My three month old pees and poops on the potty.
Yes, you read that right.
I put my infant on the potty. Well, hold her over it, really.
Some people who hear this are absolutely shocked and think I’m somehow abusing my child or expecting far more than what she is capable of at her young age. Others are intrigued and want to hear more. Honestly, I just want fewer dirty cloth diapers to launder. At least that’s how it started …
I started EC (elimination communication) with my first child, Ecogirl, when she was 7 months old, because that’s when I learned about it. Had I learned about it earlier, I would have started earlier. I vowed that I would start earlier with my next child.
During pregnancy #2 with Ecobaby, a friend loaned me the book “Diaper Free” by Ingrid Bauer. It really spelled out everything about EC quite clearly, down to the photographs of mothers holding their infants over a receptacle (toilet, potty, tupperware, whatever).
The theory behind EC is that babies give you cues to “tell” you they need to go, the same way they “tell” you they’re hungry, or cold, or tired, or whatever. You just have to learn to read the cues. For example, my friend who loaned me the book said her infant daughter got “squirmy” when she needed to go.
I learned that many other cultures keep their babies out of diapers from a very, very young age, even from birth. In our culture, we essentially teach our babies to soil themselves from birth, and then around age 2.5, we expect them to unlearn that behavior to “potty train”. Poor kids. They’re destined to fail, or at the very least, struggle.
(Sidenote: Could it be the agenda of disposable diaper companies to perpetuate the myth that children aren’t “ready” until sometime after their second birthday? Hmm, something to ponder …)
Anyway, back to the changing table: I placed a small Ikea potty on the table, and every time I took off her wet diaper, I’d hold her over the potty. Much to my amazement and joy, more times than not, she’d pee in it!
So far so good. But I was only getting success after a diaper was already wet. How to recognize the pee cues before the diaper became wet?
One day, while nursing, she popped off my breast and starting whining and flailing her arms and legs. I thought “She must have a wet diaper” so I got up to check, but no, she was dry. I sat back down to nurse, and she just kept popping on and off, whining, and flailing.
Back to the changing table. Now the diaper was wet!
The wheels started turning. I made the connection. By whining and flailing her limbs, she was trying to tell me she had to pee!
That moment changed everything. I learned her cues! I knew what she wanted! When her legs started doing Riverdance, she needed to pee!
In these three months of doing EC with my infant, I have learned a few things:
- Babies pee a lot, like 30 times a day or so!
- Babies don’t actually pee while they are asleep. They stir ever so slightly, and it is during that short waking that they release their muscles to go. My child sometimes sleeps eight hours at a stretch (yes, I know, lucky me!) and she is dry when she wakes up
- Babies can “hold it”. Sometimes it is a few minutes from the time Ecobaby whines and flails to the time I can actually get her to a toilet (like when we’re out of the house in a store or something). I swear to you: the child actually holds it until I can get her to a bathroom, on a changing table, remove her diaper, and then hold her in position, knees up, back against my belly,over the toilet. You can even hear her letting out a sigh as she releases her muscles and goes.
By no means do I catch all pees and poops in the potty, but I catch more than I miss, and that makes me much happier with my laundry situation. Plus, she’ll be fully potty trained earlier than most kids, which will make me really happy with my laundry situation.
Yes, it’s true though, visiting the potty that many times in a day is more work and requires more vigilance, but it makes my baby happier not to have to sit in a wet diaper for even a second.
And a really great byproduct of the whole thing is that I feel like I am really in tune with her, as she “tells” me what she needs, and I attend to her needs immediately.
Let’s be clear: EC is not potty training. It’s parent training.