Sunita, Amma to Anika and Aanya in Dallas, describes her experience taking her daughters to the potty from infancy.
When I was pregnant with my older daughter, Anika, I made one of the best 15 dollar investments ever – an infant potty from Baby Bjorn.
As soon as Anika was a few weeks old, right after nursing her, or when she woke up from sleep, I started holding her over the sink or putting her on her little potty. At the “sss” sound, she would happily oblige and tinkle in. Poops in her little pink potty became a regular morning affair and she loved her tinkle or poop time and smiled widely in the mirror as she saw herself on the potty. Often, even at night she would wriggle her legs violently to let me know she needed to go. We took the infant potty wherever we travelled and it was so easy and effortless. No one ever believes me when I say Anika has never done a potty in her diaper since she was two months old except for one very distinct time when she seemed to have diarrhea! She never ever got a diaper rash ever, a common complaint I heard from other parents. We saved tons of disposables, water, and laundry time as we cut down our cloth diaper usage tremendously as well.
A lot of people I have spoken to have a pre-conceived notion that elimination communication (EC) or infant pottying is a lot of additional work. But this really isn’t the case. We would take Anika to the potty just as everyone might work to change diapers. Everyone in our house helped with the elimination communication (EC) routine. Apart from her dad and me, Anika’s grandparents, who took care of her when we were at work, and even visiting aunts and uncles would take her to potty. We left her diaper-free for hours together and had very few pee accidents except for a few times she went through growth spurts. We always used cloth diapers at home with long diaper-free times. We timed her pees and took her right after she woke up, before we went out, after nursing on one side, and on cues from her. It was a fun game for us to at times look at her face and body wriggles and declare that she had just gone or was just going to go to pee!
Anika started going to play school at 18 months and they had a rule to send kids in disposable diapers. When we insisted that she didn’t really need any and that they could just take her to the bigger potty instead of changing diapers, they did not agree at first. A week or so later her teacher said she always had dry diapers when they would want to change her and instead of changing diapers she just offered her the big potty which Anika promptly used. They returned her diapers we had to leave at school as a rule by the time she was 20 months old and declared her “fully potty trained” – or as the ec folks say, “graduated.”
This early success with ec is perhaps not typical but the process was nonetheless a lot of fun where we hung out together in the bathroom talking over her little potty and making funny faces in the mirror or singing songs when she was young and having conversations as she got older!
With her baby sister Aanya, I started ec just a few days after she was born and it has been great so far! We had a few hiccups in the beginning when she screamed at times when we took her but we realized it was when we rushed to take her without burping her or if we took her when she was a bit sleepy or if the potty surface was wet or not fully wiped down. We continue to catch almost all her poops in the little potty except a few times when her poop routines changed a bit after introducing her first solids. We also noticed that since she has started crawling, she is a lot more wriggly and wants to get up and crawl out of her potty to try and pat her own reflection in the mirror. So, now we have a soft toothbrush or a bracelet or something interesting she can hold on to or watch as she sits on her potty and it has so far done the trick! We are adjusting and are learning together and big sister often also partakes in this fun infant potty journey with our little one.