Lil’s been seeing and using sign language as a means to communicate for quite a few months now and last week she started putting two signs together. It only seemed appropriate to try to pair potty training with sign language. Years ago I had a father in my sign language classes who said his 8 month old was potty trained. I was flabbergasted! But I witnessed it – his daughter signed POTTY and he changed her diaper. He said at home he would hold her on the toilet in the bathroom, but chose not to do that during class.
While I thought 8 months was rather young, I did think it was appropriate as a birthday gift to myself when she turned one we added the signs POOP and POTTY to her repertoire of signs she saw on an every day basis in hopes to eventually use the signs appropriately.
Now two months later. Lil is saying, ‘poop’ when she’s trying to go and enjoys watching it go ‘bye byes’ down the toilet after she has went. Granted, I am not a psychologist or behavioralist in any fashion but I do understand the importance of early communication and language skills. Our goal is that she understands the differences between urinating and having a bowel movement, which is why we say and sign both POTTY and POOP. It is not expected for her to run up to us at 16 months and sign or say POOP and us take her to the bathroom – but that is our hope. Our expectation is that she associates what is happening with the vocabulary taught – and ta-da - it’s working!
Lil now enjoys throwing away her own diaper no matter where we are (e.g. our house, my parents’ houses, etc.) She allows me to put her on the toilet when she appears to be trying to have a bowel movement. When I say and sign “POOP?” she will say and sign it back if she’s in fact trying to go. If not that she just smiles and continues playing.
I look forward to seeing this venture out in hopes that she is out of diapers before she turns 2! We shall see how it works. When we’re not around and she’s at the babysitter’s during the day, she watching her Baby Signing Time videos. The newest edition, Potty Time, is also a nice segway in our hope to potty train her early. She watches the videos sign words associated with potty training and sees her favorite characters (Alex, Leah and Hopkins) using the potty and signing things about the potty. It’s a win-win for everyone. The Potty Times series from Signing Time has a great website with tips, a community forum for advice and great products. Lil’s too young for the Potty watch, charts, or tablet applications, but with continual family support and enriched language opportunities, we confident she’s on her way to early potty training.
Kristy works as a speech-language pathologist in the school systems, early intervention, as well as with private clients. Kristy uses ASL both personally (with her daughter) and professionally in her therapy sessions and by teaching classes, tutoring sessions, and workshops. She is a Master Level Certified Sign Language Instructor through Signing Time®, a new blogger, a student in Nova Southeastern University’s SLP.D program, a wife, and a new mom of a 14-month old. Visit her new blog and her Facebook page and become followers! www.hearmyhandsasl.com
Thank You So Much Kristy!