T Rex Family

T Rex Family

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Elimination Communication

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?


JKMommy said...

Awesome post. I am starting to understand how it could work in real life (I do understand how it WORKS from reading online stuff, but was skeptical about it working for real people like us! haha). I am still nervous to try it b/c I don't want to do it "wrong" but I am going to have to start working this into our routine. Gotta get the potty gear first!

I tend to think I DON'T do things outside the norm. But then when I reflect I think I DO a LOT of things outside the norm for my group of friends and family - like blogging, cloth diapering, running for elected office - nothing odd there, but nobody I know personally does these things... so I don't know if that counts. Do I feel weird about it? Only when people I care about don't support my efforts... :)

Emily said...

I don't think you are a bit nuts! Quite the contrary. And more power to you for having the determination and patience to do it.

As for doing things outside the norm...we are becoming experts at it! :)

It's crazy to me how much society pushes the 'normal' regime, as if everyone should fit into the same mold and do the same things regardless of their own feelings, thoughts or ideas?!

If you feel like it is working for you and yours...that is all that matters.

Best of luck with your Elimination Communication and that happy potty girl!

septembermom said...

You have a great plan in place, and I think you'll be successful. I've always had potty battles in my house. So glad that those days are over :) I wish you tons of luck. I know that you'll help many mothers with your experience and advice in this area. Keep going!

BallerinaBiker said...

Great job! At first, I'll admit, I thought it was crazy - not because I didn't think it could be done, but because of all of the extra effort you have to do. Your post was inspiring and you should write a book about it. You could make millions. Seriously. And, you're right. Sitting on the potty from an early age will eliminate the fear of sitting on the potty at a later age. Way to go, Mommy!

Kim said...

I didn't think it was odd at all. Many many cultures around the world start potty training this early. I try not to be too judgemental of others going through parenthood. It's such a complicated time and there is need for us to support each other - not break each other down. I'm so grateful to you Jenn over the past year and a half for all of your excellent posts on how you are handling this time of your life. I think it takes courage and love to put yourself out there for us to get a peek into your life. Adorable picture of bebe sister on the potty!

zombiemom said...

We used this method as well, for our last child. I first heard of it through a friend who started her children out about the same age you have with little girl.
My daughter was about 9months old when I started her, only because of just hearing about it.
I lucked out with my other two. The oldest was fully potty trained at 15 months, because she wanted to wear panties like her older cousins. The middle child was just a month older, because she wanted to wear them like big sister.
I do many things outside of the norm. Much of my family thinks I'm nuts because of my choices such as limiting sugar and preservatives in my household. Or even the level of communication I am on with my children. (I treat them as intelligent human beings whom have a voice and an opinion). We try to talk things out and voice our concerns in a calm way. By valuing their opinions we avoid many tantrums and fights. And in turn, they understand the situation better and it never becomes and issue again!
Some people (even in my family) believe it is easier to just scream or spank their kid, or send them to their rooms to fix the problem.
My mother is very supportive. She says she is proud of the kind of mother I am.
It's when others think you're being "extreme", but if it's not hurting, and especially benefiting your child and family, then don't stop! Some people such as yourself are just paying attention and learning from others' mistakes!

Jenners said...

I hate when people go out of their way to disapprove of someone trying something different ... you shouldn't have to justify what you are doing with your own children. It isn't like you are harming them in some way. And it was good of you to share your experiences this way in an attempt to share with others. I hope no one gives you a hard time or makes you feel bad about it.

Erin said...

It's nice that it is working out for you! I wish we would have started that! Now if only my oldest didn't suffer from chronic constipation!

Nina said...

I think there are more people out their like you than you might think. I wanted to do this with my youngest it just didn't work out with sitters and working full time. I must say it is awesome how well she is doing. Keep up the great job.

Jason and Claire said...

Wow! I'm impressed. You are motivating me to try to it. You are so good at everything you do!

Crunchy Beach Mama said...

My friend just announced that her son is fully trained now at 14 months. I told her I would miss my cloth diapers to much! Ha! :)

Good for you! I do not think I would have the patience to try.

Caitlin said...

I think this is an excellent idea! The jokes on the people who are criticizing, yet having to change diapers for years!
I say GO YOU for having the discipline to make it work and for going against the flow. I think that you are WONDERFUL! :)

Erin said...

I think this is awesome and amazing! I heard about it when I was researching cloth diapers while I was pregnant, but didn't put much stock into it. Then I saw a post about it on one of my mommy groups and was reminded of it again. I thought, "Why not?" and put my 4 month old son on the potty... AND HE PEED!!! I couldn't believe it! I've only tried it 2 other times since and he hasn't gone again, but it's hard to read his signals. I work from home, so I am with him all day. I don't know if I can keep running him to the potty all day, but I think even a few times a day might help give him the idea that that is where we go potty. I would LOVE to be out of diapers early!