Saturday, December 4, 2010

Top 10 Reasons To Potty Train Your Infant

1. It can save you tons of money! Disposable diapers cost parents about $1,000 a year until you potty train your child. Nowadays, that means you could spend three or four grand on diapering you baby's bottom! With IPT, you don't have to buy diapers, wipes, or new clothes because of all the diaper blowouts.

2. You have a lot less laundry! When you start from day one, you'll notice extremely quick progress. When you Infant Potty Train, you're not going to have diaper blowouts that ruin new baby clothes. You won't have a ton of cloth diapers to wash.

3. You'll feel more in tune with your baby! When you're infant potty training, you aren't as likely to tune your baby out, because you don't want to have a miss.

4. You don't have to change poopy diapers! Nuff said.

5. You're not putting a ton of waste in the landfill. The amount of waste you accumulate when you're diapering a baby is quite substantial. When you IPT, you just flush the mess away.

6. Impress your friends and strangers. People are likely to be amazed that your 6 month old is in regular undies, using the potty like a big boy or girl.

7. It lightens your load. When you go out, you don't need to carry tons of extra diapers, wipes, and extra outfits.

8. Face time. Potty breaks are a great way to get some much needed face time with your baby.

9. Increased independence. With IPT, your baby is more in control of his world. Instead of pooping on himself and then depending on you to clean him off, he's able to do his business on his terms without the mess; it's more about teamwork.

10. It's so cute. I mean, really. Nothing's sweeter than a baby sitting on the toilet grinning at you.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Great Expectations

Remember reading Charles Dickens' classic, Great Expectations? Well, that's today's theme. Don't worry, there's no pop quiz at the end.

Infant potty training is about expectations. When we as parents expect that our kids will potty train by the time they're three, you know when they potty train? When they're three. When we expect that they can't understand the word "no" until age two, they won't understand the word "no" until age two.

Likewise, if we set our expectations higher, our kids achieve things more quickly. When you expect your kids will potty train early, they do. If you expect them to behave well, they do. Part of this is because when we expect something, we take the actions necessary to make it happen. When you expect your kids to potty train, you start teaching them where and when to go potty.

Whenever I think about how Americans potty train at such a late age, I always think about house training a dog. While some Americans can't conceive of potty training a human baby, they have no problem with the idea of house training a puppy.

Think about it. A puppy is a different species of animal. They can't talk and usually they need someone to take them to the potty. And yet, Americans will happily take on the challenge of potty training them. On the other hand, infant potty training seems so out there to them, that they don't even try.

In other cultures around the world, the expectation is that babies know how to use a potty from day one, and the babies potty train from day one. The key is to change your expectations, and the rest will follow.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

What To Expect When You're Infant Potty Training Your 9-12 Month Old

Welcome to installment 4 of our What To Expect When You're Infant Potty Training Series!

Overview

Nine to twelve months is such a cool age. I love this stage. Your babbling baby is crawling around and trying to take those first steps. It's an exhilarating time. If you've been doing baby sign language, your baby will definitely be using some signs consistently. My babies always master "more" and "please" by this age, which makes life so much easier.

Useful Tools

Remember how I said in yesterday's post that during milestones your baby will have a one track mind, and so infant potty training might become more challenging? Well, as your baby reaches the walking stage, this holds true. Your baby is also playing more now, and it can be upsetting to take him away from his play for a potty break.

The main key is to make potty breaks as much fun as the play they're leaving. This is actually not a difficult thing to do, as babies love face time with their parents.

My son loved being read to at this stage. I had this book memorized:














He thought it was the best book ever. My son was and is the textbook definition of a "high need" child. There were times that he absolutely refused to sit on the toilet. I almost gave up on infant potty training. I didn't want to stress out my kid. But then I realized it's all in the presentation. If you make infant potty training boring, or worse, stressful for your kid, you're both going to hate it. Instead, make it fun. Look at each potty break as an opportunity to get some face time in with your baby. A time to read or play peek-a-boo. With all the television and computer related distractions, we can easily miss out on face time, even if we're "only" stay at home moms.

Anyway, when we started introducing books on the potty, everything got easier. As soon as I put him on the potty and picked up the book, my son would start going. Small, holdable toys that won't easily fall into the toilet are also great. Matchbox cars do not fall into that category, for anyone wondering. I can't tell you how many I've had to fish out of the toilet. Not fun. Stick to something bigger.

Challenges

When your kid is mobile it's just more challenging. He's venturing farther away from you, and you're not as much of a "helicopter mom" now that he's approaching one year old. You're going to need to make a mental note to stay "tuned in" to him.

Changing signals also presents a challenge. When he was an in-arms baby, you might have noticed him wriggling around more, or on the other hand, he might have suddenly become very still when he needed to go. These signals fade away, or at least become unnoticeable when he's crawling around on the floor.

Take some time to observe your baby. You can rely more on timing while you're figuring out his new signals. One big signal for this age is when your happy baby suddenly becomes fussy. Another big sign is a refusal to nurse even though they seem hungry.

Adding to these challenges is the introduction of solid foods and water. This can wreak havoc on your usual potty training schedule. A baby who normally poops three times a day might start pooping only once every several days. A baby who pees ever hour might go every 15 minutes if he's drinking tons of juice and water. Don't worry, you and your baby will eventually get back on a regular, predictable schedule. Just be patient.

