Sunday, April 28, 2013

How We Got Into Infant Potty Training

A few weeks ago I was at my parents' house going through some old photos. I came across an album where I'm between 12-15 months old. In the pictures, I'm playing in our living room in just my underwear (I'm guessing it was hot out? .. or I just liked to party in my undies). Anyway, I asked my dad if it wasn't risky to let me play around the house with no diaper on. He didn't really understand what I was asking because apparently 1. there were no diapers back then where we lived, and 2. consequently, I was fully potty trained by the time I could walk.

I did not believe him.

Mom came home and I made the same inquiries. She explained the same things. Then she showed me more pictures of my brother at a similar age, also sans diapers. At that point I thought to myself - if my dolt of a brother could do it, surely my genius baby can. Anyway, what do we have to lose by trying?

I bought a little potty like this one the very next day.

[This one was close to $40 plus tax, which was a huge fail, because a few days later I saw the same thing at Ikea for $6... lesson learned. Always check Ikea.]

We started our infant potty training at 5 1/2 months. I am not upset that I didn't get into it sooner because by this time our baby could sit by herself with some back support (see how the potty provides back support). She was also eating some solids, so her poops were of a more solid consistency and only happened once or twice a day. Finally, by 5 1/2 months we were in the groove of using cloth diapers all day, and this is important in helping baby understand that they've peed or pooed themselves. I think this was a great time to start.

Obviously I researched a bit on the interwebs about infant potty training and something called "Elimination Communication". You can google that if you're curious, but let me be clear that what we are doing is NOT elimination communication. If that works for you then great, but to me the thought of holding a newborn over a bowl 20 times a day is just too much. Also, I still don't know when she's about to pee even though I've been watching for it for two weeks.

After all the research on how people do this in North America, I decided to use the method that my mom utilized back in Europe with me and my brother. Basically, it involves teaching the baby to associate relieving themselves with the potty and a keyword like "peepee" or "poopoo". So it's not really so dependent on watching your baby's cues (except when they're clearly about to poop, which is easy to spot), but more about giving them a number of opportunities throughout the day to go potty, and training them to wait for those opportunities. In a few months, the baby will even be able to say a word or two to indicate that they need to go on the potty.

What shocked me the most was how quickly my baby caught on to this association. It was accomplished on the very first day of practicing on the potty.

I wasn't sure how to get started, so I just let her be naked on a towel for a while. As soon as I saw her start to pee a little bit, I quickly put her on the potty and repeated "peepee" a few times. When she was finished, I clapped excitedly and congratulated her on a good pee. We put the (dry!) diaper back on and kept rollin' with the rest of our day.

A few hours later, I could see her start to grimace and grunt, and I thought a poo might be coming, so onto the potty we went, and she delivered as promised. I repeated "poopoo" as she was doing it, and again gave her a huge applause and congratulations. I cannot describe the joy I felt watching that turd come out, knowing that I would not have to do anything with it other than flush it down the toilet. Poos are easier to catch because there's a lot of grunting and other such foreplay. I also think that poos are easier for babies to hold in until they get to a potty. Since we started two weeks ago, I have caught every single poo (9 in total), whereas pees are still about 50% in the diaper. And yes, my child wears a diaper any time she is not on the potty or on a very absorbent towel in my house =)

Just to prove I'm not making this up
So far it is going very well. As I said, I haven't washed a poopy diaper since we started. Pee is still ending up in diapers, but I can tell that when I put her on the potty she does use her muscles to try to pee and often succeeds. We now try the potty after she wakes up in the morning or after a nap, and after every meal. And of course, any time I hear that poo grunting begin.

