When we had our son we decided to try to potty train him from birth. This is also called elimination communication and is practised all over the world. My husband experienced it first hand in China where children wear crotchless trousers and pee in public on trees or whatever is available at the time. We were intrigued.
We started by having a potty positioned next to the changing mat and every time we changed the nappy we would put our son on the potty and say ‘pee pee’ and ‘a a’ or made a ‘psss’ sound. This is supposed to condition the baby to know what you are expecting them to do. When they go, you should praise them enthusiastically so they understand they have done the right thing. We weren’t brave enough to go nappy free but offered nappy free time most days. We also used reusable nappies that need washing. They are not as absorbent as disposable nappies which means more nappy changes and chances to offer the potty. Sounds like hard work? It’s worth it… [to achieve great things in life you need to but effort into it, sometimes for a long time and you have to be prepared for many set backs]
For the first few months it was hit or miss but when we got to introducing solid food around 6 months he started to poo in the potty more regularly. Another point of using reusable nappies is that the baby feels when it’s wet and is uncomfortable and wants changing or to avoid the feeling in the first place. When he could sit unaided by about 8 months he refused to sit on the potty trying to stand up and we bought a seat to put on the toilet. We continued to offer the toilet at every nappy change and stuck to the reusable nappies. From about 12 months we rarely had any poo in the nappy at all and it seemed like he would hold it until we got home and he felt comfortable.
At 14 months he is nappy free in the day. A week ago we took the nappy off and put underpants on. We had a few pee accidents and he seemed very interested in what was happening that the pee collected on the floor. It was like him learning what was going on. We also let him go naked a bit on a tiled floor and he would often squat and do a little pee puddle possibly to understand how the bladder control thing works. After 6 days he started saying ‘a a’ when he needed to go and we had no accidents ever since. We are surprised that it worked and it feels so natural to him to go to the toilet.
Note, whenever he cried or seemed unhappy or uncomfortable we would take him off the potty or toilet. We never told him off for soiling the nappy or his trousers or the floor. We would always praise him when he got it right.