Dealing with Inconsistency in Elimination Communication
If you are finding major inconsistencies in elimination communication, today’s show is 100% for you. Listen, watch, or read the full episode on this page!
The EC inconsistencies I cover today include both:
- You not being consistent in offering your baby the potty and
- Your baby not consistently telling you he needs to go, cooperating in going, or showing an interest in using the toilet
If you have experienced either of these situations, great!
You will hear:
- My #1 tip to get back into consistent potty time with your baby
- The one woo-woo thing you MUST do to get back with it
- How to make infant potty time a HABIT with your baby
- Examples of events that you can “peg” this new habit to
Links and other resources mentioned today:
Download the Transcript
If you can't listen to this episode right now (um, sleeping baby!?)...download and read the transcript here:
Transcript download: Dealing with Inconsistency in Elimination Communication
First, I want to tell you a story. So when my second child was born, my first one was about three years old, and my second child Isadora was born. We did EC for the beginning. And then we of course stopped doing EC completely. How many of you have done that before? Raise your hand in the chat.
We stopped doing EC completely from months eight to 13. When I realized that we had stopped doing EC, I was like, "Oh my gosh, I'm set, I'm teaching this, I'm the expert in the field." And I am, I'm the leader of the Elimination Communication movement. I have grown the awareness around EC for all these last 10 years.
But wait, I'm not even doing EC with my child. What is going on? Now mind you, I was dealing with postpartum depression and I definitely was having some challenges in my personal life with my ex and all this other stuff.
So on top of everything else, I decided I'm just going to make this a priority. So I got from a complete inconsistency, hardly doing EC at all, to let's get back on track. And I do have a podcast on that it's called Getting EC Back on Track. And I have a mini course on that, Getting EC Back on Track, which shows you exactly what I did with Isadora to get back on track with her. We got back on track, stopped using diapers.
So actually from months eight to 11, we weren't doing EC. I'm sorry, my mommy brain is still foggy. Eight to 11 we did no EC for three months
straight. Then I got her back on track. We switched to cloth diapers, we did a timing observation session, everything. And then we got out of diapers at 13 months, and at 15 months she was telling me every single time.
So the reason I'm telling you this story is that yes, Andrea Olson has also been inconsistent with EC. Even though I have five children who are all out of diapers by walking every single one of them. And I'm here to tell you today that it's normal to lose track of things and to get inconsistent with EC. And all we have to do really, is get back on board. So in order to do that, I have some notes for you today. And I'm going to start off with the very first, most important thing you guys, and that is to forgive yourself.
So have a lot of grace and a lot of compassion for yourself. Like what you would give to your own baby, give that to you. And what you would give to somebody else, give that to you right now. Because being inconsistent with EC is just a symptom of something else going on.
So either you're over tired, you're under exercised, you're under loved, you're not loving yourself. There's something going on that causes us to drop the ball with parenting. So it's normal. In fact, this year I've had experiences like that as well. I've as you probably know, I got a divorce, you could listen to the podcast on that, several months ago. And I've had a lot of inconsistencies in my parenting since then, but also I've been able to find out what I need more and give that to myself in order to become more consistent. So now let's talk about potty consistency with EC.
The minimum thing you guys that you can get out of EC, and this is where I just want you to know you don't have to be perfect at all, is this is a great exposure method. So if all else fails, if you after listening to this or watching this or whatever you are just like, "Okay, I just can't find a way to become consistent," which I'm going to make it easy for you today in today's lesson. If you can't and you're having a hard time like I was, and maybe you have postpartum depression and it's undiagnosed.
Maybe you're just like, "I don't know, I'm not very good at this, or I'm not a natural." I would just say, look, do this once a day, as an exposure technique and potty training at 16, 17, 18 months, 20 months at the latest is going to be super easy. So at the minimum, EC is an amazing exposure method. And if that's all you get out of it, oh my goodness gracious, mama. You are far ahead of in front of anybody else.
So really congratulate yourself, forgive yourself, because you've been doing as much as you can do with what you have as far as resources go, and you can't do more than what you have the capacity to do. But when you know better, you can also do better. Maya Angelou said something to that effect. So here's my tip for you today. I want you to deal with inconsistency with Elimination and Communication by committing to one pottytunity a day.
And I didn't say one catch a day. A catch is when we make it in the potty. I didn't say that. I said one pottytunity. Well, what's a pottytunity? A pottytunity is when you offer the potty. It's basically an offering of the potty, pottytunity, an opportunity for your child to go potty. They don't have to do it.
