Sunday, March 13, 2016

Green Parenting: Our Timeline to Early Potty Training

Okay, folks. Get ready for some serious potty talk.

My 19-month-old baby is now potty trained. I've been using a potty with her instead of full-time diapers since she was 10 weeks old. Was it lots of work? Yes. But I calculated that we've saved 4,000 disposable diapers and will save another 3,500 more by not potty training her at 3 years old.

My baby's diaper-free progress looked like the Dow Jones: lots of nervous ups and downs with a general upward trend. Then, last week, I noticed that I had no more laundry to wash. Baby wasn't having any more accidents! Not just a vague feeling, it was a concrete realization that my baby has learned this little adult-person behavior, just like she learned to use a fork or knock on my bedroom door. 

Going diaper-free is also known as "elimination communication" or "infant potty training." But those are misnomers because often there is no communication or training happening at all. I like the term "natural infant hygiene", but if you want to capture its true essence, call it "pretend you ran out of diapers during a snowstorm" and, occasionally, "total potty chaos."

Here's the timeline of our diaper-free adventure.

The Beginning: 10 Weeks

When my baby was 2 months old, I bought Andrea Olson's book "Go Diaper Free" and Ingrid Bauer's book "Diaper Free: The Gentle Wisdom of Natural Infant Hygiene." Then I announced it to my family: I'm going to go diaper free STARTING MONDAY.