This is Episode 185, a 100% eyes on at all times, all on the potty. Does this even work? And is it exhausting? And wait, how do I get me time, too?
I'm going to debunk a ton of myths today. I'm going to help you to get a little bit more balanced, a little bit more realistic with EC in today's episode. Please visit the show notes over at godiaperfree.com/185 for a full written transcript of this episode and also a place where you can leave comments and questions for if you are having issues with the same thing that this woman on today's show is having issues with. Enjoy.
Hey, there. Welcome to the Go Diaper Free Podcast. I'm Andrea Olson, your host, author and mom of five babies, all EC from birth, all out of diapers by walking.
So now let's get on to the fourth and final lesson for today. We're going to talk about being potty-centered, and I know I've talked about this before. I've talked about being potty-centered before in different ways, but today I want to talk about it, specifically with one person's comment that they've sent me recently.This person has a problem with having focus to be 100% eyes on at all times because the baby doesn't signal. "I go by natural timing and easy catches only, exhausting. This is so exhausting for me. I must pay attention 100% of the time, but I'll be a better mom because I'm doing this 100% of the time." Now she also adds that "I want me time, too. I want time for myself, too." This just kind of breaks my heart so I really wanted to share about this one as this particular lesson and topic today.
It is absolutely a myth, you guys, that you have to be 100% eyes on your baby for potty all the time, so I cannot stress this enough. I know when you're just starting on EC or when you're doing potty training, if you think you have to be 100% perfect, you are going to fail if that is your expectation. You can only ebb and flow. You can only learn and grow. There is, literally, no way to be perfect, so stop trying.
Now, the reason I say that is because if we think everything has to be a 100%, we're trying to do potty and feeding and sleeping and all the things, there is no way we're going to succeed. We're, literally, setting ourselves up for failure so I need you to have some grace and some real serious compassion for yourself. How about just as much as you have for that adorable little baby who's watching you do all your homemaking stuff and watching you brush your teeth in the morning and they're watching everything you do, do we want to teach our babies that we have to be a 100% on all the time? No. The second thing I want to say about this is that if you are focused on your baby's potty stuff or anything with your baby 100% of the time, you're going to drive them nuts, and they're going to start resisting, and they really don't want that.
One thing that really stood out for me when I read this person's struggle and this question is the The Continuum Concept demonstration of self-care right there. The Continuum Concept, how many of you have read that book? If you have not, please order it today. It is about this woman's experience, Jean Liedloff's experience, living with Stone Age Indians for quite some time, and those babies there just observing them were never the center of attention because that's not developmentally appropriate for them. They are here to learn. They're here for many reasons. They're here for love. They're here for everything that we're here for. But in this developmental stage, they are watching us like an eagle, like a hawk. They want to see what it's like to be a grown-up human in the culture and the community that you live in because they're learning the ropes right now, and a lot of this happens from observation, putting things in their mouth, observing, looking, seeing, hearing, feeling, touching.
When you read the Continuum Concept, you will see that babies will actually start to have behavioral issues and be really fussy if we're 100% eyes on at all times. So this woman who wrote this, my heart goes out to you, and I just want to bring the bar down, honey. You do not have to do all of this. You do not have to be 100% eyes on at all times. In fact, this is I'd say number one or number two, between this and privacy, the number one cause of potty pauses, so you're basically setting yourself up for potty pauses.
Now, I hear that you're also just being vigilant. So maybe you're not a 100% staring at your baby waiting for signals all the time because the baby doesn't signal, but natural timing and Easy Catches for you, if your baby is going, like, 10, 15 minutes, every 10, 15 minutes or every 20 minutes even, I want you to just reduce, simplify. Go for every other catch so stop trying to get every catch. Even with my first baby, Andrea Olson, perfect ECer that you might think I am, I did every other pee so he would, literally, pee in his diaper. Then that would cause a really strong signal for the second pee, and I would catch the second pee in the potty. That's how we did it, and he was out of diapers at nine and a half months. It was fantastic.
The other thing is, if you're doing Easy Catches, please don't try to do all of them, especially transition times. You're going to be pottying your baby all day long and driving them nuts. So we have a backup for a reason, it's there for when we're learning, choose the backup that gives the best signals, the lowest stress for you and the most dryness possible. But also use that as a tool for when you're not on all the time because you can't be 100% on all the time. Like I do EC full-time with a full-time awareness, but I'm not catching all of them. That's never how it's been for me. I definitely want to catch all the poops, but I definitely am not trying to catch all the pees. You're right. It is exhausting. So rein it back in and try to just do one or two of the Easy Catches and then know your baby's natural timing. If you happen to get a little fussiness around that time, take them. Let them go once in their diaper, then take them the next time so try to find some kind of balance. I feel like the theme of today is balance.
The thing that you're also telling yourself that's probably messing things up a little bit and messing up the connection, you're telling yourself that you'll be a better mom because you are paying attention, a 100% eyes on all the time. You are actually not. You're being a worse mom. The reason is, is because you're exhausting yourself and babies need us to be refreshed and revitalized and taking care of ourselves. Remember, they're also watching us and saying, "Oh, I'm going to do what you do when I'm a grownup." So if they see us completely sacrificing and being a martyr for their wellbeing, then that's what they're going to get. And in their lives, they're not going to be focused on self-care, either. It's like being on an airplane. You know how they say, put your mask on, and not that kind of mask, but put your oxygen mask on before other people? Because if yours isn't on, how are you going to help somebody else? You're going to be passed out on the ground with no oxygen, and then your kid won't have theirs on because you haven't taken care of yourself. Always want to take care of ourselves first.
