In our family, we begin our children on the potty at birth. “What??” is the reaction I usually get to that information, unless the person has already heard of this concept (also called “elimination communication” or ECing and “infant potty training”). Did you know that we are among the few countries in the world that do the whole disposable diaper/potty training at two and three years old thing? Well, whatever you’re accustomed to elimination-wise, there is nothing more satisfying than when you know your little one is getting closer and closer to being finished with the whole diaper situation. Chloe was finished at just about 15 months and Willow was finished at 17 months.
Which brings me to why I’m so super excited today…..Laelia, who is almost 16 months old, is getting so close to being all done with diapers/accidents (she’s usually in toddler undies but sometimes cloth diapers and sometimes she’s just plain naked. There’s no shame here.). Well my friends, she’s finally telling me when she has to “pee pee.” In my world of being a stay at home mama and raising three beautiful little ladies, this is always a red letter day! Laelia also signs to me while she’s on the potty to let me know whether or not she’s done. She has a variety of signs down for this and even some that she’s created herself—I guess you could call them ASL contractions because she combines a couple different signs to make her own words. *beam*
Very often I get asked questions about our decision to put our girls on the potty so early, so I thought I would tackle a couple of them here.
“Why do you put your babies on the potty?”
Elimination communication may sound overwhelming at first. It’s really quite easy. It’s not a plan to potty train your child at birth. While that is eventually the goal, primarily with a newborn the goal is just to respond to their need of elimination and not having their precious little bottoms sitting in it. Who wants to sit in their own waste? It’s another need they have just like eating and sleeping and snuggling…they have to pee.
“How do you know they have to go?”
If you have ever tried this with a newborn, you will notice that one of the times when they get fussy is right before they need to go potty, which is one of their cues. There are also certain points in the day when they have to go, a schedule if you will, just like adults—right when they wake up is a given. Some go in the middle of feedings and right after.
It also helps at first to figure out about how frequently they go and put them on the potty every so often. After a while, believe it or not, they will tell you when they have to go. As I mentioned before, fussiness is a cue. You also might notice a change in facial expressions that indicates, “Hey! It’s time!!!”
“Isn’t it a lot of work?”
While it might sound like a lot of work (it is, but is so worth it. I promise.), it is another really cool way to bond with your baby. They know you will respond to this need when they communicate it to you and it is a connection they have with you. And let’s not forget this super awesome part of ECing: less time in diapers = paying less money and less garbage in landfills! And, in my experience with toddlers and potty training, it makes potty training super easy! You don’t have to fight the will of a toddler to sit on the potty. They already love going on the potty since they’ve been doing it from birth and want to start trying to do it all by themselves. It’s hard work no matter when you do it, but if you make it easier on your little one by doing it from the start, they will adjust much better later on and it most likely won’t end up being such a difficult transition for baby or mama.