At any point when challenges present themselves, it is tempting to go back a step. If you've got your kid in undies and you suddenly start missing, it's easy to wonder if you should go back to trainers for a while until your baby gets better at it. But take it from me, you'll have better progress if you keep them in undies. (NOTE: If you are feeling very stressed out and frustrated, then by all means, take a break!)

Progress

At this point, if you've been doing infant potty training from birth, you're getting close to the finish line. Many people wonder at what point your baby is "trained." That all depends on your definition of what trained is. Some people consider a baby trained when the vast majority of his poop and pee goes in the potty and not on himself. If that's your definition, then I'd say most babies who are infant potty trained from birth are trained by 5 months, some earlier. Of course, at age one, a baby still needs help getting on and off a toilet, although if you're using the BABYBJĂ–RN Little Potty, your baby will be able to take off the undies and sit there independently at this age, though they'll still need help with wiping.

Monday, September 27, 2010

What To Expect When Infant Potty Training Your 6-9 Month Old

Welcome to episode 3 of our What To Expect When You're Infant Potty Training series! Check out episode 1 and episode 2 if you haven't already. (NOTE: I am in no way affiliated with Heidi Murkoff and her What to Expect Series.)

Overview

Today we're talking about your 6-9 month old baby. It's such a cute age. With this cuteness comes challenges to Infant Potty Training, but there are also some great rewards. Your baby is probably a lot more laid back now, but on the other hand he's a lot more mobile. If you've been doing sign language, chances are he's caught on and is communicating to you with his hands.


Useful Tools For This Age
At this age, or as soon as you feel comfortable, I highly recommend a padded toilet seat insert. This makes IPT incredibly convenient. Now when your baby poops, you just flush the mess away. It could not be simpler.

Here's what we use:
















The thing I love about this particular model is its lack of handles. If you look around on Amazon, you'll notice that there are several different seats available that serve the same purpose, but there are different features. Here's what I suggest: I like the cushy ones because they're comfortable for baby, and being comfy equals relaxation, and relaxation equals quick and easy potty breaks. I don't like handles, because it's a lot harder to find a diaper bag big enough to fit the ones with handles. I also recommend buying a few of these, if you can fit that with your budget. I like to keep one in a diaper bag, one at home, and one at grandma's house.

A word of caution: always stay right next to your baby until your are absolutely positively sure that they're not going to try to leap off the potty. Even when they have really good balance, you need to stay close. Potty breaks are a great time to get some bathroom cleaning done. Just make sure to stay within arm's reach.

To use the padded seat, place it on the toilet, in the hole of the regular seat. Place your baby on top. Depending on the amount of upper body control your baby has, you can either hold them there, or you can let them sit there. Cue your baby as you normally would.

By 6 months you're usually "over" the whole my-baby-will-never-set-foot-inside-a-public-restroom thing, and this is a great tool to have in your arsenal. At least your baby's rear will be on something clean. Alternatively, you can try the public bathroom boogie


NOTE: The flushing noise made by public bathroom toilets can scare babies. One helpful hint is to put a piece of toilet paper over the sensor on the auto-flush model toilets. Some babies, on the other hand, love the flushing noise and it actually helps them go. Our son was terrified of the public toilet flush, and our daughter loved it. Go figure.

Another great tool is this:














You can definitely introduce this as soon as your baby is born, but many people feel really overwhelmed those first few months. But by 6 months you've generally found your groove and are somewhat less sleep deprived. Sign language takes your communication to a whole new level. It cuts out a lot of frustration, because your baby can truly tell you what he's thinking about or what he needs.


Challenges
Your baby is probably mobile now. When your baby is learning to crawl, that tends to be the only thing on his mind. Which means he may not signal that he needs to go like he normally does. Which means you might have a few accidents. Which means you might wonder if you're doing something wrong. You're not. There are times when you'll need to lead more with Infant Potty Training, like during teething and milestones. In these times, rely more on timing than signals. You can still encourage independence, but it's also important to try to get as many of the poops and pees in the potty as possible.


Progress
If you've been doing this from birth, you'll start to find that you're becoming a pro at this infant potty training thing, and so is your baby. You'll be in sync with your baby's potty needs, just as you're in sync with his feeding needs and other such things. Potty breaks will become second nature. Your baby knows what to do, and you know when to take him. You will probably be astounded at how good you both are at this. Your friends and family will probably finally be convinced that IPT really does work.


I'd highly recommend switching your baby to regular undies at this point. I've found 2T undies work for babies at this age. It's almost impossible to find regular undies that are an 18 month size, but if you can, use those. You might be hesitant to switch, because you are afraid you're not good enough at IPT yet. But the counterintuitive truth is, the quicker you put them in undies, the quicker they'll train. The reason for this is because they can feel when they've gone a lot easier in undies. Undies also give you more of a reason to be aware of your baby. It's a win-win.

Friday, September 24, 2010

What To Expect When Infant Potty Training Your 3-6 Month Old

In our continuing series, shamelessly ripped off from the What To Expect When You're Expecting book series, we're going to talk today about What to Expect when Infant Potty Training your 3-6 month old. Each stage becomes easier in some ways, and more challenging in others.

Overview

3-6 months is a great age. You're finally getting on a semi-regular sleep schedule. You're somewhat out of the "newborn fog". You know your baby a lot better, and you're learning his signals.

Useful Tools For This Age

Now that your baby is heavier, you might want to start switching to the toilet or the potty, instead of the sink. Again, the BabyBjorn Little Potty is your friend.

