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Have you ever heard of infant potty training (also known as elimination communication)? I heard of it when my daughter was almost 12 months old, which was a bit late to start. She was a bit unusual, though, and basically initiated potty training on her own and was in panties by 19 months old. Basically, though, the idea of IPT is that you learn your baby’s signals and take them potty from a very young age. It is commonly practiced in places like India and many primitive cultures where diapers just aren’t used. There are various levels of IPT, also–everything from trying to catch every pee and poo, even getting tiny underpants that are the equivalent of size 2 diapers, to a very relaxed “I’ll get what I can and forget the rest” attitude. One cannot really consider their child truly potty trained until somewhere around 18 months to 2 years, but it can simplify the process considerably for those who keep it up.

With my first son, I tried to be more diligent, and we did pretty well for a while, but then his eczema just got too out of control, and I gave up trying. He finally learned to do #1 in the potty less than 3 months ago, and we’re still working on #2…

With little Rafael, I decided it was worth it to try. After all, every poo I catch is one less poopy diaper to clean out, and it’s pretty easy to catch pee, too. The truth is, babies really don’t want to go in their diapers–hence the likelihood that they will pee as soon as their diaper comes off, especially when really little. That tends to go away after a few months as they learn to go in the diaper and get used to it.

Anyhow, I guess you could say I’m on the more relaxed end the continuum. However, I have noticed that if I take my baby right after a feeding (instead of relaxing for 10 minutes and cuddling), he will almost always pee, and often will poo too. Sometimes I take him before a feeding, or any time I notice him grunting. Even if it’s just gas, the way I hold him seems to help.

So how do I hold him? I hold his thighs with my hands, his back to my tummy. Often my thumbs stick up and he will grab them with his hands. I hold him over the sink in the bathroom (it’s a lot easier on my back than bending over the toilet, and at this stage he’s too little to sit on the potty). In this position, I can bring his knees closer to his chest if I desire, especially alternately, and this can help get things going, too. I watch his face to see if he is relaxed or if he is concentrating; there is a look that I have learned already in less than 2 weeks that usually tells me whether he has more to do or whether he is all done.

Even Daddy is picking up on the signals. He noticed this morning that Ralfie was grunting, and thought, I wonder if he has to go poo. Sure enough, a couple minutes later, he filled up his diaper.

Sometimes I don’t always avoid keeping the diaper clean. This afternoon he pooped a little bit before I got him to the bathroom. However, he did a whole bunch in the sink–the kind that leaks around the legs and soils baby clothes. In fact, as long as I am diligent to take him after every meal, I almost never have to worry about washing out baby clothes, because diapers never leak! Of course, cloth diapers leak less than disposables, but still, they can leak. It also stretches out how long the cloth diapers last, because fewer of them are getting soiled and even wet. He’s been known to stay dry through a nap and go when he woke up.

So how long will I keep this up? As long as practical. Right now it’s a trade-off: a few minutes a day holding him over the sink verses washing and folding the diapers that would have been soiled if I hadn’t. Cleaning his bottom is a breeze–I just grab a bit of toilet paper and wipe, instead of using a bunch of wipies to clean everything from the middle of his back to his knees. So maybe it doesn’t save time, but it doesn’t really take extra time, either, and does save money (fewer diapers to wash, so fewer loads of laundry).

And hopefully he will be fully potty trained before the age of 2. That would be the biggest blessing!

As a side benefit, it seems that his big brother is taking a clue from the baby. He started telling us when he had gone in his pants, instead of waiting for us to notice the smell. Hopefully he will start telling us before he goes, but for now it’s a step in the right direction!

Have you ever heard of Infant Potty Training? Ever tried it? What was your experience? Would you consider trying it again, or for the first time if you never have tried it? I’d love to hear your feedback!

2 Responses

  1. Hi Lisa! It’s my first time visiting your site and I’m really happy for you that infant potty training is going well! A lot of folks have given me feedback that ECing a younger baby has helped them with older siblings who are in the toddler potty training stage! For your readers who have girls, I’ve also read some blogs where momma and her little girls kinda make bathroom time into girl time! How great is that! :) And I love how your approach to it is so relaxed and the way you share your IPT experiences make it sound so doable for any mom to try!

  2. #2

    Thank you, Andrea! Yes, I am enjoying my laid-back approach this time around. Yesterday and today we were in town a lot, so I just didn’t sweat the messy diapers. Tomorrow is a stay-at-home day; maybe I’ll catch all the poops like I do sometimes.

    And yes, my daughter and I used to go potty together, me on the big potty, her on the little one. I think that is a factor in getting her into panties by 19 months old!

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