Potty training from birth

I am sorry, I know I am supposed to be writing about parenting philosophies, and I am, I promise, but this was just too good not to blog about.

Natural Infant Hygiene (NIH) recommends potty training before the age of six months. I kid you not!

The Buckinghamshire Real Nappy Initiative has told me all about it in this booklet and Baby Center is in on it too.

It is based on the idea that animals do not like to soil themselves and generally don’t, and that babies feel the same and regularly tell us in the first few months that they have soiled themselves but we don’t listen and so they give up on telling us and get used to going while wearing something.

NIH teaches a baby cues that can then be used to encourage them to urinate or defecate on demand in a potty or even a loo!

So how do you do it?

“During the nappy-free time, whenever you observe the baby peeing or pooping, make a ‘cueing’ sound. Most people use “pssss” for pee and a grunt for poop. If you use these cues consistently, it is possible to achieve ‘sphincter training’ in a young baby (generally under 6 months) in a few weeks (Sonna 2005). This means that the baby will become ‘conditioned’ to relaxing the relevant sphincter muscles whenever you make the sound (provided that they are in a comfortable position for ‘going’).”

“If you suspect that your baby is ready for a pee or poop, hold them over a potty, toilet (a child seat is not necessary) or any container. The positioning alone may help the baby to go, but if you have been doing the cueing sound (as described above) for several weeks, you might like to try making it while you hold them. In the first few weeks it is better to only make the cueing sound while they are actually doing something, so as not to confuse them.

A popular position to hold a young baby in is with their back and head leaning against your stomach, and your hands one under each of their thighs, with their legs slightly apart… Be careful not to pull their cheeks apart though pottying in front of a mirror can be useful to start with, and babies seem to like this too! It may be useful to sit on the toilet yourself while holding the baby (sitting facing the toilet may be easier), so that you are comfortable as well. This way your thighs can form a mini ‘toilet seat’ for the baby’s bottom to rest on too.”

For out and about, you can bring along a foldable potty or toilet seat for your infant’s use.

I have not been so excited about something since I heard you could teach a cat to use a normal toilet!

But do I dare try it out? She’s 3.5 months old, is it already too late?!

And is this baby-led parenting responding to her signals or parent-led conditioning: getting my baby to go to the loo on cue?


Photo credit: ChicagoParent.com

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