Monday, August 10, 2009

What Happened?!?! Teething Frustration

I always want to portray IPT or EC if you prefer, in a very positive light. I do this because 99% of the time, it is a very positive experience. But I would be leading you on if I didn't warn you about those frustrating times that you will inevitably go through when you potty train your infant. You will have days when you wonder "what happened?" Some days, rare though they will be, you will think your baby's forgotten everything about IPT. It may make you want to tear your hair out. Or you may start to doubt whether it was the right thing to do, this crazy infant potty training thing. You might think other parents have it easier. You might even wonder if you should just quit and go back to doing it the way most other parents in the Western world do it.

I've had those days before. Actually, I've had one pretty recently. Our daughter, five months old, got her first tooth three days ago. Teething is the enemy of IPT. It usually strikes at the moment where you've gotten in such an awesome groove that it's rare that you have any misses at all. Your baby is happy all the time, peeing and pooping on the potty, and then BAM! The next day, you have a drool machine who just can't seem to get comfortable. It's hard to know whether she's giving you a cue or is just fussy. The wet diaper tells you it was the former. On top of this is the fact that neither of you are sleeping as well as you were before the teething started. It's a recipe for sure frustration, but I'll tell you how I get through it.

First, sloooow dooooown. Take it easy on yourself and on your baby. I have found I get the most frustrated when I'm in a hurry. Know that the housework will be waiting for you after the teething spell is over. Get some rest, and you'll be a better mama and wife.

Second, acknowledge your frustration. Don't deny that you're mad if you're mad. Just acknowledge it and get over it. If you're really really frustrated, take a break from IPT. I've done this before, and usually it only takes me a few hours at most to get back on track.

Third, put it all in perspective. Think about how many times your baby goes potty a day, then calculate the number of misses you've had. Or do it for the week or month or entire time you've been practicing IPT. You'll probably feel a lot better about any missy days you have.

Fourth, realize frustration is just a natural side effect of parenting. Even if you were doing the traditional diapering thing, you would be getting frustrated over blowouts that ruin clothing, or having to spend so much of your money on diapers. Or the endless mountain of laundry due to cloth diapering. Or leaks. See? There's tons of frustration for non-IPTers, so take heart.

Fifth, think about what you like about IPT. It might be the enhanced communication, the realization your infant knows more than is commonly thought, the attention you give her that you might not if you weren't potty training her.

Sixth, think about any changes you might want to make to your IPT routine. Maybe Daddy should be taking her potty so you can have some "me time." Furthermore, as Dr. Sears says, "if you resent it, change it." That applies to IPT. If you resent an aspect of it, change it. IPT can be done any which way you choose. I can only tell you what's worked for me.


  1. I was feeling like that last night. We have the problem of the baby signaling, but refusing to potty when we get her there. We both get tense because she is resisting and then there is no way she can relax and pee. It usually happens later in the day (after 6 pm). I might take her 5 or 6 times before she finally goes! Mornings are usually awesome so at least we can start out each day renewed! Any suggestions?

  2. We go through the same thing when it's late in the day. One thing I've found is that my baby will relax if we turn on the vent fan in the bathroom. Another thing that helps a lot is to ignore her while she's on the potty. When I say ignore, of course I don't mean leave her unsupervised or unsupported, but I mean I avoid her gaze. That usually helps her concentrate on her business. If it helps you, keep some interesting reading material for yourself that you can focus on while holding her there or sitting there supervising, depending on how old your baby is. I've found that when I concentrate on reading, it takes the pressure off of her and she goes. Let me know if that helps.

  3. So he's 9 months now and we've been doing this since day 1 - he's mobile and busy and regressing! I expected some regression but he fights and stands and wiggles and will not sit on the potty! SOMEtimes when we hold him over the bathtub or outside (which seems to work well - but what to do when it gets -40, not sure) he will go. But we can't seem to get him to sit still anymore. We know he'll need to poop in the next 10 minutes but he just waits until he's back in his diaper, crawls away and 5 minutes later, he's dirty. We're having more misses than catches these days....Any help to offer?

  4. Megan, have you tried putting him in cloth trainers or regular underwear? It's been my experience that some babies don't mind pooping in a diaper, but they really hate the feeling of poop in undies. I think it's probably because of the super absorbency and bulk of the diaper. I know it can be kind of intimidating to make that step into cloth, but it can really help with progress. Alternatively, you can keep a very close eye on him when you know he needs to go, and then keep taking him until you have success.