I’m not a big fan of “Potty Training” in the traditional sense. Mark has been using the potty since 3 weeks old. Not even close to every time until recently, but the option was there and we used it as much as we could.
Everything is gradual with babies, walking, talking, eating…. everything except learning to use the toilet. That just seems off to me, and after doing research and reading I learned that it is “off”. Many places in the world people never diaper their baby, they learn starting from birth, the signs that a baby needs poop or pee and then hold their baby over a proper place to do it. Split pants are common in many of these places on babies and toddlers to help this. They are pants that when in a standing postion cover everything, but when in a squatting postion are open to allow a child to use the toilet.
In the US before disposable diapers were common it was normal to be mostly potty trained by 18 months or well before, but today things are way different. It is normal for kids to be in diapers till the age of 3. Kids need to show “signs of readiness” to use the potty. Some of these “signs” are kind of absurd. One from baby center is “Has “dry” periods of at least two hours or during naps, which shows that his bladder muscles are developed enough to hold urine.” If babies did not have bladder control of some sort pee would just dribble out all day. Another is “Has words for urine and stool.” Mark already tells me he needs to go to the bathroom and has no words for it. Though one time he did say “pee pee” imitating me and I hope it sticks, but so far no luck.
After doing much research and just thinking about how I parent, it just seems to me, that going to the bathroom should be a regular thing, just like eating, walking, and talking. There is no reason to hold kids back from it and therefore make it a bigger deal than it is. So that is what we have done, and are doing.
When it seems like Mark needs to go potty, I take him. Until recently, I had a very hard time knowing when that was, which is why traditional E.C. (Elimination Communication) didn’t work out so well for us. We had our peak just shy of 10 months old. Mark was always pooping in the potty and peeing in it several times a day. Then we went on a trip… and that all sort of fell apart and then we got home and he started walking, which mad things even harder. So we stopped for a while and now have restarted with much more enthusiasm and commitment.
I feel like going to the bathroom should be just like all other parts of a babies life, slowly learning how it works, doing more and more with help, then eventually doing more and more on their own. Mark using the potty started with my observation, he would fuss, I would hold him over the potty, if he went I made a certain sound. Eventually that sound meant to him, “Hey now is a good time to go potty if you need to!” Before and after naps, after eating, and anytime his diaper was off, we would give him the opportunity to go, sometimes he did, sometimes he didn’t, but going in his diaper wasn’t his only option. Going in the toilet was just a regular thing from day one.
After our little break from about 10-13 months going potty looks a little different now. Mark being able to walk has a lot to do with it. If he needs to go, he will either go to the bathroom (where the little potty is now kept) or will grab his butt and cry. He will sit down and pee (he needs a little help sitting down) then try to wipe himself then, with help, dump the pee/poop in the toilet and flush it. He likes the routine. We take him to the potty whenever he wake ups, before and after meals, whenever we go, and whenever he signals that need to go by walking to the bathroom, or grabbing his butt.
At 15 months we have our ups and downs. Somedays Mark will use the potty about 90% of the time, even staying dry through his nap, but other days we don’t do nearly that well. Today so far he has pooped and peed in the potty once, and pooped on the floor once. Whenever he acts like he needs to go potty, or actually does (even if its “too late”) we take him to the potty. Every time. Its really working too. Even at my sisters house he ran to the bathroom to poop (but then he peed on the floor twice… ups and downs). At home he is doing the best, and we often leave him naked from the waste down to facilitate going to the bathroom easily, if he is chilly we put on a pair of baby legs, or pants with nothing under them. We recently bought some underwear, mostly for him to wear when we have guests. Our plan is to just keep helping him get better and better, just like he’s slowly getting better and better at running, riding his train and stacking blocks.