Woo-hoo, let's celebrate, you guys. We've reached a hundred episodes. I'm so excited. And today this episode is called Five Babies, All ECed From Birth, All Out of Diapers By Walking, None of Them Requiring Potty Training. This is a recap of our 10-year journey. I'm totally going to wing this one. I have no notes. All I have is my memories, which have been awesome, of ECing all five of my babies from birth over the last 10 years. And yes, 10 years ago, almost to the day, I had my first baby.
(This is the transcript of my off-the-cuff audio show - please forgive any run-ons or other grammar errors!) :)
Elimination Communication Story #1 - Kaiva
In the beginning, I had heard years before I had my first baby about some friends of a friend had a baby - they didn't use diapers and instead they pottied their baby into the sink. And I thought, "Wow. Whatever that is, I'm going to look it up whenever I'm pregnant if I ever have a baby. And I'm definitely going to do that," because I remember back to having babysat since I was 11 years old and how terrible it was to have to change poopy diapers. I mean, it was just so against everything that felt right. It was terrible for me. So yeah, I bookmarked that.
And when I was pregnant with Kaiva, my first baby, who's now almost 10 years old, I read up when I was pregnant. One of the first books I got was The Diaper Free Baby. And I tried to wrap my head around what EC was. I knew nobody who did it. And with him, I started at birth, in essence, anyway. I didn't potty him immediately, although I did catch the first tarry poop in the potty. My partner at the time was like, "Oh, I think something's happening," and he handed him to me, and he handed me the potty or something, and I held him over it. And there it was, the meconium in the potty and it was like, "Wow." One catch and you will never go back. How many of you have experienced that, right?
Over the next two weeks it was warm. It was Berkeley, California. We didn't have air conditioner or anything. It was just the perfect temperature. And we laid around naked most of the time, and I just observed him and sort of saw what he was about and tuned into him, and had no idea what to do with him, with a brand new newborn, other than put him in my Moby Wrap and take really long walks because that's the only way he would sleep - when touching me, or connected to me, or my breast.
So it was a really intense first two years. I got tired of diaper struggles and changing diapers and having to...practically felt like I was pinning him down to the ground just to change his diaper when he was nine and a half months old and had started walking and talking very early. So I decided to take him out of diapers because why would I have this struggle if he's already been pooping in the potty 100% since he was born, with the exception of one week when he learned how to crawl. He did have a few misses. We had a few that week. But other than that, just absolutely no poop in the diaper. So, what I did was I put him into Gerber's Training Pants and I would hear a waterfall in the kitchen. He'd be standing on a stool and just pee straight through them. They were terrible.
But yeah, stuck with it, totally, went to Thailand with him when he was 14 months old. People there could not believe that he would sign for the potty by using the sign language for “T” with his hand. He would also say “hang-nam, pee-pee,” which was Thai for where's the bathroom - hang-nam - and pee-pee was English for that. And people were beside themselves. They couldn't believe that he could express himself about that. We stayed in the northern part of Thailand, where we saw a lot more babies who were not in diapers. And it was just such a pleasure to travel with him and not have to bring...we had nighttime diapers, but not have to do any kind of purchasing diapers abroad or anything like that. I do have a post on traveling with EC that you can look at that has pictures from that experience.
But yeah. Basically, it was awesome. He continued to wet his pants a little bit at a time, just because he didn't like to leave playing to pee, till he was about 17 months when everything sort of came together. And at that time, I would say we were completely done. Now, I never had to do a potty training experience with him. He never had a regression. It was all pretty straightforward. I nursed him till he was two. And then I moved him out of the bed with me into his own bed. And I basically did EC with him 24/7, day and night, and fed him, nursed him every two hours for two years. Now, mind you, that felt out of balance for me.