You'll start to get out more, and this means you'll want to figure out a way to potty your baby outside of your home. If you're outside, you can just let them go on the grass or on a bush. If you're in the car, I highly recommend using a Fisher-Price Potty on the Go. Unfortunately, it appears that these are really hard to find. Even Amazon doesn't have them. It appears that the next best thing would be this:













The best thing about an on the go potty is that you can let your baby go when he needs to. You don't have to search frantically for a clean bathroom for your perfect little baby. Your baby's potty environment can be as clean as you deem necessary. Let's face it, public bathrooms are the last place you want to take your infant. The on the go potty solves that problem.

While we're on the subject, let's talk some more about pottying while out and about. You'll find yourself wondering if you should bother. I think you should, but I'll leave that up to you. It's better to be consistent with IPT, although that doesn't mean you can't just do it only at home. But I'm willing to bet that once you see that your baby can go on the potty, you'll get uncomfortable with the idea of her messing all over herself.

Challenges

This age presents some new challenges. When a baby is a newborn, you're basically always holding them, so it's easy to see their signs and otherwise pay attention to them. But as they grow, you'll start putting them down more. You might start to realize that you're tuning your baby out sometimes, and that's when misses happen. Don't worry and get frustrated. Instead, be proactive. Figure out when the misses happen. It's usually around meal times, or when you're otherwise engaged. Look for solutions. Could dad take over IPT duty while you're getting supper on the table? Or, try taking your baby potty right before you start doing something involved, even if she's not showing signals of needing to go.


Progress

If you've been doing IPT since birth, you'll find that your baby is actually getting really consistent with using the potty and has learned to "hold it" somewhat. You'll notice fewer and fewer accidents. You'll notice your baby now knows what the potty is for, and will generally go a lot quicker than she did in the beginning. More than likely, you'll be pretty much in tune with each other. You'll know the times of day she usually needs to go, how soon after a feeding, and her other signals.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

What To Expect When Infant Potty Training A Newborn

Today is the start in a series of posts in what you should expect when you're doing Infant Potty Training (IPT) at the various stages of your baby's development. There are different challenges at different ages, so I thought this would be a useful way to break it down into simple stages. We'll start today with newborns. When I say newborn, I'm referring to babies ages 0-3 months.

Overview:
Newborns are amazing little things. You will be stunned at just how much a baby can communicate right after he is born. Infant potty training can start from day one, or as soon as you feel up giving it a try.

Getting started:
Newborns are tiny and seem fragile, though they're actually quite sturdy. This is the time when you're going to have to help them the most when they're going potty. They'll need you to support their body and keep them
comfortable while going.

During this time, I highly recommend holding them over a sink. I know, I know, it sounds gross. But pee and poop are actually quite sterile. Newborn poop and pee rinse very quickly down the drain, and your back will be no worse for the wear. If you choose the sink, you'll want to use the classic EC (Elimination Communication) hold. Click here for a visual.

If you just can't bring yourself to use the sink, then a very good second option is the Baby Bjorn Little Potty, pictured below.














The First Catch

The first time you try Infant Potty Training, you're bound to feel a little silly. I mean, really, can a newborn really use the potty? The answer is YES! My kids have both done it, and so can yours. After you get that first catch, it all seems possible. So, here's how you go about it.

STEP 1: Watch for your babies' signals. He might start squirming around if he's been still, or he might suddenly stop moving around if he's been wiggling. He might start to grunt, his face might turn red, or you may just have a thought that he needs to go potty.

STEP 2: Take him to the potty. Talk to him about it. Tell him you're taking him to the potty. Take off the diaper and either hold him over the sink or hold him on the potty. For newborns, you'll want to support them well. It helps if you let your baby's back rest on your chest. You'll just have to work to find what's comfy for the both of you.

STEP 3: Relax. This helps your baby relax. Tell him to go potty. Make a "sss" sound, a relaxed sigh sound, and/or a grunting noise. We've also found that tensing your stomach muscles so your baby can get the idea helps to encourage a poop.

STEP 4: Keep relaxing. Do not get discouraged or try to make your baby hurry. If he needs to go, he'll go. We have consistently noticed that if we get tense, the baby will not go. So, just relax. Take your mind off it, if it helps. Look away, look around, or read the paper. Just don't pressure the baby.

STEP 5: Your baby will pee, and will probably poop. Newborns poop a lot. It's just how they roll. Sooner or later they'll get into a somewhat predictable routine. I'd suggest at first that you wait a minute or two after they pee to see if they need to poop. I always ask if they need to poop, then grunt. If the baby doesn't start trying to poop, I assume they're done.

STEP 6: Actually this is a step that runs throughout the process, but I added it here because at first steps 1-5 may be enough to keep you busy. After you've got them down, you can try adding in sign language. You can sign "potty" when you ask if they need to go and after you've put them on the potty. You can sign "poop" and "pee" for when they actually are going potty. Believe it or not, our daughter was doing the "poop" sign at 6 weeks old. She would bring her hands together very deliberately, and then pull them apart deliberately. Sure enough, we'd take her and she'd go poop. Amazing, I know.

