Wednesday, September 30, 2009


What is IPT?
IPT stands for Infant Potty Training, and it's the process by which parents or caregivers teach their babies to eliminate in a potty, bowl, toilet, sink, or other receptacle, rather than in a diaper.

Are IPT and EC the same thing?
It depends on who you ask, but the short answer is yes, it refers to the same thing. From what I gather, some people don't like the word "training" as it conjures up some sort of coercive process, and they think the phrase "elimination communication" seems more positive. I like both phrases, because infant potty training is very self descriptive, while "elimination communication" focuses more on the signals the baby gives the parent when she needs to go potty. I find I get more positive feedback when I tell someone I practice infant potty training, than if use the term elimination communication (the latter requires more explanation.)

How do I start?
Read this. It will give you a brief overview of IPT and what to do when you're first starting. Then explore the rest of this site, using the table of contents. I've tried to order the table of contents to start at the basics and then go on to more advanced topics towards the end. As this site is on Blogger, that means that they are posted in chronological order, which is not necessarily the best way to learn about IPT, hence the table of contents. After you've fully explored that, then feel free to read my more current posts as a blog. My posts now are more of a real life look at IPT, the ups, the downs, and the tips and tricks.

Doesn't this take up every single second of your free time?
No, IPT is actually a very convenient thing to do with your baby. Once you're experienced, the average potty break will take the same amount of time as a diaper change.

Don't people think you're weird for doing this?
Overall, my husband and I have gotten very positive feedback from the people we tell. Most are incredulous at first of course, until or unless they see proof that it does truly work.

Are you some sort of hippie?
No. In fact, politically speaking, I'm a very conservative American who's totally in love with capitalism.

Can you do this part time, or is it an all or nothing venture?
Plenty of people do this part-time, either on the weekends, or just in the evenings when they're home from work. Do what works for you!

Can I still use diapers?
Absolutely! In fact, I used disposable diapers and trainers with my first child for the entire process, and with my second child, I've used cloth diapers and trainers with great success.

IPT seems like a lot of trouble. Is it worth it?
It's really not a lot of work, in my opinion. It is totally worth it. You'll definitely gain more of a window into your baby's world; IPT really does enhance the communication you have with her. You'll also save a lot of money, and you'll put fewer diapers in the landfill. Your baby will be happier, due to not pooping on herself, (how would you like to poop on yourself every day, multiple times a day?) so it's a win-win-win.

My baby won't go on the potty! What can I do?
First, relax. Babies need to be relaxed in order to go. Be sure to use cues. Know that around the world, this is how pottying is done. Most babies (worldwide) never even use diapers. That should give you a little bit of confidence, knowing that IPT is practiced successfully in other cultures. It's a mystery to me as to why it's not commonplace here. Especially with the whole "green movement."

When will my baby be fully potty trained?
It depends. All babies are different, from when they crawl to how fast they "get" IPT. It also depends on your consistency. My son was basically trained at around a year, meaning that misses were very rare, and he was consistently telling us he needed to go. My daughter is almost 7 months old as of this writing, and she's doing better at this age than my son did.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A Shot In The Arm, A Pain In The Butt

I have a love/hate relationship with vaccinations. On the love side, they protect my babies from horrible, horrible diseases that have, thanks to immunizing programs, have been eradicated from our country. Thanks to our scientists and doctors, my children will never have to fear polio, Hib meningitis, or whooping cough, to name a few. I am incredibly grateful for all that.

Now, the hate part is, I hate for my babies to hurt. I don't like to hold them down as they scream and cry while someone else causes them pain. It goes completely against every fiber of my maternal being. But in this case, like many aspects of parenthood, the hard thing to do is the best thing to do. I don't like that they feel crummy the next day, due to the vaccine itself and the soreness where the shot was given.

It also causes IPT to go a little wacky. This time my daughter's vaccines coincided with a very "missy" day. (See yesterday's post). That's probably a good thing, since then we'll get our bad IPT days over in one shot. No pun intended. Okay, yes it was intended. Just thought I'd inject some humor into this post. HA! I did it again.

