What is infant potty training? To me, infant pottying [or "elimination communication"] is just another means of deepening my communication with my children from a young age. It's a loving recognition of another need they have and attempting to meet that need. All infants are born with the ability to recognize when they need to eliminate, which is why babies cry after they've soiled a diaper. And just as parents learn the different "cues" for hunger or sleepiness, babies have cues that, if recognized and nurtured, can facilitate early pottying and potty learning. It's our choice as parents what to do with those cues.
What inspired you to try this method? Honestly, the initial motive was monetary. At the time my daughter was born, my husband and I were living on student loans as he finished school and I was staying home to care for her. I was constantly looking for ways to cut down on the budget. One day, probably while changing another diaper, that cost 28 cents every change, I thought to myself, what do other cultures do if they don't have disposable diapers readily available? That kind of set me on a rabbit trail and after some googling, I stumbled upon a YouTube video about "elimination communication," ordered a $10 potty off Amazon that day, and the rest is history.
Tips you'd share with a parent interested in trying infant potty training? It seems crazy, but don't knock it til you try it! My husband came home the day I got our little potty in the mail and thought I'd gone nuts! But if you'd ask him now, he'd say hands down it was the best decision we made in terms of how we did infant care. I think my biggest tip would be: don't sweat it. If you are able to catch even 25-50% of what your kid is dishing out, that's a success in my book. You don't need to be home full-time to be able to practice this with your babe. If you can catch something in the morning and then only again at some point after work or before bed, that's awesome. It'll only get easier the longer you keep going with it, and eventually it'll lead to total potty independence at a much earlier age. I'd say that right now with our son, I'm more "part-time," but he still gets it and we are reaping benefits already by using less diapers. In both cases, my daughter and son, the easiest way to get a "catch" is right after they've woken up from a nap. So start there, and then watch how your kid leads on. It's amazing, really.
What was the biggest surprise about IPT? I really feel like practicing this with my kids has opened up a whole new level of communication and understanding. My daughter was telling us she had to go potty at 8 months. It didn't look like, "Hey Mom, put me on the potty!" but she would get our attention and communicate it to us. I'm so thankful I was able to give her that relief and I'm thankful that I was able to experience that kind of connection with her at that age. We were also able to "graduate" her [fully "potty trained"] at 18 months, which was awesome because we had our son when she was 21 months and I didn't have two in diapers. Now she will come in and help "coach" our son as he sits on the potty. I love it. It's completely normal to her, and it's so cute to watch. I think of it this way: either way, I am TRAINING my children. Either I'm training them to go in their pants, which will need undoing later, or I am training them to use the potty, which is where I want them to end up anyway.