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!
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