They don't have to cooperate even, but you're giving them that chance. And eventually doing this consistently enough, you guys will sync up and you will be able to work together. So that's my biggest tip for today. Now, how do we do this? So if you've read this book called Atomic Habits, definitely if you haven't, it's amazing. If you have, then you'll know that we're supposed to peg a new habit that we want to form on top of an existing habit.
So I'm going to use that for EC. I want you to pick something you're already doing with your baby every single day. This could be, your baby wakes up every day from a nap or from overnight sleep. You change your baby's diaper every day, we're already doing that. If your baby poops every day, great.
Some of you have babies who poop every seven days, which is normal for a newborn. Some of you have babies who poop multiple times a day, which is also normal, which is totally confusing. But that is something that if that happens every day and you kind of already know around when that happens, or you know what it looks like when your baby's making the face like this, that's what they do. Then you're going to be able to take this as a peg. We're going to peg this new habit of pottytunity on top of something that's already happening consistently.
The key to consistency is just to commit. And what I'm asking you to do today is to commit to one pottytunity a day. So another example is, your baby eats every day, whether you're still exclusively breastfeeding or you're feeding solids, your baby definitely eats every day. Your baby might take a bath everyday. I have five to children, so my children do not bathe every day. If you have multiple children, then you know, you're with me on that one. And with eating and bathing, we would do this pottytunity either before they eat or after they eat. Or we would just say, hey I'm just going to pay attention during the feeding or the bath to see if there's any signals. Because usually they'll want to get a out of the water, or they want to get out of their high chair, or start to wriggle around and start pushing.
All right? So, and the last example I want to give you that we can peg this new habit onto is, your baby goes to bed every day. Your baby will go to a nap or to an overnight bed every single day. So we all have examples.
An example also to use if you're wanting to do better with consistency on outings is, you get out of the car to go into some place every single time you go on an outing. You park your car. How about that as a peg? So you park your car and every time you park your car, you go, okay, I'm going to get out of the car and offer my baby a pottytunity in the top hat potty in the car. So these are just multiple examples. Now when this peg, when this thing happens, this thing that happens every day, anyway, it's just your normal life.
When this happens, you're going to say, all right, baby's woken up I'm offering the potty, set them on the potty. Well, what if they don't sit it? What If they don't stay? If they're big enough to sit on a toilet seat reducer, set them on the toilet seat reducer leave the room.
If they're not, set them on the mini potty, in a bathroom with the door closed with both of you in it. And just ignore, not ignore, but like divert your attention somewhere else. So you're paying attention to scratching the grout off of the wall or whatever. So you can do things. And we talk about won't sit, on the podcast elsewhere as well.
So when this thing happens, when you change the diaper, you're going to say, and you can even make yourself a little sticky note, change diaper arrow pottytunity. So have your mini potty right there. If you guys don't have a mini potty or a newborn top hat potty, I do sell the best ones on the market.
I'm biased, I know. But they are literally the tools that we need, over at tinyundies.com. So definitely grab one of those. So when any of these things happen, and I've got my notes here, wake up, diaper change, poop, eat, bath, goes to bed, or you arrive to a store, or get back in your car from a store. You are going to offer your one pottytunity of the day. And doing this every single day, pegged to a habit that you already have and you're already doing anyway, is going to help you develop a new habit, which is potting your baby.
Are we clear on that? So the ask for today from me to you is to pick one. That's all I'm asking today. That's your action item today. So pick one of these that I've just named. If it's poop, for example, or you're paying attention during eating and bath and they start to poop, all you have to do by the way is just say, "Wait," just like that, wait or "Wait," and pick them up, airlift them to the toilet, and have them finish on the toilet.
You do that a couple of times, babies are mammals. They prefer to go outside of their pants, they are going to align with you and sync with you. So just trust that. You got to trust me, I've done this with five babies, but I've also helped hundreds of thousands of other parents do the same thing.
This works for every single baby, and older babies will test you because they'd rather be doing something else, or because they're so used to going in the diaper. So that's my challenge for you today. Pick your one thing that you're going to peg this new habit on. You're going to go for and pottytunity a day. And if you don't have it already, grab a copy of my Easy Start Guide. So you can get my Easy Start Guide. Pretty easy. If you don't have it already, it shows some positions, the easy catches, it's got a couple of thoughts about things and signals.
All right, your baby doesn't have to signal for you to be able to do EC. If you've already been doing EC and you're just like, "I feel stuck, a little bit stuck." Then add one of these new pegs that you haven't done before, and that could help you move from part-time EC to full-time EC for an example. So I want you to get my Easy Start Guide and pick your one fix per day.
