Infant Potty Training: Fact or Fiction

What do you think? Potty training at six months? Can it be done? Well, many families think so and are doing it successfully. Critics say it’s just training the parents, but it’s being done all over the world and gaining an increasing number of adherents here in the United States.

Why would you want to potty train at such a young age? Money comes to mind: no more diapers (or a vastly reduced amount) to wash or dispose of. It benefits the ecology with far less disposable diapers filling up our landfills and with the reduction in laundering cloth diapers. Less diaper rash to deal with. Dad can help, too. He may not be able to help with breastfeeding, but he can certainly help with the other end!

Infant potty training is known by several names: Elimination Communication, Natural Infant Hygiene, and Elimination Timing. Proponents use timing, signals, cues and intuition to help the child use the potty. They often start the process before six months of age, though starting after six months is not uncommon.

To help the child know when it’s time to go, parents sit the child on a potty chair and use a sound (such as psst or a grunting sound). If you start using the sounds when the child is already in the process of going, they come to associate the sound and action together. Watching the child closely also helps a parent to know when it’s time to go as some children have visual (or auditory) cues. Another method is simply timing. Some children eliminate on a regular schedule, and if you can figure it out, then getting them to the potty on time works. Sometimes parents just rely on their intuition; they just know it’s time to go.

Will it work for you? It’s hard to say. Is it worth the effort? Again, it’s hard to say. You need a committed parent or two and the time to be with your baby to be aware of its actions. It can be hard work though those who do it successfully feel it’s worth every minute.

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