This is the Go Diaper Free Podcast with Andrea Olson, session 5 - let’s get a grip on part-time!
Welcome to the Go Diaper Free Podcast, where we're all about teaching you how to stop changing diapers, starting at birth. And now your host...her son was potty independent by 17 months...Andrea Olson.
Indeed. During this 5th episode of the GoDiaperFree Podcast, we’re going to talk about doing EC and having a life. Part-time EC is awesome and I want you to know that exists, that it's the most popular way to do EC, and, I want to give you somewhat of an overview of what it can look like.
This episode is for folks who want to continue EC when you go back to work...and it is also for those of you who, although with your baby full time, choose to EC part-time based on your unique family lifestyle choices. There are so many things to do and learn with a new baby, that you might just want to do EC some of the time. I don’t blame you, and you’re certainly not alone!
This morning I was at toddler gymnastics for our weekly shaking out of sillies. It is quite fun. I have a 5 months pregnant bump and thus another mother and I begin chatting. She has twin boys who were born 3 years after her daughter. She is commenting that the spacing between my son and my daughter-to-be is just perfect. I am in full agreement. She then says, "there’s many reasons why it’s so perfect....#1, you’ll probably be done with potty training by then."
I try to keep my composure and tree my enthusiasm as I think to myself “my god, does it really take people that long these days...three years??” And I try really really really really hard to come up with an appropriate response. So I say “Oh, we did EC with my son and he was done with diapers at 9 months and finished potty training by 17 months.” Doh. Sounds completely arrogant. But it’s already out there. I am embarrassed of my own arrogance. I really am.
So she replies...”Oh, yeah, that sounds great but don’t you have to be with your baby 24/7 for that to work?” I reply, trying to be more sensitive this time around, with “Oh, no, not at all. Most people do EC part-time. Such as only getting the poops. That’s my favorite reason. I only had to change one week of poopy diapers.” Geez...Andrea...arrogance AGAIN! I really need to practice this conversation. It is all too common.
Luckily, it’s parachute time and we get to disperse and grab a cloth handle and start “making bubbles” for our kids to pop.
I fear that she’ll never speak to me again. She does and we become friends, but at the moment I'm quite embarrassed of myself. :)
BUT...the moral of this story is actually to point out the major misconception that most folks have about EC: that is has to be done 24/7, completely full-time....and it’s this myth that keeps parents from even trying it at all.
So, without further ado, here are some Tips for Maintaining a Part-time EC Practice:
If you have already begun ECing your child and have to return to work outside of the home, are starting EC while already working outside the home, or if you are simply choosing to maintain your EC practice part-time, there are a few routes you can take to help your baby continue this learning while avoiding confusion and interruption.
- You can practice EC consistently during times when you’re at home, or during specific times that suit your family’s lifestyle.
These times can include mornings, evenings, nights, and/or weekends.
Besides helping your baby stay sensitive to his awareness of and ability to communicate about elimination, your other goal is to expose your baby to the potty regularly so that it’s familiar and comfortable (instead of suddenly introducing it at a much later age).
- Shoot for the Easy Catches
If you can potty your baby upon waking, you’re certain to catch a pee...although as she grows you may have to wait a few minutes to let her wake up to potty later in baby- and toddler-hood.
Also, pottytunities during diaper changes are pretty reliable. Keep listening for a sample schedule that includes a list of good pottytunities for the working or part-time ECer.
- Regularly Give Diaper-free Time
Give your baby diaper-free time as often as you are comfortable and able. This can be naked or in clothing.
But remember: do it responsibly. Once you’ve got the necessary info while baby is naked, use undies, trainers, or just pants so your baby doesn’t get used to peeing on the floor.
If you can do a half hour or more daily, that’s recommended. If not, shoot for at least once per week. A little diaper-free time before the evening bath is always nice!
- Consider Co-sleeping at Night
ONLY CO-SLEEP IF IT GETS EVERYONE, INCLUDING YOU, MORE SLEEP, AND IF YOU DON’T HAVE A STRONG DESIRE TO HAVE YOUR CHILD SLEEPING IN ANOTHER ROOM ANYTIME SOON.
Many working ECers find success at staying in touch with baby’s signals and timing needs by co-sleeping. If you cosleep, you will increase your connection and familiarity with your baby, and will be physically able to sense her signals and needs and thus respond more quickly, sending you both back to sleep more quickly.
Co-sleeping can be done in a safe manner and in an arrangement that helps the whole family get more sleep than if the baby sleeps in a crib, alone. Do whatever gives your family the most sleep and allows you to remain more closely and intuitively connected with your baby.
