How to Potty Train... a Baby?!
About a month in to having my new baby boy I experienced something really cool… he pooped while I was changing him. Hmm, that was interesting I thought! Then, it happened again… and again… and again until I started asking him every diaper change if he had to do a poo poo. If he did he would go! He quickly learned the word and we were off to the elimination training races! By the time he was 5 months old we no longer had any poopy diapers. For a cloth diapering mama this made laundry a whole lot easier and diaper changes far more pleasant.
Here’s the how to on my elimination training method. It includes a bit of paper towel but is well worth it. For the first few times you may need to catch them in the act and run to the change table so that they learn where you want them to poop.
1. Make sure you have a stack of already pulled off the roll paper towels on the change table. I used paper towel that comes in half sheets.
2. After removing the old diaper ask baby if he needs to poo poo. Using this key phrase allowed my son to associate his actions with this prompt.
3. If you see baby trying to push put 3-5 paper towels under his bum. As a word of caution, babies will typically pee during this process. For boys, watch out! I personally kept a stack of clean facecloths from IKEA on the change table and placed one over him to catch the pee.
4. Between pushes you can simply lift up the paper towel ends with one hand, place in a garbage bin and repeat until baby is finished. I used my other hand to keep his legs up and out of the mess. Believe it or not, I never got poop on my hands. This was so much easier than cleaning a wiggly baby after a blowout.
5. If baby is able to eliminate totally praise his awesomeness by repeating “good poo poo!”. If baby only pees praise him just the same and say something like “good pee pee!” this way he learns the difference.
6. Clean baby with some wipes, whip on a new diaper and you’re good to go. Don’t forget to change the garbage bag!
So there you have it. My little man’s “accident” on the change table was his way of telling me he didn’t want to poop in his diaper. I assumed the role of poopy catcher and never looked back. If I saw him straining and grunting I would quickly scoop him up and run him to the change table. This is a part of elimination communication, which is a technique some mamas use to learn how baby communicates the need to go. There are hard core EC (elimination communication) mamas out there that EC through the night… a completely different league of training, but I was able to find a happy medium that worked for my family.
By the time my son was able to sit more confidently I easily transitioned him to the potty. I used the Baby Bjorn Potty as the high back provided ample support. He already knew the cues for eliminating so there was absolutely no resistance to the change of location.
To my surprise and as a word of caution to you mamas interested in trying this out, I was met with some criticism. This method was somehow… mean? Look past any criticism you receive and remember - just as babies feel hunger they also feel the need to eliminate their bowels. They just don’t have the capacity to hold it. If babies are aware of their need to eliminate why train them to do everything in the diaper? This only creates the need to retrain as they get older, which could be a lot more difficult. Seriously, what kid wants to sit on the potty waiting to tinkle when they could be running outside?
At 7 months I bought my son his first pair of training pants and he was able to crawl around more easily without having a diaper restrict his movements. To better learn his pee patterns I would take him to the potty every 30-45 minutes until I got the hang of when he needed to go more frequently versus not. For example, I know that in the morning after his first feed he typically needs to pee 2-3 times. Knowing this I let him roam around diaper free or in training pants and take him to the potty every 10-15 minutes. It got to the point where I rarely changed a wet diaper throughout the day. This made laundering cloth diapers even simpler and allowed me to keep my stash in tip top shape. No stains, no diaper rash, and a happy baby. Give it a try!