Before my baby was born I read about Elimination Communication, a method of detecting and responding to an infant’s elimination needs. It’s not as much “training” as it is becoming in tune with the natural timing of my baby’s body functions. Elimination Communication means teaching children how to eliminate properly right from the start. It’s the opposite of teaching babies to eliminate in their pants, then at a later age having to re-teach them that eliminating in their pants is bad.
I didn’t launch full steam into EC. I understood the concepts but decided instead to use chlorine free diapers. I remember once holding my baby over the toilet when she was only two weeks old. It was my first try at EC, and I admit it was awkward for me, so I kept using the diapers as I got to know my baby’s signs.
At around seven months my baby was able to sit upright in a chair, so I resumed the potty training. We set up a Baby Bjorn Toilet Trainer. First thing in the morning, I sat her on the potty and she went. Everytime I would see the “poopie face,” we sat her on the potty and she went. We still continued using diapers, but we sat her on the potty every chance we could get, all the while saying the word “potty” while she sat there.
Another helpful habit is taking the baby to the bathroom with me whenever I had to go. I wanted her to see that she wasn’t the only one that needed to sit on the potty. I wanted to show her how it’s done.
The word “potty” became one of the first words she learned how to say. I wanted to make sure she understood that whenever she said the word “potty” I would consistently take her to the toilet. At first she only asked to go potty when she had to take a poop. She was still urinating in her diaper up to about 18 months of age. However, doing away with the messy chore of cleaning diaper poop was a major step in the right direction. Perhaps the sticky gross sensation of pooping was much more noticeable when one has an absorbent diaper quickly soaking up urine.
Come summertime, my 18 month old spent a lot of time in the inflatable pool in the backyard. We did not bother diapering her, and whenever we did try, she pulled them right off in the heat. Running around the backyard naked, she realized the correlation between the sensation in her bladder and the liquid coming out of her.
From then on, my toddler consistently called “potty” whenever she had to urinate or defecate, whether we were at home or out and about. We have a potty set up in the car, with plastic bags and paper towels for easy disposal. She learned to sit on a grown-up-sized toilet at public restrooms, holding on to railings or toilet paper holders to steady her. Even in the middle of the night, my toddler wakes and calls “potty” and we take her. Sometimes she’s too groggy, but I can tell she needs to go when she gets restless turning around and around in bed, so I just go and take her to the toilet.
When I started throwing out dry diapers, I realized she was ready for cotton panties. At 22 months of age, my daughter was fully potty trained. On her 2nd birthday, she went to the bathroom all by herself, closing the door to us and proud to do everything herself.