So, be forewarned: on the days when your baby has had a shot, is teething, or is just not feeling well in general, be ready for some misses. Take comfort in knowing it'll pass quickly, and you'll pick right up where you left off before the irritation began. It's not a back to square one type deal, I promise!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Mama Said There'll Be Days Like This, There'll Be Days Like This Mama Said

Okay, so maybe mama wasn't talking about a day where IPT seems to just go out the window. It's only 11 a.m. and we've already had 3 misses. What on earth?!?! One when I was actually holding her, which also never happens. Days like this do happen, and though they're rare, they're nonetheless frustrating.

This is a time when I do some detective work, see where I'm going wrong. Two things immediately come to mind, though maybe I'm not necessarily doing anything wrong. The first is that my girl has really gotten mobile, and is into exploring everything, which means she's not signaling as clearly. Or maybe it's that she is, but she's added more grunts and sounds due to moving around, and I'm not picking up on them as quickly. Also, I'm very behind on household work, and my attention is elsewhere.

In the end, I still love IPT, and it's so worth it. But I wanted to write this post to let you know that even experienced IPTers have a "bad" day now and then!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Why Doesn't Everybody Do This?

I love doing IPT with my babies. I love that I get a little bit more into their world by potty training them from birth. I love the fact that I save soo much money by doing this. I really love that I'm not sending tons of disposable diapers to the landfill. I am really starting to get a kick out of the look on people's faces when I tell them my 6 month old poops on the potty. So, with all this love I'm feeling, it leaves me in wonder that some people don't want to do this.

My personal theory is that most people do it because of the fear of being an outcast. Alas, more people would do IPT if it was more common. (= As I've talked about here, there will be people who think you're crazy for even wanting to try. But only you have to change all those diapers, so don't let others talk you out of it. Heck, some people will try to talk you out of breastfeeding too. The best thing you can do is arm yourself with lots of knowledge about infant potty training. Try visiting the IPT links on this site,
email me with questions.
, and if you still need help, Google it. Remember to try the phrases infant potty training, elimination communication, trickle treat, and potty whispering in your search.

Some people don't even attempt it because both parents work outside the home. Daycare more than likely won't offer a baby a potty; but if you have grandparents watching your baby while you work, they just might take your baby to the potty. You never know until you ask. Be sure to offer to show them how to do it. Putting a tiny baby on a potty or holding them over the sink can be quite an intimidating prospect, since it's just so uncommon. If you are in the situation where you can't do IPT because you work outside the home, you can by all means do it part time after work, or on the weekends.

Some people try it a couple of times, get impatient and quit. Like in any other thing in life, perseverance is key. Potty training does take time, whether you start from birth or at 6 months or a year or later. Some babies learn faster than others, some are more independent than others. Set small attainable goals, and don't be hard on yourself or your baby. If you're having problems, talk to others who do IPT, like me! I can sit here and write about this all day, but sometimes one on one conversations are better.

Some people get freaked out by going out in public. You have several options. I love these two options:

The Potty On-The-Go is awesome. Set it up in your car, and you'll be able to take your baby potty before you go in the store, in the comfort of your car. Or, get a padded potty seat insert, which transforms a big public toilet into a comfy potty place for your baby. As a bonus, most of those potty seats have popular cartoons on them, which makes potty time more fun and relaxing for your baby.

One last reason I can think of: people are told in baby books that babies have no control over their elimination muscles until the age of 3. It's complete baloney. I don't know why pediatricians have fallen for this one, but there's plenty of evidence to the contrary. Check out the IPT links for some neat medical articles.

So, again, if you're thinking about IPT, go for it! You'll be glad you did.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Staying Out Of Your Comfort Zone

Ah, the comfort zone. We all love it don't we? Well, maybe we do, or maybe it's kind of a love/hate relationship. We all love to be comfy in our lives, but then on the other hand, we can begin to feel like we're in a rut. Personally, I like to stay out of my comfort zone. Or at least, after I've been in it a while, I try to break out of it. It's kinda been a repeating theme through my life. I convinced my mama to home school me after I got tired of public school. I was in the tenth grade at the time. Then after a year and a half, I was accepted to a college on a full scholarship. After I got comfortable there, but unfortunately before I finished my degree, I decided to get married and move to California. Talk about being out of a comfort zone! I went from being 15 minutes away from home and family to being on the opposite side of the country, surrounded by complete strangers. I missed my home in Georgia, but it was quite exhilarating, being out there on the West coast, newly married to a Marine who was set to deploy to Iraq in about 7 months.