STEP 7: After baby's done, you can wipe with plain old toilet paper. No wipes needed, because there's only going to be a spot of poo to be wiped. You can also turn on the water and rinse the rear if you're using the sink anyway. Turning on the water also helps your baby relax to pee. Put his clean diaper back on, and stay tuned in for the next time he needs to go. Sometimes it will be 15 minutes from then, sometimes an hour or more. It depends on how often he's nursing/feeding, the temperature in the house, and how big his bladder is. :)

Other Expectations:
DO expect that your baby will attempt to communicate his pottying needs with you.
DO expect that it will take you some time to figure out how to communicate.
DO NOT expect that you will catch every single signal your baby gives you.
DO expect that you'll miss a few pees and poops along the way.
DO expect that you'll need to take the initiative sometimes and take your baby when you feel it's time to potty.
DO expect some fussiness/crying. Your baby might just hate the first potty attempt. But it will get better, I promise. You've got to take the lead and keep the potty experience positive.

Infant potty training is about teaching your babies where to go potty. The expectation is that they'll poop on the potty, not all over themselves. Babies can and do learn quickly where to go potty, as long as you teach them. So, give it a try.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Indoctrinating Your Kids

There are lots of different parenting philosophies out there. But one of the most pervasive ones in this day and age (and in my mind the most dangerous one) is that we shouldn't "indoctrinate" our kids. When people use the word "indoctrinate" they mean teach your kids traditional values, like don't have sex before marriage, or don't do drugs. But perhaps the worst thing you can do, to these people's thinking, is "indoctrinate" your kids to believe in God.

Now, I'm a Christian. I'm a Conservative too. And so as you can probably guess, these ideas don't sit well with me. I look at it this way: it's our job as parents to teach our kids. We can't just sit around and hope that little Jimmy will figure out on his own that it's a bad idea to pull on that pot of boiling water on the stove. We don't just assume they'll figure out that 1+1=2, so why should we just assume they'll figure out the stuff about God?

To me, and I think to most Christians, my relationship with God is the #1 most important aspect of my life. So why on earth would I exclude my kids from that? And yet, that's the message we get as parents: don't influence your kids when it comes to religion! You should just let them experiment and choose for themselves.

However, the Bible paints a clearly different picture. According to Deuteronomy 6:6-7 parents should heed the following instruction, "And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up."

So if you believe the Bible, then you should definitely forget what the so-called experts say.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Product Review: Eddie Bauer Deluxe High Back Booster Car Seat



After your baby reaches the 22 pound mark, you're faced with yet another purchase: the forward facing car seat. Since our first baby hated the car seat, we decided to splurge and get the Eddie Bauer Deluxe model. We're so glad we did.

First of all, it's comfortable. It has more padding than a lot of the other models, even the pricier ones. Comfort is really important, because unlike adults who can move a good bit while still staying strapped in, a baby is stuck in one position. Padding is really important.

The next great thing is the shoulder pads. It's nice to have that extra comfort for baby, because it's harder for him to really tell you when something is a little uncomfortable, and there's not much he can do to remedy the situation.

Of course, there's the five point harness, and all the other safety goodies that are in every car seat. It's even got a cup holder! Unlike some other seats I've dealt with, the buckles and straps on this one are very easy to use, which is nice considering you spend a large portion of your parental days buckling and unbuckling car seats.

The last great thing about this car seat is that it converts to a nice comfy booster seat for your toddler. It even guides your vehicle's seat belt straps so they're comfortable for your kid. So, if you buy this car seat, you're actually getting two products in one, and your kid's covered from the time he's 22 pounds, up til he's 100 pounds. By that time, he'll be ready for riding sans booster seat.

Overall, I'd definitely recommend this product. Even though you might find some forward facing car seats for a little less money, your baby won't be as comfy, and you'll end up having to buy a booster seat to boot.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

In Defense of Spanking

So, even though I practice infant potty training, I'm a Conservative gal. Lots of folks who practice IPT are very anti-spanking, and that just doesn't jive with me. Maybe it has something to do with being raised in the South. If one of us kids got out of line, we got a swift swat on the rear, and you know what? We quit misbehaving. Bill Cosby does a great bit about his parenting experiences with spanking, as well as his experiences on the receiving end of spanking in his movie "Bill Cosby: Himself".

Some anti-spanking "experts" try to argue that spanking a child will only teach them to hit. Not true. A spanking gets the message across: stop misbehaving. Pretty simple, straightforward stuff. But as with most "expert parenting advice", common sense goes out the window. Then well meaning parents-to-be read the "experts", and pretty soon we have a generation of kids who won't mind. And kids that break the rules now will end up breaking the bigger rules, as in laws, in the future. So what's better? A swift whack to the rump now, or handcuffs and jail time later?

The fact of the matter is, parents are in authority over their kids. It's our job, as parents, to teach our kids the right way to behave. But our rights as parents are dwindling. Thanks to "experts" we're now seeing the government try to step in and tell the parents the best way to parent. And by "tell" I mean make it illegal to parent your kid the way that will keep them under control. For the past few years in California, they've tried to make it illegal to spank your kids. As in, if you spank your kid for running out into the  middle of a busy street, they want to be able to handcuff you and haul you off to jail for child abuse.

Has the world gone mad? I'll say this. I've seen kids who don't get spanked, and I've seen kids who do get spanked, and by far, the spanked ones are the most well mannered, and the most fun to be around. To try to say that spanking is child abuse is pure ignorance. On one hand, child abusers are there to bully their kids. On the other hand, a parent who spanks her kids is doing her dead level best to make sure her children don't end up criminals.

