Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Guest Post

Today I am the guest poster on one of my favorite blogs Want What You Have. Here is a copy of that post.

Does it strike anyone else as odd that strangers in Walmart feel it necessary to give you advice on child rearing? There must be some secret school where people go to get an advanced degree in raising other people’s children. Their preferred method of spreading their knowledge seems to be accosting weary moms in produce aisles and checkout lines.

I am always surprised that I get a lot of comments on wearing him on my back. Usually I become aware of people laughing and comments about the “baby backpack”. I am not sure what the big deal is, but I have learned to keep to myself some of the less conventional things we do like making baby food and using cloth diapers. They seem to cause big reactions when I mention them. And my biggest secret? I started potty training my son before he even learned to crawl. And here’s the astonishing part, its working.

When I was pregnant with my son I first read about elimination communication. The basic idea is that infants instinctively do not want to wet or soil themselves and will attempt to communicate their need to go even as newborns. If their caregivers respond to this by giving them an alternative to using diapers they will do so.

I was fascinated by the idea that infants are capable of letting their caregivers know when they needed to pee or poop much like they are capable of communicating their need to eat. And I have to admit the idea of not washing tons of poopy diapers appealed to me immensely. But even though this is how women around the world care for their children I was pretty skeptical this would work. It seems common knowledge that most kids are not toilet trained until age three or four and most just aren’t ready before then. Right?

When my son was 9 months old I decided to give it a whirl. What did I have to lose? I already knew to expect a poopy diaper shortly after a meal and figured it might be easier to sit him on the potty rather than wash out the poopy diaper in the toilet.

The first time we sat on the potty I just plunked him down and started reading him his favorite book. After a few seconds I don’t think he even noticed he was on the potty. After all, Pajama Time! is a pretty engrossing book.

My only focus was on making potty time be a positive experience for him, and to my surprise he pooped in the potty. Wow! When I started singing and clapping about his success he looked slightly confused but quickly decided it didn’t matter why we were celebrating and so he sat on his little potty and danced along.

After that I sat him on the potty once or twice a day after meals or if I noticed he was trying to poop. To my utter amazement, it usually worked and I soon realized he was using the potty 75-80% of the time I put him on. We stepped up to using the potty at almost every diaper change.

I gradually realized that he was taking less and less time to go potty. If I sat him there when he needed to go, he was pretty quick about it. Could he be getting it? Were we really potty training at just 10 months old? He’s doesn’t really understand what he’s doing does he?

Last week I sat him on the potty and wasn’t paying much attention to what he was doing. I was busy looking at a boo-boo and band aid he had on his foot. When I looked up at him he was pointing down into the potty and looking right at me. Sure enough, when I peeked in there, he had peed. I think he gets it.

We have a long way to go before he is fully potty trained and I’m sure we’re going to have some more bumps along the way. Maybe the shoppers at Walmart will have some suggestions for those too, but in the meantime I’m just going to enjoy not having to wash out as many poopy diapers.

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