Elimination Communication Story #2 - Isadora
So after Kaiva turned 2, I met my husband and we had four more children. Isadora was...we ECed her from birth from the very beginning. When she was born, she actually peed on me twice, right after being delivered. And we did a hospital delivery. We were only there for like 30 minutes. And then after 12 hours, I begged them to let me out of the jail that is the hospital, to let me go home. I was trying to do an unassisted birth with her, and I do have a post on that as well. But I didn't know I was fully dilated so that didn't happen. Lessons learned, lots of them. And when I gave birth to her, she peed all over me. So that was a fun start to our EC journey.
We didn't do much EC at all between about six and nine months. And my husband and I looked at each other, we're like, "What are we even doing here?" It was great for the first four months, then we moved her into her own room in a crib with a monitor and, boy, did I get a lot more rest. It was wonderful. I was recovering from postpartum depression, you guys. I didn't know I’d had it since I had Kaiva. So that whole period was really rocky and blurry for me. But once we realized, "Hey, we're not doing EC like we should be," we got back on track at eight or nine months. I did observation logging with her, which you can get a copy of my observation log on my website. It's free. And I had her in a sumo-style diaper and just checked her every so often to see how often she went. And then we got on track so well. By 13 months I found no need for the diaper anymore. By 15 months she was telling me by saying “pee” every single time she needed to go to the bathroom. So that was Isadora.
Elimination Communication Story #3 - Cooper
Now Cooper, my third baby, was born unassisted at home, Wonder Woman-style over our '80s pink bathtub. There's also a blog post podcast on that as well that you can listen to. It was fantastic. 75-minute labor, very straightforward. We started EC from birth with him. Cooper's a super laid-back, lazy kind of guy. So I sort of followed his trajectory. He's very empathic and very in tune. And we did great with EC. I just sort of left him in the diaper too long during the daytime hours. He hadn't pooped in it really since he was born.
But when 17 months came around, I was like, "What am I doing? Am I waiting for preschool to get on board completely? Am I doing this, keeping him in diapers, because I think it's going to be easier for them?" So I took him out of diapers during the day at 17 months, way too late for my tastes because he probably would have risen to the occasion. And anyway, it was just hard. It was really, really hard.
Backtrack to Isadora. Isadora and Cooper both wore disposable diapers at night until about 26 months. Cooper did not wet them after 26 months, but I put him back into disposable diapers at night because he started to wet the bed out of nowhere. And then he wouldn't pee in the diapers. So we use those till about 32 months. And I have to say that I learned a lot from Cooper, from our experience with him. We had a lot of struggles with preschool as well, and I almost gave up, but I stuck with it with him and just taught him the ropes, which I should have started at 12 months.
Should've, would've, could've, right? Who's been there before?
Elimination Communication Story #4 - Branson
So my fourth baby, Branson, was also almost born unassisted (I did not know how to pop my own water or whether I should, and it was taking too long. The kids were already out of preschool. Why was I already at four hours and not having a baby yet? Silly me, went to the hospital. 30 minutes later, he was born. And then 12 hours later, we fought our way out, literally fought our way out of that hospital, and got home). With Branson, we started right from birth as well and Branson, hair sticking up from the moment he was born to this day - if I had to potty train this child at three and a half years old, which he's at right now, I would probably give up and just let him stay in diapers till he's a teenager because he is so strong-willed.
With this one, we just did EC from the beginning, just as my book states. And with him, we took him out of diapers at 12 months on the mark, regardless of what was happening. I didn't think he was ready. Neither was I, like there's such a thing as readiness, silly me. He's capable. And he rose to the occasion. Within about a month we were doing so great with him. And, also want to backtrack to when Isadora was a baby, that's when I developed Tiny Undies, and then Tiny Trainers I developed when Cooper was a baby. So by the time Branson came along, I had all my bases covered, right? So I moved him into just underwear and pants and he did fantastic. At preschool, we put him in Tiny Trainers with TinyUps cover over them, and he did a little bit worse in those, he peed in them a lot, but once we told them just to put him on the potty, don't say anything, turn their backs, even close the door sometimes, he stopped resisting at preschool.
