Wednesday, 06 August 2008
by Mama HippoA few months back I read the book Diaper-Free Before Three. It advocates early potty training, basically that you can introduce a potty chair much sooner than most parents realize (as early as 6 months). You look for patterns to your child's peeing and pooping and you sit them on the potty at about those times. The first "successes" by the child will be random, but the idea is that eventually they start catching on on their own and that you can have a fully potty-trained child by about 2 yrs old, as opposed to waiting till 2-3+ years old to even start (as is common place in the US today).
There are many things about this method that intrigue me. For example, that this "new" and "alternative" method used to be the norm up until about 30-50 years ago, and still is in much of the rest of the world. The book cites all sorts of research that shows that this earlier potty training may actually be better for little children's development, and how there has never been any research to show that waiting for "readiness signs" as is popular today works better at all. I also like that it gives the child independence from diapers, and a parent needing to change them, at an earlier age (how Montessori, right?), along with the idea of using fewer diapers overall over the course of the child's life (fewer diapers for the landfills!).
Unfortunately I'm starting to wonder how well this would work for D. It seems to work best for children whose bodies are naturally more regular, something that D has not shown to be. Even now at 6 months of age he has yet to form much of an eating schedule-- he eats anywhere from every 2-3+ hours throughout the day, with that pattern changing from one day to the next and as the day goes on. Be cause his eating is not regular yet, his peeing and pooping don't seem to be at all regular, either. He has yet to develop a napping schedule, waking for 1-2 hours at a tome before needing to nap (for 30-45 minutes at a time). Even his night sleep still changes from one week to the next (last week he was sleeping from 7-8 pm through till 4-5am, then the past few days started waking at 1-2am again).
I guess I don't really know how common this is for a 6 month old, but certainly from what I read most of these things tend to "settle" in babies by this time. I'm figuring D may just be one of those kids whose bodies aren't as regular as others. So I think I'll hold off a bit on the potty-introducing. Maybe after the move I'll think about it. I do like the idea of just introducing a potty chair and having him sit in it for a few minutes a day, even if there's no actual "pottying" going on in it but just to get him used to it . So I guess in a few months I might try it, and then follow his lead as to how interested and open he seems to the whole idea.
What age did you start potty-training your child? What are some of the challenges you faced?