Potty training a three month old - is it possible?
November 2018 marked a large number of changes in my life, the beginnings of this business and the birth of my third child.
Five months in and the juggling act that is parenting is going better than I anticipated. So good in fact that I decided to throw another challenge into the mix - potty training my baby!
Now I know what you’re thinking, that is crazy and honestly when I first heard about the concept in an antenatal class with my first I thought you were right. I’ve always been into reducing the impact of nappies on the environment and used a mixture of cloth and disposable with my first two, but this is next level.
It all started when I was trying to coax my two year old to use the potty. In a misguided attempt to entice her I said “oh look even miss 3 months will try to use the potty“ and sat her down. Much to my utter disbelief she proceeded to go potty. What an amazing fluke I thought but when I tempted fate a little later in the day the same thing happened. That’s when I started to do a bit more reading about the subject and discovered elimination communication.
There are some great resources on the subject and when you think about the concept it really starts to make sense. Given half the world don’t use nappies and they’re quite a recent invention, have you ever considered what people did before nappies?
Since that first day I’ve now been doing potty training (I don’t call it elimination communication as that just sounds too intense) part time for my baby who is now five months. When I say part time I just mean during the day, when we‘re at home. I honestly can’t believe the results. She would go on the potty 70-80% of the time and it's improving all the time. I still use a mixture of cloth and disposable nappies but will reuse the same one as they’re often not wet. The times I miss are largely because I’m busy with my other two children and can’t respond to her immediately.
In terms of the effort involved it really isn’t much. To start with I just used to sit her on the potty when I changed her nappy but you quickly learn their habits and signals and then you realise when you need to put them on. Timing has a lot to do with it. I wish I had tried this with my first two but probably one of the reasons it’s worked so well is that I’m not crazy enough to leave the house too often with three kids on my own so we’ve been a little house bound which has definitely made the journey easier.
I've had some strange looks from family and friends when they come round and see me putting her on the potty but they're quickly impressed when they see that it actually works.
So two months in is she fully toilet trained - no but she’s pretty good. She is definitely aware that the potty is where she is meant to go and I would say she even holds on until I put her on. Some resources suggest she could be fully trained by 9 months which would be a good 18 months earlier than my first two so I’m all for persisting in this. I’m curious to see what will happen when she starts crawling and solids and whether that impacts her progress much. I’ll also be going back to work at some stage which may interfere with things too. Watch this space and I’ll let you know how I go.
If you're interested in learning more I’ve listed some useful websites below. I didn’t get too deep into the resources but took more of a part time, let’s see how we go approach. There’s some interesting tips on picking up on baby’s signals that they need to go, which I found useful.
Good luck if you decide to give it a go.