My son Kai just turned one month old over the weekend. Ever since he was about 2 weeks old, we have been trying out techniques in infant potty training called "Elimination Communication". Ok, before you start rolling your eyes and commenting about how ridiculous this sounds, just read on for a little bit.
I first learned about "Elimination Communication" or "EC" a few weeks before my son was born - purely by accident, while searching on the web for better techniques on how to potty train my 26 month old. The more I read about EC, the more I was amazed at all the stories about babies (starting from birth) who are trained to sit on little potties and actually go when cued. There are even YouTube videos posted on the web by parents showing off how their little infants go to the potty. It also supposedly leads to some babies being fully potty trained by 6 months old, and kids that signal you whenever they need to go - even before they can talk. This technique sounded very interesting to me, but I was still VERY skeptical about the whole thing, because really, how much does a little baby know and understand, especially newborn babies. But at the same time, I figured that it wouldn't hurt to actually try it out, if anything, to save a few diapers from the landfill. So, I bought a little potty for baby Kai, read the book, and jumped into it.
The idea is that all infants are aware of their bodily function of elimination and they do their best to communicate this to you either by making noises, fussing, or just regular timing. Part of this program is actually training the parent to hone in on these signs. Basically to start off, you place your little baby over the toilet or a little potty several times a day while making cueing sounds such as "pssss" or "shhhh" or whatever cue you choose. At first, it's either the timing or maybe just exposure to open air that probably makes your baby actually eliminate into the potty. But, the key is to eventually start associating the cue noise with the act of sitting over the potty and actually doing the deed. The first few catches are definitely exciting and in fact it encourages you to continue on. My husband actually had much better luck in the beginning, and it got him excited to do it even more!
So here we are now with Kai at one month old, and what kind of progress have we made? Well, I am amazed that now whenever I hold him over the potty, he definitely goes - and I mean every time he sits. He has been consistent for about a week now. Plus now when he's done, he'll straighten out his body to show us that he's done. It really is amazing!
There are hard core EC people, who don't put diapers on their babies, and just rely purely on EC to meet their babies' pottying needs. These people also carry little potties in their cars and take their kids to public bathrooms at this young age. There are also others that incorporate using sign language in the training. I have taken a much more laid back approach to this, and would be considered a "part-time" EC'er, where we just practice this when we're at home. I also still do put diapers on him - I'm just not comfortable with him being diaperless around the house. But between practicing EC and using cloth diapers when we're at home, I am proud to say that we have been doing our part in trying to be more "green" and reducing the amount of diapers going into landfills.
For those that are interested in EC, following are some resources to start learning more about it: