Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Infant Potty Training

Potty Training Method Four (4)
Infant Potty Training

Working as a nanny you have probably used many of the toilet training methods listed over the past few days. But, most nannies have never heard of Infant Potty Training.

Author Laurie Boucke's book,Infant Potty Training, reports a surge in interest in gentle, natural methods of potty training used for centuries in Asia and Africa. Mothers in many societies around the world use relatively few diapers. Their approach is baby-led, simple, natural, logical, good for the environment, frugal, and an enhancement to bonding and communication.

She explains that in India, children start around one-month-old and usually finish before their babies walk. Of course, at that age babies still need some assistance, but mothers there don’t consider this a big deal.

The author says attentive parents usually discover that their infants are instinctively aware of “going.” They attempt to communicate, but we don’t watch and listen since no one has taught us how to do so. Instead, we train babies to use a diaper as their toilet, and they have to unlearn this behavior later. Granted, some unlearn the diaper quickly, but many do not and continue using diapers for years.

She suggests spending a little time observing the baby over the course of a few days to get a feel for when she needs to go in relation to sleeping and meals. For example, does the infant urinate every 20 minutes for three times after nursing? With infants, the baby will be lying down as you observe the timing. If you start later with a mobile baby or toddler, you can still watch for the child’s elimination timing. Then either make a mental note of the timing and patterns or keep a potty log for a few days.

Next, start to offer the potty at likely times while using one or more cues. This will help create an association between your cues and “going.” For example, use a watery sound such as “sssss” or any words you want. Infants quickly make the association. Toddlers tend to take longer as they need to unlearn some things first.There are many different ways a baby can communicate the need to go, including body language (twisting and grimacing), vocalizations (grunting or a special whimper), imploring looks, pointing, sign language, and eventually words. Some babies may give obvious signals for one kind of elimination but not the other. In situations where your infant’s signals are not clear, you may need to rely on timing, patterns, intuition or a combination of these.

In her book, Infant Potty Basics, Laurie Boucke lists Benefits of Infant Potty Training as:

-- Enhances bonding through closeness, natural communication and loving patience.
-- Responds to infants' natural elimination communication and timing.
-- Taps into first window of learning (sensitivity period) for toilet learning.
-- Keeps babies in touch with their own bodies.
-- Helps environment by conserving/saving trees, water, petroleum and landfill space.
-- Cuts diaper use.
-- Allows babies to achieve good control by 12-15 months.
-- Lets babies complete potty training at a relatively young age (around 24-months).
-- Frees babies from diapers and all negative associations (bulk between legs, chemicals, etc.)
-- Reduces risk of urinary tract infections.
-- Avoids/eliminates enuresis (bed wetting).
-- Prevents diaper rash.
-- Provides hygienic respect for babies by freeing them from their waste.
-- Eliminates embarrassing "accidents" for toddlers.
-- Allows fathers or other close, trusted ones to bond and communicate with babies.
-- Yields big savings on diapers and laundry costs.

Would you be willing to try Infant Potty Training?


Lisa, DC said...

In my current position the family would like to try it. They even asked about this in the interview with them.

And, in a former position one of the parents was taught it. I having seen article on it start to appear more, as it is a way to go "green".

Anonymous said...

I think this is nearly impossible in our western culture. I think it is ok for a stay at home mom to try this. But as a nanny no way! I have other kids to care for, carpools, cleaning, cooking, so much to do. I do like the idea of watching and noticing when child is ready to go since you can change them, but this idea does not work for me.

Liz said...

As a nanny, I haven't had trouble with it at all. Parents have requested me to use infant potty training with their small children, and it has gone smoothly. As a courtesy, I jot down the times and potty events for them.

They do not expect me to potty their babies every time. I do it after feedings, after naps and at "obvious" times (if the child is pushing and red in the face, for example).

It's actually a lot of fun and quite rewarding to work with babies in this way. It doesn't take me any more time than changing diapers and cleaning baby bums, etc.

Anonymous said...

I feel like there must be something wrong with me after reading Wendy and Liz's responses but this just sounds like a waste of time for busy nannies. Maybe if it is just you and the baby at home all day with absolutely nothing else to do or anyone else to care for it would be possible. Not in my life though.

First of all it is cold in NJ most of the year. Bottomless babies do not make sense here.

I would not work for a family that does this. I do not agree with this method since you will spend at least two years grabbing and cleaning out potties.

Each and every other method suggested says kids do not potty train until 2 years so waste of time and effort in my mind.

I am a caring and good nanny but this is of no interest to me.

Nanny Sally
NorthWest NJ

lovebeingananny said...

It is an interesting concept. We obviously know when a baby is pushing lower digestion out as infants. But I do not think it makes sense for nannies and au pairs working in America. I think disposable diapers are a great thing. The most I might (might, might not) be willing to do is diapers in the laundry.

Liz said...

Hey Sally,

The babies wear diapers all the time except when I potty them. After naps and feedings, I remove the diaper and spend a few minutes offering the potty. If they do not have to go, the diaper goes back on.

