I know she has to go and won’t: What to do!
Everything was going great; you knew Baby's timing like clockwork! But now when you offer the potty, she arches her back and squiggles like she's done before she's even started!
What to do with a baby you know has to go and won't?? Hear what causes potty time “resistance” and four solutions to roll with it like a pro!
You will hear:
- what parents sometimes mistake for potty time resistance
- how developmental milestones can affect potty time
- FOUR solutions for potty time “resistance”
Links and other resources mentioned today:
- Easy Start Guide for EC
- Top Hat Potty
- Mini Potty
- The Log App for observation time! (available for both Apple and Android)
- Tiny Trainers (especially solid colors for noticing pees quickly)
- Waterproof Pad
- Easy Catch #1
- Easy Catch #2
- Easy Catch #3
- Easy Catch #4
Download the Transcript
If you can't listen to this episode right now (um, sleeping baby!?)...download and read the transcript here:
Transcript download: I know she has to go and won’t: What to do!
Today's show, we're going to talk about knowing your baby has to go and they won't, what do we do? Specifically at the age of 3 months or around there? How do we handle potty refusal or just not doing anything when we offer at this age? Enjoy the show and you can see the full written transcript over at godiaperfree.com/179. Please, come over after or during this show to leave a comment, ask questions and interact there, and we'll see you over there.
Hey, there. Welcome to the Go Diaper Free Podcast. I'm Andrea Olson, your host, author, and mom of five babies, all EC from birth, all out of diapers by walking.
All right, what do we do when we have a baby, we know she has to go, and she just won't? Specifically today we're talking about a 3 month old. This person wrote in and said, "I just know that my baby has to go, and she just won't at 3 months old." So first of all, I want to talk to you about developmentally, what is going on with a 3 month old? Well, they're starting to move their bodies in ways to prepare for rolling. They just want to roll, and when you hold them in position, sometimes a 3 month old will look like they're resisting the potty, but they're not resisting. They actually are just arching their body over, and I have a background in dance, so I always roll around the floor and do all this stuff and dance. They are starting to twist and turn their legs, their shoulders, whatever they can to learn how to roll or to just begin rolling. They don't need to learn how, they already know how.
So as they get stronger, they start to do that. Sometimes, it's just the developmental milestones they get in the way. So I guess, for that one thing I could say is, everything's going to change so fast with EC. I don't care how old your baby is. It's just going to change, change, change. So we'll roll with it, pun intended. But I do have a couple of solutions, one, two, three, four solutions, for when you know, they have to go and they. One of them, that's not even a solution, but just knowledge about your children. When they are 3 to 4 months old, they are going to start exercising those muscles to roll. Their minds become a little more preoccupied with other things. Their world is also expanding. They can see further away. They're getting into their body. The fourth trimester they call it is ending. So you've got the 0 to 3 month age where they're really creatures and are very much in that middle space, the precipice, the liminal. It's liminal space. It's between this and that, between pregnancy, being in the womb, and being out in the world and crawling around. So we've got a transition going on. So I would say that there's a lot of distraction going on and this happens with every developmental milestone. That's just something. So if you've ever got this situation at any age, just go, "Hey, is something else going on right here?" That's probably what it is.
But here are the solutions. So number one, you can keep your babies' diapers off and just hold, this is if you know, and how does this person know that she has to go? Because it's been what? 15, 20 minutes is probably the interval at this age, or there's been a toot, or a fart, or some grimace, and you're just like, "I just know that they have to go by their signal, their body language, time of day, part of the routine, whatever." By this time this person knows their baby, and has done observation and knows some signals so they know. So you can keep them diaperless and walk around and take advantage of the distracted nature of a 3 month old. Walk them around without a diaper. Just a little bit and relax yourself because you're just like, "I just, I feel like a failure. I don't know why she won't go." Then breathe, and then come back and offer and go pisss, again. Okay. So that's one technique. Because natural timing expands rather rapidly, so maybe your baby was going every 15 minutes and you knew that, and now they're going every 25 minutes and you're just like, "Whoa, that was a massive leap." It's possible. So just hold them for 5 minutes, walk around, try again. Hold them 5 more minutes, walk around, try again. By then probably, they will go.
