Today on the Go Diaper Free Podcast we're talking about when to know that it's time to transition to the big potty and how!
Whether you are going straight from an in-arms hold or from a mini potty, transitioning to a big potty is an important, often confusing, step.
It can feel a little intimidating at first, but don't worry, I'm going to talk you through it.
Maybe your child is letting you know it's time, or you are just ready for a change. Either way! Today we'll talk about what to do when transitioning to the big potty is your goal.
You will hear:
- Reasons to transition to the big potty
- How change can help you move through a potty pause
- How to transition to the big potty
- Helpful tools to have on hand
- How to encourage your child to move forward
- What to do if your child resists the big potty
- How to provide your child with safety and privacy
Links and other resources mentioned today:
- The Go Diaper Free Book
- Ladder and Toilet Seat Reducer All in One
- Lid Buddies
- Free Observation Log
- The Tiny Potty Training Book
- Potty Pause MiniCourse
- 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 using diapers as early as birth. I'm your host, Andrea Olson, author and mom of five EC’d babies. This is Episode 40, when to transition to the big toilet with elimination communication or potty training.
All right. Welcome, everybody. Glad to have you here today. We talked last time about when to transition from in-arms holds in EC to a mini potty. I promised you that we would also talk about when to transition to the big toilet, and that is today's episode.
So when would you transition to the big toilet, and from what? Well, we would transition to the big toilet from in-arms, see Episode 39 if you would like more info on that one. Or we would transition to the big toilet from a mini potty, which is the little one that goes on the ground. I have an excellent one if you need a really short one over at tinyundies.com.
But we want to go to the big toilet at certain times, and I'm here today to give you full permission to do so at any of these times. Or whenever you feel like it frankly, because every decision in EC and potty training is really yours, the parent's, to make. It is not necessarily a child-led thing, because if you think about it, we are the ones who put our babies into diapers and we are the ones who get to take them out of diapers. Waiting for them to express full readiness and tell you to potty train them is kind of something that the diaper companies have concocted to sell more product. Just think about that.
When do we transition to the big toilet from a mini potty, you guys? The first reason would be when your baby is escaping the mini potty. You know what I mean. They start to go and then they decide they don't want to go, or they don't start to go at all and they escape. They jump off of it, they run off. This is usually with a young toddler who clearly knows how to walk or run and is taking advantage of that. Or they can crawl and all they want to do right now is crawl and they don't want to sit there. Really all they want to do is pull themselves up on your couch. “Why would I brother sitting on this little mini potty?” If your baby is escaping the mini potty, it is definitely a great idea to transition to the big toilet immediately. We'll talk about how to do that at the end.
Another reason, another indicator of when to transition to the big toilet, is when we get tired of cleaning that lovely mini potty out. If your child is pooping in it, which is great, you're getting poop in the potty. Hurray, yay. Great job, team. It's also pretty hard and gross to clean out. Depending on whether they're exclusively breastfed or not. You know what I mean, I won't get into details. I do cover how to clean out your mini potty in my book, Go Diaper Free, amongst many other things, but cleaning it out can get old. When it's old then you're done, and you want to move to the big toilet. You'll never have to clean it out again.
Now, the reason I bring this up is because my husband, with our second of five children, got tired of cleaning up the mini potty. Our daughter, Isadora, was going every single time by herself, or telling us, at 15 months. We got her out of diapers at 13 months, that one. He was frankly tired of cleaning it out. So guess what he did? He hid it from us, from me and from Isadora, so nobody could use the mini potty anymore. So we had to start transitioning, and I will tell you how to do that in a little bit.
Okay, so when the baby's escaping the mini potty and when we're tired of cleaning it out, those are two good reasons to transition to the big toilet. Another one is during resistance or a potty pause. When we have resistance, just light resistance like, oh, they don't go and then they pee in their diaper five minutes later or on your floor. Or we have a potty pause, where just for days or weeks they are not going, they're refusing and it's traumatic. It's not actually traumatic, they're not going to be traumatized by it, but for you in the moment you feel traumatized, the parent, because everything had gone great with EC and then everything's hard all of a sudden.
So during times of resistance and pause, we like to suggest changing the receptacle. Change the environment, change the backup, what they're wearing, which we'll cover that transition of when to change from diapers to something else in another episode. But during these difficult times, changing the receptacle can sometimes be the solution for everything.
They see you and every other grownup, and maybe older siblings if they have any, using the big toilet every single day, right? They might really want to use it themselves and just don't know how to ask, so they ask by resisting. Resistance and potty pauses are information. They're going to give us information on, whoa, what part of this process does my child want more independence over, or more independence in, or more say in? That could be it too, so changing the receptacle at that time is a really good idea and a good time to transition to the big toilet.
I think my lawn guy just started, so sorry. I will try to stay close to the microphone so you don't hear him. All right, now let's talk about how to transition to the big toilet. Okay, so how to transition to the big toilet. That was not my lawn guy, that was actually some really big tractor going by.
