There are about a million and one opinions out there about how to tell if your child is “ready” for potty training. But what about those of us who have practiced EC, or who want to potty train at an age that’s considered by many to be “early”? How do we cut through the noise and figure out the truth? Save the internet searches and tune into this week’s episode for a straight-forward take on when you can ditch diapers.
You Will Hear:
- How to determine potty training “readiness”
- What skills your child will need to master in order to reach potty independence
- Why you might want to wrap up EC with a potty training experience
- The difference between interest and readiness, and why it matters
Links and other resources mentioned today:
- Passing the baton - Podcast #59
- Wrapping Up EC MiniCourse
- “Passing the Baton” Young Toddlers EC Program
- Go Diaper Free Book
- Tiny Potty Training Book
- Our Common Enemy - Podcast #165
- Go Diaper Free Store
- Tiny Undies Store
Download the Transcript
If you can't listen to this episode right now (um, sleeping baby!?)...download and read the transcript here:
EPISODE 253: Signs of Potty Training Readiness
There are about a million and one opinions out there on how to tell if your child is ready for potty-training. But what about those of us who have practiced EC, or are practicing elimination communication, and we're trying to figure out if our child is ready to ditch diapers. Or if you haven't practiced EC and you want to potty train at an age that's considered early for our modern society, how do you cut through the noise and figure out the truth? Allow me to spare you multiple internet searches, we're going to talk about that today. This is episode 253, Signs of Potty Training Readiness.
Hello, and welcome to the Go Diaper Free podcast. I'm your host Nicole Cheever. Go Diaper Free certified coach and mama to three kiddos who all went through EC and potty training at different ages and stages.
Hey everyone, welcome back, thanks so much for joining me today. I'm Nicole Cheever with Go Diaper Free. This is the Go Diaper Free podcast, and today's episode is 253, Signs of Potty Training Readiness. You can find everything I'm going to mention today over on the show notes at godiaperfree.com/253. You can leave a comment there, ask us any questions you may have. If you're listening on your favorite podcast player please subscribe so you can hear about all of our upcoming episodes, and we would love it if you would leave us a review. If you're on YouTube hello, you're watching me on video now, and we would love for you to subscribe here as well so you can get alerts on all of our new episodes.
Today's episode is going to be helpful to you if you're in one of a couple different places. If you are practicing EC and you have kind of a long view, you're thinking about how this is going to transition, when am I going to be able to start to pass this off to my child and have them be potty independent? If you're in that phase right now where you're trying to help your child be potty independent, or if you're thinking about potty training, especially if your child is 18 months or older.
Episode 59 is about passing the baton. Those of you that have babies who are probably as young as nine months might be ready to start passing the baton. This is handing over the keys to EC and pottying to your child. Eventually, we want them to be taking over all of the tasks and all of the responsibility of putting their pee and poop in the potty. So episode 59 is going to help you with a lot of that, when you can teach which skill and why. We also have a Wrapping Up MiniCourse if you're looking to wrap up EC with your child. If your child is between 12 and 18 months and you want to both start and finish EC in that time period, it's totally doable. And we have the Young Toddler EC Program and I will link that in the show notes as well. That's going to help you both get started and complete EC within that 12 to 18 month range.
For those of you who are wanting to potty train and your child is maybe even as young as 16 months, you may have already done EC. Sometimes EC gets to a point where it doesn't seem like it's really working anymore and we need to finish it up with a potty training experience. We kind of need to put a nice little bow on it, wrap it all up with a potty training experience. All of the information for that is going to be in the digital download, the hybrid plan for 12 to 18 month old toddlers, which is included in both the Go Diaper Free and the Tiny Potty Training Book, and a lot of what I talk about today will be in the Tiny Potty Training Book as well. Because, no shame in it, no matter how successful EC is, sometimes your child just needs that nice little wrap up of a potty training experience, and especially if they're anywhere from maybe as young as about 16 months on.
All right, so how can you tell if your child is ready for potty training, if they're ready to ditch diapers for good? What are the signs of readiness? Well, believe it or not there are none. There are no actual signs of readiness. This was all fabricated by the disposable diaper companies. You can take a deep dive in one of our episodes about the diaper companies and how that all came to be, but rest assured that if your child is 18 months or older, with the exception of some physical or developmental delays or limitations, they are ready. I don't care if they are arching and kicking and screaming when you try to put them on the potty, they are ready. We'll talk about that a little bit more later on in the episode.
But that's the readiness quiz y'all. That's it. Are they 18 months or older? Are they at that stage developmentally? Great, they're ready. Now it's your job to get ready, and this is a little bit of a pep talk today to help you get ready.
Why do we say 18 months? Typically, right around this stage, it can happen a little bit earlier for some children and a little bit later for others, but typically right around this stage the blossoming toddler personality starts to come out, and they are craving mastery. And they are typically developmentally and physically capable of learning the things you need to teach in order to get them potty independent, in order to potty train them. They have usually mastered walking by now. As soon as your child masters walking you can wrap up, you can finish up EC, or you can do a potty training experience. If your child's an early, early walker, 10-11 months, I would probably wait until about 16 months to totally do a potty training experience. But right around then, if you're practicing EC, you can be handing over that baton and handing over those keys to the castle to get them potty independent. So make sure you check out episode 59 for that.
They do not need to be verbal in order to ditch diapers, they just need to be able to communicate. Your child, before they are verbal, is able to communicate a variety of needs and opinions and desires. Just think about all the ways you know what your child needs or wants or thinks throughout the day, whether or not they're actually using spoken words. You could be using Baby Sign, American Sign Language modified for babies. They could just be gesturing, they could be babbling, they could be saying absolutely nothing, and you can tell what it is they need. So as long as they're able to communicate in some way they can ditch diapers, you can potty train your child.
