Do you know that from the age potty training is introduced to the various methods used, they are different across cultures over the world? Certain factors such as access to certain resources and climate conditions can influence how we toilet train our kids. That being said, there are no definite guidelines on how to potty train a baby — but there are techniques that actually work.
How to potty train a baby. (Picture: ToddMorris)
How to Potty Train A Baby: A Father Shares His Story
A father shared that he struggled to potty train his son for two years until they lived in China. There, he enrolled his two-year-old son in a local daycare.
Being in diapers at two-years-old, they appeared as “barbarians” to the women at the daycare. “Even the kids who were too young to talk could tug on a woman’s dress to let her know they had to go potty,” said the dad.
But, the daycare workers knew just what to do with this dad’s boy. Using the “elimination communication” method, the Chinese daycare managed to have his boy peeing in a toilet in just one week.
“Elimination communication” basically means the same as infant potty training. “It is the practice of introducing your baby to the toilet or potty at a very early age – usually between birth and 4 months,” explains Dr Sarah Buckley in her blog.
Some parents who use this method either go all diaper-free by rushing their little tots to the toilet (after monitoring for cues). Or, they use diapers from time to time, but just not at the frequency we are used to.
The basic rule of “elimination communication” is watching for signs that your baby needs to poo or peep. For example, Dr Buckley explains with her own baby, one of the cues that she wanted to poop was that she would wriggle about a bit and look uncomfortable. Or fart. But the only reason she was able to tune into these cues was because she avoided dressing her baby in a diaper.
By 14 months old, Dr Buckley’s baby was completely out of diapers.
But going back to the way parents in China do it… it’s slightly different. Here, babies are often dressed in “crotchless pants”. In other wise, special pants with big, gaping holes right in the place one would expect any “self-respecting article of clothing to cover up”.
The dad explains that while you might think this is unsanitary and disgusting, the method really does work. In essence, it is just a cultural variation of the “elimination communication method”.
How to potty train a baby: Children on the street with their pants slit at the bottom. In a different culture, it will surely send heads turning. (Picture: Wikimedia Commons)
A Father Shares His Story: Other Aspects To Potty Training With “elimination communication”
When they are too young to express themselves, your role is to look out for those “little hints”. Look for facial expressions and twitches.
The point is to get the baby used to the idea that this is where they’re supposed to go to the bathroom. Some parents make a “pssss” sound while holding baby over the potty, others open the tap.
Even More Tips!
If you’re not ready to let your child walk around in crotchless pants just yet, don’t worry.
With the elimination communication method, you can apparently start potty training your baby even by just a few months old. Basically, as soon as he or she is strong enough to hold his head up and upper body rigid. And that’s right — you can do without the crotchless pants!
- Try letting them go naked. Yes, you can expect a few accidents, but eventually (and without the blockage of a diaper), you will know when your baby has to go.
- When your child uses the potty correctly, praise them as this will help to reinforce the behaviour. But don’t go overboard. In the case of an accident, he may feel deflated. Instead, let him know that accidents happen.
- Make a two-syllable straining sound like “uh-uh”, with emphasis on the second “uh” (to encourage their bowel movement)
- If your baby poops into the potty, send loads of positive reinforcements
- Try training your baby to pee in the toilet when he first wakes up and his bladder is full
- The best time to train the baby to poop is after he eats (when his stomach is full and his intestines have been working)
Look out for signs such as your baby who stops eating or playing, as though he is concentrating on something. His face may turn red; he may make straining sounds or he might fart. Ideal to whisk him to the toilet then.
- If your baby is about to experience a bowel movement or during diaper change, take them to the toilet to allow them to get used to the routine.