I am very glad that we tried this out and I'm honestly surprised at how well it works. I do not think that diapers are evil or that it's reasonable to expect an infant to control their bodily functions in the same way that adults do. BUT, I do think that there can be a happy medium between starting elimination communication at birth and potty training a 3 year old. I also believe that diaper companies have perpetuated a belief that it is damaging to potty train your kids before they themselves choose to do it. In fact, I think that potty training in infancy is, in a way, less traumatic because the infant does not really think so much about it, they just... do it. And once they've done it once or twice, the association is there forever. There might be some regressions, as with sleep or anything else, but the knowledge and skills are there.

Babylegs keep her warm, and make going on the potty easy when hanging out at home.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013


Pacifiers, soothers, binkies, dummies... whatever you call them, I hate them. Why did they suck me in? Pun intended.

I was planning on my next post being about infant potty training, but I am still working on it and I just have to interject with this rant. I HATE THE PACI.

You know who loves the paci? My child. We waited 2 months before letting her try one because we wanted breastfeeding to be established, and when we finally gave it to her it was like heaven. Just plunk that thing into her mouth and she's a veritable Maggie Simpson. She loves it so much that she won't go to sleep without it, and then she rolls over in her sleep and it falls out and she screams bloody murder until I trudge to her room and stick it back in. Repeat ten times each night.

Enough is enough. We are quitting the paci cold-turkey. I am on day 3 and it has been a challenge but I think we might be turning a corner. I have to offer other kinds of soothing in order to replace the paci because she doesn't seem to want to soothe herself and everyone tells me you can't really let her cry it out till after 6 months (though I'm not sure I want to let her cry anything out ever).

So I'm basically walking around the apartment for hours with 17 pounds of baby trying to make her go to sleep. Meanwhile, she's sucking on anything that gets within an inch of her face - my shirt, my arm, my neck, my ear, whatever. But when she does finally go to sleep, it's much more solid. I now only get up once per night to feed. No more running laps between our respective beds all night.

So the fight continues. I will defeat the paci!

Do you have any good paci weaning stories or tips?

Monday, April 22, 2013

To cloth or not to cloth?

One of the many types of advice we got when I was pregnant was in the category of "you're going to fail at ______". It was usually some mom or dad who had attempted something they believed would be best for their child, but then for some reason or other realized that it was too difficult/time consuming/expensive or maybe didn't work for their child after all. They would tell me not to "feel bad" when I failed at this thing, because it's not really worth it anyway. This advice usually came up unsolicited in regards to breastfeeding and natural child birth, but also when I mentioned that we were considering cloth diapering.

I'm not sure why people can't just say "we tried that and it didn't work for us, but it might for you". I guess it's easier to justify your own choice by saying that there really is no other choice, but I digress...

Anyway, because we had heard so many negative stories about cloth diapers ("CD"), we were extremely sceptical about the whole thing. I was especially apprehensive because every single lawyer I knew at work who had tried it said it was impossible. [I later realized that I was talking only to men, who were not the ones on mat leave and were way too busy to help their wives with laundry EVER. Fortunately for me, my hubbs is a domestic wonder, which makes a huge difference =)]

Sporting the new "Irwin" print by BumGenius

We did A LOT of research. I probably spent 30 hours researching online and talking to the few people I knew in real life who CD'd. We also went to a workshop put on by a local CD retailer where they explained the different kinds of diapers and all the "accoutrement" you needed to have. We decided we would give it a shot on a trial basis and see how it went and be completely open-minded about both CD's and disposables, and this is how it went down:

When the kitten was born, we used disposable newborn sized diapers for the following reasons:

1. We had never changed diapers before, so we wanted to keep it simple until we got the hang of it.

2. We didn't want to buy the newborn sized CDs that would only last a few weeks. Our daughter doubled her weight really fast, so they would not have lasted long.

3. Newborns poo about a hundred times a day, so we would need a huge stash of CDs to keep up.

When the kitten was about 2 months old, she was big enough for the regular infant CDs. We got one of each kind to try out: an old skool pre-fold with cover, a fitted diaper with cover, and a pocket diaper "all in one". Here is a good summary of the different types of CD's.

