Over the past two months, we have worked towards a huge milestone with our little boy Levi. We are officially done with daytime diapers! Can I get a HALLELUJIAH?! *happy dances around the room* I am so proud of my little man! When I first started doing Elimination Communication (EC) with Levi as a newborn, I had no clue how our journey would unfold. I never went into it with the main goal of potty training early. I pottied my baby from birth simply because it made sense to me. Babies are born with very strong instincts to stay dry and can communicate these needs to their caregivers as early as birth. Whenever I saw Levi signaling to me, I would take him potty instead of letting him use his diaper as a toilet. Our first year of EC was very casual, with us just aiming to catch all the poops and a couple pees here and there. Once Levi turned a year, I knew that I wanted to make potty training more of a priority.
Now you might be thinking, "Holy moly, that's REALLY young to be potty training!" Actually, we may be considered late in the game according to some cultures. The majority of the world's babies are out of diapers by a year old and 75 countries don't use any diapers at all! It is only in Western world that we wait until 2 or 3 to say bye bye to Huggies. Up until the creation of disposable diapers in the 1960's, babies were potty trained between 12-18 months.
I have to admit, I was very hesitant to take the plunge and ditch the diapers completely. I kept thinking back to my potty training experience with my oldest son. There were many instances where I'd be holding my breathe praying he wouldn't have an accident when we were at the grocery store or sitting on a friend's couch. Could I really trust my 16 month old to stay dry in underwear? I had doubts, but my gut just kept telling me, "Levi is ready. You know he can do it." Gah! That little voice was right. Levi had been consistently staying dry throughout the day for weeks now. But still, it's so scary! If you've ever been on grandma's white carpet with a newly potty trained child, you know what I'm talking about. Your heart beats just a little bit faster when you are out and about.
But here we are, 1 month later, and I have no regrets. Sure, we have had a couple accidents here and there, but things have actually gotten BETTER since we've ditched the diapers. Now, he's signalling much more consistently than he ever did before. He's starting to tell me "dee dee" (pee pee) or "ba ba" (bum bum) when he has to do his business about 70% of the time. And this is what really matters to me. By ditching diapers early, I'm allowing Levi to become more independent with the potty routine and communicate his needs to me. I'm so grateful that we are building this connection and I know we are on the right path.
So what's helped us get here and how can you do this too?
1. Educate yourself!
Before I had Levi, I really had no clue about how to potty a baby. Since then, I've read Go Diaper Free cover to cover about 4 times. It's basically my diaper Bible. Anytime I have a question, I open that thing up. I've learned most of what I know about Elimination Communication for this fabulous book. Anybody with a baby NEEDS to get their hands on it. It costs about the same as a pack of diapers and you will save yourself hundreds of dollars with the knowledge you will gain. Andrea Olson also has some amazing mini-courses with tons of footage of her pottying her 4 babies. I've personally purchased and watched all of them to help me along my journey.
2. Keep consistent
From day one, we've made potty time part of our daily routine. No. Matter. What. Even if we were at church or traveling in the car, we made the commitment to pottying Levi. Some days, that meant trying to catch every poo and other days, that just meant getting one single tinkle in the toilet. Levi has come to know the routine and it's natural to him. No fighting, no tantrums, no resistance (most days). He happily tottles over to the potty and does his biz' all by himself. It. is. PHENOMENAL. I hear a lot of people say, "Pottying your baby every day? That sounds super hard and stressful." Nuh-uh. You know what's super hard and stressful? Trying to potty train your screaming, defiant, strong-willed two year old where every pee is an uphill battle. Been there, done that! Hands down, EC is way easier!
3. Choose the right backups
When you are potty training, you need to be prepared with the right underwear. PullUps and diapers are just not effective tools. Most are so ultra-absorbent that the child cannot feel when they are actually wet. The best way to potty train is to have a cloth training pant. I couldn't survive without my Tiny Trainers or my TinyUps. I especially love the TinyUps because of the waterproof cover. Even if Levi does tinkle in his undies, it doesn't soak through to his pants. They are lifesavers!
The majority of people rarely discuss pee or poop with their baby or young toddler until they decide to potty train. "You be stankin'! Let's change that diaper!" is the extent of the conversation between you and your little poop machine. For those that practice Elimination Communication, the potty routine is just another one of the daily talking points. Since Levi was a newborn, I would talk to him about what I saw or ... smelled. Haha! If I noticed him pooping in his diaper I would say, "You're pooping! Wait, let's go potty!" If I felt his diaper getting warm, I'd use my cue noise "pssss" to build a sound association while he peed. By the time he was just a few months old, Levi knew exactly what I wanted when I put him on the potty. Babies are so smart! You don't need to wait till they're two for them to understand potty talk. Start right now!
