Catching. It's what pottying / ec is all about, right?!
Well, actually, it isn't.
It's all about maintaining a constant stream of communication with your child, however small they may be. Elimination Communication as the Americans like to say.
But while that part takes care of itself, the catching is a definite bonus (and can be quite an addictive game to enter into).
Here I'll cover some of the day to day practicalities.
Mine were summer babies, so I didn't have to worry about them getting cold when they had barely any clothes on.
I breast fed, and during feeds they nearly always had a bare bum. I used to slip a folded muslin underneath them 'just in case' but it (pretty much) always stayed dry.
They were all fast feeders. I have a powerful let down so it was drink or drown from week 1. They could hoover up a full feed in only a few minutes.
Immediately afterwards, I'd hold them over the top hat potty so they could wee and poo with no mess at all.
I had a baby every two years until I'd racked up my little family of four, so we led an active out-and-about life-style (but in a fairly small way) - parks, ducks, the library - that sort of thing. I used to breast feed whenever I needed to, regardless of where I was. And afterwards, without fail, I'd hold my baby over a potty of some description. It's easy enough to be discrete (just as it is with breast feeding) and you don't need much gear to ensure that you can do it anywhere and never leave a mess behind you.
(See the out and about page for my kit list.)
This may seem a little over the top, but for the first two kids, while we were still finding our feet, we kept a note of all feeds, sleeps and wees for about 9 months.
I found that I was easily distracted by the goings-on of the day (especially with toddlers running around) and I could barely remember when anyone last ate, nevermind whether my carpet was about to get wet.
A quick glance at 'the book' and I knew exactly where I was from a pottying (and feeding and sleeping) perspective.
A good strategy for anyone with a memory like a sieve, or (as I prefer to think of it) with more immediate things to focus on.
A cue sound is very useful to trigger the release of a wee, but non-verbal cues can be even more powerful.
For many babies, the position is enough (sometimes coupled with a favourite location).
But if you're looking for additional help here are some things to try:
But why would you want to? Isn't that horribly manipulative?
Well, I think that depends on your what you're trying to achieve.
If you're just starting out, you need to build an association between the act of releasing a wee and the position, location or cue. With a newborn, that's easy, you'll build on a natural reflex. But with an older child (I'd say, 6 months plus?), you might need a bit of help to get a release so that they can learn what it feels like to control those muscles.
Then, once you recognise the signs of distress caused by a full bladder, you might want to tease the relief from release away from suckling to feed (for example).
Later still, when you know your timing between wees and your child is quite capable of relaxing on request, you still might want to give them a bit of extra encouragement to get them to wee before a long journey.
I don't think they suffer any trauma over it... mine always seemed perfectly happy (and were quite capable of letting me know if they weren't).
If you're working on timing, adjust your next gap if you have a miss.
Once a child gets used to using a potty, they don't always release a full wee if it's a miss. This means the next wee will come much sooner than you're expecting. If you adjust for that, you can get back on track.
(This is also true when potty training older children. You might wait 3 hours for those first wet pants and then be surprised by another pair half an hour later.)
Some people have success with sitting their child on the potty immediately after a miss - to catch 'the rest of it'. It doesn't always work but it's always worth doing - especially as you near the age of independence. You want your toddler to know that every wee ends on the potty. Every. Single. One.
We had four potties that were in regular use.
These roamed around the house between the kitchen, play room, bedroom and bathroom, but we often had two potties in one room because we've had two children wanting to use them at the same time...
I kept a loo roll on a high shelf downstairs (in my experience, all children love loo rolls. Leave one at child height only if you want to be finding little bits of it distributed around your house for weeks to come).
Another potty lived in the boot of the car (number 5) and saw plenty of active service. (Mostly with children sitting on it in the boot in car parks, or being taken into other people's houses.)
Stangely, the thought of having to regularly clean a potty can be off-putting to parents who are happy scrape poo off a child's bottom. But there are a couple of tricks to make it a very easy task.
If you are prepared enough and your children won't remove it and rip it into tiny pieces or try to eat it, you can line the base of your potty with a couple of sheets of loo roll.
Such organisation is beyond me, however.
The next best thing is to equip your bathroom with a squirty sports bottle. My personal favourite is a lucozade sport bottle because it has a non-leak sports lid that lets you get up a really good jet of pressure.
Squirt away the sticky stuff then dry off with loo roll.
We also drink out of these bottles, so all the potty washers are clearly labelled and on high shelves (I have several because we take them with us when go away).
If you're really hygienic you could put some sort of chemical in your squirter, but I never bother (plus the thought of chemicals being drunk by accident is too much for me).
Have a sink next to your loo that is big enough to assist with washing potties or children.
Probably nothing you can do about this one, but if your sink is just about big enough to fill a glass of water you're missing out!
When we only had an upstairs bathroom, I didn't even bother to take wees to the loo. I tipped them down the kitchen sink with the tap running. Then I rinsed the potty, gave it a shake and vaguely dried the rim on my trousers... Halfway through our third child's pottying progression we had an extension built complete with brand spanking new downstairs loo. <satisfied sigh>
I've never been squeamish about using the sinks in our house for pottying purposes.
Baby wee is pretty mild stuff and breast fed baby poo is 90 percent yellow liquid. Sinks are easy to clean and come with built in running water for bum washing and cueing. And they're at a convenient height for me to dangle a child over.
Sinks are also very handy for cleaning bottoms.
When your usual bottom clean up is a dab / wipe with loo roll you tend to save your commercial baby wipes for more important things - like cleaning ice-cream from faces and hands before the wasps come swarming in (one of the benefits of ditching nappies).
For us, a sticky mess of a bottom (following a poo miss) gets cleaned with loo roll and then polished off in the bathroom sink (I use my hands - they're easier to clean than any sort of sponge and by the time we get to the sink it's just residual stickiness that I'm washing off).
Outside is always a big hit with us. Even in the snow I was taking my toddler out to water the 'flowers' before we went anywhere.
The bath or shower are likely to see their fair share of wee whether you're actively encouraging such a thing or not. A bare bum and all that warm water! Though these were never deliberately chosen locations for us, they've had plenty of hits over the last few years. (And the girls still drink the water afterwards.)
Catching is nice. Well, brilliant, actually...
But if you're not making as many catches as you'd like, in the places you thought you'd make them, that doesn't mean that your efforts are all in vain.
It's All About Communication...
...but catching comes in a close second!
All five potties. Two from the chemists (yellow, blue: £3 each), two from nct sales (orange, white: 50p each), one from Boots (pink: £4).
I don't like mothercare potties. The perfect hemisphere sunk into a perfect square is aesthetically pleasing but difficult for chunky children.
Favourite potty in action. I couldn't take any photos of the top hat potty until my able assistant had gone to bed...