So, if you're a parent-to-be who's on the fence about spanking, know that there are still parents who spank, and we see great results. And it ain't child abuse.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Does Infant Potty Training Cause Any Harm?

I think one reason why some parents are afraid to try infant potty training is because they are afraid IPT might have some sort of adverse side effects. Some might worry that babies who are trained from birth might exhibit pottying problems down the road, like wetting the bed, or withholding poop.

We're parents. We worry. We look around and see what other parents are doing, and we're pretty much loathe to deviate too much from the norm. Chances are, your parents didn't do infant potty training with you, and none of your friends are doing it either. It's hard to try something when you don't see other people's results from doing the same thing.

That's why I created this blog. I wanted to show step by step how to do this, and to assure others that your babies will turn out just fine when you do infant potty training with them. Both my babies, ages 1 1/2 and 4 are doing spectacularly with pottying. My 4 year old is obviously independent now. He's been able to go by himself and wipe since he was about 2 1/2. My 1 1/2 year old tells us when she needs to go, can make it clear to us when she doesn't need to go, but she can't wipe. We don't have night-time wetting issues with either kid.

So, if you're scared to try IPT because you think that in the future it might cause more harm than good, rest assured it won't. You just won't have to deal with all those expensive diapers for older babies and toddlers, or that horrible stinkiness that is toddler poop. :)

Monday, August 16, 2010

Shopping List For Infant Potty Training

Infant potty training is cheap. You really don't *have* to buy any products. But as with anything, there are some tools of the trade that make infant potty training much easier, and so I thought I'd make a list of the things that are smart buys for those of you who are just starting out in your IPT adventure:




1. A Baby Bjorn Little Potty is a must have. Do yourself a favor and buy one. They're great because your baby can balance on them from a pretty young age with little assistance, and the wide bottom makes them nice and sturdy. You don't have to worry about spills like you do with some other potties that are more top-heavy.















2. BumGenius 3.0 One Size Cloth Diapers. I love these. I'd love them even if I didn't potty train my infants. They're great because they keep your baby aware of going potty. But, they fasten easily like disposables, they're high quality, and they grow with your baby. We only bought a few and did laundry more frequently, and they held up spectacularly.









3. Gerber Cloth Training Pants. The quicker you introduce these to your baby, the better. It gives your baby even more awareness than the BumGenius 3.0s, but it takes some confidence to move up to these. Once you've started consistently keeping your baby dry, try the training pants. You might just be surprised. Size 18 months can fit on a several month old baby. I like to buy them right off the bat, and then just try them on the baby periodically to see if they fit.








4. The Sign With Your Baby Book by Joseph Garcia. It is awesome. We were noticing our baby signing "poop" at 6 weeks. It happened way too often for it to be a coincidence. Infant Potty Training is so much easier when you incorporate sign language into it! And to be able to communicate with your pre-verbal baby is magical.










5. The potty on the go is awesome. Awesome I tell you! It is so handy to have in case your baby needs to go potty and there's just not a bathroom in sight, or if the bathroom in sight is disgustingly dirty. Don't leave home without it!











With all that said, here are some things I suggest NOT buying:
1. Cloth prefolds
2. Diaper pins
3. Plastic pants
4. Split crotch pants (I haven't tried them, but they're pricey, and you can IPT easily without them.)
5. Lots of disposables.

Disposables have their place with IPT. I like to use them if we're in a situation where a bathroom isn't readily available and doing laundry isn't feasible, like when you're on vacation. Also, during times of sickness, disposables can be really nice, although they proved unnecessary when the stomach flu went through our house this past winter.

So there you have it, 5 things to buy, and 5 things to skip when you're gearing up for infant potty training. Enjoy!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Baby Sign Language

So at 13 months, my little girl doesn't say many words. She can say mama, her brother's name, dada, papa, and dog, but that's about it. And most of the time, she's not really consistent. And that's why I love baby sign language.

She's cutting her molars right now, which every parent knows is an intense teething marathon. This means she's frequently fussy, and if she didn't know some sign language, it could get pretty frustrating. But, since she does, she's able to do the signs for "teeth" and "medicine" and I know that she is in pain and wants her Tylenol.

It's also nice that she can sign "water" and "nurse", so that I know which beverage she'd like. :)

Of course, baby sign language is very helpful in relation to infant potty training. When she's signing "poop" I know that she needs a potty, and fast! Or, if she's on the potty signing "all done" I know that she's finished doing her business.

Here's what we used to get started with baby sign language:















I really loved Dr. Garcia's Sign With Your Baby Kit, because it included a book with lots of good information and research on the subject. (It also goes into how teaching your baby sign language will not hinder verbal development, and actually will help it!) Included is a DVD that shows how babies really do sign. It also has a convenient quick reference guide of some common signs that you'll want to teach your baby.

I was skeptical before I had my first baby that Baby Sign Language would work, but I have been absolutely amazed at the results! 

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Infant Potty Training At 13 Months

My little girl is now 13 months old, and as I said in a previous post we're working on independence. She has very few misses unless we're not consistent. But she's also been very dependent on us to realize she needs to go and to take her to the potty. But lately she has been better about being clear with her actions, and being more independent. She'll go into the bathroom sometimes when she needs to go, and she'll also whimper and look at the potty if she needs to poop.

