If you've already changed more diapers than you thought possible and you’d like to help your baby potty train early – potentially long before her second birthday – try elimination communication. Elimination communication isn't focused on verbal communication; it's learning to interpret your baby’s body language and communicating with her in a language she’ll understand. You've likely already learned to predict when your little one will need a diaper change, and, by tuning into this knowledge, you’re already halfway there. If elimination communication works for you, soon your baby will be diaper-free and there will be no more toxic waste in the bottom of the diaper pail.
Things You'll Need
Record your baby's elimination schedule to become familiar with when he usually needs to go. While you can start elimination communication at any time because it is a no-pressure process, starting before your baby reaches 6 months old can make the process easier. After this time, he can get too busy with his environment to recognize the urge to potty. Your baby will likely need to urinate within a few minutes of waking up in the morning, after each nap and five to 15 minutes after each nursing session.
Make a note of any little signals your baby gives you in advance. For example, she might squirm, grunt or fuss before a bowel movement, her facial expression might turn inward to a look of concentration, her face might tense as she raises her eyebrows and she might reach for the potty if you've tried to introduce it already. Older babies sometimes also hold their private areas – a potentially clear signal that it's time to get to a potty. By tuning into her habits, you’ll be better able to predict her next movement and help her eliminate diaper-free.
Associate a sound with the act of elimination. For several days, each time you notice your baby urinating, make a sound for him to associate with the act, such as a watery “psssss” sound. Don’t try to whisk him off to the potty just yet. Let him get used to the association.
Remove your baby's diaper when you feel she might need a potty break. Gently help her onto her potty seat and hold her safely if she’s too young to steady herself. Make the sound your baby has learned to associate with the act of urination. This will signal that it’s time to release her bladder. If she resists, struggles or otherwise communicates that she doesn’t need to go just yet, don’t try to push the issue. Return to your previous activities and try again later when you notice another potential signal from your baby.
Tips & Warnings
- Your baby will likely have many accidents as you first begin potty training him through elimination communication. Stay relaxed and positive about the experience.
- If wet carpets and car seats push your stress buttons, don't eliminate the diapers. Instead, keep your baby in diapers and simply remove them when it's time to use the bathroom.
- If your baby has already started to urinate when you recognize his need to go, don’t try to interrupt midstream by dashing to the potty. Instead, use this as an opportunity to reinforce the association between the act and the sound.
- Diaper Free: The Gentle Wisdom of Natural Infant Hygiene; Ingrid Bauer
- Le Leche League International: Elimination Communication
- Go Diaper Free: What Is Elimination Communication?
- Go Diaper Free: Observation Basics
- Photo Credit Pixland/Pixland/Getty Images
- Infant Potty Basics: With or Without Diapers ... the Natural Way by Laurie Boucke