Welcome to the Go Diaper Free Podcast where we're all about helping you potty your baby as early as birth with elimination communication. I'm your host, Andrea Olson, author and mom of five EC babies and this is episode 30, easy catch number three, poop.
All right. So I have been going over the easy catches. There are four of them for elimination communication over the past couple of weeks and I'll be doing number four next week as well. Today we're gonna talk about number three, which is poop and I really feel like this is an easy catch for most people during at least some stages of their baby's childhood and I want to start off by asking you a question. Do you know when your baby is pooping or have you ever noticed when they're pooping? Either you hear it or you see it, maybe you're holding your newborn and you think, "Oh my gosh, she's already smiling at me. How beautiful, how wonderful. Oh," and then you hear the explosion in their pants and you're like, "Oh, she actually was just grimacing because she's going poop."
So pooping is something that is typically pretty obvious with our children at all ages and stages if we're paying attention, and that's why I call it an easy catch because you can see that they're doing it and you can do something about it. So if it doesn't feel right to you to watch your child poop and finish pooping in their diaper and then change that diaper, which when you think about it, is pretty nonsensical, then this episode is definitely for you.
If you want to see the YouTube version of this, by the way, where I'm explaining the easy catches and you can see my face, you can go to YouTube and look up Go Diaper Free for my channel and you can see me talk about this. But for now, let's just do the audio. Don't wait for him to go in his pants please. I want you to actively engage with your child when they start to poop or if you notice a signal or a sign. So let's talk about that.
The signals that you already may know is the grimace, the bearing down. Maybe one of the signals that they need to poop is a fart, or a toot, or a passing of gas, if you will. Another signal for a slightly older child between 12 and 18 months, they're going to walk over to a place where they can get privacy, like they're going to go hide behind the couch or something like that. Maybe they get into a squat. If they're pulling up to standing, they're a mobile baby between six and 12 months and they're learning to pull up and creeping and sliding along the furniture and stuff, they are probably going to dip down into a squat and they get really still and focused and usually you can feel that shift in the air. That's another sign that your baby needs to go to the bathroom or is starting to poop.
So what do you do? You say, "Wait." So EC is all about communication. Elimination communication is about communicating, two way communication with your baby. You can use the word and set a boundary and say, "Wait." You say very gently and calmly and then you pick up your baby, bring them to the toilet and you hold them over it or put them on the mini potty or on the toilet seat reducer or whatever you're using at this stage and you say, "Let's go poo poo." And you can hold up and do the sign with your hand, the sign language for toilet is going to be a fist with your thumb in between your first finger and your second finger and you shake it side to side.
Poo poo and you can also, if they're on a younger side, you can signal or cue to them ... Sorry. That they can go and with a grunting noise, which is something they use all over the world where they do this kind of practice, you're going to maybe get them to repeat the grunting noise and in doing so it engages their stomach. So everybody stop right now and grunt. Do you feel how that tightens up your abs and your belly and your diaphragm tightens a little bit? Well, that is sort of an emulation of the pooping, the physiological reaction to the urge to push. You're pushing, you're pushing, you're pushing.
So the grunting along with it is a really nice little cue that says, "Okay, now it's time to go." So you've seen that they're starting to go, you see a sign or you see a signal or they signal you and they tell you poo poo and they grab their butt. It could be a whole variety of things or you know it's that natural time when they usually need to poop, so you know it's time to go. You say, "Wait." You bring them to the toilet, "Let's go poop." You put them on it or hold them over it and you do a grunting or you say, "Go poo poo."
Now sometimes you'll find resistance or they want to get off the toilet if you're dealing with a slightly older baby. What you do here is you turn your back, you're both in the bathroom. The door is possibly locked if you have an escapee, you've got them on the toilet seat reducer if they like to get up and run off the mini potty. So you're adapting and working to make this the right environment. You turn your back to them in the bathroom and you pretend to do something else. Even if it means you're like scratching off the grout between two tiles, whatever it is, or you're looking very closely at the pores in your skin or whatever. You are looking for something in the cabinet that you just can't find.
You're ignoring them to give them privacy at a stage when you really can't leave them alone in the bathroom yet. So that's how to definitely ... Usually when I turn my back my child poops and I think a lot of people, and the hundreds of thousands of people I've taught in this community would agree that privacy helps you poop. I mean, it helps me poop. I don't really like to poop when somebody's in the room with me. How about you?
So easy catch number three is a poop catch. When you do this consistently, just like with easy catch number one and number two, you will find that your baby notices that you're in a routine, and you've got a pattern, and you're committed to offering and they will begin to hold it. And they will begin to signal if you use the same prompt word or noise every time. So they might start blowing raspberries to show that they're trying to make the noise that you're making. There's a whole variety of stuff. This is all covered in depth with my book.
But just to talk today about poop catches, today when you know your baby's pooping, here's my challenge for you. Yes, you listening right now. I want you to notice when your child has started to poop to say, "Wait," and to help them, support them, to finish it in the potty or on the toilet. Okay?
