Q: I potty my 3.5 month old all over the place. First thing in the morning she seems to need to ‘go’ at about 5am so I ‘potty’ her on the bed, leaning on me with the potty between my legs. Sometimes we’re in the lounge room, sometimes her room or the bathroom. Should I start to try and potty her in the on place (the bathroom) so she begins to recognise that as the place to ‘go’? I noticed in your book you mention that once baby can begin to move, they can communicate that the need to ‘go’ when they crawl to the ‘potty’ place. ~Sarah, Sydney Australia
A: Hey Sarah! I’m glad that you asked this question…it comes up a lot for a variety of reasons.
My advice is this:
At 3 1/2 months, your baby still doesn’t have the (brain) capacity to maintain long term, repetitive tasks/thoughts/processes (this happens for the short term memory at around 6-9 months, long term around 14-18 months).
It might seem like she’s consistently doing new things…which is right, because she’s learning new skills all the time. But, the brain isn’t quite “there” yet at this age.
A long way of saying that you don’t need to worry about place just yet.
However, your hunch is right about eventually needing to begin to potty her in a consistent place.
At the age your gal begins to crawl, it might be a good idea to start exclusively pottying her in the bathroom.
The exception to this would be if you’re hanging in the living room a lot and the bathroom is too far away for your baby to hold it that long. In that case, you’d also have a potty available in the living room.
Also, if you should ever need to do a naked day to re-learn her timing or signals, or to teach her the motion of “going towards the potty” by placing her on there for each pee, then you’d want the potty nearby (obviously).
For nighttime at 3.5 months, keep pottying her where it’s least disruptive for you. IF she should begin to fuss about it, it might be an indication that she knows she’s peeing over the bed and would like to do it in the proper place (the bathroom). In this case, put a dim nightlight in the bathroom and potty her over the sink at those times, at that age.
Nighttime EC shifts so often that this advice isn’t really applicable to every baby at these ages…but these are some things to keep in mind, anyway!
Keep pottying her wherever convenient and sensible while she’s young.
When she hits crawling, begin exclusively pottying her in the bathroom (whether in-arms or on the mini potty or toilet set reducer…or in dire situations or pauses, on the floor).
At nighttime, do what’s least disruptive (if anything) and note if she shifts to wanting to potty elsewhere in the wee hours.
Thanks for your question, Sarah!
I hope it helped some other ECers know what to do when practicing Elimination Communication in multiple locations, with multiple receptacles.
I’d love to know your home potty station set-up(s). What do you do at your casa? Please write them in the comments below.
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