This post was originally posted on February 11, 2016, and has been fully updated on July 27, 2021 to include an audio (Podcast) version, a video (YouTube) version, and to include some basic updates. Enjoy! xx Andrea
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This is a guest post from our Go Diaper Free Certified Coach, Jen Cutright, who teaches parents EC in Apple Valley, CA, the surrounding high desert, and part time in Bishop, CA. I hope you enjoy her pragmatic, fun suggestions for your morning potty routine! xx Andrea
You know those days where everything (including EC) just doesn’t go right from the beginning?
How about, instead, those days where everything (including EC!) seems to flow just about perfectly?
What?!? You mean you don’t have those? Well, I’m here to tell you how to create those kinds of days from the get-go.
Disclaimer! I am not a professional….anything. I simply have 2 small girls close in age and have had to learn the hard way to parent them pretty much alone. I have no family nearby, I move too much to find good sitters, and my hubby has an extremely demanding job. But here is the value to my knowledge: I am pretty much starting from scratch when it comes to anything to do with these small humans we call our children. I was not a ‘kid-person’ growing up. I did not babysit as a teenager. Children were not drawn to me like they are certain ‘kid-people.’ In fact, my husband and I agreed when we married that neither of us ever wanted children. It took 8 years of marriage before we were blessed with that ‘need for children.’ So I had no previous experience, training, or even insight. I had NO IDEA what to do with children (or what they do), much less babies.
You really don’t believe me? Well, when I was pregnant with my first, I was visiting a friend with a 2 year old. We decided to go for a walk early in the morning, but her son was sleeping in a bit. I actually thought we would leave him home ALONE to sleep while we walked the neighborhood by ourselves. It never occurred to me how wrong this was…. YES! This is the truth! That’s how bad it was.
And this is us now!!
Ok, story of my life over, let’s move on to the reason you’re here:
How to start your day right - with both EC and the rest of your daily activities.
This should apply to children of all ages and stages of Elimination Communication.
From the moment your children wake, have EC on your mind. Not in an intense way, but more like - it’s on your to do list today.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a morning person or not, this works the majority of the time (except for those days that are bound and dog-determined to go awry) if you can get your sleepy butt in gear.
The first morning pee (and/or poo) is the easiest and best to catch! And with that accomplished, EC will feel so successful the rest of the day! Your child will probably feel that sense of accomplishment along with motivation to do it again.
I know, it sounds so simple. It is, and it isn’t. You’ll find it works well, then you flop on the weekends, or you have a bad day, or you have a couple of bad days in a row and you forget the routine. But just like anything you want to become a habit, you’ll need to suck it up and get back on that wagon.
Here is a video of my daughter at 13mo using the potty first thing in the morning:
Here are my best tips to make a good EC day happen
- Get things ready the night before:
- Have your preferred little potty in the room where the baby sleeps, ready to use.
- Have wipes or a roll of toilet paper right next to it so you’re not scrambling with a dripping baby.
- Keep a stash of just a few special little toys or books that are for the potty only, and set out a new toy by the potty each morning. (This works especially well with mobile babies to draw them towards the potty first thing.)
- Keep your mind on EC (once again, not intensely, just ‘back-burner’ type of way) when you go to bed so that you wake with that as your first thing on the to-do list.
- If you’re not a morning person:
- You’ll probably want to get up before your child usually does and wake up a little.
- Or if your little one is not on a schedule, keep some water next to the bed and take a swig as soon as you need to get up and help your child. It will help you wake up (I’m not promising a sunshine mood though).
- And definitely get things ready the night before.
- If your child is not a morning person and is particularly grumpy or just doesn’t need to ‘go’ first thing, don’t sweat it. Adhere to the fact that urinating first thing in the morning is mandatory and, keeping things calm and ‘matter-of-fact,’ lock yourselves in the room where you’re pottying until that first pee/poo is caught. (This has worked on both my girls, who are complete opposites in their personalities and even peeing habits.) It may take a few days or even a week for them to realize that this is the norm...just hang in there.
Early morning bathroom session with my 3yo reading to her 16mo sister. Having the big sister in there reading (the Tiny Potty board book) helped when we hit resistance.
- If your child sleeps in his own room, keep a baby monitor near him set at high sensitivity if possible, at least in the morning, and listen for the moment he wakes so you can rush in (CALMLY, BUT QUICKLY) and get that catch. This works especially well when encouraging nighttime dryness.
This is my 1.5yo's Montessori room set up. Mini potty is stabilized on a rug right in front of her bed. Next to it is her favorite book, and a fun light up toy. She slept commando the first few weeks of night training and was able to use the potty quickly and on her own when she first woke.
Making this a habit for you and your child will take you so far in your EC journey! It’s so rewarding to see your child eventually just expecting this morning potty routine and eventually doing it on their own. And you’ll get bonus points towards night-time training when you tackle that if you haven’t already. The child anticipates that first morning pee and will usually hold it better.
Another HUGE benefit of this practice is that you get into a ‘get up and get things done’ routine, and you might find yourself getting up even earlier to get yourself ready for the day before you have to try to do it with a kid or two hanging on you.
I know I LOVE the days that I can make this happen.
GDF Certified Coach, Apple Valley area, California
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