You say at the end of your thing "but, yeah, I want time for me, too." You deserve time for you. So here's where we call in the support. We say even one day a week, "Mom, will you please come over for one hour so I can go get a mani-pedi? So I can go get my hair done? So I can just stare at the wall without having to hold anybody? So I can go to the bathroom by myself? So I can take a nap?" Whatever it is, whatever little bit you can get.
And if you have a partner, husband, wife, whatever, this is time to have a serious heart-to-heart. Say, "look, this is super hard for me. Being a new mom is super hard for me, and I really need support." And not "Can I? May I please have permission for this," but "in order for me to reign in this family as the queen who I am and this mother Hera, Hestia, do all the things," and Hera is like the goddess of motherhood and Hestia is the goddess of the heart, like "in order for me to fully be in what I was created to be, I need more support. I, literally, have not gotten a shower in four days. I would love to every morning, get up at 7:00, you get up with a baby, I get up and take a shower. Will you agree to that?" This is a way to assert your needs and to ask for what you actually need.
When I just read this "a 100% eyes on all the time, exhausting, must pay attention, I'll be a better mom because I'm on it all the time, I really want time for me, too," what I hear in your message, Mama, is that you aren't happy with how this is. It's draining you, and your baby is actually being done a disservice by the choices you're making. Now like Maya Angelou said, "When you know better, you do better." So take all this information and everybody else who's listening. Please take all this information and make some changes to your life so that you're not that frazzled, worn-out mom that your baby really can't fully connect with because you're disconnected from yourself.
Self Care 101, I want you to remember that pottying 24/7 is not the goal. I want you to set a timer for those times that you are going to take your baby so that the other times you can just tune out and totally be present with your baby. I want you to pick one or two of the Easy Catches and just do that for a couple of weeks. I want you to schedule in self-care as if it is your job because it technically is. I want you to know that your baby needs to see you living a grownup life and doing your thing and watching you, like somebody is saying, "My seven-month-old loves to watch me and be a part of my homemaking tasks." This is, literally, all they want. It's very simple with babies. We don't need to entertain them. What we need is to bring them along for the ride, and let them see us what it's like to be a really healthy individual who's taking care of herself and has wonderful boundaries and a ton of self-love. Because that's going to teach them how to love themselves, and I literally think that's the most important thing.
So grab yourself a copy of the Continuum Concept and enjoy that. I hope that this has helped you to understand that you can't and should not be a 100% eyes on all the time with EC, and you can and should be practicing self-care every single day. Even if it's only five minutes, do one sun salutation for yoga and that is it. That is better than nothing.
Now I would love to hear from you. Have you been thinking that you're supposed to be 100% eyes on at all times? Have you been exhausted by EC and are you wanting more me time? Please comment over at godiaperfree.com/185 and leave questions, reach out for support, whatever you need from us. We would love to hear from you over there on the blog, and we will see you next time. Thanks so much.
Thanks so much for listening. This is the Go Diaper Free podcast at godiaperfree.com. We'll see you next time.
Thank you Andrea ❤️ This concept has been a huge learning curve for me over the past 7 years, and I’ve grown so much in learning how to balance my responsibilities with my needs! However, I’ve recently noticed that when life gets busy or seasons change, my default mode is to drift back into an unhealthy place where I’m doing all of the responsibilities and none of the self care. Just a few days ago I had a major wake up call that I need to redesign my life again, and put my own needs back on the list of things that matter. Thank you for sharing this! It was EXACTLY what I needed to hear today.
You got this!
Thank you for validating this Andrea. I am on my second kid now and EC is so much better this time than the first one! The first baby I started at 10 months, and I was driving myself crazy trying to get as many catches as possible, all the up’s and downs with resistance were really killing me. But at around 20 months we finally got the chance to potty train and things went so much smoother than if we never tried EC. And I realized it was just a matter of exposure and practice that really helped her along. Now she’s fully potty trained at two years old!
With my current new newborn, I started at around three months and I am just offering before and after naps. I feel so much less pressure to catch anything. Because I know it’s all about just making it part of our normal routine. Transition times are the most helpful, so I really want to get those ingrained into our routine now before we develop resistance later. As she gets older I’ll try offering more but again will not focus on the outcome, just on the learning process and keeping it as low pressure as possible.
I’m so happy that this helped!
For my first I started at 10 months and went crazy trying to catch everything and it was just psychological torture I felt like I was constantly failing. But potty training at 20 months went well, fully potty trained at 2 years old!
Now on my second, for my newborn, we started at three months and are just doing before and after naps and bedtime. No pressure just learning and making it a part of our routine. Transition times are so helpful so I want to get those part of our routine. I feel so much better and looking forward to focusing on the process and not the outcome.
You got this momma!
Ugh, I thought I had to catch all pee and poo and I was trying to figure out how to do that but it definitely is exhausting. Thank you for the, now obvious, advice; I don’t have to be eyes on potty all day.
Definitely do not need to have eyes on the potty all day, that is exhausting. Super happy that this podcast helped!
This is just the best thing I’ve heard all year. I was trying to catch everything and felt so frustrated when I missed. I even started to miss poops which was the easiest for us as a newborn. Thank you so much for this podcast I feel relieved and have a new interest to carry on but only doing every other.
I’m so happy this podcast helped!