What should you do when EC feels overwhelming, or you’re feeling unsuccessful, and you just need a break from it all. Or, what I like to call: The Re-set.
Maybe there is resistance at potty time, or maybe you are feeling stressed. Whatever the reason, if nothing seems to be going your way with pottying your baby, it can totally stink. Pun intended.
The solution is the re-set, and in today’s episode, I will share what it looks like and why you may need to do it immediately.
You will learn:
- Why you might want to try a reset
- How to give yourself permission to take a break
- How to design a reset that works for you
- What to do during your reset
- How to get back on track when the reset is over
- A tip from one of our readers!
Links and other resources mentioned today:
- The Go Diaper Free Book
- Biodegradable Diaper Backup
- Tiny Trainers
- Getting EC Back on Track MiniCourse
- Potty Pause Resolution MiniCourse
- Episode 26 - Getting Back on Track with EC
- Episode 42 - Why Babies Resist the Potty
- Easy Catch #1
- Easy Catch #2
- Easy Catch #3
- Easy Catch #4
- Free Observation Log
- The Tiny Potty Training Book
- Top Hat Potty at TinyUndies.com
- Mini Potty at TinyUndies.com
- Easy Start Guide for EC (Free Download)
Download the Transcript
If you can't listen to this episode right now (um, sleeping baby!?)...download and read the transcript here:
Welcome to the Go Diaper Free Podcast, where we're all about helping you stop depending on diapers as early as birth. I'm your host, Andrea Olson, author and mom and five EC’d babies. This is Episode 46, The re-set.
Welcome to the show today, you guys. I'm glad you're here again. We've been on quite a roll. I thought about one of the biggest things that people have to do in the middle of EC sometimes and wanted to share about it today. It's called the re-set. I thought about it the other day because I know a lot of moms and dads are struggling with this right now, where EC feels like it's a total flop and failure and they just need a break, but they don't really want to stop and abandon doing EC altogether.
What is a re-set? A re-set is when you feel stressed about pottying your baby. There's a lot of resistance maybe. Maybe you're going through a potty pause. Maybe you're just completely unsuccessful and you feel like you have no idea what you're doing and it's just really stressing you out, making you feel like a failure at parenting and all that stuff. Maybe you just need a break because you're overwhelmed. Maybe you're dealing with postpartum depression. Maybe you have like a million other kids. Maybe it's just not time for EC right now.
But, like I said at the beginning, you don't want to completely abandon EC. You really don't want to give up, you believe in it. You believe in its impact on children, on your family, on your connection, on the earth, to the environment, all that stuff. So you really don't want to abandon EC and you really want it to work out, but you're just at your wit's end. If this is you, this episode is definitely going to help.
You have full permission to do a re-set, and I learned this from somebody who does potty training. I decided to see if it would work with EC, because EC is very different from potty training. But the impact of stressing out a mom or dad during this process is kind of the same. It can be very stressful and very hard when things are just falling apart and aren’t working, especially if EC's been working perfectly and beautifully from birth and then that little child starts walking and you're having a really hard time. You can also do a re-set in the very beginning, any age between zero and 18 months, total permission to re-set.
If you're past 18 months, please don't do a re-set. Please just take a couple weeks break while you read my potty training book and just do a potty training experience to wrap it all up. Even if you've done a little bit of EC or none, it doesn't matter what you've done before, even if you've tried to potty train. A re-set is not going to necessarily get you back on track with EC after 18 months. After 18 months, developmentally they're more helped, your children are more helped, by doing a potty training experience. Within the potty training experience, you might want to do a re-set, and that is covered in that book if that happens. If potty training becomes really hard, you can do a re-set there, but today we're going to talk about re-set as far as elimination communication goes. Just so that's clear.
Okay, so that's why the re-set might need to happen. Stress, resistance, you feel like a failure, things are failing, you need a break, lots of misses, lots of misguesses, you're just not getting it. Or there's severe trouble between you guys and you don't want to psychologically damage them or your relationship, which it won't, because your kids are really forgiving and in your heart of hearts you're really just trying to help. They get it, they know that, but it can be stressful so you might want to re-set.
