Posts Tagged ‘elimination communication’

Methods for Beginning Pottytraining

Monday, April 18th, 2016

pottytrainingOnce you decide you and your child are ready to start pottytraining or learning, where do you even begin?

For starters, in my experience most children like using a potty their size to start. I was not too keen on the thought of cleaning a little plastic potty all day at the beginning and bought the child-sized ring for the regular toilet. My kid was terrified of it. Many feel they are going to fall in. Second, if you have a multiple story house, I’d buy a potty for each floor. Nobody wants to be carting around tiny toilets all day if they can help it (your hands are probably always full anyway).

One method of toilet training is the potty sticker chart. After showing your child the mechanics, you set up a sticker chart. Each successful potty visit results in praise and a sticker (accidents are generally not reprimanded, the goal here is potty learning through positive reinforcement). When enough stickers are earned, the child can trade them in for a prize. Other options for this method are little treats in a jar (my friend had an M&M jar in plain sight for her son; each success was rewarded with a candy), or some people will put the stickers right on the small potty.

Another method is elimination communication, or EC. This method involves conditioning your child at an early age to pee or poop in the potty, by the parent learning to watch for the child’s signals. Some parents will purchase or make special potty pants like what are used in other cultures to allow for potty use before a child is able to pull up her own pants.

The most popular successful method I’ve used and seen used (though there are tons of other techniques out there) is the three-day potty training method. Generally speaking, you must clear your schedule for three days (and have somebody else help keep an eye on other children in the house if possible). It’s basically three straight days of one-on-one potty learning boot camp. The method says to do night training at the same time, but when I used it I did not follow that rule; my son still has to get up at night to go to the bathroom at age 4, and he was still sleeping in a crib then so it just wasn’t going to happen).

An even more intense boot camp type potty learning experience is the potty party, or 1-day potty training. This utilizes some of the methods from the three day method, but condenses all of the education and training into one day (it does not promise to also have your child night trained in a day). It sounded goofy to me at first, but it was incredibly effective at toilet training both my super stubborn oldest son and my super stubborn nephew.

One final note, many people choose to start little boys using the potty exclusively sitting at first, then working on their aim later on after potty learning is well established. My sons were allowed to stand if they wanted, which worked for us, but it was a surprise to our childcare provider. Child care providers usually are very helpful in reinforcing potty training ideals, but you may want to mention that or any other technique they may not be familiar with.

When I felt that my son could be using the potty but just didn’t want to, we used the same 1-day potty party method my sister used with my nephew. It works similar to the three-day method, but it’s condensed into a day and includes a lot of rewards and teaching (and of course, a party). It sounded kitschy to me, but it really did work for both boys. My husband actually is the one that trained my oldest, as we had a very young infant at the time and taking frequent nursing breaks didn’t seem very easy with this method.

Meaghan Howard is currently a stay-at-home mom and enjoying living overseas with her husband and two young children. She enjoys traveling, running, and the most excellent sport of all time, dragon boat.

Five Reasons to Put off Potty Training

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

Five reasons to put off potty trainingThe diaper-free utopia I was promised when my children potty trained has not come to pass. Instead, I have traded expected, contained messes for ambush, freestyle messes. I am no longer friends with the Earth, as all my natural cleaning products have been traded for stuff that will cover the smell of children’s urine. So it’s probably no surprise that I advocate putting off potty training as long as possible to any mom who asks.

Often by 18 months, just about every toddler has given their parents a false glimmer of potty-training hope by crawling up on the potty and pretending to go. But there is so much more to the potty training puzzle than a potty photo op.

