So, Daniel and I have made the decision to start infant potty training Fé at six months old!
While infant potty training (also referred to as elimination communication) sounds radical, it was actually the norm until the 1950’s. In non-western cultures, such as parts of Africa, South America, Eastern Europe, Indo-China, and the Arctic, babies are bare-bottomed from the time they are born.
In these cultures, mothers learn their baby’s cues for when they have to relieve themselves. When their baby’s give off their potty signals the mother allows them to do their business. It’s not exactly “potty training” in the modern sense, as babies aren’t able to walk to a toilet, wipe themselves, etc. But they are well on their way to being fully potty trained once they are able to walk!
In the west, babies were traditionally expected to be toilet trained well before the age of two. In the 1950’s however, Pediatrician Dr. Spock (check out his revolutionary book here), advocated for a more relaxed approach to toilet training. Ever since then, the average age of potty training has slowly been creeping up. Now, the average age of toilet-training is 2.5 years old as opposed to 18 months!
It’s no surprise that the average age of potty training has gradually increased. Modern disposable diapers (aka. pampers) are so comfortable for the baby and convenient for mommy and daddy. Also, mothers often go back to work, which makes it more difficult to spend the time to learn a baby’s “elimination communication.”
The idea came into our minds after Fé had suffered a bad diaper rash. We let her play in the living room butt naked, to let her rash air out. We had a little potty lying around (from Daniel’s 3-year-old baby brother) so we decided to try it out whenever Fé made her little pushing sounds (which we have already learned means she needs to poo!) It seemed to work and kept our carpets from being soiled with poo.
There are many benefits of Infant Potty Training:
Benefits of Infant Potty Training
- Eliminates diaper rash and other diaper-related infections
- Cuts cost on diapers and supplies
- Generates less waste
- Makes for easier “proper” toilet training later
- Children can exercise their independence from an early age
Infant potty training isn’t for everybody. I am lucky enough to be a stay-at-home mom and I have the time to really learn Fés elimination cues. Although I don’t expect Fé to be “potty trained” for quite some time, I think it would be great if she could learn to communicate when she needs to go to the bathroom. Wish us luck as we embark on this new baby adventure and stay tuned for a more in-depth elimination communication guide!