This post is about our experience with EC and potty training with two kiddos under age two. It might be a little longer, but the short of it is that it’s been awesome and that it’s totally do-able! 🙂
I first heard about EC while I was pregnant with Caden and doing research about cloth diapers. Since EC has the goal of “catching” pee and poop a receptacle other than a diaper, it seemed like that would make using cloth diapers easier. Unfortunately, my recovery post-partum was a bit more difficult than I had planned, so we didn’t end up starting EC at birth like I had imagined we would.
One day, when Caden was about a month old, I decided to stop over-thinking it and to just do it. So I took the diaper off and tried holding him over the sink. After a few moments he peed! I felt kind of dumb for being so thrilled, but I was hooked.
Over the next 9 months, we practiced EC very part-time, mostly in the morning after he woke up. Eventually, we were able to catch nearly all poops in the mini potty. My thought that EC would make cloth diapering easier was very accurate.
My favorite part of this time in our lives was all the moments that I could be focused and intentional with my son. I had to just stand there and wait, and that gave me time to just enjoy spending time with him. Since he was a really big baby, to help save our backs we put a mini potty on the bathroom counter rather than holding him over the toilet or sink. Over time, he created a game of kicking over the soap dispensers as he sat on the potty and it was so much fun. Those are memories I wouldn’t have if we hadn’t done EC.
When Caden was about 10 months old, I decided to be more focused about EC and try doing nearly full-time. It was not as hard as I thought and we had a lot of success. By 14 months old, Caden had finally learned to crawl, then walk, and he started wearing tiny trainers (www.ewaldadventures/tinyundies) instead of a diaper. We still had some misses, but I felt amazing about how far we had come. Unfortunately, being in my third trimester with our second child, my energy and commitment waned. This lead to us going back to diapers when Caden was 16 months old.
After our daughter was born, I was amazed at how much more in tune I was to her elimination needs than I had been with Caden early on. I would just know that she needed to go and I had a choice: ignore her and have her go in her diaper, or take her to the bathroom and help her stay clean. So around 2 weeks postpartum, we started part-time EC with her. We had some other strong motivation, too, as she seemed to leak out of every diaper we tried – cloth, Seventh Generation, Pampers, it didn’t matter. Taking her to the bathroom really saved us time and made her more comfortable.
During these first weeks with a new baby, I was so grateful that we were able to stay with my family and get some much-needed support; however, I got really annoyed and frustrated seeing my son in a disposable diaper full of pee. My family, understandably, didn’t know how to handle such a young toddler using the potty and I didn’t feel up to teaching them, so diapers were more convenient for everyone. But I was still bummed about the situation. We had come so far and just a couple months earlier he was totally diaper free during the day. I felt like I might be crazy, but a few weeks later I decided to take the diapers off my son once and for all, with the goal of having him fully daytime potty trained within the next month before he turned 18 months old.
We were successful and he was nearly perfectly reliable in a matter of weeks. I was happily shocked that the month in diapers hadn’t done much damage. My husband could take him to the neighborhood park and Caden would say he needed to go with enough notice that they could make it home in time. I could take both children to the grocery store and if I had him use the potty before and after shopping, we would make it with dry pants. It was incredible, and so liberating. I felt like we were honoring our son’s development, his ability to control his body and to communicate his needs. My family also quickly got on board and helped so much while we were with them (it’s still challenging to take a toddler potty when you have a tiny baby!).
At the time of writing we are waiting for Caden to start coming up dry for naps and nighttime before tackling diaper-free sleep, but we feel very confident and proud of the work and communication that has gone into this process. I am excited go through this process again with my daughter, and I hope it will turn out to be just as amazing of an experience.
If you want to learn more about EC or about getting your older toddler out of diapers, check out the books – Go Diaper Free (0-18mo) or the Tiny Potty Training Book (18mo+) or feel free to email me at KimberlyE@godiaperfree.com.