Your one little consistency fix, this is where we're going to fix our problem. One little peg. I also would love to hear your comments. So please go to Go Diaper Free Podcast and leave a comment with what your one fix is going to be, your one way to make more consistency happen with your easy practice. Okay. So go over there, type in the comments over there. And also if you have any questions, please feel free to ask. We look at all of the questions, we answer as much as possible. And you can go get the easy start guide through a link on those show notes as well, or just go to Go Diaper Free website.
And if you already have my book, then go ahead and open it up. And if you're looking at the digital copy you can search for this, look for the four easy catches. And this is in the part of how to potty your baby. It's a really sweet way to kind of dip back into EC if you haven't done it already, or if you're just starting, or if you are already started and you've already been doing EC for a while, it's a really good reminder of some of the things that I just suggested that you pegged this new habit to. All right you guys, good luck.
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What is the ONE consistency fix you’ll implement today? Which habit will YOU “peg” your pottytunities to? Please leave a comment below with your thoughts!
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About Andrea Olson
I'm Andrea and I spend most of my time with my 6 children (all under 10 yo) and the rest of my time teaching other new parents how to do Elimination Communication with their 0-18 month babies. I love what I do and try to make a difference in one baby or parent's life every single day. (And I love, love, love, mango gelato.)
I started EC part time with my baby @ 4 months, your baby potty is the best btw :) Now she’s 7 months and when I put my mind to it, I catch most poops and pees. Some days I’m too busy or distracted and I’m ok with it.
Anyways, what you (and James Clear) said about pegging a new habit to something you already do, is so true and effective! I’ve been wanting to read to my daughter in Igbo (a Nigerian language and my mother tongue) for a while now, but I wasn’t consistent with it. Then one day I grabbed an Igbo book and read to her while she was on the potty. By the time I was done reading, she had pooped and peed, and I was thrilled. I confess, I’ve sometimes taken her off the potty too soon because I thought she was taking “too long.” But now with me reading, my mind is focused on the book and she has time to do her business.
Whenever I’m reading to her on the potty, she either stares at me like she understands the story or she tries to eat the book LOL. At the end of the potty/book reading session we’re both happy. She’s happy she’s relieved herself, I’m happy I read to her, and we both live happily ever after. The End. 🤣🤣
What a beautiful story and thank you for sharing. ❤️
We recently restarted offering the toilet (he thinks he is big like us) during his morning nappy change and usually he will wee then. Had been a but slack up to 10onths as he started complaining about being put on the potty. Last night he crawled to the toilet door before his bath so I help him up and he did a wee! You are right in the exposure and idea being important for him to understand, will hopefully make toilet training easy when we get there.
We have a 6 month old, whom we’ve been trying to EC nearly since birth.
In the first couple of months it was going pretty well. Not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but many pees and some poops. Since then, things have taken a serious turn to the worse. Lately she’s back to sometimes peeing in the potty, and even a poop once in a blue moon, but things are really not great.
However, nearly since day one, the most sure-fire way to get her to poop is to go for a car ride. Changing from the infant seat to an all-in-one convertible didn’t change that either – she still poops mostly in the car – and this totally contradicts what you’re saying, doesn’t it?
Also, the other day we were at home, and she started pooping, so I asked her to wait and took her to the potty. She couldn’t then resume her heroic efforts, leaving her still pretty full of shit.
It seems that nearly all of it goes against what I hear in your podcasts and videos. Any thoughts?
Weird. I typed a long comment, hit “submit”, and it just vanished.
Anywho… we have a 6 month old. When she was about a month old, EC actually worked OK. Catching many pees and some poops. But about a month or a bit more after that, things really stopped working (possibly because we were in the process of moving, so stability was compromised), to the point of catching nothing for weeks on end. Lately it’s getting better, but still very far from good – some pees here and there, and a poop or two, at most. We try to offer the potty at diaper changes and when something in her mood alters suddenly, but it hardly ever works. Sometimes, I feel like the time it takes to get her out of her cloths and into an EC position makes the pottytunity fade away.
Moreover, there are at least two things that happen opposite to what we’d expect, based on your podcast:
1. Getting in the car seat is the most reliable way to get her to poop. If I had to estimate, I’d say that at least 80% of the poop to come out of her in the last four months was in car seats. We had two infant car-seats, both got her pooping, and even when we changed to an all-in-one, the trend remained, so it’s not even that it’s the position or anything. What’s worse is that when we’d put her in the infant seat in the house – it would never do the trick.
2. A couple of days ago she started pooping while we were home. I offered that she wait and I take her to the potty. By the time the diaper was off, there was a tiny bit of poop in it, but the moment had already passed, She couldn’t get to poopin’ again after (though she did try).