Saturday, March 14, 2015

Tear Free Potty Training

When my son was two years old and then three and even four people would ask me how I potty trained him. I always say it was really easy and I had no problems at all. Then they look at me like I have two heads and ask how that's possible.

I stumbled upon a website when my son was about three months old about Elimination Communication (EC). I had no idea what it was and had never heard about it before. You can look it up, but in a nutshell it basically says that the same way your baby tells you they are hungry, tired, hurt, etc., they also tell you they have to pee or poop. And as a society we tend to "teach" our children to do their business in a diaper. Most third world countries don't have diapers and use this method very effectively. All you have to do is put your infant on the toilet when they normally eliminate; after a meal and when they wake up from a nap, and eventually, when they are able to, they will go to the toilet on their own.

So naturally I thought this was crazy, but had to give it a try. Holy Crap It Worked! My son was three months old when we started this and he peed or pooped right after he ate and right when he woke up from a nap. It honestly saved a ton of diapers. We used a little potty. Not a toddler potty, but a Baby Borne. It's smaller than a toddler potty. And it's much easier to clean up as well.  Just a few swishes of water, dump it into the toilet and it's good to go. Of course every once in a while I gave it a good cleaning. The same as any toilet.

Apparently there are some hard core peeps out there who choose to go diaper free, but I was not one of those individuals. More power to them. I was what's called a part-time EC'er. I did it most of the time, but I didn't stress about it. If he went in his diaper, which he did frequently, I didn't worry about. it. I didn't just do it at home either. I did it at restaurants, friend's houses at the mall, basically wherever. I held my son away from me by the legs, so everything went easily into the toilet.

We also did baby sign language, which helped tremendously with ECing and communication in general. Every time he sat on the potty, we would give him the "potty" sign. It's not a sign we made up, but actually the American Sign Language (ASL) sign for toilet, aka, I gotta go.

He was eight months old the first time he had a dry diaper all day. That included a five hour car ride. I just continued to put him on the potty after he ate and when he woke up from a nap. He got on quite the schedule. I can't exactly remember, but I know at 11 months, he was signing he had to go to the bathroom and he would crawl there. We always kept the potty in the bathroom. It was easier and I figured that way, he knew where you did your business.

I'm venturing to guess that he could have been completely potty trained by about 15 months, but honestly I got lazy. He was still waking up every two hours at that point and I was exhausted. Matter of fact, he woke up every two hours until he was about 17 months old. He was a terrible sleeper and didn't start sleeping through the night until he was three and a half. That's a story for another time. So, I probably could have had him potty trained, but I was so tired, I didn't have the energy. His dad had recently gotten deployed and we had to put our house on the market and EC was the last thing on my mind.

Even though I got a bit lazy with it, I continued to do Elimination Communication and I changed my last poopy diaper when he was 18 months old. Peeing took a bit longer and he was completely potty trained by two years, two months. I generally put him on the toilet every two hours. No tears. No fuss. No more crap! He still peed in his sleep now and again, but I wasn't worried about that. He stopped peeing in his sleep close to three. Potty training was a non issue in our house.

I"m fairly certain, my mom would shoot me if she knew I posted this photo. We were visiting her and I couldn't resist taking this photo. Mt little guy was probably about 5 months here. 
Technically Elimination Communication is not potty training. So, I don't know that my headline is totally accurate, but I was always patient with him. When he got to be a toddler and he didn't want to get on the toilet every two hours, I didn't make it a big deal. When he went, I always told him, good job. But again, I didn't make it a big deal. There were no rewards, no candy, no stickers, just good old fashioned patience. And it worked. And I would do it again in a heartbeat.

Have you ever heard of Elimination Communication? Did you try it? I'm curious about others experiences with it. I've told many people about it, including my mom friends and none have done it and most have never heard of it.

For those of you who have a toddler and are ready to start potty training, just remember to be patient and it's never to early to learn the cues your child is trying to tell you.

Good Luck.

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