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Potty Training a 10-Month Old - it's poo-ssible!

I hate the sight of poop smeared all over E's bottom. I hate washing it off even more. Sure, she's my baby, and nothing she does could ever be gross but that was when she was my wonderful, exclusively breastfed baby with sunshine yellow poop that smelled of curdled milk. We called it golden treasure in our house.

Now that she's on solids. Her poop is increasingly adult-like (texture, and oh-god-the smell) and gross. Keeping this in mind, I decided it was probably time to introduce my E to the potty.

We bought this potty by Summer Infant, which is great because it has a removable potty holder that can be cleaned separately. It sits high enough for baby to swing her feet or plant them firmly on the ground. Plus, a little splash-guard kind of thing in the front that ostensibly helps little boys urinate while seated without splashing. It also prevents the wannabe stander from getting up.

Preparing for the Potty

There are a few developmental goals that baby needs to have achieved before one starts potty training. It helps if both parents are on the same page (this is not yet the case in our household but we'll get there as soon as one of us stops being in denial about his daughter growing up). But primarily, baby needs to be interested in toilet-related things like flushing, or even watching a parent use the loo.

Secondly, it helps if baby's pees and poos are predictable or follow a schedule. This will usually be the case by 10 or 11-months if baby is on a routine otherwise. Of course, at this young age, babies can't really communicate their need to eliminate (not according to practitioners of elimination communication) so it's really up to the parent to place baby on the potty at regular intervals so that baby eventually makes the connection between eliminating and the potty.

Thirdly, discuss with your spouse what words you will use as a family for urine and faeces. In our house, we agreed on pee pee and poo poo and started showing E her diapers when we were changing her, describing what was in it.

Once both parents have sort of agreed on potty training, buy the potty seat - a sturdy one that's easy to clean and can be conveniently stored somewhere.  Also, get the No-Cry Potty Training Solution by Elizabeth Pantley. If you don't have the time to read a book about potty training or don't want to, stay tuned to Headbath for lessons in realtime.

Introducing the Potty

When we got the seat, I left it lying around for E to explore. All the unpacking from the box got her excited and she promptly removed the seat and mouthed it. The next day, I sat her down on it before bath time and made up a silly little ditty about pee pee and poo poo going in the potty. She stared at me blankly before deciding she did not want to sit on it. This went on for a few days, each time we tried I'd try to get her to sit on it for a little longer - singing songs, oiling her hair, teaching her how to hand things to me.

The trick is to ensure that baby is as relaxed as possible on this seat. At any sign of crying or discomfort, either distract baby or if she won't get distracted, get her off. The potty needs to be a happy place - where baby can relax and eliminate.

After about a week of placing her on the potty with no results, she pooped in it! I made a big song and dance about it (literally) kissed her (so much high-pitched excitement) and showed her how I emptied the contents of the potty in the "big-girl potty," explaining how one day she's going to sit on it, and then flushing it away. E loves watching the toilet flush so she followed the entire program raptly.

A few months of sitting her on the potty a few times a day - before bath time, right after naps, and before bedtime. and the girl will squeeze out at least a few drops of pee if she's seated on the potty. She's made the connection!