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Out of Diapers by 12 Months Old

cues eliminationcommunication infants potty learning potty train

Now, that title might be a tad misleading to the new mama. It should say how we have grown into rarely having to change poopy diapers by 12 months old. This is not an over night thing that happened. It’s been hard work and lots of patience, time, modeling, and guiding on our end.

Around this time last year, being a new mom, I saw an add for a Black Friday deal on Go Diaper Free’s audio book on sale. I thought, hey - that would be pretty cool to do. We cloth diaper so I thought it would be great not to have to wash poopy diapers anymore.

So, I decided it was a fair price for the possible outcome. The book is all about Elimination Communication (EC). I listened to the first couple chapters and started implementing some of the suggestions right away. I have yet to finish the whole book because she starts with the important things to get started first.

R was around 4ish months old when I started to learn her elimination cues. There were many times she would pee out in the opening but that’s part of the process on my end. During the sale, I also ordered a top hat baby potty and a mini baby potty. So, I would offer her the top hat potty when I noticed one of her potty cues. This potty is literally a plastic top hat that you place inbetween your legs and it allows them to sit in your lap and eliminate. Once she could sit up on her own I would offer her the mini potty because she could sit independently on it. This potty stand independently on the ground but is smaller than the training potty’s on the market.

In the beginning I missed the elimination many times or misread the cue and she didn’t have to go. It’s about making it a consistent routine for you and baby. Around 6/7 months old I would offer her the potty immediately upon waking from sleep at night. While she was sitting on the potty I would tell her what she was doing and sign the word potty for her. If she eliminated, I would tell her which elimination she did and sign it as well.

At first, I would offer her the potty upon waking like mentioned before. Then, I added in offering after naps. She started getting on a schedule of pooping upon waking at night. That was the easiest when she was on that schedule but like all things, it can’t last forever. If she started to poop while not on the potty I would say “wait” and pick her up and bring her to the potty to finish. Sometimes, she hadn’t started getting it out and others we’ve had a big mess to clean up. All part of the learning process.

I didn’t start to see her signing potty to me until she was over a year old. She may have copied the sign while she was sitting on the potty before then but to purposefully use the sign was later than one year old. Now, she signs potty to us when she needs to go. Sometimes we make it before she goes, sometimes we don’t. That’s okay. Again, that’s part of the process.

I’m fairly certain no moms have privacy while going to the bathroom after having kids. Babe always has to come in with you. Good news, you are modeling to them how to use the toilet. They see you go to the bathroom and that is part of learning where they will be going to the bathroom. I typically tell R what I am doing while I am going to the bathroom so she can understand what I am modeling.

Practicing EC does not need to be done full time for it to be successful. We don’t even practice it full time but all of us (including R) have learn her potty habits and cues to allow us to make it to the potty before she goes. Does she eliminate in the potty every time she has to go? No, definitely not. But I continue to offer her the potty at times that are practical for us. This includes upon waking, before naps, before or after meals, or before getting into the carseat to go somewhere.

My best advice if you are interested in trying EC with your child is to not set high expectations. For either of you. Give yourself grace. There will be accidents and messes. These are typically just a laundry issue and nothing more than that. Unless of course you hate doing laundry then it might annoy you. Regardless, it is possible to start implementing early potty learning habits at whatever age or times that work best for you and your family.

I hope this encourages you or sparks an interest in researching more about EC to implement it with your babe.

Leave any questions or comments you have for me in the comments below. Or send me an email if you have a more personal question. I am here and happy to help guide you through this stage of life.

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