For example, she is really good at sitting on her potty that looks like this:














All I need to help her with is undressing, wiping, and dressing when she uses the potty. I am trying to be more disciplined about letting her use her little potty instead of me carrying her to the toilet and letting her sit on her padded toilet seat that looks like this:
















Infant potty training is just so much fun. It can be trying at times, but more often than not I'm just so amazed that babies have this ability to be potty trained from day 1, and most Americans are totally unaware of it.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Sometimes Babies Give Weird Signals

I know I've talked before about how a baby signals you when she needs to go to the bathroom. She might turn red, or start grunting, or if you've taught her sign language, she might even start signing that she needs the potty.

But every baby is different, and sometimes, babies just start doing things that are downright weird. For example, I have noticed that when my daughter crawls under our desks and just sits there, that means that she needs to go use the potty. Now, maybe it's not so weird. Maybe she just knows she can go there to get my attention if I happen to be on the computer.

The point is, be on the lookout for unconventional signs that your baby needs to go. It might seem weird to you, but there's a good chance that from your baby's perspective, it makes perfect sense.

I could also do a related post about how it might seem perfectly logical to your baby to start peeing on certain objects because they are potty-like, but that's another story for another day.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

IPT During The Stomach Virus

There is definitely a time when disposable diapers have an excellent function: when your family has the stomach virus. My daughter (now 1) got it first, and so we decided to put her in a diaper since we figured she'd get diarrhea. Unbelievably, throughout the whole cycle, she didn't have a single accident. The diapers were a great ease to my mind though, which is important. (Side note: if you are EVER feeling stressed out about infant potty training, switch to disposables to give yourself a break! You might find that you only need an hour or two to get your batteries recharged!) I was surprised that my daughter actually fussed and refused to "go" in the diaper; she waited till I could take her to the potty.
The stomach bug is not fun at all. My son (3 1/2) and husband woke up at midnight very sick, and I feared I'd be next, and I really had no idea how I could handle it all. So, I started to pray. I also went to my medicine closet to get these:



Unfortunately, I had misplaced one of the Sea-Bands. They worked wonders for me when I had morning sickness with my two pregnancies. They also really help my sister who gets carsick. So what was I to do? Well, they say necessity is the mother of invention, and I found that to be true. The way these Sea-Bands work is by the principle of acupressure. The pressure point in your wrist apparently can be manipulated such that you don't feel nauseated. So, I tried to quickly figure out a way to replicate what Sea-Bands do. They fit pretty tightly, so a scrunchie wouldn't work. Here's what I ended up doing:

First, you have to find the pressure point. Take your first three fingers and place them starting at the bottom of your hand, thusly:

Next, take two dried white beans (or any other small round object) and place them on the point.


Lastly, take some masking tape and tape the beans to your wrist. The tape needs to go all the way around your wrist in order for there to be enough pressure on the pressure point. Use your judgment as to how tight to get it. You don't want to be in pain, but you do want the beans pressing into the point.


That's it. It'll do in a pinch. And if you find yourself feeling queasy when you don't have beans and masking tape, you could always just press your thumbs into each wrist's pressure points.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Infant Potty Training: Sometimes, a bit frustrating

Lest I mislead anyone, there are times when infant potty training is less convenient than traditionally diapering a baby. Well, maybe.

Take last night for example. We went out to eat with some friends, and our girl kept acting like she needed to poop, but wouldn't. I took her to the restaurant's bathroom, and she pooped a tiny bit. Normally that means she needs to do a lot more, but for some reason, she wouldn't. After getting back to the table, she continued to fuss, so I ended up taking her out to the van to give her an opportunity to use the Potty On-the-Go. She refused to go, but did nurse a whole lot. Usually when we are going out, I nurse her right before we leave, take her to the potty when we get to our destination, and then we don't have to think about a pottytunity until we are done with eating and heading home. However, during a growth spurt like the one she's going through now, potty breaks are a little more frequent, and it can seem like infant potty training is more of a burden than traditional pottying...

But then I consider that with a traditionally diapered would be "going" just as often as a baby who does IPT. Thus, then there would be just as many "interruptions" since you should ALWAYS change your baby after she wets/soils her diaper. (Though some parents don't. Ew.)

It's tempting when you're doing something different (like practicing infant potty training) to think that the grass is greener on the other side, that traditional diapering is so much easier. But then I think about that short period of time when we took a break from IPT with my son when he was 6 weeks old. That's when I remember that infant potty training is much much more convenient (and so much more hygienic!) than traditional diapering.

Friday, March 12, 2010

The Journey To Independence

As I mentioned in my last post, the thing we're going to be working on now, since we basically have our girl potty trained is to become independent. Of course, until she's a bit older she'll need help with things like wiping and dressing, but I really want to encourage more independence. I just bought a book called "We Help Mommy" at a consignment store last night, and as I was flipping through it today, I noticed that the little girl and boy in the story are probably 3 or 4 years old. The kids undress/dress themselves, make toast, help make the bed, dust furniture, mop, sweep, help with laundry, put groceries away, make sandwiches, set the table, help with doing the dishes, help with cooking, and put their toys away. This book was written in 1959, and it seems that things have changed since then. Nowadays, parents don't complete potty training until age 3, and some are training even later, with Kindergarten being the absolute deadline....

The question then is whether it's better for kids to be independent later or earlier. I understand the temptation to protect children and baby them. But is it really a positive thing for the child? Kids are becoming less and less independent, and surely that has repercussions on our culture. (This also makes me think of how my generation seems to want to rely on the government, instead of themselves, for success) Is this trend of late potty training simply an symptom of the prevailing parenting trend wherein the child is in control?

