Infant elimination training 101


Observe your baby: Lay your undiapered baby in a comfortable, warm and safe place and spend a few hours paying close attention to the following:

  1. Timing -- How long, and how frequently, she goes after waking or feeding?
  2. Body language, such as twisting or grimacing while defecating.
  3. Vocalizations, such as grunting while defecating. There are usually a number of subtle signs or sounds that tend to go unnoticed unless you are looking for them.

Anticipate: Anticipate when your infant needs to go. Then, at that moment, make a watery sound such as "sssss." Alternatively, if your baby starts to go while you are observing her, immediately make the "sssss" sound. Within a few days, your baby will associate this sound with elimination.

When your baby needs to go: When you think your infant is signaling the need to go, hold her gently and securely over the toilet while giving an audible signal ("sssss," or whatever sound/words you prefer). Your baby will soon associate the sound, in-arms potty position and toilet with elimination.

Pay close attention to your baby: From now on, pay close attention to baby's timing and signals. When you think she needs to go, hold her in position and give your signal.

Use your intuition: Some mothers are able to do this partly or purely by intuition. Since each relationship is unique, you'll have to experiment to find the best way for you to read your baby.

Interest in elimination training is increasing, in part due to its compatibility with alternative parenting lifestyles, such as attachment parenting, stay-at-home parenting and homeschooling, as well as concern for environmental issues. Environmental benefits include conserving natural resources, such as water and trees, and cutting down on landfill waste. Hygienic benefits include better sanitation for baby and parents (less contact with feces and urine) and no diaper rash.

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