Okay, so how to do it. We want to get a stool, one with steps on it. A full on ladder stool toilet seat reducer combo if you really feel like, they have those on Amazon, or just a plain old stool that they can climb onto and eventually learn how to get onto the big toilet themselves with. But it's also really good because it makes them feel safe, that there's something underneath them that they can step onto when they get off.
It's also a great place to help them self-dress or pull on their pants. Sit down on the stool after they get off the big toilet, pull their pants to their ankles, have them stand up and pull them the rest of the way up. It's a really good teaching opportunity. I go into a lot more detail in my books on those kinds of processes.
But how to do it, we definitely need the tool of a stool and then we also want to get a seat reducer. We want to get something that... Okay, you can try many different things. You can find one that's novel, that has a character on it, even if your kid's never watched a lick of TV. You could get something with a character on it that's cute that they could point out and feel comfortable, like they're going to the bathroom on Lightning McQueen or something like that. We also want to get some for a child who is younger, a much smaller baby. Maybe something that's a little bit deeper, so that they sink into it a little bit. Maybe more comfortable, get them more into that deep spot feeling while their legs are still so short. So pick out a seat reducer of your choice.
We also want to hide or toss out the mini potty. If it's not there, you're not going to use it, right? It's kind of like getting rid of diapers. Not there you're not going to use it. We want to do that so that we don't have an option. If things aren't working for you or the baby, regarding the mini potty, then just take it out of the picture. This is now our new thing and you're a big kid and look at this cool seat you get to sit on. Don't over talk it, it shows that you're afraid. Trust me, we're all afraid of our children at one point or another, aren't we?
Okay, the next thing we want to do is if your child tries to dive off of the big toilet, when you set them on it and they reach for you and want to dive off. Now, here we go. I am not responsible for any child falling off the toilet. You do with this information what you want and always seek medical advice. That's my disclaimer. This is just anecdotal and it is what I've seen work for lots of parents in our forums. So just take it with a grain of salt and I'm not responsible if something happens, but I'm going to tell you, if you are not sitting right there up next to your child, they're not going to dive off, usually. It depends on how old they are, but you know if you have a child who's a diver or not.
Usually it really... And this is one thing I got from one of our audience members and I've tried it myself. You can line the floor with pillows underneath your toilet the first few times, so if they do try to come off then they're going to never do that again and they also won't get hurt. So there's that, but I've always found that if I pop my baby on the toilet seat reducer right there and then I turn around and I busy myself with something somewhere else in the bathroom, I'm still there, I'm still within a few feet, but I don't give them the opportunity to dive onto me. Right when I turn my back and give privacy, which I'll talk about next, they go. So play with that, toy with that. Be careful. I'm not responsible if you're not careful, but it is definitely something that a lot of people have found has worked for them.
Then the last thing I want to say about this is giving privacy. We want to transition to the big toilet also when we realize that our children really need a lot more privacy, and this could happen at just mere months old, like nine months old, ten months old. They start to seek privacy. We're mammals, we don't want to be doing this in front of other people. Sorry, you can hear my baby in the background. You want to give privacy by closing the door, both of you in it. Set your baby on the big toilet, don't even talk about it. Don't ask if they need to go if you've got a child who gets resistant when you ask or who says no. You know if you've got one.
You take them to the big toilet, put them on it, turn around and busy yourself with something. Brush your teeth, wash your hands. Do something where you are ignoring your child but you're still totally paying attention to them. This usually gives them enough privacy to go successfully on the big toilet, to feel comfortable there, and to really feel like they have ownership on part of this process.
That's everything I have to say about when to transition to the big toilet and how to do it, but know that there's one more thing. Like I said in Episode 39, when transitioning from in-arms to a mini potty, you can also start transitioning them to the big toilet by holding them over it or onto it with the toilet seat reducer facing the back of the toilet, so turned around. Check out Lid Buddies, they have a really cool sticker. It’s gorgeous with watercolor pictures on it that you can put on the back of your toilet seat so they can look at that while you're sitting them on it backwards. You can do this the whole time. You could always have them potty backwards forever, because they can climb on easier this way. It's brilliant.
The other thing I want to say is when transitioning to the big toilet, you want to hold a small baby on who can't sit up by themselves. The criteria for this, just to backtrack a second, they've got to be able to sit up on their own, unassisted. Duh. Okay, so I just wanted to make sure I covered that before we wrapped up.
So that's it. I want you to leave any questions you have in the comments over at godiaperfree.com/40. Let me know when you plan on transitioning to the big toilet, or if you've already done it, if you have tips for other parents that I have missed here, as I can't possibly think of everything here. But I would love to hear from you over there in the show notes on my blog. So I'll see you there.
Meanwhile, definitely subscribe so I can let you know of the next episode that comes out. Leave your review, let me know how I'm doing, and help other people learn about elimination communication and early potty training.
Thanks so much for being here today. I'm Andrea Olson with Go Diaper Free, and you've been listening to the Go Diaper Free Podcast at godiaperfree.com. We will see you next time.
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About Andrea Olson
I'm Andrea and I spend most of my time with my husband and 5 children (newborn to 8 years old) 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.)