This is the Go Diaper Free Podcast with Andrea Olson, session 8 - let’s chat about signals
Welcome to the Go Diaper Free Podcast, where we're all about teaching you how to stop changing diapers, starting at birth. And now your host...she has a photographic memory...Andrea Olson.
Yep, that’s true. That’s what got me through college, both of them. That photographic memory. Although when I’m pregnant like now, it doesn’t really work like it used to...go figure!
So hi everybody. In this episode of the Go Diaper Free Podcast we are going to look at part 1 of 4 of how to know your baby needs to pee.
Most people figure out these 4 things via by some type of naked diaper-free observation time. Our community has resources to teach you the whole process in depth.
But for this and the 4 episodes of this series, we are going to talk about the 4 Roads to Potty Time, as I affectionately call it. The four things that let you know baby needs to pee. We covered this VERY briefly in episode 6. These 4 events include baby’s signals, baby’s natural timing, generic or common timing, and your intuition.
If you get familiar with all 4, you’ll be doing EC with 90% more resources than the person who attempts to wing it off of random Facebook advice and/or an Internet search.
So, let’s start with baby’s signals.
As you get used to seeing your baby eliminate and cueing along with her, establishing sound association the next step is to notice exactly what happens right before the pee or poo. For the older baby, ages 12-18 months, you’re not going to do sound association. It’s a whole different animal that I cover in-depth on our website. But, signals-wise, you will be looking for your child’s “pee-pee dance” instead of the more common and widespread signals of younger babies.
You can write down whatever signals or peepee dance you notice or you can make note of it in your mind.
Sometimes identifying your baby’s signals is quite natural...you notice or sense a “shift” in the baby’s state (body language, noises, mood) and then, voila!...she pees. Her signals may be very obvious.
Sometimes you may know the signal but the time lapse between signal and pee/poo is so tiny that you think, “How will I ever catch anything?”
No worries. Over time, these time lapses will become longer and longer as the muscles become stronger and the mind develops the proper pottying associations (your consistency, cues, and positioning all contribute to this flow).
Signals are usually easier to identify with pre-poo versus pre-pee. Go ahead and gaze at your little cutie during diaper-free observation and pay attention to the subtle and not-so-subtle signals that may appear.
If Your Baby Doesn’t Signal
Sometimes babies’ signals are super-subtle, or may seem non-existent. You may look and look and find nothing.
- Try again after turning off your phone, Facebook, & computer.
- Those who don’t signal clearly at first may start signaling when they get older...or vice versa.
- It’s sometimes easier to pick up on signals with your 2nd baby than your first (if you did EC with the 1st).
- Most babies signal very clearly when in a sling/carrier...try it!
- Sometimes you may need to check in over many days to catch the signals. Be patient, open your head, heart, and soul to listening on all the possible levels, and see what happens.
- Some babies will only signal when they have a diaper on. How to test it out? Spend some time with your baby in a prefold without a cover, or Sumo-style (I teach specific ways of How to Diaper with EC on my website). Notice what happens right before she soaks it.
If this doesn’t work, your baby just plain doesn’t signal (or you just plain don’t see it because it’s so darn subtle), so rely on timing (natural and generic) and intuition (next pages)...the other 3 Roads to Potty Time. We’ll cover those in future episodes to cover all 4 in-depth.
A Progression of My Baby’s Signals Over Time
Here’s a sampling of my baby’s signals over the months. Your baby’s signals can and will vary.