If they don't, and if this just doesn't work for you, my second suggestion for a solution is to change the receptacle or the location where you are potting them. So we want to experiment a little bit. So if you've been potting them over the sink, try squatting, sitting your own butt on a small stool in front of the toilet and holding them in EC position over the toilet. So you would have them under the thighs with their head and back, leaning up against your body and holding them over the toilet, because at 3 months old, I'm sorry, but you might not know this, but they have been noticing that you guys have been going in the toilet and they're like, "I want to go in the toilet too." They could already be like, "When's it my turn to go where everybody else is going," possible.
The other thing you can do at 3 months, they're not sitting on their own. So I would never sit a three month old on the potty by themselves because they will just fall right off. It's not good for their spine to be in those kind of sitting support things. It's debatable. But what am I looking for? Yeah, I'm looking for my potty. I would hold them on it because they do have neck control by about 8 weeks, usually by 2 months, at least. So you can hold them. So have the Mini Potty on the ground in front of you and hold your baby on it, and you are supporting their spine. You're not sitting them in their full force on it, but you are sitting them on it and they can look at you and they can start using the Mini Potty.
So that's what I mean by changing the receptacle. You can go from the sink to the big toilet, with a seat reducer on it or a Mini Potty. So there's lots of options. You can even potty them in a one-stall, like shower, if you want to do that, you can potty them over the tub with a little rag underneath their butt. You can potty them outside. At this age, it literally doesn't matter. We used to be nomadic people and you just potty your baby in whatever bush you walk by. So changing the receptacle or the location, different room, different part of the house, different inside or outside, can totally help. You can start using a Top Hat Potty if you haven't yet, if you've only been doing it in the sink, hold them over it, put this in between your legs and you can reach your hand inside, especially if they're boys, because you want to point their penis down into that. But if they're a boy or a girl, you can put your hand in there and you can feel when they've gone. Yes, you will get a little wet, but it is just newborn pee. It is not a big deal. This will give your baby a chance to relax and take their time without having to be on a bigger toilet, which might not be good for them. I don't know which one your baby will like. So you can experiment with that.
The third solution I have, for, I know she has to go and won't at 3 months old, is a fresh observation session. Didn't I just say it? The interval between times when the baby goes. Like, "Hey, my baby goes every 10 minutes as a newborn, every 30 minutes at six months old, every 45 minutes at thirteen months old, every two hours at two years old." Yes, those are typical. You want to do a new observation? Do you see how often those intervals change? Your baby's bladder is growing. Their bodies are growing. Their attention span is rowing and it makes sense that their intervals would grow. So do a new observation session. I've got a lot of information about that on my podcast and in my book. I've got an observation log. I also have.... If it's not out, by the time you're seeing or listening to this, I have a new app. It's a Logging App. It's called The Log. It's for ECM-potty training. I'm super excited about it. You can do it digitally on your phone and then also set an alarm for how often your baby goes. It makes it really easy for your observation sessions to happen.
So to do an observation session. You can put them in my aqua blue, Tiny Trainers Training Pants, because they show immediately when they're wet or you can do it naked. At this age, they're not really rolling yet. Put them on a Waterproof Pad. You can get all these things at tinyundies.com, and then starting at feeding or starting at waking, you're going to note on this piece of paper or on the app, on your notes app in your phone, wherever. I don't care, it could be a piece of whatever. You're going to write down somehow, how often your baby goes from feeding and from waking. That's it. That's observation done. So you can do it either naked or you can do it with some tiny trainers. You can do it with a burp cloth held in place by a scrunchy, a large scrunchy, something like that. So that's Sumo-style, if you didn't know. So yeah, my third suggestion is just refresh yourself, "How often is my child going now?" Because 9 times out of 10, if you know, they have to go, and they won't. That means that their timing intervals have changed.
The fourth tip for you is stick with the Four Easy Catches. So if you know, she has to go based on a signal or natural timing, clearly that's changed and we don't really know what's going on, but she just isn't going. Then we're going to simplify back to the Four Easy Catches at every diaper change just offer. I recently did a show on pottytunity, what's the purpose of that. Pottytunity is just an opportunity to go, no pressure. We want to make sure that we have consistent opportunities to go. So the Four Easy Catches, you've got wake-ups, you've got poops. They start to poop. You just say, "Wait," and take them. You've got diaper changes, and you've got ins and outs before putting them into something, like a car seat, or a baby carrier, or a stroller or high chair, bath nap, or after. So ins and outs. The Four Easy Catches.