You already know when they've got to go so this should be a pretty easy task. And then also on the flip side of this, if you notice that you have a stealth pooper, then notice that and kind of up the ante on your awareness of them during that time of day when they typically poop. Like, "Hey, yeah, I actually do see her drift off into silence and gaze out and then get into a squat position." You might start to pick up on things and notice a little bit more when they are pooping and this is a great incentive when you catch a poop, you don't have to clean it up off their butt. Duh.
So it's a great part of EC, it's my favorite part. It's why I start from birth, because I don't like to clean up the meconium poop or the splattery mustardy poops. I like to catch all those in the potty and I've noticed when you're starting with a newborn, after about two or three days of doing this consistently, they start to get it and they start to hold their poop until you take the diaper off and hold them over the potty. So there you have it.
Easy catch number three, poop. I hope you've enjoyed this episode. To see the show notes, go to Godiaperfree.com/30 for episode 30, and you can leave a comment over there with any questions you might have. Definitely subscribe to this podcast wherever you're listening to it, and I hope you'll join me next week for easy catch number four. Until then, happy pottying. I'm Andrea Olson with Go Diaper Free and this is a Go Diaper Free Podcast at Godipaerfree.com. I'll see you next week.
This easy catch has always made the most sense to me. When I babysat as a kid, I always knew to wait for the baby to finish pooping – which was completely dumb! However, it is what I knew, so it is what I did. Fast forward to when I had my own kids – my first baby had blowouts EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. It was the most annoying diaper stage! I refused to take him anywhere without at least 2 or 3 extra outfits until he was out of the ebf stage.
That was when I learned about EC. I looked into it, learned as much as I could with the resources I had, and determined I would do EC for my 2nd baby. My first was already too old, so I used another method of potty training for him.
For my 2nd baby, I would’ve had the same regular blowouts (I know because of the 2 or 3 misses i have had on occasion) but instead I was able to just stick her on the potty. Blessed relief!
Now that she is nearly 5 months old (we have EC’d from a few days old), she does not like to poop in her diaper. She will holler at me, hold it, stare me down, anything to get my attention when she’s about to poop. When I miss all that, she farts, and if I’ve missed anything it’s only about 10% of what she had to do and I can catch the rest on the potty. No more blowouts, happy baby, and hardly any poopy diapers
Tiffany, thank you so much for sharing! This is a wonderful description of what it looks like without EC…and what it looks like with EC. Makes changing diapers vs. pottying an absolute no-brainer. I am so happy you discovered EC and were able to implement it with your 2nd. You gals are doing GREAT! xx Andrea
I loved the term “stealth pooper.” That*s really what I have, a stealth pooper. This is not an easy catch for me.
Fair enough! Our 2nd was a stealth pooper too and grew out of it. Hang in there!! xx Andrea
Your bonus about how to explain EC without sounding crazy sounds great! :D I typically just “do my thing” and act like it’s normal and don’t really discuss it. But some tips about sharing about it could help others who would like to have better communication with their babies, better hygiene, and change fewer poopy diapers too!
Oooooh Bethany then you’re gonna LOVE next week’s show! Feb 12. Tune in for sure. Can’t wait to share with you <3 Andrea
I started to offer the potty after every diaper change since birth of my 6 month old son and it was working great from the beginning. We almost don’t have to clean poppy diapers (and poopy clothes), which is great and makes outings more preductable. And it is real fun.
Awesome, Ricarda! You guys are doing great – thank you so much for sharing! xx Andrea
It was fun to see this was today’s email because I had just caught a poop in the top hat. It almost never happens though. I’m good at catches #1 and #2 but my girl (just shy of 6 months) leaves such a short length of time between when I realize she needs to and when she does it that I’m only likely to catch it if she’s already at the changing station. I’m going to have to the “wait” and see if we can learn that. I think part of the problem is that, while I’d love to have her use the potty I’m not keen on trying to switch from the diaper to the potty half way through. One small problem I’ve been trying to figure out is that she nearly always poops in twos or threes (i.e. poop, wait a minute or two, then poop again) and in the interval she is not very cooperative about staying still and I don’t want a top hat full of poop to be tipped up on the bedroom floor while she’s squirming. Any suggestions for keeping her still (-ish)? When she is on it to pee I accept the back arching as her signal that she’s done or doesn’t need to.
Yeah Shelley, sometimes the arching could mean she’s working out the next “set.” I would try the sink if she is not on solids yet, or a mini potty with cozy (I have a new short one at https://tinyundies.com/minipotty). Definitely, at the least, try “wait.” But I always, always, always try to catch the rest of the poop in the potty after the baby has begun going in the diaper. Reason being…they begin to rely on that and will begin to wait for you. The squirming should also stop with age :) xx Andrea
Thanks for your great podcast again! Somehow I catch pee more easy then poop my 5 month old usaly poops when she sneezes ??. But I will do some observation again while she bottom free again to focus again on her signals!
With my 2 year old. I almost always notice when she needs to poop but she always refuses to go on the toilet or potty. You said to give them privacy. What ab eye opener. Nwver thought that might be the trick!
