Why I Am Talking About This Now
When we went through potty training with our first it was a nightmare. Looking back we did so many things wrong. With our twins I wanted to do better. So recently I started reading up on potty training and I found Go Diaper Free. I bought her book and listened to it, I’m too busy for sit down reads nowadays. Momlife, am I right?
I learned so much and still felt lacking. After listening to a few of her podcasts it finally clicked for me. So to save you some time I’m going to give you a quick outline of what each method is as well as share what we are doing.
There are two main methods out there. The first is traditional potty training. Which in the US and other western societies mean waiting until your child shows “readiness” or “interest” in the potty or potty training. The second is the EC method, which is what the Go Diaper Free method is all about. EC stands for elimination communication and it’s started ideally right at birth, but really can be started anytime from birth to two years. After that, it’s time for traditional potty training.
Our Potty Training Education and History
After reading the Go Diaper Free book I realized I could have started earlier. Our twins are 15 months old right now. I had no idea you could train a child that young. Western societies are highly dependent on diapers. I knew from research I’d done with my first child that women in the Philippines whistled when their children peed and after a while they were able whistle and the children would know they should go, and they did. I was in complete awe of this and flabbergasted at the prospect that it was even possible. These mothers had their babies potty trained before they could even walk!
It took “us” 2 1/2 years to get started with potty training and my son was 3 1/2 before we were “done”. He still wore night diapers and had a lot of anxiety about pooping. I would say he was about 4 when he finally stopped having poop accidents. Currently he’s almost 5 and we are still helping him wipe a little. Even in modern societies that is considered late. I wanted to do better with our twins.
When thinking more critically about potty training it seems silly. We wait until children are “ready”. They are “ready” to start pooping and peeing the moment they are born, earlier in fact given the fact that they “practice” peeing in utero. Then, if you think about how much money would be lost by diaper companies, billions, if we potty trained our children sooner and the concept of interest… the whole ideas seems a bit more ridiculous in hind sight. Who’s interested in peeing? It’s a thing we all do but true interest? I don’t think any of us really care much about it. Waiting until a small child becomes interested in a large thing with a hole on top of it seems really odd. They are curious about everything depending on their stage. If you never try, how will you know if they are interested? If you wait too long you will likely have defiance and unwillingness to cooperate.
Also, Western societies put cereal in the toilet to encourage peeing. Where else in the world do they waste food simply to pee on? And then people wonder why their children are reaching in the potty. It doesn’t quite make sense when you really give it thought.
The Diaper Free podcast host Andrea said don’t wait until the perfect time, or over plan. She also made the point that you don’t have to go cold turkey and throw out your diapers and purchase a bunch of small underwear. Knowing this made the daunting task of potty training twins feel so much easier. So, now what? I’ll tell you!
Here's What We're Doing
I’m sure you’ve got the inkling that we are starting earlier this time around, but seriously now. What does EC or potty training really look like in practice? We’ve actually developed two different methods that my husband and I are working on as a team. Neither of us are particularly comfortable with grunting and hissing at our kids. So I guess it’s a blessing in disguise that we missed the initial EC method startup. We wouldn’t have wanted to do that. We also weren’t in a great position to be without diapers considering I had a rough recover after my C-section and my husband only got a week off. A wonderful gloriously appreciated week off, but still it was HARD!
So, together we are making sure we put our toddlers on their potty chair at specific times during the day. Right when they wake up in the morning or from a nap. We are also trying to potty them at easy transitions. For example before we leave the house, when we return, before meals, after meals. We don’t always offer but we try to be as consistent as possible and we’re very committed to the wakeup potty times.
When I’m alone with them in the mornings and my husband is at work I also incorporate the naked observation time. This is when you let your child be naked in an easy to clean location and you track when they pee or poop in relation to major activities. Do they always pee 30 minutes after eating? How much time passes between peeing? Knowing the min-max times and general trends is helpful when you’re looking for cues to get your child on the potty. I should also add it’s spring time right now so I’m loving having them outside in our backyard without a diaper. I have also found it quite informative. My daughter who I thought wasn’t cueing me at all, actually did outside. She became very frantic and didn’t know where she was supposed to “go”. She went inside her playhouse to pee. Seeing that helped me realize she was comfortable peeing in the house. She has made more swift progression at this point due to her dislike of diapers and my greater understanding of her patterns.
My husband has them in the evenings when I am working my shift. He’s not about potty training. He hates the whole process and definitely has PTSD from training our older son. His approach follows the same general rules, but he’s not looking for cues to catch “extra” movements. He’s sticking to the scheduled potty times and keeping their diapers securely fastened when they aren’t on the potty chairs.
The Main Takeaways
- Start NOW. Big or small, just start!
- Go at a pace that works for your family.
- Don’t stress out, they’ll be potty trained by 16 unless you have extenuating circumstances, but you and your doctor would have (I hope) discussed your child’s development and expectations.
- Know there will be accidents. It’s part of life. Don’t stop or stunt your plans because of them.
If you’re interested in this method and want to track their movements sign up for my newsletter and receive a free training log! Here’s a link to the potty chairs we purchased from amazon. You can also click the images above to be taken to the potty chair.
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