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.