I haven't had to change a poopy diaper for almost 2 weeks now.
When I was a young teenager, I remember a lady at church telling me that her 12 month old baby was out of diapers already. I thought that was sooo cool and I wanted to try to be like her. She had said that kids in China are trained early, and that is where she learned about the concept.
Fast forward almost 20 years when I had little boys who I couldn't get pretty trained until they were 3 years old. I remember thinking about her and how she must have just had a very special child. I decided that kids can't potty train until they are ready.
Fast forward again to me having a 7 month old baby girl, child number 3. I was looking at Instagram at a post by the freebirthsociety where a lady had posted that she had only changed a poopy diaper once in the last few months with her 10 month old. My interest was immediately peaked and I quickly went over to the recommended website godiaperfree.com. I learned that pottying a baby on the toilet from 0-18 months is called elimination communication or EC. Many cultures around the world teach their babies at a young age to potty workout a diaper. And I learned that contrary to the oracular belief and teaching that you need to wait until a child is "ready" or that they don't have sphincter control early on, they do and can be begin EC immediately after birth! You know how you go to change a newborn's diaper and they pee all over you? I always thought it was the cold air, but I guess babies are born wanting to be dry and clean! They know so early on to not go all over themselves.
My next thoughts were, "this seems intense!"
I looked into how to do it.
- offer the potty to baby at transition times such as before and after a nap, in or out of car seat or high chair
- do a diaper free day to watch and figure out when they usually eliminate (this ended up being too hard for me since it is chilly in our house and even though I had a waterproof mat, I still didn't want to have to clean that)
- keep an eye on them to watch when they are pooping. Young babies will often stare at you like they are staring into space, bear down and/or grunt, or toot
- when on the potty it is recommended to make a certain sound when they go so that they learn sound association . I also do a sign so that she will hopefully start to sign when she needs to go.
I think that is basically it. I have a toilet seat reducer, but many people use a small potty, a top hat potty or hold their baby over the sink or toilet.
So I thought that this sounded intense, but the lady who I learned from promised that it really isn't that bad. They learn quickly and soon will hold it when you ask them to or wait for you to get them. The other thing I liked about this is that you can do it full time or part time. I really liked the part time idea. They also said that they felt like they had stronger relationships with their babies because they had this extra one on one time with them and could celebrate the little victories with them. That at an early age these babies were already having a sense of accomplishment.
So now comes me trying it out! The first 3 times I put her on she peed! I was like "this is amazing! My baby is a genius!" Then the next 3 times, nothing. Then holidays happened and I almost forgot about my efforts. Then I heard a podcast. Renewed with energy to reduce my landfill waste, not have to buy so many diapers, teach my baby young to accomplish something big, not have to change poopy diapers, and have this strengthened relationship with my baby, I dove in.
The second time I put her on the potty, she pooped! I think she loved it and realized immediately that that is where poop goes, because she bears down almost every time on the potty now, even if poop is nowhere in sight. I now watch for toots, as that is her main sign, but also certain faces and intuition and we've caught 8/9 of the poops from the last 2 weeks.
Pees were not as easy for me. I seemed to just miss it every time. So I started getting her from the crib at the first sign of movement. Now about 70% of the time she is holding it until I get her from the crib. It's definitely not mastered yet, but it has been so fun so far. We read books and play with toys on the potty. I feel like it is my special alone time with her. Our best day was yesterday, Sunday, catching pee 5 times in the toilet! But every time she poops I just get happy. Some days I put in more effort than others. And some days not. And both are ok!
Ask me questions if you have any! Hopefully all keeps going well for us and we can for real potty train early.
(These pics were taken right after church. She was so tired, but she waited to poop until we got home)