I’m going to share the story of our potty training (though I prefer the term potty learning) journey with both boys. Believe me when I say I’m not bragging. Just like all children, mine are quite capable, and rather than taking the credit for some miraculous potty training venture, I’m simply sharing what happened in our house because people often ask or have commented on their ability to voice their needs surrounding toileting at a young age.
Potty Training, Sort of
I read about Elimination Communication when Eldon was very young. The idea intrigued me, but I couldn’t get on board with sitting my child on the toilet before he could sit (see this post for more on that), so we loosely followed the ideas, and found them to be quite beneficial. We paid attention to when he would go to the bathroom, and sort of sleuthed our way backward to determine what his cues had been up to that point. It was actually pretty cool to realize how much he was communicating before he was able to speak or sign to us. Often babies will have a specific grunt, cry, or even just a wiggle to let you know, “Hey, I’ve gotta go!”
We bought miniature toilets that we placed strategically around the house so that our nudist child (who figured out how to take a diaper off when he was 7 or 8 months old) would have access to a toilet wherever he went. But he wasn’t interested. One of the things he definitely was interested in was climbing up on the toilet. At first I cringed, but then I realized what a gift this was.
We have a Step and Go or Squatty Potty at each toilet at home (as well as one here at the office). Because my son could climb up on the toilet, he was more interested in going there than on a small version of a toilet. Once he could sit on his own, I’d take him to the bathroom after nap time so he could climb up on the Squatty Potty to use the big toilet and wait with him there until he went. Between that practice, the nudity, and cloth diapers, Eldon was done with diapers before he turned two.
Potty Training, Again
When our second son, Calder, was born, we went on the same sort of path. When Calder was three weeks old, he he made the little cry that I’d thought might be his “I need to pee” alert, so I held him over the bathtub and told him it was safe to pee there. He did and I was fully flabbergasted. I thought it was a fluke, but we had similar experiences in the weeks and months that followed. He, like his nudist brother, learned to take his diaper off around 8 months of age. We offered the little toilets, but he also wasn’t that interested in using them. (He did enjoy sitting on them.) But as soon as he was able, he began climbing up onto the toilet via the Step and Go in order to bring himself up there to use the bathroom.
Calder will be two next month, and is pretty near done with diapers. Interestingly enough, a child’s ability to control his/her bladder is also reliant upon his/her ability to stabilize using the pelvic floor. The pelvic floor is the base of the core, and as a child develops core stability through the synchronous use of the diaphragm, pelvic floor, and surrounding musculature, they can pair their cognitive ability to actively contract and relax the pelvic floor in conjunction with their need to eliminate waste.
Having a Squatty Potty or Step and Go around can help you eliminate more effectively and may also have the secondary benefit of helping your child to live life diaper-free!