This is how we do it. You want to mark two weeks on your calendar, starting right this second. Mark it on your calendar because you are a mom or dad and the time's going to pass and you're going to go, "Wait, when was I supposed to do that? I forgot." Set an alarm on your calendar on your phone if you want. During these two weeks you will be doing no pottying and no EC. There are two exceptions to this, but I'm going to encourage you to do nothing, even if you think you should. Okay, it's going to be really hard to go back to no pottying after doing it, but trust me, you need a break and you deserve a break.
So during these two weeks, you're going to use the diaper as a backup while you step away. You might feel like you're using the diaper as a toilet, but if everything's been going bonkers anyway and you haven't been catching anything anyway, what's the difference? It's just not going on your floor, right? You're going to use that diaper for the tool... It was invented to be a convenient backup, and it's turned into a convenient toilet. We're not going to use it as a toilet; we're going to use it as a backup. By the way, a little preview, Episode 48 upcoming is going to be about the purpose of a diaper, backup versus toilet, so definitely tune into that one when it comes out.
During those two weeks, you're going to put two weeks on the calendar. Use the diaper as a backup while you step away. You're not giving up, you are coming back to it. So clear out that guilt. Notice if you feel guilty, notice if you feel like a failure, and just say, "Hey, I'm feeling that way." That is the number one way to get that feeling to kind of slide off. You don't push away from it, you just accept it and acknowledge it. "Hey, I'm feeling like a failure. I suck at EC. That's what I think anyway." Then turn around and go, "You know what? This is going to help us make a step. I don't know what it's going to look like. Let's just do this because everything else... I just need a break." Again, permission granted for that break.
Let's talk about the only two reasons you would want to potty during this re-set at all. The first one is for poops. If you are consistently getting a 100% of poops anyway and you need to do a re-set because you're having issues with struggles with pee, then by all means don't let that baby start pooping in a diaper. Get the poops in the potty. You notice they're starting to poop, just say, "All right, let's go poop," and put them on the potty. You notice they start to poop and you really just don't want to have to clean that up during this re-set and you usually don't have that much resistance with it, cool. Then you say, "Hey, you're pooping. Wait," take the diaper off and put them on the potty and catch the poop. Poops are one sort of hall pass you get with the re-set, if it doesn't cause a bunch of struggle. If it does, then you're going to let the diaper take it and you're going to clean it up during that time.
Okay, the second little hall pass I can give you is if it is 100% obvious, and you are 100% sure, and your baby is feeling completely willing and so are you, then you can potty. If you always get the morning pee and that's never been a struggle, keep doing that, but the rest of the day you are not allowed to do EC for two weeks. Okay? If there's something that's preexisting that's already working, keep doing that during the re-set, but I really want you to not offer at all any other times. Don't offer transition times, don't offer any other times.
This also gives your baby a break. This gives your child or toddler a break, and this also allows them to reclaim the process for themselves without you intruding anymore. Shame on you for intruding. If they’re crawling and walking in an intact indigenous culture somewhere in the world, even today where there aren't diapers, they would be done with you. They wouldn't need you to help with all the stuff. Because they can't do it completely by themselves, sometimes they resist. We talked about why babies resist the potty in Episode 42. If you missed that one, go back to it. But anyway, this re-set also gives your child a break and reduces the stress in the house. It's good for everybody. It's a blessing. If you notice guilt, just let that slide right off. This is a good thing.
Now, I don't want you to try for any others because this is a time for break, but if it's 100% obvious... If you don't get any obvious signals at all right now and then you do this re-set and during the time your baby starts giving obvious signals, it's because they finally have the space and the bandwidth and the privacy, and this process is now fully their own again, to voluntarily tell you that they want help and that they need to go. So if they point at their diaper or they tug at it and they look right at you, don't say a word. Take off the diaper and stick them on the potty. If that means that your re-set is over, then don't finish the two weeks. But if you're really having a hard time, then do the whole two weeks.