I digress. What I wanted to talk about was staying out of your comfort zone when it comes to potty training your infant. Staying out of your comfort zone is a good thing, for both you and your baby. It add interest to your day. Make it a game. See how long you can keep your baby in cloth trainers without having a miss, after you get to the point where you're comfortable with IPT and you're not having many misses. Taking a step towards "graduation" (defined however you want it to be) gives you a sense of accomplishment, and it helps your baby learn.

For example, if you've been using disposable diapers and your baby is doing great, try using a cloth diaper or a pair of cloth trainers for a while, and see how you and your baby do. You might just surprise yourself; you might not need to be using disposables anymore. You may be able to switch completely. Conversely, you might find that you're having a lot of misses, which might mean (in the case of disposables) that your baby is having misses, but the super absorbency of the diaper is not alerting you to that fact. Making the move from disposables to trainers is a little intimidating, but it's a good way to keep your baby aware. Awareness, to me, is the most important thing to keep in mind with IPT. If your baby stays aware (that is, they feel wet, or they go through the act of a diaper change right after "going") IPT will be so much easier. If your baby is trained to pee and poop in her diaper, not associating the action ("I went pee") to a consequence ("I feel wet"), it will make IPT a difficult thing to do.

Don't make it stressful on yourself though. If you're still having lots of misses, stay with what you're doing. But there will come a point where you'll feel ready for the next step. Don't be afraid to take it!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Camping While Potty Training Your Infant

So, we just got back from a nice long weekend at Mt. Pisgah Campgrounds, and we had an awesome time! I was a bit apprehensive about taking a six month old camping, but she was a trooper. I wondered how IPT would go, since our routine would be completely out of whack, and there would be times when she might need to "hold it." We did have more misses than we normally do...about 4 over the course of 3 days. I learned a few things from our camping experience.

1. I re-learned how much I love the Fisher-Price Potty On-the-Go. It is awesome. I use it so much, that really I've come to take it for granted. It was so nice being able to wake up in the night and put our baby on there, rather than having to trek to the camp bathrooms, or go outside at all. (Also, it's a life-saver for when you're traveling down a road with NO bathrooms to stop at and you've really gotta go!)

2. Our daughter enjoys "going" outdoors. Our son (three years old) never could quite relax enough outside to do it, and he still doesn't. Our girl is already a pro, and seems to relax even more than when on a regular toilet or potty. It's easy to do, simply squat down with your baby after taking off their diaper, and hold them in the classic EC position and cue. Don't forget to have something to wipe with though! That's one thing I always forget. Thank God for husbands!

3. I really don't like disposables any more. We used them on this trip for convenience's sake, because we only have about 10 cloth diapers, and we figured we'd have a lot of misses. I was excited in a way, because I always think of disposables as so much easier, but now I think of them as convenient as cloth diapers, but not as sturdy. Really, a cloth pocket diaper with velcro fasteners is just as easy and a million times more durable. Disposables are not necessarily supposed to be durable, since they usually get messed on within a couple of hours with conventional diapering, but they just seem sooo flimsy to me now. I was so happy on the last day when we put her back into a cloth diaper. In hindsight, I wish we'd have kept her in cloth, but we were worried about night time I'll just bring bed protection.

So, for all you IPTers out there: don't be scared of travel! Misses will happen, whether you're at home or abroad. Don't think it'll be easier to "take a break" from IPT while you're traveling. We've done that, and we regret it. It's better, if possible, to be as consistent as possible with your baby. Buy a Fisher-Price Potty On-the-Go if you're planning on a road trip, I promise you will not regret it.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


Do you remember Blossom? I loved that show when I was a kid. Well, she's all grown up now, and guess what! She potty trains her babies too! Here is a great video of her take on elimination communication, aka infant potty training. Thanks, Lil Mama Karen for sharing it!