...such a tiny being
could be aware of peeing and pooping. It is even harder for us to
believe that an infant has some control over elimination. With these
preconceived and narrow views, we encourage and teach our babies to
be unconcerned about. wetting and soiling diapers. In short, we
teach our infants to use diapers as a toilet.
A normal, healthy infant is indeed aware of the bodily function of
elimination and can learn to respond to it from infancy. By using
diapers, we condition and thereby train baby to go in them. Later
the child must unlearn this training. This can be confusing and a
traumatic experience for the child.
An infant does his best to communicate his awareness to you, but if
you don't listen, he will stop communicating and gradually lose
touch with the elimination functions. He will be conditioned not to
and learn that you want him to use his diaper as a toilet.
Not only is toilet training from infancy basically unheard of in the
United States, it also strikes many as inconvenient. With relatively
few exceptions, however, toilet training is by definition
inconvenient no matter how you do it. If you wait for your baby to
self-train at 2, 3, 4 or older, you are both subjected to years of
diaper changes (not to mention laundry, baby wipes and other means
Diapers, especially disposable ones, are a temporary way to deal
with toileting. We attempt to "plug up" our child's disposal system
with diapers in the same way as we temporarily stop the flow from a
leaking pipe. How many parents have pondered whether or not this is
the most hygienic solution for the child? How many parents care
about the effects of diapers on the environment? How many would care
if they knew of an alternative to full-time diapers?
Who Can Use This Method?
Parents of infants, parents-to-be, grandparents, nannies and anyone
else interested in lovingly and patiently working with an infant
towards accomplishing potty training at the earliest possible age.
"Infant" is the operative word here, as opposed to "toddler," in
that a caregiver begins working as a team with an infant in the
early months of life. Infant potty training is best used by:
a parent who spends at least the first 1 or 2 years caring for baby
a working parent with one or more trustworthy and reliable helper(s)
such as a family member, nanny or friend.
What Does It Take?
Time, diligence and patience. If you cannot devote these qualities
or arrange for any assistance you may need, this is not the method
for you or your baby. But if this method makes sense, if it
resonates, go for it! It canít hurt to try, and if it doesnít work
out, you can go back to diapering.
When Do I Start?
The ideal time to start is anytime from birth to 4 months old.
During this time, there is a window of learning open.
How Long Does It Take?
The average age of completion in the West is around 2 years,
although babies have fairly good control of
elimination for *many* months before completion.
Is It Safe?
Of course, as long as parents have the right mind set. Parents must
be relaxed and positive about working with their babies. Parents
must exercise patience and gentleness; observe and respond to baby's
signals on time whenever reasonably possible; and provide proper and
loving support while holding their infants. This is a non-punitive
method. Punishment, anger and control are NOT a part of this method.
Note that this method is radically different from the harsh "early
toilet training" method used in Western countries until the 1950s.
Does It Really Work?
Yes, but not without some effort. Success does not just happen on
its own. It takes at least one committed adult and several months of
perseverance to complete infant potty training. Right from the very
start, there are fun and exciting daily rewards for both baby and
caregiver. Baby's communication is acknowledged and encouraged.
Parents are amazed at the degree of their infant's awareness and are
thrilled when he signals and responds so easily and naturally.
Does My Baby Have To Be Naked?
This is not a requirement. Many parents keep a diaper or training
pants on their baby in between potty visits, while others prefer to
leave their baby bare-bottomed or naked most of the time. In short,
it is a matter of preference.
A Wonderful Discovery (My Experience with IPT)
My first two children experienced conventional potty training. When
my third son was born, I dreaded the thought of another bout of
conventional toilet training which would entail additional years of
diapers and began seeking a better means to accomplish this task.
I learned the basis for an alternative technique through a lady
visiting us from India. She was horrified when I told her the way
Westerners handle the "waste disposal issue" and explained to me the
way things are done "back home" in her culture. I was skeptical when
she told me that there is no need to use "the cloths" on an infant
unless it is "ill of the stomach," feverish or wets the bed most
nights. I had been to India several times and had noticed families
peeing and pooping their babies around the countryside, but had not
paid close attention. Like many others, I mistakenly assumed that
Westerners could not use this technique.
I begged my new friend to tell me more and to teach me how to hold
my son and get him to "go" for me,
which she gladly and effortlessly did. I was spellbound watching her
communicate with my tiny 3-month-old son, who somehow instinctively
knew what she wanted him to do. I can only describe the exchange and
instant understanding between them--a stranger and an infant--as a
I used the technique she demonstrated, slightly modifying and
adapting it to a Western lifestyle, and found it to be far superior
to conventional diaper-to-potty-training. From the day I started
working with my 3-month-old son, he rarely needed a diaper, day or
night. He stayed dry during most of the day at age 18 months and was
finished with all aspects of potty training at age 25 months.
Outlook and Source
The trickle treat method begins with conditioning and can be
approached in a rational and scientific manner as well as an
intuitive and spiritual one, or a combination of both depending on
what works best for you and your baby. The rational approach
involves timing and observation of elimination patterns and baby
body language. The more spiritual approach involves intuition and
"tuning in" to your baby in more subtle ways.
Remember, it is teamwork, something you do together via close and
trusting communication. It is not something you are doing to your
baby, and it is not something your baby can do without you. If you
are willing and able, and if your baby is healthy, your baby is
ready for you.
Infant potty training is based on an elimination training technique
used in much of Asia and rural Sub-Saharan Africa. The method has
been adapted to the Western lifestyle in various ways, including the
use of a sink, potty, toilet or other container; variations in
elimination positions; part-time use of the technique; and, where
desired, part-time use of diapers.
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