A couple of weeks ago I promised to share some useful information from a book called The Diaper-Free Baby by the wonderful Christine Gross-Loh. First things first, I would like to extend my sincerest gratitude towards the book’s author as this book is incredibly interesting and very informative. The author starts off realistically and is very logical and down-to-earth when giving out suggestions and tips for parents.
She agrees that you can start potty-training the baby from day one, for example by holding the baby over a sink or a different basin depending on what you have at hand. And it may happen that the baby does his or her thing which is the start of this training.
When the baby is a couple of weeks old, you more or less know when it is time for the baby to pee or poop and you can arrange to have the baby without a diaper as fresh air can also help the baby to relieve themselves. Please be patient and flexible if you do wish the baby to be diaper-free. Maybe you decide to do it once a week or during nights, or maybe you find it’s the easiest to catch the baby’s pee and poop in a potty after a car drive. It completely depends on the baby but you will learn to tell the cues.
Please do note – do not potty-train if you are tired or if it is unacceptable for you for any kind of reasons.
Although, in many countries it is concerning that children are put in diapers even when they are 3 or 4 years old. These are countries where the parents do not do enough research or do not have access to the right information. They also may not wish to understand or do not know that potty-training does take time as the baby has to get used to it. If the child is already 3 or 4, it is very stressful for the child to be put on a potty one day as they do not have any previous exposure to this. I also know a couple of children who have kept in their need to poop until they were put in a diaper for the night. And this is when they let go of everything they had kept in during the day – imagine that! Additionally, even seeing poop can create stress if the child has never seen it before. Let me mention that this child will be extremely unhappy for the next half an hour and I can tell that from my own experience.
In conclusion, this book teaches parents how to potty-train, how to understand the baby’s body language and learn to see the cues of the baby’s needs.
If you have decided that you are not going to buy the widely-used diapers sold at every supermarket, that is totally alright as you can always ensure you have enough of other alternatives you wish to use (like cloth diapers). You will just have to be mentally prepared for this.
I would also like to share my experience in regards to potty-training. Taking into consideration the tips from the book that are mentioned above, then I have also been potty-training babies from the day one by holding them above a sink before bathing. Additionally we have always kept the potty where the child can see it. If they are a little older, it is also a good tip to take the child with you to the bathroom when you go, and to take the potty in there as well so they can sit on it while you do your business. Sometimes it can happen that the child does their own thing as well in the meantime. If the child walks, runs and eats independently, I have started with the actual potty-training where the child is out of diapers for the whole time they are awake. I do ensure that I have at least 5 or 6 pairs of exchange clothes for the couple of hours we spend outside the home.
Let me tell you a little story. We were in daycare one day and I was sitting on the floor cross-legged, the child I had been recently potty-training came to sit on my lap and suddenly there was such a rush to get them to the bathroom immediately. First time I didn’t catch this cue and that meant the child had to spend the whole time in wet pants until it was time to go home. For me it was rather funny and the little one understood as well that something did not go well. When I was finally able to change her out of her wet pants, she put her hands around my neck and apologised…to which I of course responded with assuring that everything is alright and that it was not a problem.
From here I would like to point out that potty-training is a very sensitive process. You should not be angry with the child, make any remarks or make them feel lower in case of an accident and if the clothes get wet. Consider if you would like to receive such remarks if this was to happen to you. This child is your mini version and she likes and dislikes the same things as you do. You have to be supportive and say that everything is alright, that clothes can always be washed. Do not show your disappointment as the child is going through a process of getting to know themselves and this takes time.
To finish off, potty-training only happens in cooperation where the child and the parents understand each other – the child learns about their own body and the parents will learn to be more patient.
Wishing you a wonderful learning time and lots of new discoveries!