Lysander can't speak but he can tell his parents he needs the toilet. He's eight-months-old.


I know a baby who could tell his parents he needed to go to the toilet before he could talk.  He used sign language.

Little Lysander, the cutest thing ever, signed when he wanted to say thank-you, please or when he was tired.

Marghanita Spooner, Lysander’s mother, even made up some of her own signs that only he and the family understood.

“We started [to sign] a bit when he was about eight-months-old but it was only when he had turned one that we really started to reinforce them,” said Marghanita.

The sign for milk. Image courtesy of Bilby Publishing.

Lysander took to signs so well that he was toilet trained at around twelve months old - before he could walk.

He had his own version of the "poo" sign which was pounding a closed fist on an open palm. It was crystal clear what he had to say.

Baby sign is used to introduce basic sign language to a pre-verbal infant before they can talk, according to Sign Planet.  They say parents can start with a small set of signs that are familiar to the child's everyday life.

Marghanita says her son was able to "communicate his basic needs to us well before he could talk".

Lysander used a variation of this sign for toilet. Image courtesy of Bilby Publishing.


"Things like 'milk', 'poo' and 'sleep' were extremely useful as he could recognise and tell us what he wanted," she said.

The London mother said it only took a few weeks for him to copy his parents with the signs - 'done' or 'finished' which he used after eating.

Marghanita picked up the idea up from her sister-in -law who had tried baby signing with her two sons - then she taught herself signs from a book.

She says by the time Lysander had his first birthday he was doing the 'done' sign consistently after meals and then signing for a bath.

Now he is two years old and he signs and talks.

Would your baby ask for a bath? Image courtesy of Bilby Publishing.

His vocabulary has grown to include words like: sleep, milk, food, water, poo, thank you, please, more, done, bath, home and nappy change.

"Using baby sign is just a natural progression of the use of sign to allow your child to communicate further," according to Australian Baby Hands.

They promote the use of Auslan (Australian sign language) - which is also used by the deaf community.

Some women have concerns that the use of sign could inhibit speech development - but doctors say it is good for their development.

According to Dr. Lynn Mowbray Wegner, a spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics sign language is a great way of communicating effectively.


“Communication is communication. Signing, gesturing, using communication boards and other assistive methods are all acceptable in the very young child who is trying to get his message across and understand what others say,” Wegner told MSNBC Interactive.

A lot of mothers also get hung up about when a child should start to speak but there a"huge individual variation in the rate of vocabulary and language development" in toddlers - according to US psychologist Vikram Jaswal .

“Late or early speaking says nothing about the child’s future capabilities or brilliance,” Jaswal told MSNBC.

However, after seeing Lysander sign to go to the toilet when he was only a crawling baby  - I am assured of his greatness.

Watch The Motherish team confess their first thoughts upon seeing their baby.