All right. Again, it will only be a 100% obvious if you were already catching that one before, like the poops, or if your baby feels like they have so much leeway now and so much ownership that they're going to voluntarily tell you because you're re-setting. This does not mean give up on EC; this just means re-set. You have an end time on this. It's like telling your partner, that you're in an argument and saying, "You know what? I can't talk about this. I'm too stimulated right now, I'm too triggered, but I will come back in 15 minutes and we can talk about it." It helps everyone know that there is a container, if that makes sense, that holds all of this process.
Okay, so, “What do we do after the re-set, Andrea? Okay, we've done a re-set. Now what? Just leaving me hanging.” No, I would never leave you hanging. We want to get back on track. If you have my book already, you're just going to do some more observation time and learn your baby again and pretty much start from scratch. Get some new information, how often is my child going. You can do this with a training pant backup, if they're already walking and stuff like that. I have a lot of information on that in the book, Go Diaper Free. You're going to go back and you can start in with just the easy catches. You can just keep doing what's working, but now the diaper as a backup becomes the variable. It might be time, and you might have had so much stress and resistance because your child was telling you that they want to be independent.
So you might want to jump right into potty training, with the Hybrid Plan or with my potty training book. The Hybrid Plan comes with the Go Diaper Free book. The potty training plan is part of my book for older ones, you can do that around 15 or 16 months. Hybrid Plan, like 12 to 18 months, if you're in there and you feel like after this re-set, "I feel like it's just such a strong sign, I need to stop using diapers," and you're between 12 and 18 months, do it. Oh my gosh. It'll be such a gift. Learn through observation, get rid of the daytime diapers. If you want to do a little hybrid couple of day naked thing, observation teaching time, it's all covered in the hybrid section that's part of my Book Owners’ Area of the Go Diaper Free book. If you have questions about what method to use with what age, definitely email us.
But the other options after your re-set, if you already have my book especially, because then you know the big picture and what you're dealing with, I have a deep dive into potty pause that you can learn about what you're going through during the re-set and then it tells you how to get back into things afterwards. But I really recommend the mini course that’s called Getting Back On Track. I also have a podcast episode on Getting Back on Track. I'll link to that in the show notes as well, I can't remember the number offhand. When you're done, you want to get back on track. That's the main point.
Go over to the show notes. This is all I'm going to tell you, because this is very simple. Godiaperfree.com/46, and I want you to comment. Do you need to do a re-set? Do you feel like I've named your symptoms and you need to do a re-set? Tell us, and then we can support you. Or have you done a re-set, and did it work? Or do you have any questions about this? Or did this just blow your mind and you're so excited? Whatever it is, go over to the show notes and comment there. We respond to every single one.
Check out some of those resources. I've linked to all of them over at godiaperfree.com/46. So you can pick and choose. It's like a menu, Go Diaper Free is like a menu of things anywhere in the process. The point is, during the re-set, don't stop doing EC. You're just going to step back, take a much needed breather, reduce all... If you're in a tug of war and you don't want to be in one, then let go of the rope, right? But we want to pick up the rope later, okay?
Now we're going to hear a tip from one of - and I look forward to hearing your comments over there - a tip from one of our readers. Ayelet. Ayelet lives in Israel. She has a website, afterbirthdoula.com. She's amazing. She's a postpartum doula and Baby Signs ICI, and that's her website. She began ECing her third child inconsistently since birth, somewhat, and her baby is currently a year and a half old and they're in the process of potty training. So at 18 months, they're wrapping things up with potty training after doing some EC, which is totally a great option. Her tip for all of you is, "It's not all or nothing. Reduce stress," which is what a re-set's all about, right? "Reduce stress - if you're stressed out you won't be doing anyone any favors! EC when it suits you, as long as it remains as stress-free as possible - babies like their parents as calm as they can get them." I think that's wonderful advice. Thank you so much for that Ayelet. We'll definitely check out your website, especially if you're in Israel, but she also does remote stuff.
I just think everybody in our community has such great advice for each other. If you don't have my book already, it comes with a support forum and you really could learn a lot from each other there. Take Ayelet's advice. Reduce the stress. If you need to do a re-set, no harm, no foul. Do it and then get back on track.
All right, so that's it for today's podcast. I'm Andrea Olson, this has been the Go Diaper Free Podcast. I will see you soon.
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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.)