Thnx a lot. Can‘t wait for easy catch #4
Hey Hanneke! So glad that the tips have helped with both your LOs! Yay. Hilarious that she poops when she sneezes…usually that is a “shart” (wet fart), and if you follow up with an offer of the potty, she will probably do the rest in it. Best wishes! xx Andrea
Thanks for the podcast Andrea! I have a question for you, actually two. My daughter is almost 9 months old. I have had good success catching her poops because her grunting before hand is pretty obvious. However, sometimes she will give me a “no” when I put her on her mini potty after she has been grunting. I KNOW she is about to poop because of the grunting, but she won’t stay on the potty to “finish the job”. Do I try again in a few minutes, or try to switch her from the cloth diaper to the potty once she has already started to poop? Which leads me to my second question: I use the “wait” for the times she has already started to go, but what is the best way to get her dirty diaper off and put her on a potty? I’ve tried to clean her up some first and have been pooped on! I’ve also tried to take the diaper off and get her directly on the potty, but got poop everywhere. I don’t like to wait for her to finish pooping in her diaper to then have to clean her up, but I confess I have done so because juggling her, her clothes, and her dirty diaper seems like more than what I can handle with just two hands! Thanks for your advice.
Hi! I would definitely try the “walk around and talk about something else” technique with this LO. And if she is mid-poop and you’re asking her to wait, you will get the seat reducer or potty poopy, but you will also catch the rest. Oh, the # of times I’ve wiped down those receptacles with a bleach wipe! :) Hang in there! It will get better. xox Andrea
This easy catch got us started with EC! BUT.. we started at 12 months, so my son resisted and wanted to go in his diaper instead of the potty. So I let him. Then when he was done, I emptied the contents of the diaper into the toilet and we watched as it flushed away. Then, I the next day I was tired and just not as pumped about EC as I had been the day prior. So when I noticed he had to poop, I was going to let him use his diaper. But then he started hauling-baby-bum to the bathroom! And we haven’t looked back since! :)
That is an awesome story, Rebecca! Thanks so much for sharing how you started with this easy catch and had such a surprising journey with it…I can say I’ve never heard this before and I am super excited about it! :) xx Andrea
I just started practicing part time ec with 5 month old exclusive breastfed baby by only trying to catch poop in the morning when she wakes up and in the evenings before bath. She seems to love her potty time as i face her in front of a mirror. Yay! Before ec, she was pooping during and after each feed, and does not really give cues. But lately, she hasn’t been going during the afternoon When i am out and about and only goes when i potty her. Is it bad that she is holding back her poop and will only do it on the potty? It might be hard for me to bring a potty along or being her to a toilet strong the day when we are out. Appreciate your thoughts on this!
A friend also just sent me this article- how valid are the views of this doctor?
The reason little ones who potty train as early as 2 years of age have more of the problems mentioned above than children who wait until they’re at least 3 years old is that they’re not mature enough to decide on their own when they should pee and poop. They don’t yet realize the importance of eliminating right when they feel the urge and eliminating completely. According to Dr. Hodges, every year of holding urine shrinks the bladder, making it more overactive.”
Hi Amelia! Unfortunately this article circulates often through parenting groups, EC groups, etc. Dr Hodges has a very skewed perspective since he is a urologist. By the time he sees kids, they have serious medical issues. EC is not potty training, it is perfectly okay for babies to use a back up. There is no pressure from the parent to only use a potty. Infants will not hold to the point of damaging themselves. If they need to go, it’ll happen. Keep in mind also that EC used to be the standard in the US, and is currently standard practice in many countries. There would be entire countries of people, entire generations in the US, with constipation and bathroom issues if EC caused problems. xx Andrea
Hi Amelia! At 5 months old she isn’t holding for the potty for very long. It’s more likely that her poop schedule has just changed. Newborns go very frequently, around her age things start to consolidate. If she really, really had to go, she would. xx Andrea
Hi Amelia! At 5 months old she will not hold to the point of hurting herself. If she really needs to poop, she will. Most likely her poop schedule has changed. It is very common for things to consolidate around her age and they go less frequently. xx Andrea
My baby (3 weeks) often seems to poop while breastfeeding. I don’t feel I can stop feeding him midway through to catch the poop though. Any advice for this? I have caught poop at other times but it seems like during breastfeeding is when he takes most of them
I should add, I always offer a potty opportunity before feeding him.
Hi Ashley! This is very common in newborns. You can offer before if he isn’t fussy. If you pay attention you may notice he actually unlatches before going, then you could hold him over the potty. Another option is it’s actually pretty easy to nurse over a top hat potty so you can catch those poops. xx Andrea
Hello! I just started EC with my 3.5 month old last week. So far she’s getting better at it! One problem I’m encountering is this: She sleeps in her own room and often poops first thing in the morning. Although I use a monitor, it never goes off in the morning because she just wakes up and plays in her crib for 15 minutes before fussing/crying. So I never catch her morning poops! Any suggestions?