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.