I do have a post on sending your child to preschool without diapers. You can check that out too. But basically with Branson, taking him out of diapers at 12 months during the day was golden, best move ever. And then at night he started to come up dry around 23 months, actually. And so we just took him out of diapers and he did great. We did start doing a dream pee - I have an episode on dream pees here. We started to do a dream pee with him right when we’d go to bed and we still do potty him in the middle of the night occasionally, but he was pretty straightforward.
Elimination Communication Story #5 - Twyla
And then my fifth baby Twyla, my absolute ideal birth. Water birth, unassisted, 75 minutes, just straightforward. And with her, I actually used my unassisted birth manual that I've written that I haven't put out yet, but I will link to that in the show notes as well. I used that as my manual because my midwife quit five days before her due date because she didn't want to come all the way to my appointment - she asked me to confirm and I didn't respond because I was busy and it was this huge miscommunication, and she “broke up with me” over text. It was so unprofessional. So I was like, after three days of being angry about it, I said, "Well, you know what? I've written a book on unassisted birth. I'm going to follow my manual." And I read it and I felt fully prepared.
And once the last kid shuffled off to Grandma's and the house was completely empty, 4:00 in the morning went into labor, had her a little over an hour later. I put her baby blanket into the washing machine...when it came out of the dryer, she was already there and it was amazing. And we did start EC from birth as well with her. I also have a podcast and a blog post on her birth story and it was fantastic. I highly recommend you giving it a look. With Twyla, we've just done EC by the book, again, from the beginning. Now with Twyla, I’d also since put out my newborn minicourse - it's called Baby Meets Potty, tons of bonus footage of showing pottying all these babies from birth and two ways to do EC that are not found in my book. And so with Twyla, I did those two ways only.
And I'll give you a little hint here. It was poops and wake-ups. You can look at the minicourse for the rest. Basically, every time she woke up, I’d take her to the potty. Everything was really straightforward. All of my other kids totally helped with all the other kids, you guys. This is part of the values I'm instilling in them - this is your chance to learn how to be with the baby so when you're older, you know how to be with a baby. And this is our reality, we do not use diapers as full-time toilets. We use them as a backup. With Twyla, thank goodness, Dyper with a Y, D-Y-P-E-R, came along, biodegradable in 75 days. These diapers are amazing and also feel wet when they're wet, but don't leak. So we used those as a backup with her until she was walking.
Walking took a little bit longer for her. At 13 months I took her out of diapers, just like Branson, right when she was walking. Took her out of diapers, put her in her trainers and she would pee them several times a day. Finally, I was like, "I've had enough of this." So I put her into underwear with pants and she rose to the occasion, you guys. She was amazing, practically no misses since then, knock on wood because she's now 19 months. And I do have an 18-month update that you can listen to on here. That includes her nighttime story, which was fantastic and amazing, and unbelievable. She was dry at night, 15, 16 months. Finally, at 17 months we're like, "Why are we even putting her in a diaper?” And if she cries at night, we either put a paci back in her mouth or we'll potty her if that doesn't work.
So, her story is over in that other podcast, but EC with her has been super straightforward. She isn't really talking yet - you can totally do EC with any of the four roads to potty time, no talking necessary. The 4 Roads include: baby signals, if any, including talking, signing, pointing at their bottom, whatever, walking towards the bathroom, whatever it might be, baby's natural timing, transition times, pottytunities like times that most babies need to go, like before after the car seat kind of thing, and the fourth one is intuition. And with Twyla and with all my babies, I've used all four whenever they're happening; any one of them is great.