What do you readers think? What were some methods you used to encourage independence with your little ones? (IPT related or otherwise!) The main thing I've been doing with our girl is to try to get her to walk to the bathroom. Sometimes she obliges me, other times she resists, and I'll admit that the majority of the time, I just end up carrying her.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Infant Potty Training At Age One Year


It's so hard to believe, but my darling daughter is turning one in a few days. If you're wondering what infant potty training looks like at one, then this blog is for you!

Misses: We have about 2 pee misses a week, but sometimes more if she happens to be teething. Last week we had a bit of a missy week with her waking up and peeing before we got her out of the bed. Poo misses are extremely rare, maybe once per month. It usually happens when I think to myself "wow, I can't remember the last time we've had a poop miss."

Independence: She's still very dependent on us realizing she needs to go and then taking her. This is partially my fault, because I don't have her little potty out where she could just walk over and sit on it, and also, I could be encouraging her to walk to the toilet, but I carry her instead. That's what we'll be focusing on in the coming weeks/months.

Frequency: She still goes about once per night, twice after waking, once after her nap, and then after feeding. We always give her an opportunity to go right before we go somewhere and before putting her in her high chair.

Potty Places: Her favorite by far is the padded potty seat, though she still will use the Potty on the Go, and the Bebe Jou potty when needed. We rarely hold her over the sink now, because she's 22 lbs, and that's a whole lotta baby to hold!

Sign Language: She does the signs for: all done, poop, daddy, nurse, please, bye, brother, fish, more, and dog.

If any of you are thinking about doing IPT but are afraid that it might delay development, consider that my daughter crawled at 4/5 months, and walked at 10 1/2 months. She's starting to talk, and interacts very well. And look at how cute she is!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Whoops-a Daisy

Ah misses. They're bound to happen. And when you're a perfectionist, you find them annoying or even frustrating. I know I've written about this before on here, but misses are bound to happen, you will be annoyed, and it's only how you deal with that annoyance/frustration that will determine if you a) quit IPT altogether, b) becoming increasingly weary with IPT and eventually give up, or c) put it all in perspective and realize that you and your baby are doing great.

If you find yourself really frustrated, realize that frustration is a normal and natural part of parenting and would happen if you weren't doing IPT. When you don't do IPT, there are leaky diapers, blowouts, and all manner of fussiness and tantrums. When you do something like infant potty training, it can be easy to blame everything on it. You might worry IPT isn't a good thing to do if your baby cries on the potty sometimes, but remember that diapered babies often cry during diaper changes and for many other reasons.

The best thing you can do is to try to figure out why you missed, and try to remember the lesson you learned. For example, this morning I took my girl to the potty, she went, then I let her play in the toy room with her brother, and I went to catch up on some laundry. When I came in to check on her, I found she was wet. Now, there are two things I learned: 1) it's best to keep her near me first thing in the morning (she normally has 2 pees in the morning spaced about 15 minutes apart but today's seemed closer together than that.) 2) When teething is going on (her 6th tooth just popped through!) misses just happen. Now, I know the second lesson, I really do. And yet, I still find myself getting frustrated....I'll just have to keep repeating to myself that misses happen when teething.

One thing that you don't want to do, if you can avoid it, is regression. Most people think of that as something babies do, but I think with IPT, it's something parents do. It's easy to think that maybe you should go back to the previous step in IPT if you start having misses. For example, I have my daughter in just panties now; it's easy to say that we should just go back to cloth trainers, but to me, that's lowering expectations, and when that happens, I find it to be a slippery slope, and confusing for my girl. So instead, I try to stay disciplined and keep her in her big girl undies, and it seems to be more successful. With my son, I tended to regress sometimes, and he always ended up doing worse when we'd go back a step. When I would raise my expectations again, more often than not he did a much better job with pottying.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Great Expectations

Infant potty training might seem far out or bizarre to some people (despite the fact that worldwide, it's actually more common than waiting until 2 years or older to potty train). Because it's so uncommon here in America, many of us who delve into IPT have low expectations. After all, there are very few books on the subject, and how can we really know something like this really works when we've never seen it done with our own eyes? However, having low expectations can lead to less than favorable results. I remember reading about a study done one time where teachers who were told that their students were gifted; it turned out that the students excelled. Teachers were then told that the incoming students were average; it turned out that the students only did average. Both groups of students were actually the same, intellectually speaking, and so the only difference was in the teachers' expectations.

So, what does this tell us about IPT? If you go into IPT with low expectations and self-doubt, you might not end up doing that well with infant potty training. If you go into it with high expectations and confidence, you'll do great. Many people I know insisted that it was only because my firstborn was so smart that I had any success with IPT, that most babies "couldn't" do it. However, after doing all the research and seeing that my second baby is doing even better, I know that it has so much more to do with expectation.

Do you still have your doubts? Think about this: IPT at one point was the only way. Then came the belief that babies shouldn't start toilet training until 6 months. Then came the belief that it was best to wait to potty train at a year. When I was a baby (in the 80s) my mom was told to have me out of diapers by 2 years. Nowadays it's common to hear not to potty train your baby until 3 years old or even older (when they show signs of "readiness"). If you go into IPT having the expectation that babies really can't potty train until they're 3, you probably won't have IPT success.

