My daughter was two months old, potty training had not begun to cross my mind. I was daydreaming of adventure, googling “how to backpack with a baby” when I came across a blog post that piqued my curiosity. This mom was talking about how she used “elimination communication” with her kid and how that meant she didn’t have to pack poop diapers out of the back country. That sounded utopian. So I did some more googling, tried it, and was amazed.
The average potty training age in the United States is four years old, I was done changing poopy diapers before my daughter was six-months-old.
What is elimination communication?
Ever notice how brand new babies almost ALWAYS pee/poop (eliminate) as soon as the diaper comes off? The philosophy here is not that they do that to make you miserable, but because they are born with the instinct not to soil themselves. The guiding principal behind elimination communication is that you can use that instinct to your advantage.
How does it work?
The first step is to watch your kid closely, you do this already. Watch for signs that they need to eliminate. It was easy with my daughter because she made a very distinct grunting noise when she had to poop. Other signs might be squirming, getting red in the face, burping more frequently than usual. Just observe.
Every kid is unique and it may be hard to tell at first but it gets easier. Once you understand their cues take off the diaper and hold them over a potty. Communicate with them that it’s ok to go, we did this by making the same grunting noise my daughter made, you may prefer something less cave-man… You will be shocked at how quickly a really tiny baby can get the hang of this. Before our kid could even sit up on her own we’d cut our diaper needs in half.
How to get started:
Early potty training can be started at any point before you kid turns one. Some families begin right at birth! It can be effective even if you’re only able to do it part time. It can be discouraging to start something like this, especially if you’re a working mom and someone else watches your kid all day. But even if you are only able to try it before you leave for work, you will still have successes. Don’t be afraid! Taking your baby’s diaper off, especially when you know they are about to poop, may sound like a smelly mess in the making but it is shockingly easy to get them over the potty before it’s too late.
Other Tips and Resources:
This adorable chamber pot works really well for very small babies. You can use anything really; hold them over a real toilet, a mixing bowl, an old yogurt tub. I liked having something that was a designated baby potty and this is easy to clean.
When she got bigger we switched to a potty that she can use more independently.
Don’t be afraid, don’t get discouraged, don’t let you mother tell you you’re crazy. Even if you only save yourself from one blowout it’s worth it.