True Adventures for Everyday People

Category: Elimination Communication

EC or Potty Training While Away from Home

Whether you are on a long road trip or just at a playdate, taking care of your child’s elimination needs can be a bit nerve-wracking, to say the least. I remember taking my son to the grocery store in those early diaper-free-outing days, and I was terrified we were going to have a pee-soaked car seat or worse, a puddle on the grocery store floor. (For the record, since then, I have dealt with an accident in the car seat and while not fun, it was a very good learning experience for our whole family and definitely wasn’t the end of the world; maybe I’ll write a post about that at some point…).

In any case, while it is an exercise of trust in our child, our intuition, and our system, it is a necessary and very important step on our road to diaper-independence with each of our children. However, there are several things that can make it a lot easier.

#1 Gear – Make sure you have a mini potty or a portable seat reducer. You can keep the reducer in your diaper bag and the mini potty in the back of your car (believe me this works really well!). Other gear that might be helpful are trainers and wet bags. TinyUndies.com sells really absorbent cotton trainers that provide extra protection while out and about as well as cloth pull-up covers called TinyUps that can go over underwear or trainers if you are really nervous about an accident. TinyUps protect car seats and grocery store floors while not getting in the way of taking your child to the bathroom. TinyUndies also carries wet bags which are life-savers if there does happen to be an accident (otherwise you’re stuck wrapping the wet clothes in paper towels and hoping your other stuff doesn’t get wet, or if you’re super lucky you might have a grocery bag which may or may not have a hole in it…).

Speaking of gear, GoDiaperFree.com is having a flash sale today in honor of Andrea’s son’s 4th birthday. Use the code BRANSON30 for 30% off. If you’ve been planning to purchase the Go Diaper Free or Tiny Potty Training book, now would be a great time to snag them!

#2 Arrival and Departure – When you arrive at your destination or a stop on a road trip, take your child to the bathroom first; Andrea calls this a “foundational pee.” For me, this means using the mini potty in the back of the car in a parking lot, the restroom at church, or the bathroom at a friend’s house. Make sure you also take your child right before you leave. As a personal preference, I typically avoid taking my toddler to a public restroom at the grocery store or zoo just because I also have a baby and it’s just easier to use the mini potty in the car. If you are on a longer road trip, I definitely recommend adjusting the backup you use for your peace of mind and the smoothness of your trip. Your child’s progress in most cases will not be significantly hindered and you will pick up right where you left off when you get settled in your new situation.

#3 A Calm Demeanor – I know this is very much easier said than done, but your child will pick up on the fact that you’re nervous and things might not go as smoothly as they might have otherwise. Trust that things will be okay. After all, as Andrea reminds us, pee is sterile and things can be washed. It’s not the end of the world. Use whatever backup or gear makes you the least nervous, but also don’t hold yourself and your child back just because you’re scared. They are often more capable than we give them credit for.

As an example of what our children are capable of, my husband took my then-15 month-old son on a trip to see my husband’s parents who lived 1.5hr away. He kept him in underwear and he stayed dry the entire way up, all day while they were there, and all the way home. On another occasion when we visited my husband’s parents, I was too nervous for Caden to be in underwear, so we put him in a diaper and he stayed dry the whole way up; on the way back he told us he had to pee so we pulled over, he peed, and we carried on, arriving home with him still dry. If we give them a chance many times they will rise to the occasion.

Good luck on your outings! 🙂 Remember about Branson’s birthday sale and have a wonderful day!

EC and Potty Training with Two Under 2

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 ewaldadventures.com/godiaperfree or feel free to email me at ewaldadventures@gmail.com.

Should I do EC or potty training?

This is an important question to answer. Starting down one road when you should be on the other could lead to confusion and frustration for you and your baby. Luckily though, this question isn’t too hard to answer.

EC is officially recommended for babies 0-18 months. Potty training is recommended beginning at 16-18mo.

If your child is younger than 12mo, you are in the EC category. This process is parent-led and the baby is not expected to necessarily signal or have much independence in the process, so it is up to the parent to learn and respond to their baby’s needs.

If your baby is between 12-18mo, you will most likely do what’s called the “hybrid plan” which takes elements from both EC and potty training to help meet the needs of your independence-seeking baby. This plan is included in the Go Diaper Free book purchase (see p. 71). As the child seeks more control, the parent makes it a priority to teach them how to signal, how to mount the potty, how to manipulate clothing, etc.

If your baby is between 16-18mo, it is your call as the parent whether to use the hybrid plan or go ahead and tackle potty training. Either is just fine. It just depends on your child’s temperament and if you are able to commit full-time. If you are ready to be done and you think your child is ready to be done, go ahead with potty training!

If your child is over 18mo, EC would no longer be beneficial so you would go straight to the potty training plan, adjusting for naps and nighttime according to his age, abilities, and your desires as the parent.

And there you have it! Now you know whether to do EC or potty training with your baby. To purchase the Go Diaper Free book (0-18mo) or the Tiny Potty Training book (18mo+) please check out www.ewaldadventures.com/godiaperfree.

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