I was in an IEP meeting for my daughter, with my 10-month-old charming the socks off everyone in the room by smiling, giggling, and waving. He showed off his voice, showed off his ability to high-five, and then crawled around to the side of the copy machine to go fill his diaper.
Sound like something that your little one does?
This is a great indicator that he may be ready to try sitting on the potty!
Since I’m familiar with the early potty readiness signs by reading about elimination communication previously, the next week I purchased a little baby-sized potty and set him on it at a few times a day during our normal routine (explained below). That weekend he did all his pooping, and a few pees on the potty! We both are enjoying how much easier it is to clean out a potty than a diaper, and it’s providing fun bonding time as well.
While we don’t have any intention of having our 10-month-old go diaper free, getting him used to sitting on the potty and eliminating in it is way easier to clean than going in diapers, and keeps potty training from being such a shock. Since we’re starting out early and relaxed, there’s no pressure on anyone.
Signs that your infant may be interested in sitting on the potty:
- He goes somewhere else to fill his diaper rather than just where he happens to be during his normal play.
- She squirms while nursing, and then a few seconds later you feel the diaper leak through. This can be a sign that she’s holding her urine for a longer amount of time, rather than just going whenever.
- He goes at consistent times during the day. Always during the bath, right before you leave to bring the other kids to school, at night right after his bath..
- She is showing interest in doing everything that you’re doing. You have a spoon? She wants one while she picks up her finger food with her other hand. Your keys, cell phone, and the computer keyboard are all the most interesting thing ever.
- He is resisting diaper changes, preferring rather to sit up or crawl around.
The Lazy Mom’s Guide to Infant Pottying
I don’t do full-on elimination communication, but I do like the idea of offering the potty to a baby who may be happy to use it. A couple generations ago it was common practice for babies to sit on a potty chair at consistent times through the day (source). In the 80s parents started trying potty training later, with the fear that early potty training would harm the child’s development. Surely we can have a happy medium somewhere between these two extremes, right?
When we offer the potty to baby who is ready for it, without expectations that he actually will go diaper free, we get the best of both worlds. We save having to clean poopy diapers, and we avoid extra stress on the baby or his parents.
Here is when I offer the potty for my little guy:
- When I go. This is super simple. I’m sure I’m not the only mom who has a bathroom full of children whenever I’m in there. So I just take off his pants and diaper, and set him on the potty.
- When he wakes up from nighttime sleeping or his nap. After we get downstairs I offer the potty. I’d be changing his diaper anyway, so it’s not much of an extra step. I take this time to wash my face and put on makeup (his pottying has meant that I’m wearing makeup way more often now) in the morning, and clean my bathroom after naps.
- During a diaper change and before his bath. If I’m changing his diaper anyway, once it’s off I just let him sit on the potty for a minute or two unless we’re short on time, in that case I skip.
What do you need to start?
- I personally like a potty (this is the one we have) that sits on the floor. It’s easier for the babies to squat with, and this squatting promotes good elimination hygiene. This is the same reason that the Squatty Potty works so well for adults. Another potty for the baby also lets you both go at the same time.
- Shirts that don’t snap at the crotch are helpful, but not necessary. If you are using a snap bottom shirt, just snap it up above his shoulder when he’s sitting, so that it doesn’t dangle in the potty.
- A little song! I sing to him when he goes and if he is a little resistant to sitting there at first. Our song is an adaptation from one of the songs that my daughter’s preschool class used to sing and it goes like this, and we clap along with it, “Hurrah for (baby’s name), Hurrah for baby! Someone in the bathroom is singing hurrah for baby! 1-2-3-4, who you going to cheer for? Baby! That’s who!” Any song with clapping or finger motions is fun.
- A flexible attitude. It’s natural to get really excited if your baby has gone in the potty a few days in a row, and to start celebrating your soon-to-be diaper free status. But make sure you stay flexible. It’s common for babies to have ‘potty regression’ as they meet different milestones, or for other reasons. This is more about offering the potty than it is about early potty training.
Here is an Easy Method That is Helping Moms Safely Birth the Placenta and Babies Regulate Temperature and Breathing
The very first moments after birth, when the baby is still attached to the mom by the umbilical cord, are a part of the birth process and important for both the mom and baby. In modern medicine, as soon as the baby is born and transitioning to breathing, mom and baby are treated as separate entities, the cord being cut quickly and often the baby is whisked away to be wiped off and dried, a hat put on, and vitals taken. All this happens while mom delivers the placenta, often with medical intervention through Pitocin (synthetic oxytocin) and sometimes cord traction.
After the exhaustion of pushing, mom often doesn’t have the energy to protest if the baby is swept away, and without understanding the crucial role that the baby pays in the 3rd stage of birth and the mom plays in regulating the baby’s heart rate, temperature, and breathing as it starts to breathe, she may not realize that it’s even a problem.
Skin-to-skin contact for both baby and mom after birth is natural and healthy. Placing the baby directly on mom, without wrapping him in a blanket or putting a hat on him first, allows the baby to adjust from life in the womb to life outside with the help of mom’s natural body heat, heartbeat, and breath rate. Baby is comforted by her familiar smell and voice.
Oxytocin, the love hormone, flows freely when mom holds her newborn and smells his sweet baby head, this helps the body to release the placenta and then create the needed contractions to expel it and clamp down on the freshly severed blood vessels. (source)
Delaying cord clamping (covered in chapter 25 of The Empowered Mother) also helps the placenta to be delivered easily, and the baby to get more oxygenated blood, decreases his later risk of anemia, and allows him to get more stem cells (source) as he transitions to breathing on his own. Most umbilical cords are long enough for baby to easily reach his mother’s chest for his first breastfeed.
Questions to discuss Prior to Birth:
- How would the 3rd stage look for me in different birthing positions (kneeling, squatting, all fours, laying back in bed, etc)?
- Does my care provider normally do cord traction, fundal massage, or cord clamping before the placenta is delivered?
- Is it important to me to know how much the baby weighs immediately?
- Is my care provider comfortable performing the newborn exam while the baby lays on my chest?
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