Starting Potty Training at 9 Months…Yes, You Can!

My mother loves to tell the story of how she started potty training me at 6 months, putting me on the toilet seat when I seemed about ready to do my bowel movement. Yes…well while I personally think that is really too young to start the process, I do consider the period between 9-12 months of age to be a quite a good time to start. I see this as the ‘moldable stage’ and a real window of opportunity. By 8 ½ to 9 months old, babies are usually more established on solids and often a pattern in their pooping begins to emerge (e.g., 1-2 times a day in morning/evening). Baby can now sit up quite well on his or her own with minimal support, and loves imitating, attention and praise. So now is a great time to do many things like getting baby used to different foods and textures, as well as starting potty training. Carpe diem!

What are the benefits of beginning potty training early? Tons! Here are just a few:

  • Saves on diapers!
  • Less messy clean-up for you (remember those smelly poo smeared baby bottoms and diapers?)
  • Reduction in diaper rash potential from baby sitting in a moist dirty diaper for too long before you notice it.
  • It may be easier to start the process now to get baby used to it, while baby is relatively compliant and more or less happy to sit on the potty (especially if you give a toy, read a book or otherwise distract baby a little if needed).

Some parents may just decide baby is not ready and want to wait till their child is at least 2 years of age before trying, and that’s fine as well. The benefit is that the older the child is, the process of potty training is often much faster (possibly within a couple of days) especially if there is peer pressure from other children their age!

If you decide you want to start potty training sooner, let me recommend starting with the #2s first (the poos) as this is easier to do than trying to work on #1s (urine). You and baby will feel more of a sense of accomplishment and this will also lessen those poopy diapers faster!

(More tips on potty training to follow – stay tuned!)

 

5 Simple Ways to Prevent Diaper Rash

No one likes nappy rash…least of all the baby. It was a surprise to me how easily babies can get it, and how difficult it is to get rid of it once it occurs! All I did was leave baby’s wet diaper on for a little bit longer than usual one night when she was about 2 months old, and then the next day I saw the dreaded red rash appear. Even though she only had a mild case of diaper rash, it still took more than 6 weeks with constant vigilance, diaper creams, airing out and frequent nappy changes before it got better. Even now, the affected area still turns a bit red whenever it is in contact with a more soiled or full diaper. It’s really true—prevention is better than cure! So here are 5 simple ways to keep your baby’s skin looking pretty and rash-free:

Use Cotton Balls & Water Instead of Baby Wipes.
In the UK, it was advised in the prenatal classes to use cotton balls with some cooled boiled water to clean baby for at least the first 4- 6 weeks of life. It was not recommended to use any wet wipes, but if these are used, then the advice was to choose the unperfumed version as baby’s skin is very thin and sensitive. Then after 4-6 weeks, you can slowly introduce products. The pediatrician I saw in Singapore was actually adamant that I shouldn’t use ANY baby wipes at all if I wanted to avoid diaper rash. I couldn’t bear the thought of not using any baby wipes, so I do use them, but very sparingly. I use a piece or two when baby’s had a real bad poopy diaper, and then move on to cotton balls dipped in water for the rest of the cleaning. Of course, we still use baby wipes when we’re out and about.

It’s really not that troublesome to use cotton balls and water to clean baby. Just keep a plastic bowl, a bottle of cooled boiled water, and a bag of cotton balls ready at baby’s bedside or changing table. Then after cleaning baby, gently pat the area dry with a piece of tissue paper or cloth, and let air dry for a couple of minutes before putting on the diaper cream.

Bare Butt Time.
Air out your baby’s butt as often as you can (this is easier at the stage when they can do tummy time, and can’t crawl much yet). Also let the skin air dry for a bit after cleaning, before putting on the diaper cream, and fastening up the diaper. I know the temptation is often to do the diaper change quickly, and to slap on the diaper cream right after cleaning and close up that diaper. But it’s worth a few extra minutes to let the skin dry properly and air out first. Babies love attention, so take this time to play with baby’s feet, hands, sing songs, play peek-a-boo or hand baby a toy to be fascinated with.

Choose a Thin Absorbent Diaper.
Not all diapers are created equal. Brands and products can vary. Sometimes the product marketed as super absorbent may be quite thick and not help matters. So when choosing one for your baby, test out diapers and pick one that is as thin and as absorbent as possible. You can also interchange disposable diapers with cloth diapers during the day if you want which may help.

Check & Change Diapers Frequently.
Before, after a feed, and after a nap. Check frequently and often! Boys can tend to pass more urine than girls, so may get a full diaper faster.

Use a Good Diaper Cream.
Not all diaper creams are created equal. The one I ended up using is called ‘Triple Paste’ but there may be other good ones out there. And you don’t have to wait till baby gets a nappy rash before you start applying the diaper cream. It often works well as a preventative measure, especially at night when you know baby might be wearing that same diaper for a longer period of time.