This post was originally posted on June 1, 2019, and has been fully updated on June 1, 2021 to include an audio (Podcast) version, a video (YouTube) version, and to include some basic updates. Enjoy! xx Andrea
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If you want to watch me record today’s podcast episode, you can do that on my youtube version that's coming soon:
This is a guest post from Ariane Blais-Lacombe, our certified coach in Chicago/Quebec. Enjoy her very wonderful and unique journey where she combines elimination communication with potty training in a guilt-free and positive manner! xx Andrea
When I started Elimination Communication, I thought I would never have to potty train my child. I read that EC babies usually become toilet-trained, by themselves, somewhere between 12 to 24 months. I was really hoping that would be my experience...but it wasn't.
My EC journey
I discovered Elimination Communication when my first son was 3 months old. I was astonished, skeptical, but also very curious. After gathering some information, I started right away.
I was amazed by our first successes. I was catching a few pees every day. Within a month, my baby started pooping in the toilet exclusively. It was going so well, I was telling all my friends about it.
During the next 6 months, we had less than 10 poopy diapers and we had double the time between our cloth diaper washes, going from washing every 2-3 days to every 5-7 days.
Do I need to say that washing pee only is 100 times easier than dealing with poop, especially when baby starts eating solid food?
If it hadn’t been for EC, I don’t think we would have continued to use cloth diapers after we moved to Chicago, where we don’t have a washer and dryer in our apartment. Just the cost of the laundry 2-3 times per week would not have been worth it. So thanks again, EC!
When my son approached 1 year old, I thought we were done with diapers. I could keep him dry all day long. He even started to wake up dry, even if he was still waking up once a night to drink milk.
But then we traveled home for the holidays and we had a big regression. Looks like we were not done after all.
My son started walking at 15 1/2 months. As you know, walking is a big developmental milestone and it helps a lot with potty independence. How can you get to the potty, push down your pants, dump your potty and everything...if you can’t walk yet?
At 18 months, I thought again we were ready to graduate from EC. It was the beginning of the summer and I kept him dry for a few days. He was gladly going when I offered him to pee or poop.
But then again we traveled in Germany that summer and we faced another major regression. Ugh.
Transitioning to Potty Training
So here we are, back home in Chicago. My son is now almost 2. I was able to get him back to part-time EC for the past month. He went back to pooping only in the potty (thank goodness!).
I am so ready to be done with diapers.
Two years of washing diapers...that’s way more than what I thought I was signing up for.
While pregnant, I thought babies wore diapers during only their first year of life...which is true around the world. 50-60% of babies elsewhere in the world are potty trained by around one year old.
But here in America, the average potty training age is 3. I am NOT going to change wet diapers and underwear for another year, or more. No thank you!
That’s why I’m officially tired of doing EC.
I’m tired of doing it part-time only, with diapers and training pants as a back-up. I think it’s confusing for my son, now that he is 22 months old. I'm ready to jump ship and do potty training to the finish line.
While babies let themselves be guided by their parents, toddlers want to do things on their own. To get that autonomy and independence they aim for, they need clear boundaries. Simple expectations. Repetitive tasks.
They need potty training, not EC.
This is the difference between Elimination Communication and Potty Training:
- EC can be done part-time. Potty training has to be done full-time.
- EC can be done with diapers. Potty training means ditching the diaper and never looking back.
- With EC, you try to get some or most of the pees and poos in the potty. With potty training, you try to get ALL the pees and poos in the potty.
- The goal of EC is communication, the goal of potty training is completion.
In both cases, you have to respect your child in the process. You have to TEACH them what to do. You have to give them as much independence as they can handle. Some parents forget that, both in EC and potty training.
This week, I am using potty training to wrap up EC.
With all this in mind, I started potty training my son YESTERDAY and it went sooo well. We only had one accident, when I was distracted folding laundry. Very common error.
(During the intensive teaching days of potty training, DON’T DO ANYTHING ELSE.)
Other than that, we got every. single. pee. (and poop of course) in the toilet.
And that’s because we did EC for all those months previously!
Elimination Communication has helped me...
- know my toddler's natural rhythm
He usually goes every hour. Since I gave him extra fluid, I knew he would go every half hour. I simply prompt him and he just goes.
- develop tricks to stay on the potty
We have been through many potty resistance phases. Now I know what potty position my toddler prefers, what books he likes to read (it’s Tiny Potty, by the way), what songs he likes to hear (Wheels on the Bus, of course), etc.
- know my toddler's signals
In fact, I didn’t have to prompt him all day long. Sometimes I would just see him grab his crotch or wiggle in his high chair. I knew what that meant! I would just honour those signals by bringing him to the potty.
- connect my toddler with his own bodily functions
When he had his only accident of the day, he came to me saying “peepee.” That’s HUGE! Kids who wear diapers 24/7 for 2-3 years sometimes don’t even know what pee is, what it looks like, what it feels like. EC helps connect your child to his own elimination process. He even said “peepee” by himself BEFORE peeing a few times, too.
So I’m not saying potty training will be like a fairy tale if you did EC previously.
Mine isn’t. We are on Day 2 now and things are already more complicated.
I’m just saying we started off on the right foot THANKS TO EC.
And you could be too.
Does wrapping it up with potty training mean you failed at EC?
Short answer : NO.
You have not failed at EC if your child is not yet potty independent.
If you are there too, wondering how to wrap up EC after 18 months, know that you are not alone.
You did nothing wrong. It is perfectly normal.
People who complete EC at a young age without much effort are always more talkative about it than people who are struggling!
So hear me out:
My name is Ariane.
I am a Go Diaper Free Coach and
my EC'd baby is still not independent
at 22 months.
And that’s OK.
What can YOU do to wrap up EC with your baby?
You have two options.
Option 1 : Stick with Elimination Communication
If you continue with EC, building blocks towards independence, ditching the diaper for good, trying to move from part-time to full-time, chances are things will wrap up by themselves in the next few months.
If you need a little help, grab Andrea’s minicourse on Wrapping up EC.
Option 2 : Switch to Potty training
If, like me, you are READY to be DONE, then just potty train! No shame!
Potty training is not EC failure. It’s just a faster, more direct way to complete EC.
The things is, potty training is different from EC. You will need guidance to switch from one to another. Such guidance can be found in the Tiny Potty Training Book. It has a simple, quick and effective method that is inspired by EC and follows the same spirit.
Now please tell me I'm not the only one who had to potty train after doing EC!
Please comment below: At what age did your child became potty trained or potty independent? How did you do it? If you’re not there yet, what are your expectations?
Thank you and best wishes!