A US mum who started toilet training her baby at just eight weeks old has praised the parenting technique.
Alexis Abdelaziz, 26, began teaching Aya, now four months old, how to use a toilet after seeing other parents give it a go on social media.
Children usually start toilet training between ages 18 and 24 months, though can start as late as three in some cases.
However the mum-of-one swears by the unusual technique which uses “elimination communication” and is based on the idea that babies will naturally sign when they need to go to the toilet.
Alexis has been consistent in her toilet training and says Aya can now signal when she needs to go, using baby sign language.
“I had seen parents try toilet training from a very young age even before I was pregnant and I always wanted to try it,” the physical therapy assistant from California said.
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“When I got pregnant I had totally forgotten about it and then a couple of months after I had her I randomly remembered it and I started doing research and everything aligned with the method – it just made sense.”
The elimination communication method involves working out a child’s cue – this could be showing a card or making a symbol. Then parents can position them over a potty or toilet, make a sound and the child will use the toilet.
Alexis said she was nervous when first trying out the technique. But the first time Alexis tried it with Aya she used the toilet.
“Ever since then, we have not stopped once,” Alexis said. “Every day she gets more consistent with it and understands it better.
“Aya will be turning five months old on September 19 and for the first time around two weeks ago, she did sign language to me, without me asking her if she needed to go.
“Typically, I will ask her if she needs to go to the toilet and show her a card of a toilet and then I will take her to the toilet.”
Alexis is also teaching her daughter sign language.
She said: “There are a lot of benefits to children knowing how to communicate before they are verbally able.
“Mainly, because they are available to demonstrate their needs and they are emotionally aware – meaning they are less likely to throw a tantrum or feel emotionally misunderstood.
“Obviously Aya isn’t able to talk yet but she is able to understand and it can teach her how to use her voice.”
Alexis said the techniques she is using to raise Aya are working out “really well” but said the key is consistency.
“If I am taking her to the toilet for a full day and not showing her the card or signing to her, I am sure it would throw it off her schedule and understanding,” she said.
“Just because she is so little, consistency is the most important thing. I carry the card wherever we go and show it to her.
“The main thing I try to explain to people is it is not about diapers and my baby being potty-trained before other babies – because a lot of people are asking about this and asking why I would even do this.
“She is so much more content and happier because babies sitting around in poop is something they do not enjoy – they cry, they scream and it smells and you can tell by how they are crying.
“But when Aya goes on the toilet she is smiling and content and after she is done on the toilet, she is so calm, there is no crying involved.”