  1. There’s only so much you can do. There are many factors that contribute to successful potty training, and the parent has little to do with most of them. To make it to the potty successfully, a child has to be able to recognize the sensation, remove themselves from an activity they enjoy, reach the bathroom light, remove their clothes, and do all of that in time to make it to the potty. Those weekend potty training boot camps won’t do anything for your child if they can’t do every single one of those things first. You know how kids are when they don’t want something. When they are ready to be done with diapers, you’ll know.
  2. Waiting means your kid has time to grow. A bigger child means larger bladder, stronger muscles, more nimble fingers and better judgement. That means fewer accidents and faster success. If you don’t have any arbitrary deadlines like a preschool or daycare that is saying your child must be potty trained by a certain time, give them time to grow. In addition, there is actually evidence that potty training before age two can lead to more potty-related problems later.
  3. There is such a thing as regression. Are you moving soon? Going back to work? Having a baby? Any stress could spark a regression in potty training. It doesn’t happen all at once, either. Slowly, all the skills go away, and it’s incredibly frustrating because they were just there. It really feels like your child can go potty but just won’t, and that is not the case. Regression is not a choice for them, even though it feels like one to you.
  4. Potty training mess is worse than cloth diaper mess. Just trust me. I don’t want to scare you by going into details. It’s just so much worse. SO. MUCH.
  5. No one cares but you. No one except your mom and your mother-in-law is going to ask about potty training. If you want to take it to the next level and avoid the conversation altogether, trade those noisy, crinkly pull ups for some cloth potty learning pants. Your child will feel the wetness when they go, but won’t leave you a mess to deal with, and if they peek out of the back of their pants, they look just like big girl/boy undies.

It’s so easy to get stressed out by milestone charts, Facebragging, nosey peers and potty training prodigy stories, but don’t. This is never going to be on an application for anything. No one gives out awards for potty training a 2 year old. There is absolutely no reason to rush potty training.

When you are tempted to stress, just remind yourself that absolutely no one will care when your child potty trained five years from now. Then go reward yourself for your laid-back approach to parenting with a glass of wine.

Erin Hayes Burt is a freelance writer and cloth diaper-loving mother of three girls who lives and writes in Queensbury, New York. 

Product Review: BabyLegs

Thursday, September 13th, 2012

Raise your hand if you LOVE BabyLegs!! I know I do…and Fall is the perfect season for your little one to wear BabyLegs! As the weather is slowly getting cooler, BabyLegs are a great option worn under shorts or a skirt. They will keep your baby’s legs warm during the chilly parts of the day, but can quickly be removed if temperatures heat up mid-day.

We actually used our collection of BabyLegs a ton this summer while staying in the Colorado mountains. The mornings and nights were quite chilly for us desert dwellers, so our BabyLegs made the perfect accessory. The weather patterns in high elevations can be rather unpredictable so I would often dress my toddler in the mornings with a pair of BabyLegs under his shorts. He would start and end most days in a pair. However mid-day when it was typically warmer outside, it was super easy to strip his BabyLegs right off….especially if he fell asleep in the BobaAir while hiking. No way could I wrestle a pair of pants off him like that in a carrier!

In addition to being highly functional, sporting a pair of BabyLegs is pretty darn cute if you ask me. 🙂 BabyLegs come in a variety of awesome colors and patterns so you are sure to find some that match your style. I really like some of the girlie-girlie ones…now I just need a baby girl to put them on! 😉

BabyLegs are also great when paired with cloth diapering, elimination communication, and/or potty learning. There is nothing to remove or pull down in order to access baby’s diaper or when rushing a toddler to the potty. If you have a crawling baby, BabyLegs are awesome to protect baby’s knees on rough surfaces. Also with Halloween around the corner, you could get creative and incorporate a pair of BabyLegs into your child’s costume. So many fun uses and adorable designs! I LOVE our BabyLegs!!!

Do you use BabyLegs with your baby? What pattern is your favorite? 🙂


Improving the “not so glamorous” side of cloth diapering

Thursday, February 9th, 2012

As much as I love a fluffy baby bum, there are a few less than glamorous parts to cloth diapering. Okay really there is just one; toddler poop. (I am willing to bet you just nodded in agreement 🙂 ). There are a few ways to help make this aspect of cloth diapering a bit more ‘pleasant’.

Diaper Sprayer –  A diaper sprayer allows you to easily rinse the messiest of diapers right into the toilet! Diaper sprayers attach directly to your toilet for easy and convenient access. They are a super effective way to rinse poopy diapers before washing. If you haven’t tried one, you need to! It’s definitely one of those cloth diapering accessories that can really improve your experience with using cloth.