Our potty training journey has not come to an end. In the next few months, we'll be working on 100% initiation and clothing manipulation. Wish us luck!
I hope this post has inspired you to take one small step today towards diaper freedom. It is never too early to start potty training your child! If you've got questions about Elimination Communication or potty training, I'd love for you to send me a message. I'm always rooting for you!
*Please use my coupon codes to purchase any of the products mentioned! Get 15% all products from www.godiaperfree.com using DIAPERSAWAY15 and get $5 off your purchase from www.tinyundies.com using DIAPERSAWAY5.
My baby Levi was born August 13th, 2017. He was a week overdue and I was so anxious to meet him! I had been reading up about EC for months, eager to try it with my new baby. Part of me was skeptical. It all seemed too good to be true. Was it possible to actually potty your baby from birth? I got a copy of Go Diaper Free and read it cover to cover three times. Though I was excited, I had a few fears from the get-go.
I was afraid that I would do it all wrong.
I was afraid that my hopes would be crushed when EC was a complete failure.
I was afraid people would think I was weird for doing this with my son.
I was afraid I wouldn't have time to do it caring for two boys under two years old.
I think that the majority of mothers have some or all of these fears when starting out on their EC journey. In that postpartum time, you may be thinking, "How can I find time to take my baby potty when I don't even have time to go pee MYSELF!?" Girl, I hear you! It took me a month before I had the courage to jump in and start.
I started out by doing naked observation (almost) every day for about 2 weeks. During my toddler's afternoon nap, I spent time with Mr. Nudeybum on a cotton prefold watching to see 1) how often he was peeing and 2) what signals he was making before pees/poos. I learned his little smirks and grunts. I learned that he would poop during a nurse and pee 5 minutes later. Whenever he did his business, I'd make a sound association: "pssss" for pee and "mm mm" for poops.
I began offering "pottytunities" after our nursing sessions. I'd bring Levi over to the sink, say "pssss," and watch the magic unfold. He would usually pee within seconds of hearing my cue. It was incredible. I felt like I had been let in on a huge secret. Why weren't more people doing this with their babies? It came so easily to us and eventually it was second nature. I'd take Levi over to the sink about 6 times a day for practice and we were almost always successful. I loved the feeling of responding to my baby's needs, keeping him clean and dry whenever I could. It never felt like a chore to take him potty. It truly brought me joy. Oh, and saving dozens of diapers was also a huge plus ;)
This was definitely the most challenging period of our first year doing EC. Mom life was HARD. I'm pretty sure I had PPD but I didn't want to admit that was the case. I was in the throngs of sleep deprivation too. Levi was a terrible sleeper, night and day. He'd cry for hours during the night as I tried to soothe him. He was cranky all day because he wasn't sleeping at night. The cycle went on and on.
You'd think that because I was so exhausted, I wouldn't want to do EC. Oh, no. Not the case. Instead of giving myself grace and resting, I did the complete opposite. The perfectionist in me came out full force and I decided to give 100% of my effort to potty time. There were days that I tried to catch every. single. pee. There were days that I cried because I missed a poop while I was occupied with my toddler. There were days when it felt like the potty was consuming my life. I felt like I wasn't doing EC "right."
I've come so far since those days! Looking back on it now, I can see that this was very unhealthy behavior. Andrea Olson, creator of Go Diaper Free, said something that really resonated with me at the time. She said that it's sometimes easy to treat your baby like a pee and poo machine when you're first starting EC. A lightbulb finally had gone off in my head. EC is not supposed to be stressful and all-consuming. EC is supposed to be about the parent responding to the child's signals, honoring the child, helping them be hygienic, and allowing them to gain independence along the way. After this, I was determined to do better. I backed off, only put Levi on the potty once a day, and did a mini "reset" for a few weeks.
Through all of this, Levi was such a great little sport. He was super cooperative and peed on cue without resistance. Babies are so forgiving to their mamas! This period was when we started using a potty instead of the sink because Levi was eating solids now. It took a while for him to get used to it, but overall it was a smooth transition.
