squatting position of the Bebe Jou potty. If it’s taking the baby from an activity that’s the problem, then you need to find a way to make the potty just as interesting. A mirror is a wonderful tool; all babies are mesmerized by it. As your baby grows and can sit without support, you can try reading a book or letting her hold a toy while going. Just be careful not to overdo it: make the purpose of potty breaks clear.
What do you do when you cannot figure out when your baby needs to go? The best thing you can do is set some time aside to simply watch your baby. Turn off the television, computer, and don’t talk on the phone. After an hour or so, you’ll be able to learn her cues. If you previously knew what her cues were, but have suddenly started missing, chances are your baby has changed cues, or you’ve been ignoring them. Again, turn off the TV, and tune into your baby! This will help you to know whether she’s still signaling the same way, or she’s changed completely. Signs come and go, and they’re not hard to figure out. Some moms find it helpful to take the diaper off, and that way it’s clear when the baby is going. I’ve never needed to take it that far though. It’s possible to know when they’ve gone by watching them closely and checking the diaper frequently. With no distractions, you’ll be amazed at how easy it is to spot the cues!
Remember, IPT should be fun! Getting stressed out over misses is pointless. The best thing to do is to simply figure out the problem and move on. Getting yourself to relax is the best way to get your baby to relax. This combination will improve your communication and you’ll be back on track in no time.