When baby was still rather small, the pre-folds were the best because I could fit them perfectly to her shape and they caught all the poop (no blow-outs). However, as she got bigger, the cotton fibers of the pre-folds and the fitteds could not hold all of her pee and she would always be really soaked and uncomfortable. Over time, the pocket diapers became our favourites. We only tried the BumGenius 4.0 pocket diapers (which are made with a moisture wicking pocket and micro-fiber insert) and love them so much that we now have a stash of 20! I have thought about buying cheaper knock-offs but everyone I know who uses pocket diapers loves the BumGenius ones the best (including one of my fave bloggers, Jessica at the Southern Belle Boy Mom, so why mess with a good thing?

BumGenius 4.0

So now we use the pocket CDs every day, all day. We still use disposable diapers at night because they absorb all the nighttime pee... as much as I value CDs, I value my sleep more =) Also, baby doesn't poo at night anymore, so the blow-out risk is very low. But let me tell you, whenever she did have a (breast milk) poo in a disposable, it meant an entire costume change.

In addition to the diapers themselves, we also got some cloth wipes (might as well use those if you're doing diaper laundry), special hydrogen peroxide laundry detergent, a rubbermaid sealable bin to act as a diaper pail, two washable diaper pail liners, and a wet-bag for storing clean and soiled diapers when we're out. Here are some pics of these lovely accessories:

Magical CD-safe detergent
Diaper Pail
Wet Bag

We love our CDs not only because they prevent blow-outs but also because:

1. We never have to worry about running out of diapers
2. We like keeping piles of garbage out of landfills
3. It will save us money in the long run, especially if we are fortunate to have more children in the future.
4. They come in really pretty colours and prints =)


5. It is an important element of INFANT POTTY TRAINING, which will be the subject of my next blog post.

How much work is cloth diapering? I think it depends on what tools and support you have. In my case, I have an in-suite washer/dryer in my apartment and the cost of water is covered by our condo fees (we only pay for electricity). I have a super involved and supportive spouse who loves the idea as much as I do. I have a mother and mother-in-law who come by almost every day to help with chores around the house. As you can see, this environment is conducive to cloth diapering success, and that's why it works for US. I'm not saying that it is for everyone! What I'm saying is that I'm glad I didn't let all the negative people prevent me from trying something for myself.

As I mentioned, stay tuned for our tales of infant potty training (gasp!), and leave me a comment if you have any questions about the whole cloth diaper thing. By this point, I have researched and tried so many things, I could probably help you out if you have any quandaries.
My little genius wearing the "Albert" print. SO CUTE

Friday, April 19, 2013

And we're back

It has been a while since I've logged into my blogger account. I felt the urge to check things out yesterday and when I clicked on my stats, I saw that this blog has just passed its 10,000th hit. That's pretty cool!

Although it's great to see so many people visit this page, I still feel that this is a place for me to write what I want, when I want to. And all of a sudden, I feel like I have a lot to write about, and finally some time and energy to do so.

I recognize that I have "readers", whether regular or occasional, so I want to let my dear readers know that my blog will be somewhat different going forward.

Things have changed since I started here three years ago. I have gone from desperate child-less infertile to a mother of an awesome baby girl. Though my fertility problems were never diagnosed and cured (i.e. we still don't know whether I will be able to have any more children), my attitude towards life has somewhat improved. Also, the things that occupy my day have changed, at least temporarily. Lately I've gone from checking pee sticks to checking for pee on my clothes; from observing cervical mucus to wiping snot; from miscarrying a baby to carrying a really heavy baby; from... you get the picture.

So yes, this is going to be a "mommy blog" of sorts, but I promise to be as sarcastic and cynical as ever. I also promise that this won't be a "look what my kid can do" blog. I hope some of you will continue to read, but regardless, I will continue to write =)

My next blog entry topic will be on our cloth diapering adventure. Stay tuned to find out whether it has turned out to be a great success or epic failure...