The reason I say this is if you've got some success with EC, and you're like, "Oh, everything was working and now it's just not. She just isn't going, and I know she has to." What you can do is just take the pressure off yourself for a little bit and just try the Four Easy Catches and lean into those to simplify your practice for a little while, as you figure out what's next, because your baby's growing. Like I said, she just wants to roll right now, do a lot of tummy time. Use a backup that works for you, diaper training, pants, whatever. I have no judgment. You do what works for you. Know that this will pass.
But if you need to get through a rough bump and any time in EC, I don't care how old your baby is. Revert back to one of the Four Easy Catches or two of them. And just pick a couple of those, and there was a time when I only did the wake-up pee and the poops for Branson, and he turned out fine. I got him out of diapers at 12 months. It was so easy. During a rough patch though, developmental milestones, all we were doing was that at 8 or 9 months old. All we were doing was that. I know better, so I didn't feel guilty about it. But it was just, I needed to simplify to get back in my saddle and figure this out. Right. Does that make sense?
So those are the four things I would do to solve this problem, and in addition to just a little bit of knowledge about what's going on developmentally with your child right now, definitely check out my Book, and my courses, and my gear. I literally have everything you need. All you have to do is just trust me, and the hundreds of thousands of people I've helped, definitely know that I'm really good at what I do, and I really break it down and make it easy. So if you don't have my book, definitely get it. That's all I have to say about that topic today.
All right. I hope you enjoyed today's show. Again, you can see the full written transcript over at godiaperfree.com/179, and please comment over there right now. What have you done when your child has refused and won't go, or just sits there and does nothing when you know they need to go, what's your solution? Maybe you can share your advice with us over there, or ask a question and make a comment, if you don't have one. We'll see you over there, and see you next week as well.
Thanks so much for listening. This is the Go Diaper Free Podcast at godiaperfree.com. We'll see you next time.
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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.)
My baby is about to be 6 months and we have done EC for 3 months now with great success and catch 90 % of poops and some pees, were able to go days without dirty diapers and he would always let us know. But we recently started some solids and started cloth diapers. It seems to be harder to time poops, even when i know he needs to go. And most of the time he will go the second he is put into the carseat, even though we just had a pottytunity in which he didnt do anything. How do i let him know that carseat is not a place to potty.
Next time before you put your little one in the carseat, try offering him the potty in the car before putting him into the carseat.
Do you have any other resources that address babies who seem bored on the toilet? Mine is 11.5 months, and for the past 6-8 weeks, she arches her back to get off of the toilet, but I KNOW she has to go, because she will stand there and pee on the floor before I can even get her diaper back on. I know she’s developing new skills and is so close to walking that I’m sure that’s part of it. I’ve just been “giving it time” and it seems to just be dragging on for what feels like forever.
Yes, those phases can “feel like forever.” I will reassure you, they do pass.
As far as keeping your little one occupied and distracted on the toilet, it can take a little bit of trial and error. Some little ones are happy with being read a book, others need play dough or something in their hands to keep them busy, while others need the toilet moved. Just try to get creative and try different things out. Listen to your gut. Having special potty toys can also help sometimes.
I enjoyed this podcast. Totally relevant for me but I feel I have an additional issue I would appreciate your insight into.
My baby is 11 weeks, we have been doing EC since 3 weeks. I love it and dont know how anyone does just diapers. Things had been going great but the last couple days my baby freaks out when I bring him to the change table where I keep the baby potty. He cries so hard when I firstly take his diaper off, and then cries even harder when I put him on the potty. He does pee sometimes once he’s on there. I feel bad though, like I’m forcing him to go. Recently he also just refuses to pee, waits for the diaper and pees right away. He doesn’t seem bothered by being wet.
Should I just continue what I’m doing and assume this will pass? I tried moving the potty to the bathroom, this didn’t help.
Should I just power through the crying and keep trying to put him on the potty? As you know, it’s so hard to watch your baby cry and it makes me feel bad even though my goal is to make him more comfortable.
Is there a baby toilet seat reducer you recommend? All the ones I’ve seen seem to be for tots.
Thank you for your work! I am so happy to have found out about EC and it still as because of you.
Hi! I know it’s so hard to hear your baby cry. This will pass, maybe taking a bit of time to just hold baby to calm him then potty. Talking to him throughout the whole process may help calm him as well.