I don’t know about you, but sometimes I get caught up in measuring my success with EC day by day.
Today, for example, I felt so good about myself. I caught a poop and *almost* all pees! Only three wet diapers - killing it!! ☺
One day earlier this week though...I ONLY caught about three pees. The rest, AND a poop, ended up in the diaper. ☹
But, what I so often forget is that one good day or one bad day is NOT the measure of EC success, or even my mom skills.
The point of EC is the learning process. Over and over again Andrea stresses in Go Diaper Free that the EC journey is non-linear. But it’s so hard to remember sometimes.
I hate to break it to you, but counting diapers, or obsessing over the number of catches isn’t going to help the EC process - if anything, it’ll probably set you back.
The answer: Let go and RELAX!!! ☺
I’ve found that my days tend to fall into three main categories:
I am bound and determined to keep ONE diaper dry ALL DAY LONG. It’s a bit unrealistic, especially with a 5 month old.... but supermom can do it all, right?
Of course, this turns into me trying to take the lead, offering way more pottytunities than necessary, and when the inevitable miss occurs, becoming quite frustrated with my less-than perfect record.
Whether it’s navigating the hurricane of e-learning, trying to keep up with housework, visiting with friends, feeling sick, or whatever else - I am mentally SOMEWHERE ELSE and EC is literally the last thing on my mind.
Somehow I forget that when she gets fussy, I should try the potty; and after unsuccessfully trying several minutes to calm my frustrated baby, the realization hits me: She had to pee, duh. I consequently change diaper after diaper all day.
At least I have a scapegoat (work was on my mind, etc.), but I still feel like a failure, whatever the distraction had been.
Easy Does It
I don’t worry about EC. I potty the baby when she wakes up (or after nursing upon wakeup as she usually insists on food first) and she, the baby, *clearly* fusses that she needs to go potty, otherwise I don’t even think about it. ☺
As EC becomes more a part of our routine, these days are thankfully becoming more common. When we came up on our 4th month of EC practice around 7 months old, our baby started to become more independent and communicative. I found more of a balance of being in tune with her, but not stressing over a possible miss.
4 tips for staying chill....
- Don’t rush the training pants
I notice I’m just a teeny bit more tense when I put my baby in trainers and a teeny bit less confident in her ability to communicate when she needs to go.
- The solution? Use them for short periods when you are CONFIDENT in your child’s ability to stay dry (mornings are typically our best time, so I’m not worried about her being in trainers then.) Otherwise, use a backup you won’t stress about getting wet. OR, if you use trainers, let the baby primarily play in an area covered by yoga mats, or put a prefold down on the floor underneath a not-yet mobile baby. Whatever it takes to make you feel JUST AS nonchalant as when baby is in diapers.
If I put her on the potty first and she is hungry, I’m left with a VERY unhappy baby. I want to avoid any negative association with pottying as much as possible.
- The solution? EVERY time my baby fusses, I put her to the breast FIRST. If she needs to use the bathroom, she will refuse to nurse and scream at me - a pretty clear signal. Then, I can confidently potty her knowing she definitely has to go. ☺ A top hat potty can create an easier transition from feeding, and a happier baby as well. I’ve also earned a degree in “acrobatic nursing” – primarily kneeling and feeding while my baby sits on the seat reducer or minipotty, those times that I’ve forgotten the proper order of things, but don’t feel like rediapering to nurse.
- Keep an eye on the clock
When I’m not sure how long it’s been since her last pee, I hover more.
- The solution? Every time she successfully uses the potty, I make a note of the time. That way, next time she signals, I have an idea of how long it’s been, and can judge whether or not she probably needs to go based on my knowledge of her natural timing. Otherwise, I go about my day as usual and don’t think or worry about the potty until I see a signal or it gets close to when I expect her to need to go. When I look back on these early days with my baby, I want to remember the fun memories (not just the pottytunities), so I make it a point to integrate EC into our routine but not let it become the focus of the day.
It can be frustrating if your baby’s signals become VERY subtle upon beginning to crawl.
- The solution? Rely on natural timing and intuition far more than ever before, but do NOT over offer for the sake of catching a pee, or you will be most certainly inviting Sir Potty Pause over for a visit. A couple days of observation can be very helpful, and learning from misses, instead of beating yourself up about them, is the best thing we’ve done. I’ve learned that crawling to me after playing independently, approximately 45 minutes after the last time she peed is OFTEN a signal from my little one. We are still relatively successful, but we also don’t stress over misses.
What helps YOU relax and hover less? Comment below!
PS - here’s the video version of this episode in case you prefer to YouTube it. ;)