Natural toilet training, also called elimination communication, is the act of starting to toilet train nearly from birth. Babies trained using elimination communication do not wear diapers, which is better for the environment than cloth or disposable diapers and it's also good for baby's sensitive skin. Natural toilet training requires a high level of dedication and a significant time commitment, but the benefits outweigh the concerns for many parents.
Pay attention to your baby's nonverbal cues. Your baby might be too young to tell you she needs to go to the bathroom, but her body language will let you know. How does she behave just before she urinates or defecates? She might make a noise or squirm in a certain way. A nursing infant might adjust her attachment to your breast before eliminating. Older babies can be taught a signal for the need to use the toilet, similar to baby sign language. The first step to natural toilet training is learning these signals so you can recognize them every time.
Start young. The younger the better. After he's about 6 months old, he'll be used to wearing a diaper and natural toilet training will be more difficult. You'll have to build a solid intuition for your baby's body rhythms and nonverbal communication. The sooner you start, the better chance you have for success at natural toilet training. Toddlers have to unlearn their training to treat a diaper as a toilet, which makes toilet-training an older child difficult.
Learn your baby's body schedule. New babies tend to urinate and defecate regularly. They usually urinate every 10 to 20 minutes. As your baby gets older, the time between instances of elimination grows longer. Because older babies aren't fed on as regular a schedule as newborn babies, their schedule might not be quite as regular. With attention, though, you'll be able to learn how soon after eating or drinking your baby needs the toilet.
Establish a cuing noise that your child will recognize as a signal that she's in a proper place to eliminate. A humming or hissing sound is a good choice. The noise should be something that your child won't hear regularly at other times. Nonverbal cues are also important. The act of sitting your baby on a familiar toilet chair is one. Another idea is to teach your baby the sign language letter "T." This is simply a closed fist with the thumb tucked up between the pointer and middle fingers.
Hold him on an appropriate vessel when you recognize your baby's nonverbal elimination cue. This might be a child's potty seat or a seat that fits over a regular toilet. The goal is to use the same seat every time so your baby learns to associate it with elimination. Make the verbal cue you've decided on as your baby eliminates so he learns to recognize that the sound means it is time for him to urinate or move his bowels.
Items you will need
- Child's toilet seat
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