In Alek's 6th month, something amazing happened. Ok wait, we're talking about a baby here... something amazing is always happening! But seriously people; Alek learned to sign. When he was 4 months old, I began teaching him the sign for potty. Usually when I was holding him on the tophat potty, I would cue him with the "pssss" noise that I use for pee, and then when he started to actually go, I would hold up my right fist and show him the ASL sign for potty, saying something like "pee-pee in the potty". Sometimes I would do the sign in other places while he was peeing but it was generally easiest on the little potty. About two weeks after introducing the sign for potty, I also introduced the sign for "milk" in a similar manner. While he was nursing I would say "milk" while showing him the sign. Sometimes I would ask, would you like some milk? Showing the sign when I said the word milk. On May 27th (I know the date, because we were celebrating my daughter's birthday party), I was in the kitchen preparing supper when I heard Alek begin to shout in the living room. His grandmother was holding him, so I let it continue for a little bit while I finished whatever I was doing. By that time, Alek was nearly frantic. I walked into the living room and he looked me right in the eyes and did something with his fist. I couldn't tell if it was intentional though, and no one else seemed to have noticed. I picked him up from his grandma's arms, sat down on the couch and opened my shirt to nurse, he latched on quickly and then held up his hand, looked at me and started making the sign for "milk". It was one of the most incredible things ever!
Soon after that he also began to sign for potty. Generally he will look right at me, and hold up his fist in a very deliberate way, rotating it back and forth slowly, it is quite unmistakable. If I potty him right at that time, I will usually catch a pee, although sometimes I think he is signing while peeing, or to ask me to please change his diaper! One day, we were visiting my grandparents (who are in their mid-80's). As we were talking, Alek looked at me and made the potty sign. My grandmother had to ask what that was about, as I said... the sign is very intentional. I told her that it means he needs to use the toilet! Then I went ahead and let him pee in their bathroom (sink). Boy were they impressed! And this from a grandmother who says all 7 of her kids were potty-trained before they were 18 months old!
A day or two after that impressive signing at my grandparents, all signing stopped. It was noticeable to me because Alek had gotten into the habit of signing "milk" at every opportunity. Tired? "milk"... Bored? "milk"... Upset? "milk"... you get the picture. So it was quite an abrupt change that there was no more signing at all. That's when I realized that his two front top teeth were coming in. Miraculously about a day after they popped through, the signing started-up as abruptly as it had ended! We had another 2 weeks or so of awesome communication and signing, then bam! About 3 days ago signing stopped and I see the next-to-middle bottom AND top teeth coming in.
Another big change this month has been introducing Alek to food. We are doing baby-led-weaning this time, so basically just sitting him at the table with us and letting him eat whatever we eat (so long as it is not dangerous or unhealthy for him, of course). He is not eating a ton, but is loving meal-times! And his poop has already started to change. Unfortunately we are in the peanut-butter poop phase and it keeps ending up in the diaper. Alek's favourite poop spot is still the car-seat, so this is something I would like to work on changing this month. I think now that school is over for the year and we no longer have to do the twice-daily kindergarten run, it should get much easier to catch poops.
Earlier in the month I gave night pottying a good try. I found it really tough and unpredictable, especially because Alek is very resistant to the potty when he wakes (and is crying!), so the only way to catch a pee is to nurse at the same time. If he is going to pee, it seems to come at the very second that he calms and begins to nurse. No time for adjustments! When I tried this with the top hat potty it was really awkward, I couldn't see well, and pee went everywhere :( At this moment in time, I am content catching the last pee before bed (which we are having success with again!), and leaving it at that. He wakes quite often in the night and I am way too tired to be alert enough for pottying. Plus, he is nursing quite a bit at night, which means he pees A LOT too. My focus for now will be to reduce night-waking (thereby reducing night feeding), and then I will give night pottying another shot. A friend swears by the Baby Bjorn potty insert for night pottying, so I will have to give that a try!
One final development this month has been that when I potty him in the sink (in front of the bathroom mirror), Alek pees in spurts. Sometimes little pees come out three to eight times before he is done. He looks down at his penis and watches as each squirt comes out, and seems to be controlling them! If I give-up and take him away from the sink too early, he lets me know using the potty sign, and I return him to the sink to finish.
Gear that we are using this month:
Still using the top hat potty at home and when out, its still seems a bit small but does the trick.
Pottying in nature is working great! Just pee on a tree :) This will be trickier now that I should start thinking about cleaning up after him if he poops.
The little green IKEA potty (pictured above). This is the perfect size for my chunky guy!
I'm using a small Peapod Mat as an on-the-go change pad and the larger sizes as waterproofing anywhere and everywhere!
As a reference, the Go Diaper Free book is the best resource around for EC.
For clothing I have been lazy and have not changed a thing.
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Hi! I'm Danielle, your friendly neighbourhood potty specialist.