I've had a few folks ask me about potty training. Yes, our almost three-year-old is potty trained. He knows when he has to eliminate and he tells us when he needs to do so. He does still require assistance using the facilities but for the most part, he is potty trained and wearing underwear except for night time when we do put him in a cloth diaper. In fact, he can wear the same diapers his tiny sister wears but that's a blog posting for another time!
I started potty training him when he was 14 months old and he was out of diapers by 18 months. However, retrospectively, I think it was more a matter of us being trained. We had him on a schedule of when to put him on the toilet and he would go. Rarely did he actually say he needed to go. Generally, we watched for signs that he needed to go or we would put him on the toilet in anticipation of him needing to go. At the time I did not realize that what we were doing was elimination communication.
This type of toilet training worked well for us. At the time of starting this I was home with our son so it was not difficult for me to take some time to watch his patterns and then take the extra time to put him on the toilet and sit with him during the day. There was never any stress or pressure. My intent was just to integrate time on the toilet into our routine and make it seem to our young son that it was a normal part of his day.
I know sometimes people thought it was wrong that I was putting such a small child on the toilet because after all, kids really don't get control over their bowel and bladder function until age 2 years. However, I was not asking that he have control. It was more a matter of us just watching and acting or preemptively acting. And there were not too few people who just thought I was a little odd or "pushing the issue." But let me tell you - training our son in this method was so much easier than if we would have waited until he was "ready" - 14 month old children are a whole lot less opinionated and fearful than 3 year olds. These are the folks that would probably really disapprove of me starting our daughter at age 4 months on the same method.
So, how did we begin with her at such a young age? It was easy because we already had the potty training gear on hand. I put the potty seat directly on the toilet and began sitting her on the seat. At first I started by just putting her on the toilet when her diaper was dry. I also started humming a simple tune to her to keep her occupied while we waited together. I'd have her sit for only a couple of minutes. Amazingly, she would actually go about 25% of the time.
Then I started adding in more trips to the bathroom during times when I thought she might need to go - after meals, before naps, immediately upon waking. This increased our success rate immensely. Still, I continued the same tune at each trip to the restroom. Additionally, at about the 7 month mark, she started understanding to relax her sphincter muscles when sitting on the seat. Thus, if she needed to go, she would. Sometimes she would urinate, sometimes defecate, sometimes both, or sometimes it was only the passing of gas. But I could see that she was understanding the procedure. At times our tiny little girl will only use a few diapers a day and at other times we use 8 or 10 in a day. But generally, she will now go at least once per day in the toilet. Often I will go days without changing a poopy diaper. And let me tell you - I really like this. I do NOT like poopy diapers. Thus, there is a lot of motivation on my part to time things just right as often as possible.
T Rex Dad has been 100% on board with this since the beginning. My mom was pretty skeptical and thought it was kind of funny but she didn't say much. Mostly, she'd say, "You're going put that little girl on the toilet? Isn't she a bit too young?" And I'd just say, "Oh, Mom, you had all of us potty trained by age one." Then one day while she was watching, she heard our little daughter go pee. After that, she realized it was not distressful to our daughter - quite the contrary. Aside from a few individuals, mostly family, I'm pretty certain every one else things I'm nuts. But, that's fine. I'm starting to get used to it. First, from potty training T Rex, then when I said I was going to be cloth diapering, and now when I excuse myself with our bare-bottomed daughter and ask for the restroom.
Oh, well. It's this girl smiling when we're putting away the diapers ahead of everyone else. Until then, we'll continue using our cloth diapers and enjoying seeing our sweet little girl smile during her potty break because her brother is doing the potty dance for her!
So have you ever tried elimination communication? What do you think of it?
Alternatively, have you ever been the person who did something outside the norm, and how did it make you feel?