Saturday, October 24, 2009

Oh, What a Night

Infant Potty Training at night sounds daunting doesn't it? Do you envision waking up every 15 to 20 minutes to take your baby to the potty, all the while listening to her screeches that can only mean "how dare you take me out of my nice warm bed?" Well, in my experience, that's totally not the case. Let me tell you about the experience I had with my first baby.

Baby E is a very high need baby. The first few months were extremely challenging. Hours of screaming at night, and then finally, he'd go to sleep. Even after he became a good sleeper, I was fearful of doing IPT at night. I kept thinking, well, he'll eventually stay dry on his on. So I kept waiting, and then the 6 month marker (the time when a lot of babies stay dry through the night) came and went. At around 9 months, I knew we were going to have to bite the bullet and start taking him when he roused up during the night. Much to my surprise, we both got a better nights sleep. Why? Because when I wasn't taking him, he'd rouse up (because he needed to pee), nurse, fall asleep, rouse again (because he still needed to pee), nurse, fall asleep, and on and on. Once I started taking him potty at night, it would go like this: rouse up, go to the potty, come back to bed, nurse, sleep until daybreak. Sometimes he'd even skip the nursing and go back to sleep on his own. Plus, we weren't using up a disposable trainer at night anymore. And that's not to say there were no nights when he screamed at me for daring to put him on the potty, and that there were no nights when he didn't wake up a lot to nurse.

Fast forward to baby number 2, another Baby E. We've been taking her potty at night from the beginning. (With the occasional exception when I just absolutely am so zonked that I just don't wake up enough to take her.) I have gotten so much more sleep with her than I did with my son. Nighttime IPT has just become a habit we've gotten into, and it's really simple now. The main trick is to take her the moment you notice her moving around in her sleep. That means she's gotta go, and so it's important to take her quickly. It's tempting, I know, to just see if they'll fall back to sleep on their own; but in my experience it doesn't happen that way, and then you end up with a baby who's now wide awake and wet. So just go ahead and take her, then get back in bed and nurse if needed.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Using The Sink

I love the bathroom sink when doing infant potty training. Yes, it may sound gross, but it's just oh so handy. I have used the sink much more extensively with my daughter than with my son (boys make more of a mess with the sink, unless you're good at aiming), and we're just now starting to use the sink less often, but here are the top 10 reasons why I love it:

1. My babies like the security of being held in my arms over the sink; when they're relaxed they tend to go more quickly.

2. The mess can be easily rinsed down the drain.

3. The baby isn't taking up a spot on the toilet, so it inconveniences others less.

4. Pee is sterile, and poo isn't really all that germy unless baby is sick or has just had some vaccines, so it's really not all that gross. Especially since you're going to rinse it all down the drain. If you're a germaphobe, you could also spray with disinfectant.

5. It saves your back. You don't have to get up and down off the floor, or otherwise put yourself in an awkward position.

6. Babies just love looking in that bathroom mirror, which again, makes them relax, and helps them "go."

7. If your bathroom sink is in a vanity with some counter space, you have an instant changing table!

8. You're within easy reach (usually) of the switch for the vent. My daughter finds it super relaxing and will calm down if she's fussing, and then she'll pee.

9. You can easily reach the handle to turn the water on. Water sounds are a surefire way to get your baby to "go."

10. My sink ends up staying cleaner, because I'm constantly rinsing it and making sure there's no hint that a baby just went potty there. Thus, my sink also stays free of toothpaste and other messes.