I'm certainly not saying all other nannies should do this. I was just responding to the question "Would you be willing to try infant potty training?" I wanted to let parents know that some nannies use it, so if it is important to a family they can look for a nanny who uses infant potty training.

Lisa, DC said...

In my position, the family also uses cloth diapers. With this there is a spayer attachment and a potty pail in the bathroom to hose off the soft bm ones, hard ones roll off right into the toilet.

I am helping my bosses find back up care for when I have conflicts. The nanny I spoke to today was PLEASED to hear that my employers use cloth. Wait until I tell her about this.

Thus when it comes time trying the elimination communication and rinsing out the potty chair, it's not a big deal.

Yes, I only have one charge.

But I can say when I was working with multiples, if I knew about some of the steps of EC like the sissing sound for example, I would have tried those with the others when we were toliet training.

And any attentive nanny is going to be able to pick up on those cues that the children do provide.

Many children adopted from places like Asia are being trained in this in orphanages at times too. And, some nannies do care for adopted kids.

Okay, maybe this type of job isn't right for some nannies. But don't presume others of us have a lot of time on our hands to do this. We are just as busy too.

It is more organic, and more families are going this route all the time.

Anonymous said...

Oh, your explanations help Wendy and Liz thank you. I'm glad caring intelligent nannies read these articles to help explain them how they use them in their daily jobs. I really don't want the parents to follow this route just seems harder. But I can certainly understand the concept and I do know we all watch for the signs of elimination already with babies.
I was shocked anyone would do it but your explanations help. Pleasantly surprised. Still hope my bosses don't ask me to do it though. Thanks again,
Nanny Sally

Anonymous said...

I am the annoying nanny that keeps stressing that we please teach your charges and have parents and nannies close toilet lids before flushing, and before leaving the bathroom! I just get so grossed out seeing toilet lids up!

Anonymous said...

Unless the child has a bad allergic reaction to disposable diapers I wouldn't bother. Unless there is a serious health issue for the infant using diapers makes sense. It might make the mom or caregiver feel better about themselves but I see know value to the infant. The infant won't be learning anything at all, they are too young to control bladders or understand what a toilet is.

Marianne L. Richmond Virginia

Anonymous said...

Potty training is to learn how to use the toilet. It is to teach kids to control their bladder and bowel. They do not learn that in this method. This is for parents who can't afford diapers and I won't be working for parents that can't afford diapers.

Liz said...

Anonymous said "It is to teach kids to control their bladder and bowel. They do not learn that in this method. This is for parents who can't afford diapers"

What method do you mean? With infant potty training, kids gradually learn bladder and bowel control. And as stated earlier, the babies I care for wear diapers except when using the potty. Later when they have better control, I put them in training pants.

Lisa, DC said...

No this is not just for people who can't afford diapers.

My employers live in a very nice community. (When I mentioned to another nanny friend's employers where we lived, their immediate reaction was "oh their rich.") I make a great salary, plus benefits and perks that other nannies would envy if they knew the details of it all.

I have heard time and time again from nannies who have charges with issues with potty training. Kids that are using Western approaches to it all. SO NO the way things are done in the good ole USA aren't always the best and only way.

Disposable diapers haven't been around since the beginning of time. People were doing other things until a few decades ago. BUT disposable diapers can remain in landfills for a VERY LONG time.

If I went into this job with the attitude of EEEwwww that's gross I would never work for these people because of this, I would have missed out on working for the best bosses I have ever had. My nanny friends who have met them love them too, and get why I am happy here.

Dealing with cloth diapers has not been much more of an issue as dealing with the cloth ones. When my charge was real little and his diaper was dry on the changing table I got into the habit of making that ssssing sound, and then I would drape he diaper back down on him and within seconds he was peeing. It's like Pavlov's dog. And having an open mind about it all, has allowed me to learn even more about toilet training options with charges.

Lisa, DC said...

If you want to see more about this go to you tube and type in elimination communication.

Anonymous said...

Liz and Lisa you should read todays post at http://bestnannynewsletter.blogspot.com/2009/11/elimination-communication.html

That is real elimination communication and they do preach diaper free. Your style is not truly elimination communication I do not think.

Anonymous said...

Comments yesterday about using diapers some of the time is wrong. Typically the goal is to partially or completely avoid the use of diapers. EC emphasizes communication between the caregiver and child, helping them both become more attuned to the child's innate rhythms and control of urination and defecation. The term "elimination communication" was inspired by traditional practices of diaper-less baby care in less industrialized countries and hunter-gatherer cultures.

Liz said...

Dear Anonymous (whether you be one or two people),

The point is that people can practice infant potty training however they want. And I always use diapers or trainers. End of debate.

I have read about elimination communication and going diaperless. If people want to do it that way, that is their choice. It does not mean everyone does it that way.

Like I said, I always keep the kids in diapers or training pants except when they use the potty or toilet. That's how I choose to use infant potty training.

You sound accusatory, but that is pointless.