Babies need to discharge pent-up energy that they generate throughout the day and the top two ways to help them do this (and produce a happier, more serene baby) are by co-sleeping and babywearing. Not only do these activities deepen your intuition and results around EC, but they also help you both feel happier & more connected!
- Practice Nighttime EC
AGAIN, ONLY DO NIGHTTIME EC IF IT GETS EVERYONE, INCLUDING YOU, MORE SLEEP.
On the note of co-sleeping, you might also consider ramping up your nighttime EC practice in lieu of your daytime. Nighttime EC is easier and less disruptive to the whole family if you co-sleep, but has been successfully done without co-sleeping.
It is true that some people become exhausted by practicing nighttime EC. It’s also true that some people get more sleep because baby is more comfortable (having an empty bladder)...it just depends.
Doing nighttime EC can positively influence any effort at daytime EC. It can also prevent bedwetting in later years. Refer to GoDiaperFree.com to learn more about Nighttime EC. Give it a try and see what happens.
- Wear Your Baby More Often
During those times when you are home, skip the stroller and carry your baby in a sling or other type of baby carrier. As with co-sleeping, being physically closer to your baby via wearing her attunes you to her signals and natural timing around pottying (and many other things!). It also deepens your connection during the precious moments you spend together when you’re not at work.
As I said in the co-sleeping section above, babies need to discharge pent-up energy that they generate throughout the day and the top two ways to help them do this (and produce a happier, more serene baby) are by co-sleeping and babywearing. Not only do these activities deepen your intuition and results around EC, but they also help you both feel happier & more connected!
ONLY WEAR YOUR BABY MORE OFTEN IF IT DOESN’T HURT YOUR BACK. If it hurts your back, it’s just not going to be worth your while. You’d be crazy to hurt yourself in order to meet your baby’s needs in this way.
- Use Cloth Diapers (or Modified Disposables) at Least Part-time
If you are unable to do EC full-time (whether you are away at work or simply choosing to EC part-time), try switching to cloth diapers at least part-time. While you are with your baby, put her in a cloth diaper held in place by a belt or elastic band (without a plastic cover over it - think “Sumo Wrestler”).
Do this so you can immediately feel when your baby is wet and either offer a pottytunity to see if there’s more or simply change the diaper. Your baby needs to remain accustomed to dryness, so, if you are able to, do this as often as possible.
You will also remain in touch with your baby’s Natural Timing if you know immediately when she’s wet, and her Signals (as they evolve) will also remain more clear and consistent.
Disposable diapers alone will not help you achieve these goals...however, there is a way to modify their use by adding a cut-up piece of a washcloth (see How to Diaper with EC for how to do both the cloth sumo-style & the disposable modification).
- So, that’s it for my overview of part-timer tips.
Here are some additional convenience tricks for everyone doing EC, part-time or full-time, to round out this episode.
Here are some things that can help you do Elimination Communication with balance, convenience, and sanity intact:
- do it as often as you can. Part-time? Once a day? Poops only? Weekends only? Full-time? Sure, whatever YOU can!
- do it with a diaper “back-up.” A diaper-free baby can still wear diapers. The difference is that he’s not dependent upon diapers. Many parents (myself included) use diapers “just in case.” But we’re not married to them.
- learn how to do it right, from the beginning. Please do not wing it. I’m not exaggerating.
- be present with your baby, connected, (while not hyper-focusing on your baby, or on EC) and EC will flow smoothly. Conduct your life in a busy, distracted manner and it probably won’t work. In fact, most things about parenting will likely crumble in your wake.
- get support.
So that’s it for this episode of the Go Diaper Free Podcast. How to do EC part-time and have a life at the same time. You can find a full transcript of this episode plus the show notes at GoDiaperFree.com/05.
I’m curious - how are you doing EC part-time in your family? Find us at facebook.com/godiaperfree and post your part-time EC story or tips on our wall.
In our next episode, we will cover What is EC, Part 2. We’re gonna take it a step further from where we left off in Episode 2, now that we know so many more things about EC.
Til next time, happy pottying across the world!
Loved this podcast–provided me with some re-inspiration/motivation and let me know that even though we have not been “perfect” with our EC’ing, we are doing what we can to get our son diaper free. Thanks for this article, for this site, and for your service–keep up the awesome work you are doing for us!
I love your podcats, blog posts and videos. Thank you! You’ve been helping my family a lot.