On the other hand, if you have the expectation that your baby is born potty trained, and she is able to communicate with you when she needs to go, you'll find IPT to be quite easy. This is not to say that you won't have misses, because you will! Overall though, you will find that your baby is able to use the potty, instead of her diaper for her elimination needs.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

An Idea...

Hey all you readers! I have been considering hosting a chat or doing a podcast of some sort where people could call/write in and I could answer your questions. I know that sometimes you're left with questions, and this might be a way to communicate more effectively. Would anyone be interested in this? Please let me know what you think!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Keepin' It Short and Sweet

Infant potty training is a bit of a balancing act. You want your baby to stay clean and dry, so you'll take them to the potty often (maybe sometimes a little too often), but you also don't want your entire day consumed with potty visits. You also don't want your baby to hate the potty. So, how do you achieve this balance?

When my husband saw the title of today's blog, he joked that I was letting everybody else but him in on a secret. When he takes our baby she ends up being on there for a while. He doesn't have nearly the experience at this that I do, so he's still honing those IPT skills. When you start taking your baby to the potty in the early days, start cuing her right away. If you dawdle, your baby might get confused about what she's actually supposed to do. If baby doesn't go right away, you can try a few quick tricks (flushing the toilet, or turning on the vent are ones that work for us). If baby doesn't go, then take her off and try again later. You might want to watch her a little more closely until you have a successful potty trip.

If you do have a success, take her off the potty, unless she needs to poop. In general, (at least with my babies), once they pee, they're done. They probably won't pee twice in one sitting. The only time this doesn't hold true for us is the morning pee with our daughter; sometimes she will pee when she first sits down on the potty, then after a few minutes she'll pee again. We keep her on the potty for a few minutes longer in the mornings anyway, because that's when she normally poops. So, know your baby, and work on quick potty trips.

Sometimes I'm not too good at keeping the visits short because I keep a book near the potty and I'll be so interested in what I'm reading that I forget to get her off the potty after she pees. (Right now I'm reading How Did You Do It, Truett by Chick fil A founder Truett Cathy.) Books are nice when your baby is doing a big poop though. It seems to help my girl relax when she knows I'm focused on something else and she can just do her business.

If you have any tips on getting your baby to go quickly, be sure to leave a comment letting the rest of us in on the secret!

This is how we have our potty area set up. Notice the padded seat, the stool for me to sit on, and books! Also pictured are Smith's Bible Dictionary, Arguing with Idiots by Glenn Beck, and Eat Mor Chikin: Inspire More People. Good reading material can be helpful when doing IPT. Just be sure not to get too enthralled with your book, or your baby may end up resenting long potty trips.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Progress at 10 Months


It's hard to believe, but our daughter is now 10 months old. I know when I was researching infant potty training / elimination communication, I wanted to know how quick the progress would be. When would a baby who does this be potty trained? I got so frustrated when I would read things like "every baby is different" or "it depends on how you define 'potty-trained.'" So, at 10 months old, here is our baby girl's progress!

At night: we rarely ever have a miss. She wakes up sometimes at 6 or 7 to go pee, and then she goes back to sleep and wakes up dry. (Note: babies don't pee in their sleep, they rouse up to pee. So, if you notice her moving around in her sleep, it's a good sign she needs to pee. Take her, and she'll be able to sleep peacefully afterward.) Also, she never poops at night. This has gone on since she was a week or so old.

Potty places: She loves going on the toilet while sitting on her cushy potty seat:

At night I use her Bebe Jou potty, which she still enjoys. At this point, she prefers going to the public bathrooms over using the Potty On-The-Go:

We wish she still preferred the potty on-the-go, since it's way more sanitary, and easier than public bathrooms.

Diapers: We're free from diapers at this point. Okay, almost free. Very very rarely we will put her in a diaper if we're going to be a situation where we might not be supervising her at all times, and people who don't know her signs will be holding her or playing with her, like when visiting relatives on Christmas. At this point she's actually in regular girl's underwear, and the occasional cloth training pants.

Signs: She still does the "poop" sign, which she has been doing since she was 6 weeks old, I swear. She also will start grunting if she needs to go. Sometimes it's hard to know if she needs to go, or she's just excited.

Cues: We still cue her by making a hissing noise or a grunt, but usually she does it all without the need for cuing. The ASL sign for poop does help remind her why she's on the potty if she gets distracted.

Tricks: If she gets upset when put on the potty, she likes to play peek a boo and patty cake. She also likes it when we flush the toilet, or if we turn on the air vent. All these things help her go.

Misses: The misses have become so rare that yesterday my husband said, you know, I think she's potty trained now. And then we had 2 misses that evening. But, she's teething and that's normal. Even "potty-trained" kids have an occasional miss, so you could call our baby potty-trained.

Frequency: At this age, our daughter will wake up, go potty, then about 15 minutes later needs the potty again. Then, she needs it about 10-15 minutes after each time she nurses. We always take her right before going to bed, leaving in the car somewhere, and after arriving at our destination, unless it's a short ride. In general, she needs the potty maybe once an hour or so. But that's just a general rule. If she's teething, or if it's really hot or cold, the potty visits might need to be spaced closer together or further apart.

Independence: My goal now is to help her become more independent. I am going to try to start doing things like encouraging her to crawl to the toilet or potty. I'm also going to encourage her to try to get on her Bebe Jou potty with little or no help from me.