- crying, fussiness, wriggling in bed, movement after stillness,
grimacing & grunting for poo
Mobile (for us, 5 months)
- all of what we had for Newborn Signals (crying, fussiness, wriggling in bed, movement after stillness, grimacing & grunting for poo) plus crawling to us in bed or on the floor while fussing, wriggling/crawling during sleep, flipping head side to side during sleep, standing up or jumping in carrier
Very Mobile, Standing, First Steps (for us, 7-11 months)
- crawling to bathroom or shower (sometimes coming back & signaling to us with a look or sound, then crawling to the bathroom again), standing at & banging on the door to be let outside to pee, banging on toilet, crawling to us and standing up at the back of our legs while ‘talking’ and then crying, saying “wee-wee,” signing by waving his hands, going to a particular ‘poo place’ (to get into a good stand/squat position to push it out) while looking at us and grimacing/grunting, playing with penis (especially with an erection), squatting and getting very silent, blowing raspberries, getting very agitated or hyper (especially when wearing a diaper), jumping in carrier or while standing, crying out suddenly and loudly, picking up mini potty and looking at us, grabbing at or trying to remove his diaper or underwear
Signals at age 12-18 months could include hyperactivity, yelling out, crying, touching or holding the genital area, touching the diaper or undies, pointing or walking toward the bathroom or potty, coming up to you, making eye contact with you, wriggling to get out of the carrier/carseat/stroller/high chair, looking down, getting very still, staring off into space, squatting, grunting, grimacing, hiding behind the couch, or another sudden shift in mood or behavior.
You’ll find an overall list of signals, for all ages, in the members’ area of godiaperfree.com, but for now, know that these are the major signals/peepee dances, for this age range.
Overall List of Types of Baby Signals
Different ways babies tell us they need to pee or poo:
- sudden or increased fussiness
- cry or scream
- shift from stillness to movement
- shift from movement to stillness
- squirming or wriggling (especially in bed if co-sleeping)
- for older ages during sleep, crying out, crawling in bed, talking, or flipping head from side to side
- grimace or other concentrated poo face (may look like a smile)
- popping off the breast while feeding; difficulty latching
- grunting or bearing down (may also be done squatting/ standing)
- staring off into the distance
- trembling, shaking, hiccuping, yawning, rubbing face or nose, shivering
- heavier breathing
- “peenie-weenie” - a partial erection that means baby boy needs to go
- grabbing at genitals, especially if squatting or looking at you or the bathroom
- blowing raspberries (trying to imitate your Cue)
- passing gas (may indicate pee, poo, or both)
- looking at...pointing at...or crawling to ==> you, the potty, or the bathroom
- arching back in or trying to stand in arms (or in carrier...see below)
- “phantom pee” (feels warm but baby hasn’t peed)
- trying to “escape” the high chair, car seat, your lap, or the baby carrier (by standing, arching, etc.)
- trying to remove diaper or grabbing at diaper or underwear
- sudden agitation or hyperactivity
Overall List of Babywearing Signals
- sudden crying or fussiness
- feet pushing against you
- trying to stand up in the carrier
- arching out of the carrier
- "phantom pee” on either side (feels warm but baby hasn’t peed)
So that’s about it. This is just one of 4 possible ways to know your baby has to go to the bathroom. Again, if there are no signals, that’s actually pretty normal. You can also just listen to all this and see if you’ve missed something...but if you don’t find anything stay tuned for the other 3 ways to know it’s “time” and you’ll be all good.
Thanks for tuning in. Please visit godiaperfree.com/08 for the show notes for this episode.
Stop by the Facebook page at facebook.com/godiaperfree and post what your baby’s signal is right now. If you need help deciphering, post that! It’s always an interesting topic.
Til next time...thanks for listening and learning about EC and we’ll cover more next week!
Great podcast! My 6 week old baby girl has changed her signals (yet again) and thanks to this podcast, i now realize what they are. Heavy breathing, rubbing her nose and face against my breast during feedings, shivering (especially her bottom lip quivering) and hiccuping I now realize are her NEW ways of signaling. These are all very subtle but i have noticed them in the last week or so and now I’m putting two and two together. I’ve also noticed her natural timing to pee is beginning to space out after feedings. It used to be almost immediate but now she seems to be holding it longer. Looks like I need to go back to logging her timing after feedings during diaper free observation. Thanks again, great podcast!
Hey Sandra! I’m so glad that this podcast has helped you out…there are some pretty unheard of signals out there. And the timing does space out indeed. We have a 5 week old…she pretty much just grunts or cries for everything! :) Keep it up! xx Andrea
I could never see signals from my son but After having 18 mo old naked around the house for a month i noticed his signal is a brief pause sometimes he would pause and look down. I font think i would have caught such a sudden signal without having him naked.