So if you're not into reading potty stories, don't read further. To respect Audrey's privacy, no photo illustraton is available.
So as Audrey nears 9 months, there are many things she can do. Her grasping is getting better, she's still working avidly on crawling, and is considering bagging the whole thing and moving right to walking. She is strong enough to stand for a while now, and working on her stability so she can simultaneously hold onto the edge of the coffee table and pull all the magazines and coasters off of it.
But the potty - a couple of weeks ago, two moms at our mom & baby group talked about elimination communication, or EC. This is like early potty training, where you look for cues from the child, and give them "potty opportunities" or "pottytunities" as I have been calling them (I think this is what the main EC book calls them). There is no pressure to train completely, the idea is just to keep kids in touch with their bodies and save yourself a few diaper changes too. At group, both moms had kids who were just a few weeks older than Audrey, and had been doing this with them since 3 or 4 months. Both kids had small potties they could now sit on (before they can sit, you hold them over or stand them in the sink). They say EC works best if the kids wear cloth diapers, so they can tell immediately when they are wet or dirty. But Audrey is in disposable diapers, and we're probably not inclined to change this plan. Despite this, the "stay in touch with your body" message made sense to me.
So I bought a little white potty (Audrey chose this color over hot pink). I had noticed that in the morning, whenever I changed Audrey's overnight - and pee-filled - diaper, I would go to wash my hands after, and 9 times out of 10, she would have pooped in the new diaper by the time I got back. So the morning after I bought the potty, I went in to wash my hands and took Audrey with me and sat her on the potty. I washed my hands, came back and made the cuing sound (pssss) and let Audrey hang out on the potty, exploring her new surroundings for a few minutes. I finally decided she wasn't going to do anything, but when I helped her off the potty, she had pooped! First time sitting on the potty!
After that, I put her on the potty at least a few times a day, most days. Sometimes she didn't do anything, but often she did. She may less than 9 months old, but she got the idea of the potty pretty quickly. So we're nowhere near the "diaper-free baby" but I have avoided changing some poopy diapers, which is always a plus. And I like to think Audrey is becoming more aware of her body. Maybe someday soon, she'll say "pa-pa" for potty (don't worry, Paul is da-da :-) and we can go for a pottytunity on her say-so.