During this time, I was wrapping up my certification to be a potty training and Elimination Communication consultant. I was learning SO much and my attitude towards EC was shifting. I had gone from obsessing over catching everything to enjoying the process and enjoying my baby. No longer was I thinking about the potty each second, but instead, it just flowed into our daily routine.
At this point, Levi was a potty pro. He knew exactly what the potty was for and I no longer had to cue him to pee or poop. I'd just sit him on the toilet and he'd do his thing. At around 8 months, we transitioned him from using the little potty to using the big toilet. I was so done with washing that thing after every poop!
Our routine over the past few months has been pretty simple. After meals, Levi usually has to poop within 5 minutes. I simply take him to the toilet after eating, give him a little privacy, and he does his #2. It's fabulous! I'd say that 95% of all poops are in the toilet at this point *knock on wood*. Poops outside of mealtimes are rare, but they do happen. Levi seems to be subtly signaling to me whenever he has to go during the day. He just gives me the poop look saying, "Mom, take me potty!" Anybody else would miss it but I feel we are connected on a deeper level. This is just another reason I love EC. I love being able to communicate with him and respond to what he's telling me.
Oh, and another amazing development just happened this week! Levi actually crawled towards the potty before he gave me the signal that he had to poop! I'm not sure if it was a complete fluke but I'm hoping that this will become his new routine.
Our pee catches have been a bit random and all over the place. Because of those months where I spent so much of my day doing potty time with Levi, I've been nervous to get into a pee routine with him. I'm scared that if I start trying to catch the pees, I might begin obsessing again. At the moment, I only offer him the potty to pee in if it's been a while since he's gone or if I'm about to put a fresh diaper on him.
What backups are we using currently? For the past few months, we have had Levi in either Tiny Trainers or Tiny Ups for 50% of the day and either cloth or disposables the other 50%. Levi has always protested diaper changes and the training underwear are SO much easier to put on and take off.
What's next for us?
I'd love to be wrapped up with diapers within the next 6 months. Saying that out loud seems so crazy to me. Only 6 months more of diapers? That would be AMAZING! Once Levi starts walking, I think we are going to do more of a potty training experience, doing some more intensive daily teaching, and having him wear underwear more of the day. I'll make sure to post regular updates on our progress.
All the best,
I don't know about you, but in my house it is a daily struggle trying to get my picky eater to take one bite of his veggies. I've tried all the tricks. Putting greens in our morning fruit smoothie? "I don't like this." Covering the broccoli with delicious olive oil and garlic. "Yuck." Cutting up zucchini into minuscule pieces and hiding it in pasta sauce? "What is this?" My goodness, child! This vegetable is the size of a grain of sand. How did you see it? AGH!
I headed off to my computer to search for a recipe. I knew my kid is a sucker for treats so I typed in "Spinach Muffins." Lo and behold, the Google gods provided me with a variety of options. I tried a couple different recipes but all of them tasted too .... healthy. No duh! There's only 10 cups of spinach in it. I had to take matters into my own hands. I swapped out some ingredients for others and have come up with the ULTIMATE veggie cake. My 2 year old gobbles it up! I can sit back, relax, and feed him plain noodles for dinner knowing I've done my job packing his little body with enough goodness for the day.
I also need to mention that these are GREAT for your child if they need to poop! Oftentimes, our kids' diets can be lacking in fibre and healthy fats, two things that help everything flow smoothly through the system. Oats and spinach, our star ingredients, are high in fibre and are known for preventing or relieving constipation. Hemp hearts are nutritional powerhouses (filled with protein, omega fats, vitamins, and minerals) aiding in gut health and digestion. This recipe will keep your kid's bodies feeling great :)
In a high speed blender (like a Blendtec or Vitamix) or food processor, blend all the dry ingredients until it looks like coarse flour. Put in a large bowl and set aside. Put all the wet ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. I recommend putting the milk, applesauce, and egg in first with the spinach going in last. I've made the mistake of putting the spinach in first and spending 5 minutes pushing it down with a spatula.
Pour your wet ingredients in with your dry and combine well. Place a silicone baking mat on top of a cookie sheet. Pour out the batter onto the mat so that it's about 1/2 an inch thick. The silicone mat is AMAZING here! It allows you to easily remove the cake after it's baked. I got mine at Canadian Tire for $5. You can use parchment paper, but it may be a bit trickier to get off.
Bake for 30 minutes at 375 degrees Celcius and VOILA! You have a nutritious, delicious snack for your picky eaters. Let me know if you try these and if your kids love them as much as mine do. Happy baking!