May 29, 2008

Infant Potty Training

A Gentle and Primeval Method Adapted to Modern Living
by Laurie Bouke

This was not the first book I read on the subject of infant potty training (also called elimination communication) but it is certainly the most in-depth resource I found. The idea is that instead of using diapers, you can learn what signals your baby gives when they need to eliminate, teach them a cue, and have them go in the toilet or a small pot. Infant Potty Training contains detailed explanations of the method, compares it with the more conventional toilet training (at toddler age), examines misconceptions about infant potty training, relates stories and testimonials from parents in the US and other countries who used this method, and includes a survey of toilet training methods (and attitudes) in different cultures, as well as an extensive reference guide for further information. By far the most useful part to me was the first section, which not only explains how to learn mutual communication with your infant about elimination needs, but also outlines how to teach an older infant, how to use the method in combination with diapers, how to involve other caregivers and handling the inevitable accidents and setbacks.

This method is certainly not for everyone. If you're uncomfortable with bodily functions, the myriad of photos illustrating infants urinating or defecating can be very unpleasant, and the idea of things like baby peeing in a sink or having repeated accidents on the floor seems downright unsanitary. We tried this method but began rather late; I switched my daughter to cloth diapers at eight months and began introducing the potty at nine months. The ideal age to begin using EC seems to be newborn to three months. I combined some conventional methods with the ones outlined in this book, since she was older. She ended up being pretty reliable about using the potty at just over a year. My husband pointed out several times that we might as well have just done conventional toilet training; she was "completely potty trained" about the same time as other kids who never used EC. Still, I feel that I had some success and who can tell if she would have easily gone through potty training at two or three years old? If I have another child, I would try this method from day one.

Rating: 4/5                       492 pages, 2002


Bybee said...

I wish I had had this book back when my son was a baby. Potty training was so difficult. He was 3 and a half when he finally got it, and battles all the way. I was so sure he would attend college in a diaper.

Bookfool said...

I could have used this book, too, but thank goodness those days are over. I had just as much trouble as Bybee with my first. It seemed like it was a power struggle with him. With my second, it was more a matter of being too busy to stop; he had bladder control by about 8 months but freaked out if he had to sit still for anything (except food -- that hasn't changed, either).

Gentle Reader said...

I wonder if this kind of thing would have helped me out with my two boys, who were very difficult to potty train (as people seem to think boys often are--it was definitely the case with mine). My daughter, on the other hand, has been very easy. But we have done the more traditional thing--what was recommended by our pediatrician, which was to wait until they showed the "signs" that they were ready and not "pushing" them before that.

I have to admit that though the Infant Potty Training method looks appealing, I might be too lazy a parent to really follow through with it!