Why yes, that is a teeny tiny potty

Way back when I wrote my first post about cloth diapers I promised some upcoming posts on related topics. I don't know if anyone's been waiting to hear more, but I'm finally back to tell you more anyway. :-) So yes, this post is related to pee & poop. You've been warned!

For those of you who don't have kids, I'd bet you still have opinions about how they should be raised. I know I did! And I was usually careful to keep them to myself when I was around people who were actually parents, because I knew no one wanted to hear them--but I was still mostly convinced that I was right.

Not surprisingly, since becoming a parent, I've realized a few things about these preconceived notions. Most importantly, I'm realizing that what works for one child or family doesn't necessarily work for everyone. As a result, I've found myself re-evaluating ideas that once sounded strange to me. There are a lot of parenting practices that sounded, for a lack of a better term, very "crunchy granola" when I first heard about them, and not for "normal" people. Some of these I accepted quite take quickly (cloth diapers and extended breastfeeding, for example). Others required more reading/research and some parenting experience, such as baby-led weaning (a topic for another day) and today's subject, elimination communication ("EC").

When Evan was maybe 1-2 months old I realized that I was hearing references to EC (which I personally think should be called something else, I think the name is a turn-off for a lot of people first learning about it) in lots of places. I decided it was time to stop dismissing it and to start learning more, so I picked up Diaper Free Baby by Christine Gross-Loh. It was a quick & easy read, and it made so much more sense than I expected it to.

The highlights of what EC is:
-human babies, like other species, seem to be born with a desire not to soil themselves. You know how many newborns pee/poop right when you take off their diaper? That's the instinct EC is building on. The idea is why train a baby to use a diaper, and then in a few years train them not to? Wouldn't it be better to introduce them to a potty early on?
-There are a lot of approaches to doing EC. Although the book I read (and there are many other books, too) refers to "diaper-free" babies, you don't have to skip diapers entirely, you don't have to do it full-time, etc. It is generally easier to do with cloth than disposables (easier to catch wetness right away, and in most cases the baby is also more aware of wetness).
-This isn't "early potty training", really. It's about being aware of your baby's need to eliminate and giving them a chance to do it out of a diaper (in a potty, a bowl, the grass, whatever). Many babies who are raised with EC will "graduate" from diapers earlier than their peers, but not all.

We bought 2 Baby Bjorn Little Potties (one for upstairs, one for downstairs), and started offering Evan the chance to use them. He started peeing in them that same day, so we've kept it up! He still wears diapers, but at home we leave the cover off so we can have a sense of when he goes if we "miss" it on the potty. Some days he uses the potty almost exclusively, other days barely at all.We're working on the ASL sign for potty so one day soon he may be able to communicate his need to go, but for right now we mostly offer based on timing--after he wakes up is a near guaranteed success, for example.

I do hope that the time we're spending on this now will help him to potty train easier/sooner (as I understand it, the average North American kid is close to 3.5 when they train now, and that seems old to me). If it doesn't, oh well, we've at least had a lot of fun playing with him while he sits on his tiny potty!


Mandy said…
As you know, Abi was "EC'd". Planning to figure something out with the twins, although I imagine it's going to be trickier to make more catches when juggling 2 (plus big sis).
I recently saw a nifty EC pot that sits between your legs. I've also heard that the Baby Bjorn infant potty is being discontinued, so I should grab another of those soon too!
knitty_kat said…
I have seriously never heard of this before but it makes total sense to me.