The downside is that once you start solids, the sink becomes a thing of the past. Exclusively breastfed baby poop is extremely liquid (you might worry at first that your baby has diarrhea, but it's perfectly normal), but once you start giving any amount of solids, it will change the consistency of the poop into more of a "soft-serve" type consistency. Gross I know. None of you will ever want soft-serve again. So, it's best not to exclusively rely on the sink. I favor getting your baby used to the potty and the toilet from very early on, so that it's no big deal when she's too big for the sink.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Baby, It's Cold Outside

The weather is turning cooler now, and while you and I may love this change in the weather, your baby might not. Especially when it comes to the potty. If your baby usually loves sitting on the potty, but has recently started arching her back and yelling at you for having the nerve to put her on there in the first place, a cold seat could be to blame. (Side note: potty protests are frustrating for both parties involved. It can be a confidence buster for IPT newbies. The best thing to do is to figure out the problem, and nip it in the bud.) We all know how un-fun it is to sit down on a cold toilet seat. Especially at night after you've just dragged yourself out of a nice, warm bed. So, what is the answer?

There are two different ways to think about this, in my opinion. I'll introduce my strategy first, then give you a second option.

Option A: Know that the reason your baby is protesting the potty is because the seat is cold. Be patient, and insist gently that she sit down, when you're sure she needs to go. After a few seconds her body temperature will warm the seat and she'll do her business. Though no one likes a cold seat, she'll eventually stop protesting and will grow accustomed to this unpleasantness. I liken this to the whole wipes warmer debate: eventually your baby will be wiped with cold wipes, so why not just start off that way to begin with?

Option B: Buy a potty turtleneck (a device that covers the outer potty surface and seat), so that your baby's skin doesn't touch the cold plastic. Never having owned a potty turtleneck, I can't say whether they help or not; I look at it as one more thing to have to wash! Alternatively you could rub the potty seat vigorously with your hands to transfer your body heat (if you're not a germaphobe, that is). I've even heard of some supermoms who will take the trouble to run warm water over the potty till it's nice and toasty, dry it off, then place their babies on there. Sure, warming up the potty sounds humane and everything, but just know that eventually, somewhere, someday, your baby will experience the cold toilet seat: it's up to you whether it's sooner or later.

Friday, October 2, 2009

A Gross Post

For many of you today's post will definitely fall under the category of TMI. This post is only for those of you whose sensibilities aren't easily offended.

For a variety of reasons, I cccasionally I like to try to look at the world through my baby's eyes. Sometimes I do it to see if my disciplining makes sense, or just to take a trip back to my own childhood, and other times, I do it to see how my baby views this whole infant potty training thing.

I got inspired to write this post when I was straightening up my bathroom the other day, and I noticed a box of maxi pads. I was thinking about how humans have come such a long way in their offering of feminine products, from having nasty old cloth rags to the current offerings of super ultra absorbent ultra thin maxi pads. As time goes on, companies like StayFree and Always continually study how to keep women feeling clean and dry despite the unseemly affects of menstruation. The technology is quite good now, I can attest. Despite a heavy flow, many times you haven't got the slightest sensation of moisture. And that got me to thinking about the whole disposable diaper thing.

Disposable diapers keep your baby clean and dry, as best they can. They use the same technology that the maxi pad companies use. Companies like Pampers, Huggies, and Luvs are all working tirelessly to ensure that when your baby poops or pees in his diaper, he will continue to feel clean and dry. See where I'm going with this? Disposable diaper companies are striving (not nefariously, mind you) to make it so that babies will not feel wet or dirty when they go in their diaper. Which sounds good doesn't it?

Except. Except that logically, if a baby is being taught for the first 2 or even 3 (or nowadays sometimes even 4 or 5) years that when they go poop and pee there is no consequence (no "I feel wet" or "I feel dirty" effect) then won't that make it confusing and difficult for the child when potty training is to commence? The conventional wisdom of today says wait until a baby shows signs of "readiness." Except, diapers are becoming more and more absorbent, and they therefore feel less uncomfortable when baby goes. Won't that make it so a baby won't want to potty train until much later?

Did you know some kindergartners are showing up for there first day of school not potty trained? Why is this happening? Does that sound healthy or positive? I certainly think its gross. I wonder if the baby boomer generation is shaking its collective head at our generation, asking, what are you thinking?