Your child does need to be able to learn clothing manipulation, if they don't already know how to push their own pants down, or undies down. Pulling up of course isn't as crucial, it's a step along the way, but it's not as crucial for getting the pee in the potty. The undressing is really more important. If they are capable of learning that and you can test it, if you haven't gone through that with them yet, by trying to help them learn now. If they're capable of doing that, then they will be able to be potty trained. They are capable of performing the tasks that they need to know in order to be potty independent.
My oldest took a very long time to show any interest in clothing manipulation. I would help him, I still help him, he's five and a half now. I will help him sometimes just because that's what he wants. He wasn't really interested in doing it himself, to the point where when my second baby came along and very, very early I would say, around a year, maybe even younger, she was insisting on trying to put her clothes on and take them off herself. I was really surprised, I had no idea that was going to happen so early. I was a little disappointed that she was so young when she started having opinions about what she was wearing too, because I liked to dress her in certain things and she wanted to wear others. But as long as your child is capable, they don't have to have a drive or a desire to manipulate their clothing, but if they're capable of doing it then they're capable of learning the potty training process.
If they can learn a routine of any kind, think about your child's day, think about the things you do regularly, and think about how many routines they already anticipate. Whether it's your bedtime routine, whether it's your breakfast or mealtime routine. If they are going towards the kitchen, or they're grabbing their own cup, or whatever it may be. They're capable of learning a routine, then they are capable of learning the potty routine as well. So again, all of these things typically happen by 18 months, and that's one of the big reasons we say once they hit 18 months then they're ready to potty train, as well as of course that developmental drive to do it themselves. We all know that, and if you haven't experienced it yet I'm sure you've heard about it.
For those of you who didn't start placing those building blocks early, and you're starting to approach that 16 to 18 month window, this is why I say your child is ready. They can go through a little potty training experience just to put a bow on it, just to put a button on EC, and wrap it all up neatly for them. The Hybrid Plan is putting those building blocks in place in kind of a shorter time period, so that's a good in-between. If you're not quite at 18 months but you didn't start the building blocks early, you can use the Hybrid Plan that's available with both books, and that can help you just kind of bridge that gap between when you could have been putting the building blocks in place – you didn't for whatever reason, it honestly doesn't matter because it's not too late – you can bridge that gap with the Hybrid Plan. And if you've really gotten to that independent streak around 16 to 18 months, then you can go ahead and just do a little potty training experience.
The MiniCourse, Wrapping Up EC, covers completion step-by-step for either pure EC or the Hybrid Plan. So the Hybrid Plan is also fully explained in the Wrapping Up MiniCourse, and as promised I'll talk very briefly about resistance. If your child is showing major resistance, you're chugging along with EC and now they're just like, "No, no way, I'm not sitting on that potty. You can't make me do it." Or you're having a ton of misses. Or you're thinking about potty training, they're around 18 months or a little bit older maybe, and you've gotten a potty, you tried to have them sit on it and they're like, "Nope, not a chance. I'm not sitting on that darn thing." Many people see the resistance and they go, "Oh, they're not ready. They're not ready to potty train. They don't want to have anything to do with it." Partially because with all of this diaper company propaganda we've really confused readiness with interest. They don't have anything to do with each other. Your child does not have to be interested in potty training in order to be ready to potty train, to be capable of potty training or wrapping up EC. So really try to detach those two concepts from each other. Resistance is not necessarily a sign that you're moving too quickly. It could be that you're putting a little bit too much pressure on, but it does not mean they're too young.
I write a lot of notes when I'm preparing for the podcast, of different ideas, I do a lot of brainstorming of course, and I get a lot of ideas from all of you. But I wrote a note that I just came across today that said, “regression at 22 months” with my youngest. She's almost two now, so this was approximately one or two months ago that I wrote this note, and honestly I can't even remember it. I can't even remember what I was talking about. I was like, she went through a regression at 22 months, what are you talking about? She probably went through some kind of resistance, and what I did was I figured out whatever it was she was resisting, whether it was sitting on the potty, wiping, pulling her clothes down, whatever it was, and I gave her more independence with that. And now I'm sitting here less than two months later going, “what resistance? What are you talking about? We had regression? I don't even remember.” That's just to show you that in real time, that resistance doesn't mean too young. Doesn't mean stop training. Doesn't mean back off and forget potty training and come back to it when they're two or three. It simply means that they are really hungry for that independence and autonomy, and we have to figure out how to give it to them.
That's my little speech on resistance and regression. Try not to let it cramp your style too much. Try not to let it discourage you. It's a sign that your child really is growing up, which can be hard for us to accept, but they're all going to do it.
If you've been practicing EC, you've been trying to wrap up, you've gone through the MiniCourse and it's still just not enough for you, go ahead and move on to the Tiny Potty Training Book. Again, some kiddos just need that really focused training time in order to make everything click and connect all the dots. There's nothing wrong. It doesn't mean your EC journey and your practice and all of your efforts were for nothing, it just means that this is the way your child learns, and this is going to work for them.
We've got all the tools for you, I've laid them all out here. Go ahead and visit godiaperfree.com/253 to find all the links there to all of the resources I've mentioned, and I would love for you to leave a comment over there on our blog. Let us know what signs that I mentioned in today's episode your child has or is exhibiting. Have they mastered walking? Are they able to communicate? Are they able to manipulate their clothing or learn how to do it? Have they learned any kind of routine? What routines are you already going through that show you your child is capable and ready to do this?
I hope that was helpful for you today. Thanks for sticking with me through all of that. I'm Nicole Cheever with Go Diaper Free and we can't wait to see you next time.
Want to catch your first pee today? Grab Andrea's free easy start guide and do just that. It's only one page and it will change your world. Get it at godiaperfree.com/start. 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 12 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.)