Flushable Liners – Flushable liners make washing cloth diapers a breeze! You simply place the liner on the cloth diaper so it touches baby’s skin. The liner will allow urine through but will prevent solids from getting onto the diaper, omitting the need to dunk or spray poopy diapers. The liner, along with the mess, is simply flushed away!

High Quality WetbagWhen you are out and about and baby poops, carrying that poopy diaper home to be washed is much more pleasant task if you have a high quality wetbag. The purpose of a wetbag is to contain odors, germs, and moisture. You want to be sure your wetbag does not wick or leak and that it is size-able enough to hold multiple diapers on long outings.

Elimination Communication – Elimination Communication can omit almost entirely the need to ever deal with rinsing toddler poop from a cloth diaper. It is hands-down my best defense against dealing with messy diapers!

Delayed Solids –  Okay, in all fairness avoiding toddler poop is probably not a valid reason to delay solids…rather it’s one of the benefits of delaying solids, among many other.

Hybrid Diapers  Hybrid cloth diapering systems combine the ecological benefits of cloth with the convenience of disposables. Hybrid systems utilize a disposable insert that can be flushed, composted (not to be used in veggie garden compost), or thrown away.

Often times when people are considering switching to cloth diapers, they are concerned about dealing with the poop. While truth be told dunking dirty dipes is not my favorite activity however it IS well worth the ecological and economical benefits to me!

Do you have any special tips or product suggestions for dealing with messy diapers? Would love to hear from you! 🙂


Our (modified) use of Elimination Communication

Monday, February 6th, 2012

Abraham at 15 months old

Okay fair warning here: poop (and variations of the word) will be mentioned frequently in this post. Okay now that we got that covered, let’s discuss Elimination Communication (EC).

What is Elimination Communication? It is”toilet training practice in which a caregiver uses timing, signals, cues, and intuition to address an infant’s need to eliminate waste” (Wikipedia, 2011). I first heard about it while visiting with a friend who’s baby was close in age to my then 5 month old son. She mentioned how much she liked using cloth diapers in conjunction with practicing Elimination Communication. When she explained to me what it was, I admit I thought it sounded kind of strange, but I was also intrigued. Later that day as I was driving home I thought more about it. I realized that for the most part I knew when my son was pooping. Normally I would just wait until he finished and then change his diaper.  I thought to myself, ‘gee why not try holding him over the toilet and just let him poop in there?” I mean, isn’t that were I would prefer for poop to be? The more I thought about it, the stranger my current approached seemed to me. Why did I wait for him to finish his ‘business’ in his diaper, then dunk his dirty diaper in the toilet to clean it off, when in fact it might be possible just to ‘catch’ the poop in the toilet in the first place?

So the next day I decided to try it….and much to my delight, my five month old actually pooped in the toilet! Mmm, this could make diapering much easier! So from five months on, anytime I thought my son was going to poop, I would rush to the bathroom, take off his diaper and hold him over the toilet. Once he was big enough to actually sit on the potty, I would sit him on it instead. In just a few short weeks it seemed he was pooping almost exclusively in the potty.

Okay, trust me…I know how crazy I sound saying my 6 month old was potty trained. Truthfully he wasn’t ‘potty trained’. Not in the traditional sense of the word. Rather I was more attune to his elimination needs/cues and responding immediately by bringing him to the bathroom. What made this a relatively easy process with my second son was that his cues were super easy to read and he tended to poop around the same time most days. Shortly after his first birthday he began telling us when he had to poop by saying ‘poo-poo’.

There are more extensive means of practicing Elimination Communication that include responding to your baby’s urination needs as well. Since those are typically more subtle cues, it takes a greater attentiveness. I will be honest that I personally didn’t have as much incentive to hold my son over the potty to urinate since wet cloth diapers are really no big deal to change or wash. I actually don’t mind wet diapers at all…it was dunking messy diapers that convinced me to give Elimination Communication a try.  And I am glad I did because Elimination Communication and cloth diapers certainly are a dynamic duo!

Did you/do you practice Elimination Communication with your baby? If so, we would love to hear your experience with it!