And with Twyla, and having four other kids, and having all these businesses and everything that I do (I work three or four hours a day, and the rest of the time I'm mommying and during work, I'm also nursing), how do I handle this all? How do I do this all? Well, it's just a value that we have. It's part of our life. This is what we do. And without a diaper there as a backup anymore at walking, you have no choice but to rise to the occasion as a parent and go, "Okay, how do I potty this baby and make this part of our routine...a habit?" So we highly relied on pottytunities, transition times with Twyla and we still do. And anytime we have a miss it's because my husband has taken them from somewhere, pottied them before he left that place, gets home, takes her out of the car, doesn't offer. And I'm like, "Honey, she's wet." "Hey, well, she just went." "No, she just went 20, 30 minutes ago." So we have this sort of ongoing learning process with all of them.
And with all five of them, I haven't had to potty train or do a potty training experience with any of them. With Kaiva, I did one at 13 months just to see what would happen. And all it did was teach him how to get to the potty, which was a good thing. But if things aren't as straightforward for you, you can totally do a potty training experience to wrap up EC. Lots of information on that in my second book, The Tiny Potty Training Book, as well as my Wrap-up EC minicourse. I have so many resources. If you want to see them all, just go to my store on my website. Seriously, you'll see everything you could possibly need. Start with the Go Diaper Free book. That is what I've done with all my babies. And they've all been out of diapers by the time they're walking. Only Cooper was a little bit later (but he wasn't using the diaper at that time), but I haven't had to potty train any of them. I haven't had to battle them. They have so much confidence.
We went to the beach last week and this grandpa came up to me and said, "Wow. When I saw you walk onto the beach with five babies, I was like, 'Oh no, she's going to have a hard time alone.'" And he goes, "But your kids are amazing." And I feel like it's because they trust me, and I trust them, and we have this intuitive connection and bond that I feel like EC was a huge part of.
Also, EC normalizes behavior. Early potty training normalizes behavior. I did an episode on that, number 93. And it makes for better toddler behavior, and it is easier. We're connected. So, no matter how much EC you do, whether super part-time like we did in, what was that episode? Oh, 82 and a half. That was a great episode about Andrea, a teacher who did it super part-time.
Whether you do it like that, and you potty train too, or you do full-time EC, whatever you do, this is an exposure technique that helps so much.
And then you're able to have the opportunity to teach your children for the first time in your lives together. You get the chance to teach them something that is the most valuable thing, more important than baby math and all these other things that are supposed to be jumpstart learning. No. Teaching them to own this bodily process and understand how to get this pee into this potty and how to honor their body's communications, and signals, and their basic needs, and to take care of themselves is such a huge gift.
If you're worried about scientific implications like, "Oh, well I've heard potty training this early is so bad." Well, first of all, EC is not potty training, and second of all, I have an entire blog post on it. Nothing bad happens before two and everything bad can happen after two if you wait.
So wherever you are right now, 0 to 18 months, you’ll want to start EC, do what I've done. These are my five stories. This is speed-dating style. Very, very small nutshell. If I can do it while running three businesses, and having five children, and working just part-time, and gardening, and making sourdough bread, and dance, and all the things that I do - if I can do it and make EC work in my very, very busy family (as a quadruple Virgo - I'm probably an overachiever!), but if I can do it, you guys, you can do it.
It's just a matter of shifting your mindset, getting equipped and resourced with a strong community, like our book owners support group that comes with my book. Oh my gosh, all the coaches there who can help you. With the right support, which I didn't have when I was starting out, and with the right materials, visual learning, like my book, which I didn't have when I was starting out, you can do it even better than I have. It’s not about perfection, but about progress and about commitment and about honoring your baby's dignity which he or she was born with.
So I leave you with all of those stories in your head, just to show you the possibilities, the capabilities of our children, and how 10 years of pottying my babies has made me a better mom, for sure, and helped me connect with my babies more deeply. If you have heard this after the EC window, just potty train as soon as now. It's going to only give you the same benefits in a more concentrated manner.
And thank you guys so much for being here for 100 episodes! Woo-hoo.
Please share in the comments below whatever you'd like to share about your EC story with your baby!
PS - here’s the video version of this episode in case you prefer to YouTube it. ;)